Doctor Drawing Vaccine Dose

Covid-19 Vaccinations

There are a lot of questions related to the COVID-19 vaccines. Here we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in order to provide helpful information. For the most up-to-date information on vaccine distribution in Louisiana visit https://ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine/. As with any vaccine make sure to consult with your physician about any questions or concerns you have prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

For general information and an overview of the COVID-19 vaccine visit:

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are vaccines?

Most vaccines are made by using some form or portion of the pathogen (virus or bacteria) and weakening it so that the body is prompted to initiate an immune response. The person does not actually become sick or infectious when the vaccine is given but may have side effects like fever, swelling, or soreness.  Basics of vaccines, including videos: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/vpd-vac-basics.html

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines were created by using pieces of the viral genome that the body will use to create harmless protein that allows the body to start an immune response to ward off future infection. For more information on how each of the vaccines was made, visit: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/health/how-covid-19-vaccines-work.html

In all cases, the goal of a vaccine is to prepare the body for potential infection so that the cells of the immune system can respond quickly to infection, thereby preventing illness and transmission.  If the virus is stopped before it has a chance to infect the host, then the individual does not develop symptoms and there is not enough live virus present to infect others.

COVID-19 vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/how-they-work.html

Why are there two shots?

The first shot starts building protection. A second shot a few weeks later is a booster shot that continues to amplify the immune response to offer the greatest level of protection to that individual. This is not an uncommon feature for immunizations like the series required for childhood vaccines to protect against measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus and diphtheria.  It is critical that you receive two shots of the same vaccine, do not mix vaccines.

Child vaccination schedule: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/child-adolescent.html

Adult vaccination schedule: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/hcp/imz/adult.html#table-age

How will I know how or when to get my second shot?

When you receive the first shot of the vaccine, your provider will work with you to schedule your follow up appointment for the appropriate time.  It is critical that you receive your second vaccine on the determined date at the same location.  Vaccines are being distributed by location, so in order to ensure they are used properly, you must return to the same location.

Can you receive two shots of different vaccines? Will you have immunity if you only receive one dose of a given vaccine?

You must receive two doses of the same vaccine. This is the only way to ensure increased protection against COVID-19.

Why do I need a vaccine if I have already had COVID?

Recovering from COVID-19 does not always generate a high level of immunity. The vaccines appear to generate higher levels of longer-lasting immunity.

Will vaccines be required to return to campus in the fall?

At this time there is no vaccine requirement for returning to Southeastern Louisiana University in the fall. 

Will I be notified by the University when I am eligible to receive a vaccine?

Check the Louisiana Department of Health website regularly for updates on vaccine distribution.

Why do I need to wear a mask if I have been vaccinated?

Even after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, people should continue to wear a mask, stay six feet from others, avoid crowds, and wash their hands. Although the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95 percent effective at preventing people from developing COVID-19, we are still too early in the process of vaccinating and understanding COVID-19 to know for sure the rate of potential transmission that may still follow vaccination.  The expectation is that as more people are vaccinated, we will slow the transmission of COVID-19, and we will be able to validate the effectiveness of the vaccine to eventually return to more activities that do not require the current safety protocols of mask wearing and social distancing. 

Who should not get vaccinated?

Not everyone will be able to receive a vaccine.  There are some individuals with specific allergies* or underlying health conditions for whom receiving the vaccine may have negative side effects.  The more people around those individuals are vaccinated, the closer we are to creating herd immunity, thereby protecting those individuals from COVID-19 who are not eligible for vaccination. 

*People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

What is herd immunity?

Herd immunity is generated when about 70 percent of the population is vaccinated against and therefore immune to a specific infection.  With that percentage of the population protected, the pathogen has a limited number of hosts and so is no longer able to infect, multiply, and spread to others in the community.

How safe are the current vaccines being administered?

In clinical trials, side effects that happen within seven days of getting vaccinated were common but were mostly mild to moderate. Side effects such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache throughout the body were more common after the second dose of the vaccine. Most side effects were mild to moderate. However, a small number of people had severe side effects that impacted their ability to do daily activities.  The vaccines were tested in thousands of individuals before being made available to the public and throughout that period mild side effects were reported by most, few infections were reported, and zero deaths were reported.  Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine are about 95 percent effective in protecting against COVID-19.

How much is the vaccine with and without insurance?

According to the CDC, vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for giving someone the shot. Vaccination providers can be reimbursed for this by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee.

Will the vaccine protect against new variants of SARS-CoV2?

Companies are still investigating how their vaccine works against variants and developing boosters to address variants of SARS-CoV2 as they are being discovered.

How long has the vaccine been in circulation including clinical trials?

Clinical trials for the currently available SARS-CoV2 vaccines began with Phase I trials to address safety in March 2020 with Phase 3 clinical testing of larger populations beginning in late July 2020. https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/covid-19-clinical-research

Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

The vaccine has not been shown to have any effects on fertility or breastfeeding. Initial trials for the currently available vaccines did not seek to include pregnant women, although women did become pregnant during the trial and have shown no negative effects from the vaccine. Pregnant women commonly receive vaccines like the flu shot when pregnant not only to protect themselves but often to be able to pass on antibodies to their newborn children through nursing.  There is no reason to believe that this vaccine will behave any differently from those already administered. As clinical trials are expanded groups like pregnant and nursing women along with younger age groups will be tested.

What is the difference between the vaccine from Pfizer and the vaccine from Moderna?

There is very little difference between the PfizeBioNTech and Moderna vaccines currently being administered.

 

Pfizer/BioNTech

Moderna

  Pfizer/BioNTech Clinical Trial Evidence Moderna Clinical Trial Evidence
Vaccine Type mRNA mRNA
Time Between Shots 21 Days 28 Days
Approved for Ages ≥ 16 years of age ≥ 18 years of age
Potential Side Effects
(all reported to be mild)

In the arm where you receive the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

In the arm where you receive the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache