COVID-19 Vaccine Update

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Information in this report comes from the Center for Disease Control website unless otherwise specified. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/

In the United States, there are 141.6 million people fully vaccinated, or 42.6% of the population. In Georgia, there are 3.59 million people fully vaccinated, or 33.8% of the state. There are currently 596,572 deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. These stats change daily.

The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

WHEN ARE YOU FULLY IMMUNE AGAINST COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.  It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against the virus.  A person could still get COVID-19 before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection. People are considered fully protected 2 weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 2 weeks after the single dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

COMMON SIDE EFFECTS FROM COVID-19 VACCINE

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. On your arm where you got the shot, you may have pain, redness, and swelling. Throughout the rest of your body, you may experience tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These common side effects will go away in a few days.  Some people don’t experience any side effects.

ADVERSE EFFECTS FROM COVID-19 VACCINE

Severe Allergic Reaction to a COVID-19 Vaccine

If you are allergic to Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) or polysorbate, talk to your doctor about getting a covid vaccine.  PEG is an ingredient in the mRNA vaccine.  Polysorbate is an ingredient in the J&J/Jassen vaccine.

If you have a severe allergic reaction – also known as anaphylaxis – after getting the first shot of Pfizer or Modernal covid vaccine, the CDC recommends that you not get a second shot of that vaccine. 

It is considered severe if you need to be treated with epinephrine or need to go to the hospital.  Even if it does not require emergency care, don’t get a second shot.  An immediate allergic reaction happens within 30 minutes to 4 hours after getting vaccinated and may include hives, swelling, wheezing, and respiratory distress. 

Anaphylaxis after covid vaccination is rare and occurs in approximately 2 to 5 people per million vaccinated in the United States.

If you get a red, itchy, swollen, or painful rash where you got the shot a few days after the first shot, you can still get the second shot.  You can take an antihistamine or acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following COVID-19 Vaccination

The CDC is monitoring reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart) in adolescents and young adults after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States.  These reports are rare.  Symptoms to look out for are chest pain, shortness of breath, feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart. Seek medical care if you or your child have any of these symptoms within a week after the COVID-19 vaccination

This usually happens after the second dose of the vaccine.  Most patients with myocarditis and pericarditis respond well to medicine and quickly get better.

The known and potential benefits of COVID vaccinations outweigh the known and potential risks of a possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.  The CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccinations for individuals 12 years of age and older.

Thrombosis after J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccinations

There is a rare risk of a serious adverse event called “thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which involves blood clots with low platelets. Nearly all reports of this condition have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.

More than 10.2 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the U.S.  The CDC and FDA identified 32 confirmed reports of people who got J&J and later developed TTS. This is a rare adverse event for women. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.

Reports of Death after COVID-19 Vaccination

A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines and deaths. 

IMMUNOCOMPROMISED PEOPLE MAY NOT MAKE ENOUGH ANTIBODIES

Research is ongoing, but the CDC says those who are immunocompromised may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated, so you may still need to take extra precautions.

Several health conditions and diseases can cause a weakened immune system, including AIDS, cancer, especially leukemia, diabetes, malnutrition, certain genetic disorders, and some medications and treatments like anticancer drugs, radiation therapy, stem cell, or organ transplant.

COVID-19 VARIANTS OF CONCERN (VOC) by CDC

Viruses constantly change through mutation and become more diverse.  Multiple variants of the COVID-19 virus have been documented in the United States and globally. A Variant of Concern (VOC) has evidence of an increase in transmissibility and increased hospitalizations or deaths

VOC’s in the US

B.1.1.7 variant first detected in the United Kingdom – 50% more transmissible.

B.1.351 first detected in South Africa – 50% more transmissible.

B.1.427 first detected in California – 20% more transmissible.

B1.429 first detected in California – 20% more transmissible.

P.1 first detected in Japan and Brazil

The Delta variant or B.1.617.2 first detected in India has been listed as a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organisation.

 According to the CDC, it now accounts for more than 6% of all infections in the United States. It is highly contagious.  So far, studies suggest that two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are effective against the Delta variant and other VOC in the country.

MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINES

1. Can a COVID-19 Vaccine cause you to be Magnetic? NO. Covid vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All Covid vaccines are free from metals.

2. Do covid vaccines shed or release any of their components? NO. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus.  None of the vaccines contain a live virus.

The mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. 

3. Is it safe to get a covid vaccine if I plan to have a baby one day? YES. There is no evidence that covid vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy or there is no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including covid vaccines.

4. Will a covid vaccine alter my DNA? NO. The material never enters the nucleus of the cell which is where the DNA is kept.  This means the genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA  in any way. All Covid vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. 

5. Can the CDC mandate that I get a covid vaccine? NO.  Whether a state or local government or employer can require or mandate a covid vaccination is a matter of state or government law. Contact your state government or employer if you have other questions about covid vaccinations mandates.

6. After getting a covid vaccine, will I test positive for covid on a viral test? NO. None of the authorized covid vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests. 

7. Can a covid vaccine make me sick with covid? NO. The vaccine does not contain the virus. COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

8. Can being near someone who received a covid vaccine affect my menstrual cycle? NO! 

GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

For additional information on COVID vaccines in Georgia go to their website:

https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine

written from the CDC website by Gloria Tatum – photo from the GA Dept. of Public Health

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