COVID-19 vaccine questions answered


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Health officials have now been distributing Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for a few days in KELOLAND.

Sioux Falls Doctors expect the Moderna vaccine to arrive next week.

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, a path to ending this pandemic that has impacted just about every aspect of our lives. Tonight we try to tackle some of the most common questions when it comes to the vaccines now being considered.

For instance, the vaccine was fast tracked into production does that make it any less safe?

“The answer to that is no,” said Doctor David Basel, Avera’s Vice President of Clinical Quality. “The data that we have is really good, and vaccines never really have a delayed onset of adverse effects, it’s things like a serious allergic reaction that happens really quickly after the vaccine, what we have seen and what remains to be seen is that shortened period of getting that vaccine to market, we really don’t know how long this vaccine is going to be effective.”

Dr. Basel says as time goes on we will find out if booster shots are needed in 6 months to a year.

How will you feel after you get the vaccine?

Some people may become tired, experience some muscle aches, and a low-grade fever. They will also feel a bruise-like pain on their arm where they got the shot. Doctors say this is normal and is your body’s immune response to the virus. This would last a day maybe two. However, doctors say a small percentage of people may have a stronger response to the vaccine and may want to stay home and rest.

Is one vaccine better than the other?

Dr. Basel says he hopes to get more information on the Moderna vaccine later this week. But preliminary data suggests they are pretty much equal. Basel says he considers them interchangeable at this time. Both vaccines require two doses. And as far as his personal choice when it comes time to be vaccinated, he will take either.

What if you have allergies?

Anyone who’s had a serious allergic or anaphylactic reaction to “an injection” should not get the vaccines at this time.

“A lesser allergic reaction or if you’ve even had anaphylactic reactions to oral medications or serious reactions to food or environmental allergies, the recommendations are let us know that so that we can observe you for 30 minutes after your vaccination rather than 15 because this type of serious reaction shows up very quickly and so if it’s not going to show up in that first 30 minutes, then it’s not going to happen, said Basel.

What if you are pregnant?

Dr. Basel says the official recommendation is it is probably safe but hasn’t really been studied. He advises expectant mothers to have a discussion with their doctor about the risks versus benefits.

Why two doses of the vaccine and what happens if you only get one?

Basel says after one dose of the Pfizer vaccine you are about 50 to 60 percent protected, the second dose brings it up to 90 to 95 percent.

Can you get your flu shot before being vaccinated for COVID-19?

Flu season is upon us but the peak is still weeks away in mid-February. Dr. Basel says if you are considering getting vaccinated for COVID-19 you should get your flu shot as soon as possible

“We also got updated guidance from the CDC over the weekend, in relation to other vaccines and so you should not get this vaccine within 14 days of receiving another vaccine and you should not receive a different vaccine for 14 days after receiving the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine, said Basel.

How old do you have to be to get the vaccine?

The current vaccine is approved for age 16 and above. The drug makers need more time to conduct pediatric trials to make sure it’s safe.

Why will the Moderna vaccine be more likely to be used in rural communities?

Dr. Basel says so far the hospitals plan to use the Pfizer vaccine close to Sioux Falls and Rapid City where special freezers are set up to store it at 70 to 80 degrees C below zero. The Moderna Vaccine can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures so it is easier and safer to transport.

Why are you telling people they should still wear a mask after they are vaccinated?

“What we do know for sure is it is going to prevent the individual getting the vaccine from getting sick, but if I got the vaccine today and say a month from now I got exposed to COVID, it would take a couple of days for that immune response to kick in and really knock that out and so it’s possible I still may be able to transmit it for a day or two while I’m fighting it off and so we don’t know how big that is and so we will learn that over time and that’s why it’s important after your vaccination to continue to wear your mask and staying socially distant,” Basel said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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