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COVID-19 Vaccine

FAQs about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The contents of this page include information available as of 1/20/21. If new information is learned, and there is a discrepancy between this information and what you see from the CDC, follow CDC guidance.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine available at Mile Bluff?

We currently have a limited supply of vaccine doses. We are following CDC and state guidelines for distribution. The initial goal is to keep as many healthcare workers healthy and available as possible, so they can continue to care for those in need. Right now, that means that the vaccine is being offered to healthcare employees and first responders because of their high risk of exposure to the virus. Nursing home residents are also starting to receive their vaccines. This is all part of Phase 1A.

When will the vaccine be available to the public? (updated 1-20-21)

During Phase 1B, frontline essential workers (i.e. educators, daycare providers, corrections workers, grocery store workers, etc.) and those 65 years and older will be offered the vaccine. The general public is likely to be offered the vaccine in the spring or summer. When that supply arrives, we will continue to follow recommendations regarding who to vaccinate, and when. Additional public distribution phases will follow.

How will I know when it is my turn to get the vaccine? (updated 1-20-21)

Information will be widely available through local media and healthcare agencies. Details will be shared about who is being offered the vaccine, and when. We will continue to share updates with the community through our website, social media, etc. If you are a Mile Bluff patient, you will receive a phone call when it is your turn to be offered the vaccine. You will also receive information through your patient portal. If you do not currently have a portal account, you can sign up here.

Can I get on a vaccine waiting list?

We are pleased that you are eager to be vaccinated; but there are no waiting lists for vaccines. We ask that you do not contact your healthcare provider or clinic for information about vaccinations at this time. This will allow us to continue to keep our phone lines open, and our staff available, to help those with immediate medical needs.

Why should I get the vaccine?

The best way to take down an enemy is to use every weapon that is made available. When it comes to fighting COVID-19, we already know that handwashing, social distancing and wearing masks are effective tools. The vaccine provides us with an additional, life-saving shield of protection. The more of us who unite around utilizing all of these tools, the more likely we are to defeat the virus and build immunity in our community.


Additional Information

If I have tested positive for the virus or antibodies in the past, could I still benefit from the vaccine?

Your level of immunity from the virus can vary, depending on severity of your illness. The vaccine provides a consistent level of immunity across the board, which ensures that you are as protected as possible. If you have tested positive, you are encouraged to be vaccinated, but may be lower on the priority list.

How long does immunity last?

We don’t know the answer to this for the vaccine or the virus.

What are the side effects of the vaccine? (updated 1-14-21)

A small number of people may develop symptoms that mimic the virus. This is more likely with the second dose of the vaccine. This is not because an individual is getting sick with the virus; it is they body’s reaction as it develops the proper immune response to COVID-19. Patients who have previously tested positive for COVID, have experienced a higher incidence of side effects.

The most common immune responses are fatigue (4.2% of recipients), headache (2.4%), muscle pain (1.8%), chills (1.7%), and pain and redness at the injection site (1.4%). Severe reactions occurred in only 0.6% of individuals.

These are all very similar to the occurrence of reactions to the influenza vaccine.

If I develop these symptoms, how long do they last, and will I have to stay home?

Symptoms have most commonly lasted just 24 hours, but can stick around for up to 3 days. Those who develop symptoms from the vaccine should contact their healthcare provider and employer, if applicable.

If I develop severe side effects from my first dose, should I skip my second dose?

Unless directed by your primary care provider, you should get both doses of the vaccine. With one injection, your immunity will not be boosted to the highest level it could reach. If you do experience a severe reaction, contact your provider immediately.

Is the COVID-19 virus in the vaccine?

No. There is no trace of the virus in the COVID vaccine. Any symptoms a person experiences after injection are the body’s reaction as it builds an immune response.

How can I trust a vaccine that is so new?

To be approved, a vaccine must pass rigorous safety and efficacy testing. The FDA will not approve a vaccine unless it prevents disease or decreases severity in at least 50% of those who receive it. Current data on the COVID-19 vaccine show 90+% efficacy.

