The past year has been one of uncertainties. Millions of people have gotten sick, lost their jobs, and lost their health insurance.
Thankfully, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel.
With the introduction of two COVID-19 vaccines at the beginning of December, health officials have begun to hope for a decrease in COVID-19 cases. Despite this hopeful news, many people are still understandably apprehensive about the effectiveness of COVID vaccines and what the future looks like.
If you are considering vaccination or have already received a COVID vaccine, you probably have lots of questions.
Below, you will find some answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding COVID-19 vaccination, that will hopefully put your mind at ease and help you confidently make decisions regarding your health and COVID vaccination.
How Do Vaccines Work?
Before jumping into the details of the COVID vaccines, you should understand how vaccines actually work and why they are effective.
Vaccines help people develop immunity to viruses or other germs. How does this happen? A vaccine introduces a less harmful part of the virus—or something created to look or behave like the virus—into a person’s body.
Your body’s immune system then develops antibodies that fight that particular germ. This means, if your immune system ever encounters that germ again, your body will essentially recognize it and remember how to fight the virus off.
It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against the virus. That means it is entirely possible that you could contract COVID just after your vaccination. This is because the vaccine hasn’t had enough time to recognize the virus.
What COVID Vaccines Are Available?
Currently, two vaccines have been authorized for use within the United States:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
The Pfizer vaccine was authorized on Dec. 12, 2020 and Moderna’s version on Dec. 18, 2020.
To date, millions of Americans have received their vaccinations, but millions more have not.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have reported that their vaccines demonstrate approximately 95% efficacy in preventing COVID-like symptoms.
Are The Vaccines Effective?
Studies are showing that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Experts also believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from developing life-threatening symptoms even if you do still contract it.
Although COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing you from getting sick, scientists are still trying to understand if vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus to others.
This means, even if you have received a vaccine, you may still carry the COVID virus even if you don’t develop symptoms.
So, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself and others after receiving the vaccine. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, don’t stop washing your hands, wearing your mask, and social distancing.
Are the Vaccines Safe?
The short answer to this question is: yes. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have undergone some of the most intensive safety screenings ever before seen in the United States.
Additionally, the CDC has developed a new tool called V-safe. V-Safe is a smartphone-based health checker for those who have been vaccinated. If you receive a vaccine, you can take web surveys and get personalized health check-ins through the app. This helps experts monitor your reaction to the vaccine.
Are There Any Symptoms From The Vaccines?
Again, the short answer here is, yes. Mild symptoms are very common following any type of vaccination.
Some common side effects you can expect to experience after vaccination include chills, tiredness, mild fever, and general lethargy.
Of course, if you start to develop more serious symptoms, you should immediately seek medical assistance.
Will The Vaccine Work If I’ve Already Had COVID-19?
The CDC notes that people who have already had COVID-19 or tested positive may still benefit from getting the COVID-19 vaccination.
There is not enough information currently available to determine how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it. However, evidence does suggest natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, which means vaccination is a still a good idea even if you’ve already contracted the virus.
When Can I Get Vaccinated?
The vaccine supply is currently limited. However, the federal government is working towards making vaccines widely available at no cost.
If you qualify for vaccination, the federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to U.S. citizens. With that said, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company, Medicaid, or Medicare for an administration fee.
Vaccination providers can be reimbursed for this by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
Keep in mind, no one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee.
However, if you don’t currently have health insurance and are considering vaccination, it might be a good time to look into your insurance options.
Get The Support You Need
In the world of COVID-19, much in the medical and health insurance field has changed. In these difficult times, it’s important to get the most efficient and cost-effective insurance plan that you can. If you live in or near Kosciusko County and have recently lost your job or health insurance due to COVID-19, set up a time to meet with insurance agent, Michael Suhany. Michael is fully equipped to advise you in your next steps and answer all your questions about where to turn next.