Vaccine Distribution Resources and FAQs
Below are links to resources regarding the COVID-19 vaccine
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
NCCU’s Advanced Center for COVID-19 Related Disparities:
FAQs for COVID-19 Vaccine Panel Discussion
Note: This information was copied directly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services website, with references noted below.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work the same way to prevent people from getting COVID-19. Both vaccines require two doses and both are very effective in preventing someone from getting COVID-19. The clinical trial showed no serious safety concerns.
The vaccines are stored differently. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored as cold as the Pfizer vaccine, so more providers will be able to easily use it. While both vaccines require two doses, the time between doses is different. The Moderna vaccine doses are given 4 weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine doses are given 3 weeks apart. Who can get the vaccine is also different. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for adults aged 18 and older and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people aged 16 and older.
The temporary reactions are similar for both vaccines. Temporary reactions may include a sore arm, headache and feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine. More people who were in the Moderna clinical trials experienced these temporary reactions. The reactions are more common after the second dose than the first dose. Younger people are more likely to have reactions than older people. Neither vaccine can give you COVID-19.
Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be 86% effective in preventing severe illness and 82% efficacy against severe disease from the more contagious South African strain. The efficacy of the J&J vaccine cannot be directly compared to Pfizer and Moderna because the study designs were different. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, J&J Covid vaccine does not use mRNA technology, but uses a viral vector, in this case a harmless adenovirus (e.g., common cold) encoded with the SARS-2 spike protein genetic code. The company previously used the same approach to make an Ebola vaccine that has been authorized for use by the European Medicines Agency. The vaccine can be stored for at least 3 months at regular refrigerator temperatures. The J&J vaccine is only approved for individuals 18 years or older. [source: STAT news]
All three COVID-19 vaccines are nearly 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death.
All viruses change over time and these changes (or variants) are expected. Scientists are currently working to learn more about new COVID-19 variants and their effects on vaccines.
We do know that some of the new variants spread more easily. Therefore, it is important to keep practicing the 3Ws: washing your hands, waiting six feet apart and wearing a mask around people you don’t live with. More information can be found on the CDC website.
The CDC defines the chronic medical conditions that put someone at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Currently, the list includes asthma (moderate to severe), cancer, cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke, chronic kidney disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, dementia or other neurologic condition, diabetes type 1 or 2, Down Syndrome, serious heart condition (e.g., heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy), hypertension or high blood pressure, immunocompromised state (e.g., weakened immune system from immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant), liver disease (including hepatitis), pulmonary fibrosis, overweight or obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia, and smoking (current or former). This list of conditions may be updated by the CDC.
There is no cost. They are free to everyone, even if you don’t have health insurance. The federal government is covering the cost. Administration fees will also be covered for those who are uninsured and should be covered by all health insurance companies. No vaccine provider should be charging anyone to receive the vaccine. Patients who get the vaccine while having an appointment for another reason, such as a medical check-up, may be charged for the check-up depending on their insurance. Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund, see https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim.
No serious side effects were reported in clinical trials. Temporary reactions after receiving the vaccine may include a sore arm, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two. These temporary reactions were more common after the second vaccine dose. In most cases, these temporary reactions are normal, which are good signs that your body is building protection. You can take medicines like Tylenol or ibuprofen to help with these temporary reactions after receiving your shot. While extremely rare, there have been a few cases of severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine outside of the clinical trials, and vaccine providers are prepared with medicines if they need to treat these rare allergic reactions.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots a set number of days apart. You need two doses to build up strong immunity against COVID-19. The goal of the first vaccine dose is to “prime” the immune response, which means that it gets your body ready to have the best protection. The second dose “boosts” the immune response to be fully protected. The second shot will come about 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.
While other countries may take a different approach to vaccinations, the FDA and CDC continue to recommend that everyone get two-shots. Currently there is not enough data to suggest that one shot offers enough protection against COVID-19. With two shots, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.
Additional COVID-19 vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines.
Since the Pfizer and Moderna trials just ended, we know that the vaccines can protect people from COVID-19 illness for at least two months. We’ll know even more about how long the immunity from the vaccines lasts as people have been vaccinated for a longer period of time. With additional data, we will know if COVID-19 vaccines will need to be given yearly, like the flu shot.
Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease, or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity for COVID-19 and will provide more information as it is available.
Yes. The vaccine works to protect you against a future infection. You don’t need a COVID-19 test before vaccination. It is safe to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if you have been infected in the past. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Read additional information about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women may choose to receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Pregnant women can talk with their doctors before making the choice. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before you get your vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding may also choose to get vaccinated. The vaccine is not thought to be a risk to a baby who is breastfeeding. Read additional information about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Children will not receive vaccines until clinical trials are completed to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness in children. The Pfizer vaccine can be given to teenagers aged 16 and up, and they are doing additional studies with children aged 12 and over.
Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating globally. The UK variant (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351) and Brazil (P.1). These variants seem to spread more quickly and easily than other variants and may lead to more cases of COVID-19. More studies are needed to determine how widely these variants have spread, and how they may affect existing therapies, vaccines, and tests. So far, studies suggest that antibodies from vaccination recognize these variants. [CDC website, last updated February 12th]
- NCDHHS COVID-19 Response. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccinations. https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines/frequently-asked-questions-about-covid-19-vaccinations#are-children-able-to-get-the-vaccine. Accessed 02/22/2021.
- Centers for Disease Control. About COVID-19 Variants. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/transmission/variant.html. Accessed 02/22/2021.
- STAT. Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. https://www.statnews.com/2021/02/02/comparing-t.... Accessed 03/01/2021