- General COVID-19 Information
- Vaccine-Specific Questions
- COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy
- After Vaccination Questions
Q: How do I know which COVID-19 vaccine information sources are accurate?
A: Accurate vaccine information is critical and can help stop common myths and rumors.
It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis.
Contact your local healthcare provider or primary care physician with questions or refer to the following websites for up-to-date information:
- World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html
Q: How can the vaccine be safe if it was developed so quickly?
A: No shortcuts were taken. The mRNA vaccine for SARS has been in development since the first outbreaks. The technology is not new as it has been studied for decades. Beyond vaccines, numerous preclinical and clinical studies have used mRNA to encode cancer antigens to stimulate immune responses targeted at clearing or reducing malignant tumors.
The pandemic spurred a global response and cooperation in both vaccine research and distribution. Researchers shared their data with other scientists, and the ability to fast-track clinical trials was a direct result of this cooperation.
In the U.S., Operation Warp Speed (OWS) partnered with multiple institutions (including the NIH and CDC) to develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines. In doing so, it increased the odds of developing one or more safe and effective vaccines. The result: several authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. and abroad.
How they work: mRNA vaccines deliver our cells instructions for making bacterial or viral protein. Our immune systems respond to these proteins and develop the ability to react to future infections. In contrast, most vaccines use weakened or inactivated versions or components of the disease-causing pathogen to stimulate the body’s immune response to create antibodies.
Q: Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?
A: No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.
Q: Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release any of their components?
A: No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.
Q: Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
A: No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
Q: Do I still need the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
A: Yes, absolutely. While we know recovering from a COVID-19 infection means you will have circulating antibodies in your system, we are still learning about how the immune system handles the antibody response after a natural infection. We’re not sure how protective the antibodies are from different kinds of infections — such as an asymptomatic infection versus a symptomatic infection. With vaccination, we know that people with healthy immune systems are getting a great antibody response. On top of that, if you live with people who are at higher risk of severe infection or may not develop a strong antibody level after vaccination, getting your own COVID-19 vaccination may make it less likely that you will transmit the virus to them.
Q: Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
A: No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines 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 to vaccination, which is the goal, 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.
Q: Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
A: No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines 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.
COVID-19 vaccines 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 are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Q: Is it better to gain immunity through exposure to COVID-19 or through a vaccine?
A: With some viruses, such as chicken pox, being infected with the virus itself grants stronger immune protection than the chicken pox vaccine; however, in those cases, you then have to deal with all the complications of having the virus. When it comes to COVID-19, it’s really hard to know whether being exposed to the virus is more protective of future infection than the vaccine, simply because we don’t know the SARS-CoV-2 virus well enough yet. With natural immunity, which is the protection we get after being infected with a virus, the immune response can be variable. For example: the number of antibodies your body produces may depend on how much of the virus you’re exposed to. And there is likely beneficial variation in the types of antibodies being produced. The vaccinations currently available in the U.S. have been shown to effectively stimulate antibodies against the virus’ spike protein. New vaccines are being created that make antibodies to other parts of the virus as well. Both immunity from natural infection and vaccination stimulate a T-cell response that will hopefully provide you with protection from the virus for a longer time.
While it’s possible some people may have a higher antibody response after a natural infection than they would after vaccination, we’re still learning about this new virus, and we don’t know how protective natural immunity really is, especially when there is such a continuum of different types of infections. We don’t have clear data on how antibody responses from a mild infection compare to a severe infection, or how protective those antibody responses are.
On the other hand, we do know that the vaccine is very protective. In most people, getting vaccinated generates a lot of antibodies. So far, the vaccines appear to be incredibly effective, especially when it comes to preventing severe infections, hospitalizations and death.
Q: Is there any extra risk if I get the vaccine after having had COVID-19?
A: Each person’s experience is unique. There are anecdotal reports that many people who have had COVID-19 experience stronger side effects after their first vaccine dose, (while most people who have never had COVID-19 have a stronger response after the second dose.) Different people have different side effects and some people who haven’t had COVID-19 report very strong side effects, too. It’s also important to note that it’s possible many people who are being vaccinated were exposed to COVID-19 and had an asymptomatic infection without realizing it, which could contribute to the variation in side effects.
