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December 3, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccines: Essential Information

San Diego Senior Home Care Assistance COVID Vaccine

The recent discovery of several effective COVID-19 vaccines means that Americans may soon be able to obtain protection from this devastating disease. In this article, we’ll share some essential information about these vaccines, including how they work and when they should be available.

COVID-19 Vaccines Could Mean an End to the Pandemic

The COVID-19 vaccines are our best hope to end this devastating pandemic. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have already confirmed that the approved vaccines are extremely effective at protecting people from infection.

Once a significant proportion of the U.S. population has been vaccinated, ‘community immunity’ will have been achieved and the number of new cases will continually decline. At this point, citizens will be able to get back to enjoying their lives, without fear of infection.

How Do the COVID-19 Vaccines Work?

Vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize the disease-causing part of a virus. Most vaccines will use a weakened strain of the virus or signature proteins from the virus (a unique part of the virus).

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna operate differently. They are ‘mRNA vaccines’, which use genetic material called mRNA, which encodes the viral protein. In simpler terms, these vaccines give the immune system a set of instructions for recognizing the COVID-19 virus.

When the immune system detects the virus that causes COVID-19, it immediately attacks and kills it, before it can make you sick.

All Vaccines Have Undergone a Rigorous Testing Regime

Although researchers have developed the COVID-19 vaccines in record time, all the standard safety protocols have been followed. All the approved vaccines have been tested extensively in laboratories and on human test subjects in large scale clinical trials. All the available vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. 

The CDC has also developed a new tool called v-safe. This tool helps to monitor the safety of these new vaccines as they are rolled out to U.S citizens. It is a smart phone app which records any side effects or allergic reactions caused by the vaccines.

What are the Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Some people will experience minor side effects, which may include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

These reactions are temporary and will resolve without treatment within a couple of days. In some extremely rare cases, an allergic reaction to the vaccine may occur. This is why the COVID-19 vaccines are taken under medical supervision.

Can Taking the Vaccine Give Me COVID-19?

No, it cannot. None of the vaccines that have been approved contain the COVID-19 virus, so it is impossible for you to become infected from your vaccination.

Will I Test Positive for COVID-19 After Taking the Vaccine?

No, you will not. None of the current vaccines can cause a false positive COVID test. However, you may test positive for COVID-19 antibodies if you had a blood test. Antibodies indicate that you have had previous contact with the virus.

Do I Need to Vaccinate If I Already Had COVID-19?

Yes, you should still get a vaccination. Researchers have discovered that re-infection is possible, so you are still at risk of contracting the virus. Getting a vaccination will dramatically reduce your risk of being infected with COVID-19 once again.

Will the Vaccines Alter My DNA Somehow?

No, mRNA vaccines do not change your DNA. Messenger mRNA vaccines simply teach your cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response which protects you from COVID-19.

Who Will Get Vaccinated First?

The supply of vaccine will be limited initially, so the CDC and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has developed guidelines for how the vaccine should be distributed. These recommendations can be followed by federal, state, and local governments. You can read the guidelines here.

The authorities have recommended that healthcare personnel and residents of long-term aged care residents receive the vaccine first. They have done so because health care workers have the greatest risk of virus exposure and aged care residents have a much higher mortality risk when they get COVID.

Following this phase of the rollout, the next groups to receive the vaccine will be frontline workers and people aged 75 years and older. Frontline workers include police officers, firefighters, teachers, postal staff, public transit workers, grocery store workers and so on.

Once most of the people in this second group has received the vaccine, it will be available to people aged between 65-74, people with underlying medical conditions that increase their mortality risk, and other essential workers. This group of essential workers includes people working in transportation, food service, housing, finance, information technology, energy, law, media, and so on.

How Much Will COVID-19 Vaccines Cost?

Vaccines purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, fees may be charged by the facility that gives you the vaccine. This fee will be reimbursed by your insurance company or the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund (if you are uninsured).

For more information on the local San Diego COVID vaccine information please visit San Diego County.gov website link: vaccine locations and schedule 

Please consult with your health care provider before making any decisions on getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on the services provided by All Heart Home Care, please contact our friendly team at (619) 736-4677.

Eric Barth
Eric Barth
CEO and blogger for All Heart Home Care. I devote myself to helping seniors age in their own home while maintaining a feeling of independence, preserve their dignity, and enhance the quality of their life. I write these blogs to help educate the public on issues surrounding what seniors find to be the most important. My blogs are from my own personal research. I hope you enjoy my blog posts.

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