Plus, the COVID-19 vaccine was tested on a larger scale than many of today’s trusted vaccines. In addition, while the vaccine is a new way to fight against COVID-19, the technology used to develop this type of vaccine has been in development for well over a decade. It was originally introduced with the intention of fighting cancer, but attention was switched to COVID when the virus began to spread rapidly across the world.

Is it true that steps were skipped in order to get this vaccine out so quickly?

It’s true that this vaccine was ready for distribution faster than any other vaccine in history. However, Operation Warp Speed was not completed by cutting any corners.

Generally, when vaccines are developed, the manufacturers wait for approval before producing any of the vaccine that is being tested. This protects the companies from losing out on their work and money if a vaccine doesn’t work. With the COVID-19 vaccines, the manufacturers ran the risk of going to production during testing, in anticipation that the vaccines would work. This would allow them to begin distribution as soon as there was approval. That risk is paying off, and is the reason we have the vaccine in-hand that much sooner.

How much will this cost?

According to the CDC website: “Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.” There is, however, likely to be an administration fee for those who are vaccinated. At this time, we do not know if or how those fees may be covered by insurance.

Can I get an antibody test done, to see if I have any immunity, before choosing whether to get the COVID vaccine or not?

This is not suggested. The recommendation is to have everyone vaccinated, even individuals with antibodies.

Are there plans to add the COVID vaccine into another vaccine in the future, like next year’s flu shot?

At this point, the focus is on getting the COVID vaccine to as many people as possible, so that it can be effective on a global scale. There are currently no plans to add the COVID vaccine to another.

Can I still pass COVID onto others after getting the vaccine?

There is no conclusive evidence on this, so it’s always best to continue to practice all safety recommendations and precautions.

It is expected that some people who receive the vaccines may be protected against severe infection, but not necessarily be prevented from having a mild or asymptomatic infection if later exposed to the virus. These individuals would have the potential to pass the virus on to others.

In addition, while we’ve seen the vaccine to be effective in trials, there is still a small percentage of people who will not develop immunity from it. These individuals may become ill if exposed to the virus sometime after vaccination, and may also then pass the virus on to others.

If I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes. Masking recommendations will not change. Wearing a mask is the right thing to do. It helps those around you feel safer in your presence; and helps prevent any possible spread of the virus, even after being vaccinated.

Is there any reason I should not get the vaccine? (updated 1-20-21)

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are in the severe phase of your illness, you should postpone being vaccinated until your fever subsides and/or your other symptoms resolve.

If you have received Bamlanivimab or Regeneron to treat COVID, you should postpone being vaccinated until at least 90 days after your last treatment.

At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for anyone under the age of 16.

See additional information on this page for recommendations for other specific groups.

What if I've had a past reaction to a vaccine? (added 1-14-21)

If you have a history of vaccine reaction, and/or you commonly react to medications, the CDC recommends that you consult your primary care provider before being vaccinated for COVID-19.

While the COVID-19 vaccines are distinctly different from any other vaccine, the CDC defers to your primary care provider to help you make the decision that is best for you.

Can I get the vaccine if I'm pregnant, nursing or want to become pregnant (added 1-14-21)

The CDC recommends that pregnant and nursing patients be vaccinated. Although there were not separate studies for these individuals, there were enough participants in the studies who were pregnant and nursing to project success with the vaccine.

There is no evidence to suggest that the vaccines have a negative impact on fertility. In fact, the CDC notes that there were dozens of participants in the clinical trials who became pregnant during the trials, without complications.

What if I have an auto-immune disorder like celiac, lupus or arthritis? (added 1-14-21)

If you have an autoimmune disorder, the Lupus Foundation and CDC recommend vaccination. However, if you are on immuno-suppressive medications, you should consult with your prescribing provider before being vaccinated. Timing out the vaccine with your medication may be recommended to optimize your immune reesponse.

Can I get other vaccines before or after a COVID-19 vaccine? (added 1-20-21)

If you are vaccinated for COVID-19, it is recommended that you do not receive any other vaccines within two weeks of your COVID-19 vaccination.

How can I learn more?

If you are interested in reading more about vaccines, two great sources are the CDC and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. For up-to-date information about the vaccine available at Mile Bluff, visit the Moderna website. For information about the vaccine being distributed by the Juneau County Health Department, visit the FDA website and click on the link to the Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers.