Answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines


(WLNS)– There is currently just one FDA approved vaccine designed to prevent COVID-19, but that could soon change.

The Pfizer vaccine, which was approved on Dec. 11, began being administered to people in the U.S. on Dec. 14. The FDA is expected to vote on Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna vaccine on Thursday.

There are many questions and still some unknows about COVID-19 vaccines. Reporter Brittany Flowers spoke with Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail on Wednesday to get some answers.

Q: Will people have to pay to get vaccinated?

A: There is no cost for the vaccine itself. “You may find that in some places you will get charged a administration fee. It shouldn’t be much, if it is, please let people know. There should not be a significant, huge charge. We have gloves, we have those alcohol wipes, we have people’s time. All of those things that come into actually giving you a vaccine outside of the vaccine itself and so that administration fee covers those costs,” Vail said.

Q: Why aren’t the vaccines recommended for children?

A: “The clinical trials were targeted to specific areas to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible, so for example, there hasn’t been a full and complete clinical trial on children under the age of 16 which is why the vaccine is not being recommended under the age of 16. So, typically what you would have seen is all of that being incorporated into  the clinical trial studies until it was fully able to be approved for everyone that it can be approved for, but this needed to get out.”

Q: How long does it take for the vaccine to become effective?

A: “Once you have a vaccine you need a second dose of the vaccine once you have the second dose of vaccine it was about two weeks before basically, we presume you’ve got full immunity from the vaccine after that second dose.”

The Moderna vaccine has shown to be 94.5 percent effective after two doses, while the Pfizer vaccine is 95 percent effective after two doses.

Q: Do I still have to wear a mask after I get vaccinated?

A: “Yes. Once you get the vaccine you still have to wear a mask. We’re looking at you know, 15, 20 weeks out before we vaccinate the whole population and we will all still be wearing masks and doing the other things while this vaccination process happens.”

Q: If the mRNA vaccine is a new technology, how do I know it’s safe?

A: “The comment that it’s an mRNA vaccine and hasn’t been used before, the technology has been around for years, it’s not brand new technology. There’s concerns that somehow or another it’s going to affect the DNA in your cells, that’s not true.”

The CDC says mRNA vaccines are being held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standard as all other types of vaccines in the United States. The only COVID-19 vaccines the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will make available for use in the United States (by approval or emergency use authorization) are those that meet these standards.

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?

A: While there have been side effects reported with both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, Vail said that is the body’s immune response doing it’s job. “To me, if I get a little bit of a response from a vaccine, I know it’s done it’s work. That small immune response, which could make you feel you know, slightly sick, not very good for a fairly short period of time and it will be minor, is really a sign that your immune response is doing what it’s supposed to do.”

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