There is a light at the end of the COVID tunnel in the form of a vaccine. It seems that everything having to do with this virus has been unpredictable and fast-moving. We know you must have many questions and concerns related to the news about the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine provides us with a powerful tool to combat this deadly virus, and the goal is to vaccinate all who want to receive it. As the review and approval process progresses, more vaccine will be available, but for now, the supply is limited nationwide.
The CDC has recommended a phased approach to the vaccination process. At this time, healthcare workers with patient-facing work roles who have the greatest chance of exposures to COVID-19 have been prioritized to receive the vaccine. Generally, this includes those who work in the ICU, ED, Urgent Care, and Med-Surg floors treating COVID patients. Staff and residents at long term care facilities are also among those prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Once the vaccine is more widely available, primary care providers, local pharmacies and health departments will also be able to offer the vaccine to the public. This is likely to occur in late Spring or early Summer.
|What should I do if I’m not able to get vaccinated or am not in the first tiers of the vaccine distribution?
It’s important to continue to utilize all the safety tools we have been using during the pandemic. This includes wearing a face mask to cover your mouth and nose, washing your hands often, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and avoiding crowds or large gatherings greater than 10 people.
What was the process for the approval of these vaccines?
The process these vaccines have gone through to achieve approval is as stringent, and in some ways more stringent than what has been required of all other vaccines. To make the vaccine available as soon as possible to curb this deadly virus, the FDA and the other regulatory agencies have expedited the timeframe but have still committed to studying the data thoroughly and holding hearings as soon as possible after completion of the clinical trials. Here is a link to a helpful video where members of Project Warp Speed review the United States’ vaccine approval process and clinical trials: Video: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
|Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Currently, children under the age of 16 were not included in the initial studies of the vaccine. Pharmaceutical companies are currently conducting research on the vaccine in pediatric populations. More time is needed to provide guidance about the COVID-19 vaccine in children, and it is not yet recommended for children.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine be given to pregnant women?
Researchers are still learning more about how the COVID-19 vaccine affects pregnant women. These vaccines have not been widely studied in pregnancy and therefore are not yet recommended in pregnancy. If you are considering pregnancy or if you are pregnant, you should consult with your medical or obstetric provider before taking the vaccine.
When available, will I need to pay for the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is being offered for free by the federal government to all individuals, and insurance companies also will not be charging any out-of-pocket fees or co-payments related to the COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information, go to:
CDC: Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccination
CDC: Fact or Fiction – Debunking the COVID-19 Vaccines
American Society for Microbiology: COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs