Q. I have a medical condition –how will I know if the vaccine is safe for me?
A. You should discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider to determine what is best for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers clinical guidance on the first (Pfizer) vaccine
Q: How many vaccines have been administered?
A: In Idaho, the number of vaccine doses that have been administered is reported at coronavirus.idaho.go
Q: I’m a provider and would like to receive the vaccine to administer to my patients. How do I receive the vaccine?
A: The CDC has a provider vaccination enrollment program. Any Idaho facility, organization, or healthcare provider licensed to possess or administer vaccine or provide vaccination services is eligible to enroll. The enrollment process consists of completion of the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, Supplemental COVID-19 Vaccine Redistribution Agreement, and completing provider training. Information can be found through the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s website: healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/providers/immunization-providers/covid-19-vaccination-providers
Q. When can my organization enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program in Idaho?
A. Idaho will be recruiting and enrolling COVID-19 vaccinators based on priority populations, access, capacity, and geographic location. Idaho plans to enroll organizations prior to vaccine availability, based on each organization’s COVID-19 vaccination phase, capacity, and needs. Idaho will use available data to recruit organizations to ensure equitable vaccine access throughout the state in accordance with guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Idaho’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee (CVAC).
The organization types listed below represent a proposed initial phased COVID-19 vaccine provider recruitment plan. This information will be updated throughout the vaccination campaign as needed:
Q. How will vaccine safety be monitored?
A. CDC continuously monitors the safety of vaccines given in the United States. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), co-administered by the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration, is the national frontline monitoring system for vaccine safety. VAERS is a national early warning system to detect possible safety problems with vaccines. Anyone – a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or any member of the general public – can submit a report to VAERS. COVID-19 Vaccine Providers are required to report adverse events to VAERS.
Q. What is v-safe?
A. v-safe is a new smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to check-in with vaccinated individuals for adverse events after a COVID-19 vaccination. v-safe will also provide second-dose reminders (if needed) and live telephone follow up by the CDC if vaccinated individuals report a medically significant event during a v-safe check-in. Enrollment is voluntary.
Q: Am I protected from infection immediately after receiving the vaccine?
A: Protection from Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is not immediate; the vaccine is a 2-dose series and it takes 1 to 2 weeks following the second dose before a person is considered fully vaccinated. Because the median incubation period of SARS-CoV2 is 4–5 days, current evidence suggests that vaccination of persons following a known SARS-CoV-2 exposure is unlikely to be an effective strategy for preventing disease from that particular exposure.
Thus, persons in the community or outpatient setting who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and other persons to SARS-CoV-2 during the vaccination visit.
Q: How does the ACIP define ‘healthcare personnel’?
A: Health care personnel are defined as paid or unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.
Q: How does the ACIP define ‘residents of long-term care facilities’?
A: Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to person who are unable to live independently.
Q: Will children receive the vaccine?
A: The Pfizer vaccine is only recommended for those 16 years old and older. The Moderna vaccine is recommended for those 18 years old and older.
Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?
A: None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
Q: Will I test positive for COVID-19 after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Q: Do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already had COVID?
A: Yes. Data from phase 2/3 clinical trials suggest that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and likely efficacious in persons with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
Q: Can’t we build natural immunity against COVID-19?
A: Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Q: How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
A: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received 2 doses of the vaccine?
A: Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Q: I am concerned there may be side effects to a vaccine or that I even might catch COVID-19 due to the vaccine itself. Is that a possible outcome?
A. Based on available data, COVID-19 vaccination is expected to elicit general post-vaccination symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body aches. The incidence and timing of post-vaccination symptoms will be further informed by phase III clinical trial data.
For example, these types of symptoms are also common for influenza vaccine. You may hear people state they “got the flu from the flu vaccine.” However, the flu vaccine is given during a time of year when upper respiratory infections are more common and getting a bad cold or upper respiratory infection around the time of receiving a flu shot is likely.
All of the vaccines in clinical trials in the U.S. do not contain live viruses, and so would be unable to cause COVID-19 in a vaccine recipient.
Q. Are there side effects to the Moderna vaccine?
A. Adverse reactions reported in a clinical trial following administration of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine include pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, chills, nausea/vomiting, lymph node swelling/tenderness, fever, swelling at the injection site, and redness at the injection site.
Q. Is it true that an ingredient in this vaccine can cause infertility?
A. There isn’t any evidence from trials of the Pfizer vaccine that it affects fertility. As the vaccine stimulates an immune response to the spike protein, if it did affect fertility we might also expect to see Covid-19 infections affecting this too, as the body should produce a similar immune response if infected. But we don’t.
