Almost a year has passed from a larger community awareness about COVID-19 and we all know, and have experienced, a lot more than we ever thought possible. In that year, several pharmaceutical companies raced to make a safe and effective vaccine to fight COVID in the general population. With larger numbers of the vaccine flooding the market, you may have questions from our team at Integrity Urgent Care about what to do next.
How does the vaccine work?
All vaccinations are created to teach the body how to better protect itself in the event of exposure to the disease in question. Best put by John Hopkins, “vaccines mimic natural infection but without actually causing the person to become sick.” In the case of COVID-19, antibodies will ideally bind to the spike protein on the virus, preventing infection from occurring.
What are the different brands? Is one better than the other?
At the time of this publication, there are three different vaccines on the market. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna mRNA, and Johnson and Johnson most recently. All three have mild to moderate side effects, with the Moderna mRNA having a slightly elevated rate of side effects in patients with allergies.
Two of the vaccines require two doses, injected into the body, given 21 days later for the Pfizer and 28 days later for Moderna. While some efficacy is seen after the first dose, the second booster shot will help create a fuller immunity in patients, making them much better protected. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one shot and is a little more stable in storage than the other vaccinations.
Who is eligible (at this time)?
There are a number of groups who are eligible for the vaccine right now. They include front line health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, individuals over the age of 65, and those over the age of 16 with underlying health concerns, like, but not limited to, heart conditions, cancer, obesity, and others. The hope is that many more will be eligible soon. Additionally, trials for children to receive the vaccination should shed more information on their eligibility in the coming months.
Are there concerns in getting the vaccine?
Multiple trials have been done and continue on each vaccination on the market. While most of the population will experience only mild side effects, there is always a small portion of the population who will have a larger reaction, particularly those who have reacted to vaccinations in the past. Speak to your primary care physician ahead of time if you have concerns.
Otherwise, some side effects include soreness at the injection site, mild body aches, fatigue, amongst others.
Where can I get vaccinated?
In the state of Texas, vaccination hubs have been set up for easy distribution of vaccinations. Some of these are locations specifically set up for quick processing of people and others are more traditional locations like pharmacies. There are multiple resources that list the hubs and the availability of vaccinations across Texas.
Who pays for vaccinations?
There is currently no cost for anyone who wishes to get the vaccine and is eligible.
Do I still need to wear a mask?
Multiple sources are suggesting that continuing to wear a mask until more research is available on asymptomatic transmission of the virus. Wearing your mask will help to protect others and, in the event the vaccine isn’t 100% effective, it will protect you as well.
Our team at Integrity Urgent Care is prepared to help you with as many of your health needs as we can. As we continue to shift and adjust to treat and protect our communities in the fight against COVID-19, our offices are open for you. For help with COVID-19 or for other medical concerns, contact us or come see us today.