Q: Where can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Kerrville?
A: Peterson Urgent Care is offering weekly COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics on the following days and times. Appointment is required, contact the number below.
Peterson Urgent Care Weekly Vaccination Clinics
Tuesday and Thursday: 7:30am-8:30am and 4:30pm-5:30pm | Saturday: 8:00am-9:00am
Call to Make Appointment: 830.258.7373, Option 2
COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy
Q: Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
A: Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you. There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta.
Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
A: There is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. The data has been thoroughly reviewed by OB-GYNs, scientists, and geneticists and no biological plausibility that impacts reproduction has been identified. The rumor of the vaccine causing infertility began with the known fact that an amino acid protein is very similar to an amino acid in the placenta. Although this is a shared amino acid it does not mean that the body will develop antibodies, it is only shared. There is also no long term effect. The COVID vaccine targets the immune system NOT the reproductive system.
Q: Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?
A: Pregnant women were not included in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, however early data from CDC’s v-safe pregnancy registry demonstrate that the side effects and adverse events observed among pregnant individuals in v-safe did not indicate any safety concerns. Also, data from Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity (DART) animal-model studies for the Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines have not demonstrated any safety concerns in pregnancy
Based on the mechanism of action of these vaccines and the demonstrated safety and efficacy in Phase II and Phase III clinical trials, it is expected that the safety and efficacy profile of the vaccine for pregnant individuals would be similar to that observed in nonpregnant individuals.
Any of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to pregnant or lactating women; ACIP does not state a product preference. However, pregnant, lactating, and post-partum people aged <50 years should be aware of the rare risk of thrombosis with thrombocytonpenia syndrome (TTS) after receipt of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and receive one of the other FDA authorized COVID-19 vaccines (I.e. MRNA vaccines) that are available.
After Vaccination Questions
For the following guidelines, “fully vaccinated” is defined as greater than 14 days following second dose in a 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or greater than 14 days following receipt of one dose of a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
Q. Do fully immunized, asymptomatic individuals who are involved in a COVID-19 close contact (including household) exposure need to stay home from work?
A. No, but the exposed employee needs to adhere to the following guidance:
- Wear a procedural/surgical mask at all times while at Peterson Health facilities.
- Do not eat/drink around others.
- Do not work with immunosuppressed patients (specifically patients who are so immunocompromised that have a special protective environment).
- Monitor for symptoms of active COVID-19 infection and get tested if you become symptomatic.
- Quarantine at home when not at work and, if possible, distance from the infected household contact.
- We will test you at day 5 after your household/close contact’s positive test and, if your test is positive, you will need to stay home from work.
Q. If fully immunized individuals develop clinical symptoms associated with COVID-19, do they need to undergo COVID-19 testing and undergo isolation?
A. Yes. If you are fully vaccinated and you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you should be tested and isolate while awaiting the results. Although it is uncommon, even fully vaccinated persons can develop COVID-19 infection.
Q. Do fully immunized individuals need to undergo daily temperature/symptom screening when they enter Peterson Health facilities?
A. Yes, such screening will still be necessary as per CDC guidelines.
Q. Do healthcare workers still need to wear goggles when caring for or interacting with admitted COVID negative patients?
A. In an area with at least mild to moderate community SARS-CoV-2 transmission, when health care personnel are in the clinical setting but not caring for a person who is suspected or confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection, an appropriate and effective measure to prevent transmission is to use facemask (Universal Source Control). Goggles/face shields will no longer be required for non-COVID patients.
Q. If someone developed a strong post-vaccination immune response (based on feeling poorly 1-2 days after vaccination), will they be expected to react this way every time they come into contact with COVID-19?
A: No, because the amount of spike protein in the vaccine is much greater than the amount of spike protein faced with initial natural virus exposure.
Q. Once fully vaccinated for COVID-19, can we meet in larger group gatherings with other fully vaccinated people?
A. No. The CDC still recommends avoiding medium or large gatherings until further data becomes available about COVID-19 transmission post-vaccination. However, it’s OK to visit inside a home or private setting without a mask or without social distancing with other fully vaccinated people of any age.