SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions compiled from County of San Diego, Center for Disease Control, and World Health Organization.
What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 (CDC)
- See if COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you right now.
- Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.
- Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.
- When you get the vaccine, you and your healthcare worker will both need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth. Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines. Learn more about protecting yourself during visits to the doctor or a pharmacy.
When You Get Vaccinated
- You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.
- You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.
- All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on-site. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
- With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.
- Ask your healthcare provider about getting started with v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
- It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
A: Yes. The vaccines underwent clinical trials with thousands of participants representing a range of diverse groups and has been deemed safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Those with a history of reactions to immunizations are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider prior to receiving the vaccine.
Q: How was the COVID-19 vaccine made so quickly?
A: COVID-19 is not the first coronavirus. Scientists were able to apply 50 years of research to make a safe and effective vaccine, which received support for accelerated production.
Q: How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
A: The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA). mRNA provides the instructions your body needs to build a small protein that triggers an immune response to COVID-19 if you become infected.
Q: If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need a vaccine?
A: Yes, you do. There is not evidence that recovering from a COVID-19 infection builds lasting immunity in the body. Some people have been infected with COVID-19 more than once/multiple times. It is recommended you wait 90 days from recovery to receive the vaccine.
Q: Do I still have to wear a mask after I receive the vaccine?
A: Yes. It will take time to vaccinate enough people for immunity in the community. In the meantime, continue to be COVIDSAFE by wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, washing your hands, and avoiding large gatherings.
Q: Are there side effects?
A: Common side effects include soreness in your arm, fatigue, body aches and fever. These are signs the vaccine is working.
Q: How much do COVID-19 vaccinations cost?
A: Free vaccinations are available from the County of San Diego (County) for all individuals currently eligible and interested in being vaccinated for COVID-19. Individuals in currently opened Phases and Tiers should first contact their medical provider to receive the vaccine directly at no-cost. For individuals unable to receive the vaccine from their provider, or if they do not have a healthcare provider, they may be vaccinated at a County-coordinated COVID-19 vaccination site at no-cost.
Q: How do I find out if I am eligible?
A: Updates on who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine will be posted on the COVID-19 Vaccine page on https://coronavirus-sd.com/vaccine. Additionally, depending on which group you fall into, you may be notified by your healthcare provider.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions
If you have a severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine
CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. As an example, an allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital.
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose.
If you have a non-severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine
CDC has also learned of reports that some people have experienced non-severe allergic reactions within 4 hours after getting vaccinated (known as immediate allergic reactions), such as hives, swelling, and wheezing (respiratory distress).
If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.
If you have had an allergic reaction to other types of vaccines
If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.
If you have allergies not related to vaccines
CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.
If you have had an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate
These recommendations include allergic reactions to PEG and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Safeguards Are in Place
CDC has provided recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination providers about how to prepare for the possibility of a severe allergic reaction:
- All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on site. People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine.
- Vaccination providers should have appropriate medications and equipment—such as epinephrine, antihistamines, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and timing devices to check your pulse—at all COVID-19 vaccination sites.
- If you experience a severe allergic reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers should provide rapid care and call for emergency medical services. You should continue to be monitored in a medical facility for at least several hours.
Learn more about what to expect after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including normal side effects and tips to reduce pain or discomfort.
CDC Is Monitoring Reports of Severe Allergic Reactions
If someone has a severe allergic reaction after getting vaccinated, their vaccination provider will send a report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).external icon VAERS is the national system that collects reports from healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the public about adverse events that happen after vaccination. Reports of adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns are followed up with specific studies.