Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19 Vaccination
Have you been wondering if now is the right time to get vaccinated against the coronavirus? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you will discover reliable, accurate, and evidence-based information that will provide you with necessary facts about COVID-19 vaccines and how these vaccines affect your health.
The federal government, along with the United States Food and Drug Administration, has evaluated COVID-19 vaccines from different clinical trials that have demonstrated they are safe and effective.
COVID-19 Vaccines and How They Work
To be able to understand how COVID-19 vaccines work, it is important to understand how the body fights infections. When infectious agents such as viruses invade our body systems, they start to multiply. This invasion is referred to as an infection. It manifests as an illness with a range of specific symptoms depending on the infectious agent.
Luckily, the body is equipped with several tools to naturally fight off these infections. These tools keep a memory of the infectious agents. However, the first time an invasion occurs, it takes days or weeks before the body can use these tools to combat the infectious agents.
When the same invasion occurs by the same agent, the body is more empowered, having kept a good memory of it, to rapidly and powerfully combat the invasion. This is the principle behind every vaccine. Vaccines use weakened or inactive parts of an infectious agent to enhance the ability of these infection-fighting tools to combat pathogens by creating memory cells.
COVID-19 vaccines work by training our immune systems to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein,” usually found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. This harmless piece trains our immune systems to get rid of the virus.
The mRNA vaccines developed by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna work by using mRNA to trigger our immune system to make the spike protein and are currently approved for use in the United States. Others, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works by using a harmless form of the virus (often called a viral vaccine) to create the instructions (genes) that will make the spike protein.
Also, the Novavax vaccine, which is still undergoing clinical trials, uses a subunit of the non-infectious form of the virus or chemically inactivated form of the virus to teach our immune systems how to fight the COVID-19 virus.
Who Can Be Offered a COVID-19 Vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe for people 18 years and older. Also, just recently, the CDC recommended COVID-19 vaccination for anyone 12 years of age and older. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and liver and kidney diseases.
Feel free to discuss your situation with our team of healthcare providers if you’re pregnant or nursing, have a compromised immune system, or have specific allergies.
Why Get Vaccinated
Vaccines save millions of lives every year. With the entire world in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, getting a COVID-19 vaccine protects you and the people around you.
COVID-19 vaccines reduce your risk of infection to the barest minimum. They also may help protect your unborn baby or newborn, help you reconnect with your friends, family, and co-workers, and even enable travel without fear of domestic or international quarantining.
When and Where to Get Vaccinated
You do not have to wait until you are at risk of getting infected before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated is safer than getting infected, so the best time to get vaccinated is now.
Carolina Pharmacy offers COVID-19 vaccination. Feel free to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination. You can choose from the recommended and safest vaccines in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Which Vaccine Will Be Given
Currently, over 3 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered globally, with the United States representing over 324 million people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
In the United States, you can receive either the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine; each requires two doses. However, if you want a vaccine that provides full efficacy at a single dose, then you can choose the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. These three vaccines are available in five of our Carolina Pharmacy locations.
What To Do During An Appointment
There are safety precautions you have to follow after you have scheduled a COVID-19 vaccination.
After you have scheduled an appointment, plan and prepare for your vaccination. Ensure to maintain basic safety guidelines such as social distancing while waiting for your turn and also wear a mask.
Communicate your health status to the healthcare professional, especially if you have a compromised immune system or if you’re pregnant or a breastfeeding mother.
After you have been vaccinated, you will receive a card to demonstrate your vaccination status against COVID-19. Keep this card because you may need it. Certain destinations, events such as sports, and travel lines require travelers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
What To Do After You’ve Been Vaccinated
Be aware of important safety guidelines even after you have been vaccinated, including the following:
Healthcare providers usually observe you for about 15 minutes after you have been administered a COVID-19 vaccine. This is to watch for immediate reactions, although it is extremely rare to develop adverse events to COVID-19 vaccines.
Get Ready for Some Side Effects
After you’ve been vaccinated, you may experience some mild side effects as the vaccine tries to prepare your body to build immunity against COVID-19. Soreness at the injection site, mild fever, fatigue, headache, chills, and diarrhea are the common side effects that have been reported.
Just as we have explained earlier, building complete immunity takes some time. Hence the need to still be patient after you have been vaccinated. Don’t appear yet in public gatherings; continue to social distance. You are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Stay Safe and Keep Others Safe
It is important for you to continue practicing safety precautions even after you have been fully vaccinated. Continue to avoid crowded spaces, practice frequent handwashing, and wear a face mask.
Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
If you’re worried about COVID-19 vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) confirms their effectiveness.
What To Do If You’ve Already Tested Positive for COVID-19
Vaccination is advised regardless of your history of COVID-19 illness. People who have had COVID-19 are still capable of contracting the illness and transmitting it more easily if they have not been vaccinated. Hence, if you have already tested positive for COVID-19, it is advisable to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Drug Interactions
You may already be on certain medications and also concerned about their interaction with COVID – 19 vaccines. COVID – 19 vaccines are safe and effective in people with various conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, pulmonary, liver, and kidney diseases.
However, you need to watch out for immunosuppressant medications such as steroids and anti-inflammatories. Be sure to always discuss your medication use with your healthcare provider.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergies
If you have had an allergic reaction to any of the ingredients present in any of the vaccines, you should not get it. Similarly, if you have had an allergic reaction to the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should also not get the second dose. However, common allergies do not exclude you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines for Women and Children
COVID-19 vaccination is available for pregnant and breastfeeding women and for adolescents ages 12 and up. As a known fact, pregnant women have an increased risk for severe illnesses from COVID-19. Feel free to discuss your concerns with one of our pharmacists at Carolina Pharmacy. They are always available to provide you with COVID-19 vaccine monitoring guidelines if you have any concerns.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have recently expanded the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to adolescents aged 12-15. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that everyone 12 years of age and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Misinformation and false claims often undermine the purpose of achieving successful vaccination. Relevant information on why you should get vaccinated and what to do before, during, and after COVID-19 vaccination allows you to make an informed decision.
At Carolina Pharmacy, we specialize in personalized healthcare. We are committed to bringing you the highest-quality medicines and healthcare services, including Rapid COVID-19 testing and COVID-19 vaccination, in our locations in Charlotte, Rock Hill, and Lancaster.