The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine comes as a welcome relief to doctors and patients alike, but you may still have some questions regarding the vaccine that remain unanswered. The doctors at Altoona Lung Specialists have consolidated our own procedures as well as some of our most frequently-asked questions into one convenient fact sheet:
Below, you will also find a list of resources you can continue to trust as the vaccine continues to be distributed. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any further questions you may have regarding COVID-19 or the vaccine.
No, however, all of our physicians recommend getting the vaccine.
Please visit the PA Department of Health website for more information.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are available now are called messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. This means that instead of exposing you to a live or attenuated version of COVID-19, the vaccine introduces messenger RNA which can instruct your body in making a specific protein. This protein triggers an immune response that has been proven to protect the human body against COVID-19. The vaccine will involve two shots, administered in two sessions.
Yes, absolutely. Rigorous safety protocols and testing procedures have been completed in the making of this vaccine in spite of the necessary emergency rollout. Both of the companies that are now offering the vaccine -- Pfizer/BioNTecH and Moderna -- performed studies involving around 70,000 people to confirm the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine, and the CDC and FDA continue to monitor results as more people receive it.
As discussed in the previous section, mRNA vaccines do not contain COVID-19 and cannot get you sick. Additionally, messenger RNA will not remain in your body or affect your DNA in any way. Your cells will break down and dispose of the RNA as soon as it is finished creating the proteins as instructed.
Most commonly-reported COVID-19 vaccine side-effects are extremely mild and short term, and they resolve without complications. These side-effects may include:
These side-effects are common for all vaccinations, and are the natural result of your immune system responding to the vaccine.
If you’ve had COVID-19, you did at some point develop natural immunity from the virus after your infection. However, studies suggest that natural immunity from COVID-19 does not last very long, and even if you’ve had the virus, you should still be vaccinated. If you’ve recently had COVID-19, you should delay your vaccine until 90 days after you were diagnosed.
The same concerns about allergies exist for the COVID-19 vaccine as they do for any type of vaccine. If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients found in any of the available COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC recommends that you do not take that specific vaccine, and instead take an alternative. Those with unrelated allergies, such as food, pets, or latex, should have no trouble getting vaccinated. If you have a history of mild allergic reactions to vaccines (specifically those which do not involve anaphylaxis), you may also be vaccinated with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. On a specific note, if you have a known allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate, you should not get the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.The COVID-19 vaccine does involve two shots, so if you have an allergic reaction to the first shot, do not take the second.If you’re concerned about an allergic reaction to the vaccine, please discuss it with your doctor.
Yes! Not everyone will be getting the vaccine at the same time, which means others can still get sick. You may still be carrying the virus without symptoms even after your vaccine, which can easily transmit to those who have not yet been vaccinated.
At Altoona Lung Specialists, we want to educate our patients responsibly about COVID-19 and prevent the spread of misinformation. Here is our list of verified resources patients can trust to provide accurate information about the COVID-19 vaccine.