Vaccine Q&A

As the vaccine continues to become more publicly available, many people are seeking information about its safety and effectiveness. To help sort out the facts, we’ve compiled information from leading medical authorities which you can find below in a helpful Q&A. You may also find it helpful to consult your doctor, as well as check out the latest information from the Center for Disease Control.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions and concerns:

How do I know the vaccine is safe and effective?
The vaccine received FDA approval only after it met the same gold standard for safety, effectiveness, and quality of any drug that looks for approval. While no vaccine is 100% effective, some of the available vaccines are anticipated to be more than 90% effective. This will greatly reduce your risk of getting sick with COVID-19 and spreading COVID-19 to your loved ones.

National healthcare experts have endorsed the use of the vaccine and Holy Redeemer providers agree with their scientific conclusions. Individuals who are immunocompromised, pregnant or nursing, or have allergies should consult their health care provider before receiving the vaccine.

I have heard the COVID-19 vaccine is a live virus. Will the vaccine give me the disease?
A vaccinated person cannot get infected by the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live, dead, or weakened virus. The vaccine is a newer type of vaccine (referred to as a messenger RNA (mRNA vaccine) and it works by mimicking a protein of the COVID-19 virus. When your system encounters the COVID-19 virus, it recognizes this protein and responds to destroy the disease-causing organism.

Will there be any side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
You may experience an immune response after receiving the first and/or second dose of the vaccine which may include a headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site. This does not mean that the vaccine has given you COVID-19. It signifies that the vaccine is causing your body’s immune system to create antibodies to fight off the virus. In other words, if you feel some discomfort, then the vaccine is doing its job! It’s likely the discomfort will go away after one day, or even sooner. In some cases, an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic person may unknowingly be infected with COVID-19 when they get the vaccine. If they later have symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive for it, it does not mean they got COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Will this vaccine change my DNA composition?
No, this vaccine cannot change your genetic makeup. The messenger RNA (mRNA) contained in the vaccine builds copies of the protein that causes COVID-19 which the immune system then responds to by producing protective antibodies. Dr. Dan Culver, a pulmonologist at Cleveland Clinic, explains it best: “This cannot change your genetic makeup. The time that this RNA survives in the cells is relatively brief in the span of hours.”

If I am currently infected with COVID-19 should I be vaccinated?
For those with a documented infection, the CDC recommends the vaccine not be given until 90 days after the initial infection date due to the fact that reinfection is unlikely during the three months following a COVID-19 infection.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, or took a test that showed antibodies, do I need to get vaccinated?
Because we don’t yet know if or how long natural immunity can protect against a recurrence of COVID-19, you should get the vaccine if you’ve had the virus or have had a test that shows you have COVID-19 antibodies. The vaccine can add additional protection without causing any harm.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received the vaccine?
Yes. Even though you have received your vaccine, most of the people around you have not. We know the vaccine prevents disease in the vaccinated person, but it still may be possible to transmit the disease to others until the vaccine is in widespread use. Wearing a mask, social distancing, and practicing hand hygiene protects those who have not been vaccinated. Additionally, you can feel assured that throughout the Holy Redeemer Health System safety measures will continue to be closely followed including careful screening, proper masking and distancing, and diligent attention to cleaning surfaces and spaces with disinfectants proven effective against COVID-19. Learn more about our Safe Care.