WHAT IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 disease. The vaccines were developed using mRNA technology. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are then formed to this protein. The body builds its immune response so it is ready to fight or prevent COVID-19.
CAN I TRUST THE mRNA COVID-19 VACCINE?
No steps were ‘skipped’ in the Federal Drug Administration’s process in the review and approval of the vaccines. Independent committees at federal and state levels examined the data on vaccine development and clinical trials to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Many systems are in place for ongoing safety monitoring as vaccination is being rolled out in the United States Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States.
HOW LONG FOR THE VACCINE TO TAKE EFFECT, AND FOR HOW LONG?
Two doses of the same vaccine must be taken in order for the vaccine to do its work. The second dose is taken 3 or 4 weeks after the first. Full protection occurs 1 to 2 weeks after the second dose. It will take time to know how long the vaccine remains effective. Time will also let us know if we must immunize ourselves against COVID-19 on a regular basis.
DO I NEED TO BE VACCINATED EVEN IF I’VE HAD COVID-19 AND RECOVERED?
Yes. Experts do not know how long your natural immunity will last, once you have had COVID-19.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
After the first dose, you may encounter fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site – lasting 24-48 hours. These side effects may be more pronounced after the second dose. Side effects are proof the vaccine is working!
CAN I THROW AWAY MY MASKS?
Even after vaccination, you must still wear a mask, and wear it properly! Continue to wash your hands and practice social distancing.
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