ADH issues COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

The Arkansas Department of Health has issued a series of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the availability and use of vaccines for COVID-19. Those questions and related information are available below:

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination:

When will COVID-19 vaccine be available in Arkansas?

Before the end of 2020, long-term care residents and frontline healthcare workers will be the first to be vaccinated. As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, the Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices (ACIP) will update the COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for priority groups be vaccinated next. Broad availability of the COVID-19 vaccines for general population may come months later.

Where can I get COVID-19 vaccine in my county?

Check with your local pharmacy, primary care provider or Local Health Unit when COVID-19 vaccines doses will be available in your area.

What is Vaccine Finder and is it available to find COVID-19 vaccine in Arkansas?

Vaccine Finder will be updated once COVID-19 vaccination is widely available to the public to help direct people to find a vaccine provider near them. https://vaccinefinder.org

Who gets the COVID-19 vaccine first?

CDC recommends long-term care residents and frontline healthcare workers be vaccinated first. ADH will follow current Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations for priority groups and schedule for Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, ACIP will update the COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Broad availability of the COVID-19 vaccines for general population may come months later.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. The FDA reviews all safety data from the clinical trials and authorizes emergency use of vaccines, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19 vaccine for use. Both FDA and CDC continue to monitor safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The studies for the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech has been reviewed. The vaccine has been found to be safe and effective and has been authorized for use in the United States.

What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?

Your arm may be sore, red or warm to touch after COVID-19 vaccine as with any vaccine. Fever, Headache these are signs that your immune system is building up protection to COVID-19 disease) and muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling and redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes have all been reported as side effects of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

What about long-term side effects?

FDA and CDC are continuing to monitor for safety, to make sure even long-term side effects are identified. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issues is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and determine the best course of action.

Do I need a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine and if so, when?

Yes, if you receive Pfizer vaccine the second dose is due no sooner than 21 days after the first dose of Pfizer vaccine.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine give someone COVID-19 disease?

No, COVID-19 vaccines cannot give someone COVID-19 disease. They do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19.

Which COVID-19 vaccine should I receive?

Arkansas Department Health does not recommend one COVID-19 vaccine over the other, check with local pharmacy, primary care provider or local health unit for the COVID-19 vaccines that are available in your area. If two doses are needed both doses must be the same brand, COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.

Do my children need COVID-19 vaccine?

No, only people aged ≥ 16 years are recommended to receive Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

Do the vaccines have to be the same type?

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If a second dose is needed, it must be the same vaccine as the first dose.

What are the COVID-19 vaccines that will be available?

Currently, one vaccine is available: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. There are currently more COVID-19 vaccines that are in clinical trials and will be available when authorized by FDA and CDC.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be mandatory?

There has not been a recommendation for COVID-19 vaccine to be mandatory from CDC.

If I have had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection

When can I stop wearing mask after I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

During a pandemic people should continue to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when at healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine. People who have been vaccinated should continue to wear their masks and social distance until we know whether or not people who get the vaccine can be carriers that can still shed the virus.

How do I report a problem or bad reaction after getting COVID-19 vaccine?

Recipients of COVID-19 vaccine should report any problems or side effects to their provider, Recipients may also enroll in the V-safe vaccine safety monitoring tool to report any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You will also get a second vaccine dose reminder using V-safe. In addition, people can report an adverse response to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) by calling 1 800-822-7967 or going to vaers.hhs.gov

Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 Vaccine doses will be given to the American people with no out of pocket cost. However, vaccine providers will be able to bill insurance companies for administration fees for giving the shot to someone.

Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccine for everyone? The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as sufficient doses of COVID-19 vaccine are available.

I was tested for COVID-19 last week, should I wait for my test results before getting the vaccine?

Yes, defer vaccination until COVID-19 test results are received and criteria have been met to discontinue your isolation period.

If I have been exposed to COVID-19 should I get the vaccine, if not, how long should I wait to get the vaccine? Yes, defer vaccination until quarantine period has ended to avoid exposing other persons during vaccination visit.

Is there a support group or help with stress and coping due to COVID-19? To get immediate help in a crisis, call 911. Find a health care provider or treatment center for substance use disorder and mental health. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row. Information about several resources is available on the ADH COVID-19 webpage. In addition, there is information about COVID-19 Positive Test support groups in counties around the state that can be found on the ADH webpage under the tab “COVID-19 Guidance for Behavioral and Mental Health”. healthy.arkansas.gov

When can I start traveling again after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

Persons should continue to wear mask and avoid close contact with others while in public, including transportation and transportation hubs such as airports and stations to help prevent spread of the virus. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision.

Resources:

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/index.html

www.cvdvaccine.com Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Global Information 

Arkansas Department of Health https://www.healthy.arkansas.g...

Vaccine Information You Need from the Immunization Action Coalition https://immunize.org 

Vaccinefinder https://vaccinefinder.org 

 Coping with a Disaster or Traumatic Event | CDC Emergency Preparedness & Response  

https://www.cdc.gov/coronaviru...