We created an anonymous survey that asked users to submit any questions they had about the covid-19 vaccines. Our medical experts, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Stephen J. Kolesk, MD, and Infection Prevention Nurse Darlene Barnes, MS, BSN, RN, responded.
Here are some of those questions and responses:
Will the vaccine be required to travel?
Although we are not aware of any country that has announced a mandatory vaccination requirement yet, numerous countries, including the United States, are considering requiring proof of covid vaccination, in order to travel. There is general consensus that proof of vaccination will be required to travel.
I had covid over Christmas break, should I wait the 60 days before receiving the vaccine? Also, I heard the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a one shot and less side effects, is that true?
The waiting period to get the vaccine after being infected with the virus, is two weeks after covid symptoms or diagnosis without symptoms. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only one shot and its possible side effects are not yet known… We recommend getting vaccinated against covid by any approved vaccine as soon as you can.
Can we stop wearing masks if vaccinated?
The vaccines can prevent you from getting the disease, with up to a 95 percent effectiveness rate, however it is still unknown whether vaccination prevents transmitting the disease, therefore wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing are all still recommended, even after vaccination.
Does the vaccine work against all strains?
Early data shows that the vaccines may be slightly less effective on the new strains, but still provide significant protection. Because these new strains are much more contagious than the original, it is all the more important to be vaccinated as soon as you can. As the virus spreads, it mutates. The more we can control the spread, the less mutation will occur.
Can the vaccine affect someone who is already pregnant?
The Centers for Disease Control and other public health experts recommend that pregnant and nursing mothers be vaccinated. We encourage women who are pregnant or nursing to consult with their healthcare practitioners before deciding whether to take the vaccine.
I’ve heard the Pfizer vaccine is effective on white people and the Moderna is effective on black people?
This is not true. There is ZERO evidence of this. In fact, in the trials, both vaccines achieved 100 percent effectiveness in black study participants.
Has the vaccine been approved for people with serious allergies? Specifically, anaphylactic reactions to food allergies?
This is a great question. If you have had an anaphylactic reaction to a vaccine, this is a situation that needs to be discussed with your health care provider before you take the vaccine. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to the polyethylene glycol or polysorbate ingredients in the covid vaccine, you should not get the vaccine.
How can this vaccine be made mandatory if the CDC has not given it full approval?
The federal government does not mandate (require) vaccination for individuals. They do make recommendations for best healthcare practices to keep individuals healthy. The Equal Employment Opportunity Council (EEOC) has confirmed that an employer can make vaccination mandatory. For some healthcare workers or essential employees, a state or local government or private employer, for example, may require or mandate that workers be vaccinated due to the requirements of their job.
What risk do I have of getting covid after I’m vaccinated if I’m around people that haven’t been vaccinated? And if I don’t get it, can I still carry it home to my family if I’m around those who aren’t vaccinated?
The vaccines can prevent you from getting the disease, with a 95 percent effectiveness rate, however it is still unknown whether the vaccination prevents transmitting the disease, therefore wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand washing are all still recommended, even after vaccination.
Will I have to get one yearly like the flu shot?
The length of time the vaccine lasts is unknown at this time but it is likely to last at least one year if not more. Long term studies will be necessary to determine this.
How are individuals who are overweight and/or have other health problems effected by the vaccine? I also wondered if there was any way to safeguard against delayed long term effects of the covid 19 vaccine, since I don’t know if there is any way to gather evidence determining of this?
Any long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown at this point. We do know that people with certain conditions, like being overweight, or having diabetes or high blood pressure, are at a higher risk for complications from contracting covid, therefore people with those conditions are highly encouraged to get the vaccine.
How long should someone wait after getting the covid vaccines to receive another type of vaccine or injection-based medical test (flu, hep B, mantoux, etc)?
Per the CDC: Wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your covid-19 vaccine first. And if you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your covid-19 vaccine. If a covid-19 vaccine is inadvertently given within 14 days of another vaccine, you do not need to restart the covid-19 vaccine series; you should still complete the series on schedule.
What happens if you do not take the vaccine?
You put yourself, family and friends at risk for a serious and potentially deadly disease.
I was informed that the vaccine was manufactured with different DNAs from different ethnic backgrounds, and that according to your race you will add in DNA from either white or black?
THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE. Here is a good Forbes article that explains why this is not true.
Is the vaccine known to be safe for those with autoimmune disorders?
Yes. Here is what the CDC says:
No data are currently available on the safety and efficacy of mRNA covid-19 vaccines in persons with autoimmune conditions, though these persons were eligible for enrollment in clinical trials. No imbalances were observed in the occurrence of symptoms consistent with autoimmune conditions or inflammatory disorders in clinical trial participants who received an mRNA covid-19 vaccine compared to placebo. Persons with autoimmune conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination may receive an mRNA covid-19 vaccine.
What is the research of the effects/side effects (positive and negative) of the vaccine on fertility for women who plan to become pregnant within the next year? If there is little to no research, should a woman that is planning to become pregnant consider getting the vaccine?
Current guidelines state that you can become pregnant after the vaccine. There is no evidence that the vaccine causes infertility. We advise talking this issue over with your health care provider. See also, these resources from the CDC and the The University of Chicago Medicine.
After getting the full dose of vaccine, will you get covid-19 again?
The protection provided does not start for 12-14 days after the second immunization. The vaccine is 95 percent effective, which means that 19 out of 20 people will be fully protected. This is a much higher rate of protection that the typical seasonal flu vaccine gives to people. However, wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and careful and frequent hand washing are still strongly recommended for those who have been vaccinated. If you contract the virus after being vaccinated, the severity of symptoms will be significantly reduced.