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COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Due to the fragility of the COVID-19 vaccine after its vial has been punctured, vaccines can be administered by appointment only. Appointments cannot be made on site and walk-ins are not accepted.

If you are eligible for a vaccine, please call 1-833-606-4370, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, to schedule an appointment.

you can determine eligibility online at Oregon.gov Vaccine Sequencing

Does the COVID-19 vaccine have dangerous or unethical ingredients?

There are many rumors that the COVID-19 vaccine was made with fetal tissue or for the purpose of controlling the population.

The vaccines we have (Pfizer & Moderna) do not contain fetal cells. Neither vaccine uses fetal cells in production or development. However, so you have the full picture, both vaccines tested efficacy using fetal cells. The takeaway is that no fetal cells have ever touched or are part of the actual dose of vaccine you get. Notably, the Pope said the use of the vaccines does NOT condone abortion.

There is no vaccine "microchip" and the vaccine will not track people or gather personal information into a database. This myth started after comments made by Bill Gates, from The Gates Foundation, about a digital certificate of vaccine records. The technology he was referencing is not a microchip, has not been implemented in any manner, and is not tied to the development, testing or distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

There are no eggs or animal products in either vaccine. This new type of vaccine is made without needing to grow proteins in egg tissue, so those with egg allergies rejoice! The novel methodology to develop a COVID-19 vaccine allows it to be free from materials of animal origin and synthesized by an efficient, cell-free process without preservatives.

Are there are severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and non-life threatening and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

The early phase studies of the Pfizer vaccine show that it is safe; About 15% of people developed short lived symptoms at the site of the injection; 50% developed systemic reactions primarily headache, chills, fatigue or muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two.

There is also no increased risk of miscarriage or infertility with the COVID-19 vaccines. Our best evidence for this comes from women who have had COVID. In a "natural" infection with COVID-19 immune response, your body produces the same immune cells as in a vaccine-provoked immune response; So we would expect to see infertility in women previously infected with COVID-19 if there was risk of that with the vaccine.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

You cannot get COVID-19 infection from the COVID-19 vaccines; they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.

Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe if it was rapidly developed and tested?

Many pharmaceutical companies invested significant resources into quickly developing a vaccine for COVID-19 because of the world-wide impact of the pandemic. The emergency situation warranted an emergency response but that does not mean that companies bypassed safety protocols or perform adequate testing.

To receive emergency use authorization, the biopharmaceutical manufacturer must have followed at least half of the study participants for at least two months after completing the vaccination series, and the vaccine must be proven safe and effective in that population. In addition to the safety review by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization has convened a panel of vaccine safety experts to independently evaluate the safety data from the clinical trial. Mayo Clinic vaccine experts also will review the available data. The safety of COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be closely monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FDA.

The vaccine developed by Pfizer/BioNTecH has been studied in approximately 43,000 people.

Should I get the COVID vaccine?

Circulating on social media is the claim that COVID-19's mortality rate is 1%-2% and that people should not be vaccinated against a virus with a high survival rate. However, a 1% mortality rate is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu. In addition, the mortality rate can vary widely and is influenced by age, sex and underlying health condition.

Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

It's important to recognize that getting the vaccine is not just about survival from COVID-19. It's about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects. While no vaccine is 100% effective, they are far better than not getting a vaccine. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks in healthy people.

Not getting the vaccine to "save it for someone who needs it" sounds noble but might backfire. If you don’t get the vaccine when it becomes available to you, you might not get it for some time. Additionally, if the organizations responsible for distributing vaccines are not using their vaccine allotment could mean reduced future shipments, limiting the vaccines accessibility.

Stopping the pandemic and reopening businesses requires using all the tools available, including vaccination. Getting vaccinated helps you, but also helps patients, businesses, and schools.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

The Mayo Clinic recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously. However, those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Oregon Health Authority’s distribution plan assures that populations that need the vaccine are getting it first. Skilled Nursing Facilities and public health departments have already received their own vaccine for distribution.

It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one.

CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first.

Vaccine shipments are part of the Oregon Health Authority’s phased distribution. Sky Lakes staff and providers are included in Phase 1-A, while other essential workers and people at higher risk of severe COVID-19 illness are in Phase 1-B. The general public will begin receiving vaccinations in Phase 2. Phase 2 vaccinations will be distributed by the Klamath County Public Health Department.

The Oregon Health Authority has not released information on when the vaccine will be available for Phase 2 vaccinations or guidance on a vaccination plan for Phase 2

Will the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

mRNA vaccines are not new. We were able to make these new vaccines so rapidly because mRNA vaccines have been under development for many years for things like flu, zika, and rabies, and have also been researched for use in cancer treatments. We have not used this type of vaccine before because the tools used to fold proteins for widespread use were only made in the last few years, but this is likely how many vaccines will be made in the future.

Will the COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, the vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and the CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.

Vaccination reactions

As many have discovered, the mRNA vaccines developed to prevent COVID-19 have more reactions compared to previous vaccines.

Here is a breakdown of those reactions in the trial for the Moderna vaccine (results for the Pfizer vaccine were similar):

Injection site pain, redness, or swelling:

  • 84% with first injection compared to 20% saline placebo.
  • 89% with second injection compared to 19% placebo.

Lymphadenopathy (swollen or enlarged lymph nodes) in 21% for people younger than 65; 12% in 65 and older.

Systemic side effects:

  • 55% with first injection compared to 42% placebo.
  • 75% with second injection compared to 37% placebo.

Those systemic side effects included:

  • fatigue 69% vaccine, 36% placebo.
  • headache 63% vaccine, 37% placebo
  • myalgias (muscle pain) 60% vaccine, 20% placebo
  • arthralgias (joint pain) 45% vaccine, 17% placebo

Symptoms severe enough to prevent normal activity:

  • fatigue 7.7%
  • muscle pain 6.1%
  • headache 4.4%
  • joint pain 3.7%

Most symptoms lasted 2 to 3 days.

What do these reactions represent? It is your immune system being stimulated by the vaccine. The high efficacy (94-95% according to research data) of these vaccines is the result of this enhanced stimulation. Remember: it is to just one protein, not the 29 proteins found in the COVID-19 virus itself.

In addition, this immune response is more robust in younger people and women compared to older people and men.

Can I take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for these symptoms? Taking these medications may blunt the immune response to some degree, but if you are miserable it is up to you. The exception is pregnant women. If they have a fever, controlling it with Tylenol is recommended because of the danger of fever in a developing fetus.