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It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for: COVID vaccines are being released after months of research and clinical trials. With new information coming in daily, the developments can be confusing and overwhelming. Here’s a list of answers to commonly asked questions to catch you up on all the current vaccine info you need.

What approved vaccines are there to choose from and how do I know it’s the right one for me?

The Pfizer/BioNTech is a two series vaccine that has an efficacy rate of 95% seven days after the second dose. The two injections must be given 21 days apart. It is suitable for people ages 16 and up.

The Moderna vaccine also requires two injections but they are given 28 days apart. Data indicates that it has an efficacy rate of 94.1% and is for people ages 18 and up. 

How do these vaccines work?

Both vaccines use messenger RNA, or “mRNA,” which contains the instructions for producing a harmless protein on the surface of the coronavirus. After vaccination, your body’s cells will produce this harmless coronavirus protein and allow your body to generate antibodies that attack it. This means your body’s immune system has saved information on how to destroy the coronavirus without actually injecting you with the harmful parts of the virus.

Can I get COVID from the vaccine?

NO. The developed vaccines do not use the live coronavirus. Some symptoms of the immunization may include fever or fatigue; however, this is part of the body’s immune response by which it learns to recognize and attack the virus. It takes a few weeks for the body to attain effective immunity, so it is possible to get COVID-19 from other forms of exposure to the virus. 

Will the vaccine cause me to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests?

NO. The viral tests detect current infections which the vaccine cannot cause. However, you may test positive on particular antibody tests. These indicate whether you have protection against the virus. 

When can I get the vaccine?

Because there are limited supplies, the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations will be distributed to health care professionals and residents of long-term care facilities. The next phase will target essential workers (i.e. teachers, first responders, grocery store workers) and elderly above the age of 75. The third phase includes those between the ages of 65 and 74 and high-risk individuals between the ages of 16 to 64. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken tolls of varying degrees on all our lives, but the vaccines mark a turning point. If you are able, getting the vaccine will not only protect your own health but also that of your community by decreasing the overall risk of catching the virus. Do your research and have yourself a healthy 2021.

Hey! I'm a second year in UMKC's BA/MD program I love listening to music, watching Netflix/YouTube, singing, and learning new languages :)
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