The COVID-19 vaccine is here. Now what?

Two COVID-19 vaccinations – one from Pfizer and one from Moderna – recently received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This latest news on the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic raises many questions about who will receive it first, where it will be administered, and any possible side effects.   

Health care workers and long-term care facility residents are first in line 

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccination will be available in limited supply for the remainder of this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend those health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic and long-term care facility residents (where there have been uncontrolled outbreaks) receive it first. Increased doses of the vaccine will arrive in 2021, and all adults in the United States should have access to receive it.

Children won’t be able to receive the vaccination – just yet

Children’s immune systems differ significantly from those of adults. For this reason, the COVID-19 vaccination will not be administered to children under the age of 16, at least in the early days of its availability. The vaccine needs further testing to make sure it’s both safe and effective for the pediatric population.

Where to get a COVID-19 shot 

Community First Emergency Room | The COVID-19 vaccine is here. Now what?

Once COVID-19 vaccinations are more widely available, you should be able to quickly receive one at your doctor’s office, at retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. Community First ER will not be administering vaccinations; however, if you need to be tested for the virus, we are offering polymerase chain (PCR) testing. After we collect a sample of fluid or mucus from your nose, we can test it using the  BioFire® Respiratory 2.1 (RP2.1) Panel to obtain results quickly compared to other testing methods. 

You will need two doses 

You may have heard that you will need two doses of the vaccination for it to be effective. This is true for the vaccines which recently received Emergency Use Authorization. It’s not unusual for vaccines against highly infectious diseases like chickenpox and Hepatitis A to require two shots. You will need to follow your health care provider’s instructions on when to receive the second dose specifically.

You may experience some short-lived side-effects 

If you opt to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, you may experience some short-term side effects. Based on the information we have at the current time these side effects may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain

Those who participated in the clinical trials said they experienced these side effects after the second shot, and they resolved on their own after a few days. If you experience any of the above side-effects, keep in mind it means your immune system is responding as it should, and the vaccine is working.  

You will not contract the virus if you receive the vaccination 

Many people believe if they receive the flu shot, they are going to get the flu. This is not true, and the same applies to the COVID-19 vaccine. While you may have some of the same symptoms of the virus, such as fever and fatigue, you will not contract COVID-19. The CDC reports that none of the vaccines developed in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines are designed to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus.

Masks, social distancing, and vigilant hand hygiene are not going away 

The arrival of a vaccine is good news for getting the virus under control. However, it does not mean that everything will instantly return to normal. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and an increased emphasis on handwashing are going to be part of our daily lives for a while. It’s difficult to say when life will return to “normal” and exactly what that will look like.

And just because you receive a vaccination doesn’t mean you can stop taking these mitigation measures, either. Not everyone will be receiving the vaccine at once, and some will choose not to take it, so it will be essential to wear a mask, stay at least six feet away from others, and wash your hands frequently.  

This is an ever-changing situation  

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic changed our daily lives almost overnight. We are continually learning about this virus and how best to protect ourselves. With news of a vaccine widely available in the near future, there will continue to be more questions. Community First ER will aim to be a trusted source of information during this time. We encourage you to reference our Frequently Asked Questions and visit it often for updates about the COVID-19 vaccines.

In the meantime, if you need to see us for COVID-19 related symptoms or any other emergency, we are here for you.

Our commitment to you 

At Community First ER, we are committed to providing you the best possible care now and always. We have both adult and pediatric emergency care available. We have a team of medical and surgical specialists that we consult with to help manage our patients and their medical emergencies. We form relationships with local doctors to ensure that our patients have access to the best specialists for their individual needs. 

About Community First Emergency Room

Emergency health care, especially in the time of a pandemic, is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first.

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Photo edit based on (Photo Vadimgozhda/Dreamstime.com)

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