As the COVID-19 vaccines roll out, Americans have many questions about how the vaccines work and about how they will be administered.
Here are some frequently asked questions about the new immunizations, with answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Q. If I am a new resident in an Arbor Company community, can I be vaccinated at my community?
A. New residents will get a priority spot for the vaccine before moving in, if the move-in occurs prior to our assigned clinic dates.
Q. Can receiving the COVID-19 vaccine cause the virus?
A. According to the CDC, none of the current vaccines contain the live virus, but because the goal of the immunizations is for the body to recognize and fight off the virus, the shots can cause symptoms such as fever. But these symptoms are normal and signal that the body is building immunity. However, because it takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, it’s possible that you could contract COVID-19 just before or after receiving the vaccine and still develop the virus.
Q. Can the vaccine cause a positive result on a COVID-19 test?
A. The CDC says that neither the vaccines that were recently approved nor the ones currently in clinical trials will cause the recipient to test positive on viral tests, which determine whether you are currently infected. If the body develops an immune response after vaccination, which is the goal of the vaccine, you may test positive on an antibody test, which indicates that you had a previous infection and may now have some level of protection against the virus.
Q. Is there a benefit to receiving the vaccine if you have already had COVID-19?
A. Because of the long-term health risks associated with COVID-19, and the fact that re-infection is possible, some people may be advised to receive the vaccine even if they have already had the virus, the CDC says. Medical experts don’t currently know how long immunity after infection, called natural immunity, lasts, and it can vary from person to person. Some early evidence suggests that natural immunity may be short-lived. Health experts will know more about how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts after collecting data on how well the new vaccines work.
Q. Can a vaccine help prevent you from getting sick from COVID-19?
A. A COVID-19 vaccination helps to protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
Q. What are the different types of immunity?
A. Active immunity, which is acquired by either contracting the virus or being vaccinated against it. Herd or community immunity, which is when a sufficient proportion of a population is immune, through vaccination or prior illness, to make its spread from person to person unlikely. Even individuals who have not been vaccinated are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity spread within the community.
Q. What is the timeline for different groups of Americans to receive the vaccine?
A. The CDC recommends that health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities receive the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is known as Phase 1a. The CDC believes this will help save the lives of those who are most at-risk from dying of the virus. If vaccine supplies are limited, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that the following groups receive priority: Health care personnel, workers in essential and critical industries, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people age 65 and older. Vaccinations will be provided at Arbor Company communities for residents.
Q. How many doses of the vaccine are needed to protect you?
A. Depending on the specific vaccine you receive, a second shot will be needed three to four weeks after the first vaccine to maximize your protection against the virus.
Q. What are the most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Temporary fever, chills, and pain at the injection site.
Q. What other tools, besides the vaccine, do we have to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
A. Cover your nose and mouth with a mask when you’re around other people, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
For more information, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
The COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Should Know, What to Expect
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