The information below can change rapidly and frequently. We will periodically be updating this page to reflect the current information.
When will the vaccine be available?
To sign up for the vaccine, there are staggered release dates. Refer to the Erie County Health Department for information on local availability.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
It is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, there is no virus given to you in the vaccine.
How long will my immunity last after I get the vaccine?
At this time, it is unknown as to how long the immunity will last from the injection of the vaccine. They continue to study this, with many hopeful that it will last for a year or longer. At this time it is unknown if a booster dose will be needed in the future.
Will I have to continue to wear my mask and social distance if I receive the vaccine?
Yes. The trials only determined if patients who received the vaccine went on to get a symptomatic illness, or in other words, got sick from COVID-19. They showed that when the vaccine was effective that you not only avoided severe illness but did not get symptoms at all from COVID-19. Even if you get the vaccine, it is unknown, but possible, that you could still become an asymptomatic carrier and be able to spread it to others. Therefore we will need to continue with masking and protecting those around us in the near future. The trials of the RNA vaccine showed that if you get the vaccine, you will have an approximately 95% less chance of getting sick from COVID-19.
Who can get the vaccine?
Visit the Ohio Department of Health for further guidance as this is an evolving process.
Who should not get the vaccine?
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine, or if you have had a severe allergic reaction to an injectable vaccine in the past, you should consult an allergist before receiving the vaccine.
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or considering becoming pregnant, you should discuss your options with your primary physician.
How many COVID-19 vaccines are under development?
In addition to the two mentioned above, large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials are in progress or being planned for several additional COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
COVID-19 RNA vaccines have been given to tens of thousands of people in clinical trials. Those trials not only confirmed that the vaccine is safe but also showed it to work very well at preventing you from becoming ill from coronavirus. Vaccines have now been given safely to millions of people in the United States.
Do COVID-19 vaccines have egg, embryo, or other ingredients not commonly found in other vaccines?
The COVID-19 RNA vaccines are made synthetically in the lab, they are not grown in anything. Eggs and human embryos are not utilized.
Because the COVID-19 vaccine is an RNA-based therapy, are there any anticipated genetic effects or other long-term effects based on current published literature?
The vaccine sends a message to your cells to instruct them to create a protein. Your immune system will then react to that protein that your body made. The message then goes away. There is no affect or integration into your DNA/genetic sequence.
How can a safe vaccine be made so quickly?
Vaccine development typically takes many years. However, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for the rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The messenger RNA technology allows the vaccine to be mass-produced at a much faster pace than older, conventional vaccine technology.
Will more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine be recommended per patient?
Yes, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines require two doses, 21 days later for the Pfizer vaccine, and 28 days later for the Moderna vaccine. The second dose of any COVID-19 vaccine must be completed with the same vaccine brand as the first dose.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Any vaccine or medication can cause side effects because of the natural response of your immune system activation. These are typically minor, such as a sore arm or low-grade fever, or possibly fatigue, chills, or body aches. These fade away after a day or two. Safety is the top priority of any vaccine. Early results from the first COVID-19 vaccines tested in people show they worked as intended with no serious side effects.
Why do I have to wait 15 minutes after vaccine administration before I leave?
The recommended 15-minute observation period after vaccination is related to an Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation for all vaccines. Patients that develop lightheadedness or that may faint and fall usually occurs within 15 minutes after vaccine administration. Allergic reactions are extremely rare, although most significant allergic reactions to any medication occur within seconds or minutes after receiving it. Therefore the recommended 15-minute observation period has been put in place to allow for maximal safety. Post-vaccination observation is not associated with the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, but rather, is a broad recommendation for all vaccine types. A location that has enough space to allow for appropriate social distancing will be used for this purpose.
Can other vaccines help prevent me from getting COVID-19?
Other vaccines, such as those for flu, measles, or other diseases, will not protect you from COVID-19. Only the vaccines designed specifically to protect you from COVID-19, once approved for use by the FDA, can prevent COVID-19. While a flu vaccine will not prevent you from getting COVID-19, it can prevent you from getting influenza (flu) at the same time as COVID-19. Because the flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading during this time, getting a flu vaccine is more crucial than ever.
Should people who have already had COVID-19 get the vaccine?
Yes, it is advised that people who have already had COVID-19 get the vaccine. The vaccine may cause a better and longer immune response than the natural infection. If you have had the disease already, the vaccine will act as a booster for your immune system. Therefore, there is no need to check for antibodies to COVID-19 before getting the vaccination.
How much will it cost to get vaccinated?
The federal government pays for the cost of the vaccine itself. Institutions giving the vaccine will charge an administration fee which will be billed to insurance. No out-of-pocket expense will be charged to any patient, regardless of ability to pay. . Further information is available here.
Who is planning on offering the vaccine outside of Firelands Regional Health System?
Firelands regional health system is vaccinating the community in conjunction with the Erie County health department. Local pharmacies are also offering the vaccine. This is being rolled out through a phased distribution plan created by the State of Ohio.
For additional information, please reference the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 Myth vs. Fact information sheet here.