Q. How much will the vaccine cost?
A. As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, providers will be prohibited from charging consumers for administration of the vaccine. To ensure broad and consistent coverage across programs and payers, the toolkits have specific information for several programs, including:
Medicare: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and their copayment/coinsurance and deductible are waived.
Medicare Advantage (MA): For calendar years 2020 and 2021, Medicare will pay directly for the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration for beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans. MA plans would not be responsible for reimbursing providers to administer the vaccine during this time. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries also pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and their copayment/coinsurance and deductible are waived.
Medicaid: State Medicaid and CHIP agencies must provide vaccine administration with no cost sharing for most beneficiaries during the public health emergency. Following the public health emergency, depending on the population, states may have to evaluate cost sharing policies and may have to submit state plan amendments if updates are needed.
Private Plans: CMS, along with the Departments of Labor and the Treasury, is requiring that most private health plans and issuers cover a recommended COVID-19 vaccine and its administration, both in-network and out-of-network, with no cost sharing. The rule also provides that out-of-network rates cannot be unreasonably low, and references CMS’s reimbursement rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies.
Uninsured: For individuals who are uninsured, providers will be able to be reimbursed for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Q: Can the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?
A: The COVID-19 vaccine’s currently seeking authorization are mRNA vaccines. They do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
- mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept.
- The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
Q: Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause Bell’s Palsy?
A: The FDA briefing documents show that it is true that there were four cases of Bell’s Palsy among those who received the vaccine. Bell’s Palsy is a sudden weakness or freezing of muscles on one side of the face, which in most cases is temporary.
The briefing says that the frequency of Bell’s Palsy in the vaccine group is “consistent with the expected background rate in the general population”, adding there is “no clear basis upon which to conclude a causal relationship at this time”. The FDA said it would, however, recommend “surveillance” for cases of Bell’s Palsy as the vaccine is sent out to larger groups of people.
You can read the full FDA briefing here: www.fda.gov/media/144245/download
Q: Am I required to have a vaccination or is it optional?
A. No one is required to receive any vaccination.
Q: I had a flu vaccine. Won’t that protect me against COVID-19?
A. Influenza and the coronavirus (COVID-19) are different viruses and therefore require different vaccinations.
Q: I prefer natural or homeopathic remedies and therefore am concerned about the chemicals present in vaccines. Can they harm me?
A. It is important to remember that natural and homeopathic remedies are also chemicals, some quite powerful and not subject to regulatory oversight. It is prudent to question the ingredients in any product that enters the body. In the case of vaccines, the ingredients used to carry the active ingredients have gone through extensive testing and have been found to be safe.
Q: Is there anyone that should not receive the vaccine?
A: The Pfizer vaccine is not recommended for individuals under the age of 16 and the Moderna vaccine is not recommended for individuals under the age of 18.
There are currently no available data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, in pregnant or lactating people. However, if pregnant or lactating people are part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel), they may choose to be vaccinated.
Q: What is in the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Each 0.3 mL dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine contains 30 mcg of a nucleosidemodified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Each dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine also includes the following ingredients:
- Four different lipids
- 0.43 mg (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate),
- 0.05 mg 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide,
- 0.09 mg 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and
- 0.2 mg cholesterol)
- 0.01 mg potassium chloride,
- 0.01 mg monobasic potassium phosphate,
- 0.36 mg sodium chloride,
- 0.07 mg dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and
- 6 mg sucrose.
Q: How cold does the Pfizer vaccine need to be?
A: The vaccine is shipped -70C as a frozen concentrate. The vaccine, once thawed, must be reconstituted with 1.8Ml of sterile saline (0.9% NaCl). Once reconstituted, each vial of vaccine contains 5 doses of 0.3mL of vaccine. Two doses are recommended, spaced at least 21 days apart. The vaccine has been shown in randomized trials of 44,000 persons to be safe and 95% effective.
Q: Since both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses (Pfizer 21 days apart, Moderna 28 days apart), could an individual receive one dose of Pfizer and one dose of Moderna?
A: That is not recommended. If you receive the Pfizer vaccine for your first dose, then you need to receive the Pfizer vaccine for your second dose. This is the same for the Moderna vaccine.
Q. Some healthcare workers in the U.K. and in Idaho have had severe reactions to the vaccine, so do we have more information about that or are we concerned?
A. There have recently been reports of people who experienced anaphylaxis after the administration of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. These reactions have been few and people were immediately treated and recovered quickly; many had a significant history of severe allergic reactions. Appropriate medical treatment for severe reactions must be immediately available at all vaccination sites. The U.S . Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine includes a warning not to administer the vaccine to individuals with a known history of severe allergic reaction to any component of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable therapy (intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous) not receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at this time. The data from clinical trials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine indicate there is very little risk to the vast majority of people who will receive the COVID-19 vaccine.