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COVID-19 Vaccinations

You have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We have answers.

With so much information and misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccine these days, it can be difficult to understand your options. What you’ll find on this page are real answers by real physicians to questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you already have a trusted primary care physician, we encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions and concerns. If you don’t have a provider, our physicians at Valley Health are happy to begin caring for you and your family.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe and effective?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are proven to be safe and effective.

  • Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
  • The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
  • COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccine is the most effective and safest method to reduce your likelihood of getting COVID-19.

Clinical Trials

All vaccines in the United States must go through three phases of clinical trials to make sure they are safe and effective. During the development of COVID-19 vaccines, phases overlapped to speed up the process, but all phases were completed.

Authorization or Approval

-Before vaccines are available to the public, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) assesses the findings from clinical trials. The FDA determined that three COVID-19 vaccines met the FDA’s safety and effectiveness standards and granted those vaccines Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs). This allowed the vaccines to be quickly distributed.

Tracking Safety Using Vaccine Monitoring Systems

COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring has been the most intense and comprehensive in U.S. history. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines. Through several monitoring systems, the CDC and FDA continue to provide updated information on the safety of these vaccines.

Once You Are Vaccinated:

  • Your risk of dying from COVID-19 is dramatically reduced.
  • Your risk of being hospitalized for COVID-19 is dramatically reduced.
  • Your family members or loved ones who have medical conditions that put them at increased risk for severe COVID or death are better protected.

Additional Information:

  • Over 300 million shots have been given so far
  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
  • While adverse side effects have been reported, there is no known causality between the COVID-19 vaccine and death.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only known way to have lasting and predictable durable immunity from the disease.

Who is the vaccine safe for?

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for everyone except:

  • People who are currently having COVID-19 symptoms. Wait 90 days after a negative test to get COVID-19 vaccine.
  • People who have had a severe allergic reaction that required medical intervention. Discuss with your doctor before receiving the vaccine.
  • People who are allergic to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine. Discuss protection against the disease with your doctor.

Additional Information:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant women, children age 5+, the elderly and people with diabetes or asthma.
  • The vaccine is safe for all women who are pregnant, might become pregnant in the future, are trying to get pregnant now or are breastfeeding.
  • The vaccine does not cause infertility or affect an individual’s fertility. However, getting COVID can affect the ability to conceive.
  • The vaccine is in fact highly encouraged for people who are immunocompromised, such as people with diabetes or asthma.
  • Curious about a circumstance with your health? Call your doctor to discuss your concerns and options. Don’t have a current primary care doctor? Click here to find one!

What are the side effects from the vaccine?

Some people have side effects from the vaccine and/or booster, which are normal signs their bodies are building protection. These side effects include:

  • General body aches
  • Low-grade fevers
  • Headache

Additional Information:

These side effects are short-term symptoms. Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unusual following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination.

If you would like to report an adverse event, side effect, or reaction from the COVID-19 vaccine, please use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Established in 1990, VAERS is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines. VAERS is co-managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

I'm young and healthy. Why do I need the vaccine if I don't expect to get seriously ill from COVID?

ANSWER: COVID-19 affects everyone differently, and although most serious symptoms occur among the older population, hospitalizations and deaths have been reported in individuals of all ages.

We also are still learning more about long COVID. Some people who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 can experience long-term effects from their infection. These effects can last weeks, months and years and include ongoing fatigue, brain fog, fever, difficulty breathing, cough, headache and more. These symptoms can occur in individuals who had mild to no symptoms when infected with COVID. People who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and become infected may also be at higher risk of developing post-COVID conditions compared to people who were vaccinated and had breakthrough infections.

Lastly, those who have had the COVID-19 vaccine are less likely to spread the disease, which can protect older friends, family and neighbors and those who have medical conditions that make them susceptible to contracting the virus and getting seriously ill.

Why do I need a booster?

Everyone age 5 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Although COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection over time against mild and moderate disease, especially among certain populations. Boosters provide this increased protection against disease.

The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.

I heard the booster has adverse side effects that can make you sick for days, but I can't afford to miss work. Is it worth it?

The booster’s impact on preventing COVID-19 is important and outweighs some of its low-severity side effects, which include fatigue, lymph node swelling, and nausea. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is building immunity against COVID-19.

In addition, getting the booster will help prevent potentially severe symptoms from COVID-19, which could keep you out of work for weeks.

There are so many reasons to get vaccinated. It’s safe, it saves lives, and it’s worth it.

Why get vaccinated and boosted if I could still get COVID?

Studies show those who receive the vaccine are 95% less likely to contract COVID than those without the vaccine.

An explanation of the vaccines provided by Dr. David Switzer, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician with Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital Family Medicine | Luray: “You receive some protection—meaning staying out of the hospital—with the first dose, more protection with the second dose and even better protection with the third dose.”

Vaccine breakthrough infections are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections. However, like other vaccines, they are not 100% effective.

Fully vaccinated people with a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.

Even when fully vaccinated individuals develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe than in unvaccinated individuals. This means they are much less likely to be hospitalized or die than people who are not vaccinated.

For more information please see the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

I've already had COVID, why do I need the vaccine/booster?

ANSWER: Vaccines are the safest and most effective method to prevent getting COVID-19. Even individuals who have already had COVID-19 should receive a vaccine and booster shot when they are eligible for best protection.

Isn't COVID almost over? Haven't we reached herd immunity?

ANSWER: COVID-19 is an ongoing pandemic globally. As COVID spreads, multiple variants of COVID have developed, including variants that can be more contagious than the original strain that was spread in 2020.

In Closing

Remember, you can always make an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss your questions and concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. And if you don’t have a provider, our physicians at Valley Health are happy to begin caring for you and your family.

Make an Appointment Today

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