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Home > Health & Wellness > Protect Yourself from Illness > COVID-19 > COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
See below for answers to common questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.
Safety is the top priority for any vaccine. Similar to the approval process for other vaccines, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has conducted a thorough review and has verified the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. On August 23, 2021, the FDA fully approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, Pfizer. (The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization [EUA], including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.)
Additionally, the process of and speed in developing the vaccines did not compromise the safety or the effectiveness of them. Third-party (independent) scientific advisors also reviewed the evidence behind the vaccines before it was presented and approved for public use.
The vaccines are effective and are an important tool in significantly reducing the spread of COVID-19 to help us get back to more normal routines we enjoyed prior to the pandemic. The vaccines have shown strong degrees of effectiveness (greater than 94% for Pfizer and Moderna) in the early stages after vaccination. They are especially effective for preventing severe disease and death.
All Iowans age 12 and above are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes, based on your eligibility, appointments are available here. In addition, any individual aged 12 and older iseligible to receive the vaccine and, based on current availability, can walk in to any MercyCare Urgent Care to receive the vaccine. Most MercyCare family practice clinics also have vaccine available to their patients.
Mercy is offering multiple locations to receive the vaccine. See here for locations.
No. As with most other vaccines, you will not be tested for the illness before the vaccine is given. As long as you feel well, you may receive the vaccine.
No. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not live viruses.
Vaccination should be offered regardless of whether an individual has had COVID-19 with symptoms or without symptoms. Vaccination of persons with known current COVID-19 should be deferred until the person has recovered (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. Current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Thus, persons with documented acute COVID-19 infection in the preceding 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired.
In this case, you would self-isolate and follow CDC guidance outlined for those testing positive for COVID-19. Then, you could obtain the second dose of vaccine as directed by your provider.
There is no recommendation on how far from infection you would need to be, as long as you do not currently have COVID-19. Specifically, you should have recovered from symptoms and met the criteria to discontinue isolation.
Currently, there is no data on the safety and efficacy of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Based on the estimated half-life of such therapies, as well as evidence suggesting that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid potential interference of the antibody therapy with vaccine-induced immune responses. This recommendation applies to persons who receive passive antibody therapy before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who receive passive antibody therapy after the first dose but before the second dose, in which case the second dose should be deferred for at least 90 days following receipt of the antibody therapy.
The vaccine information sheet provided to you at the time of your vaccination will offer guidance, if necessary. As of early March, the CDC reported a rate of two to five cases of allergic reactions per million doses, which is considered very low.
Please contact your primary care provider to discuss receiving the vaccine. If you and your provider feel it’s appropriate for you to receive the vaccine, we would ask that you make a note of the potential for vaccine reaction in the appointment notes when you schedule your vaccination. Then, when you arrive for your appointment, please notify staff that you have had a reaction in the past. You should expect to wait at the clinic site for a minimum of 30 minutes after the vaccination to be monitored.
If this occurs, treat it as if you have COVID-19. Please call your provider for guidance.
Yes, it’s possible. As with any vaccine, the intent is to keep you from acquiring the illness. In order to achieve optimal immunity, you must receive both the first and the second dose, if applicable.
There are no restrictions for timing between the COVID vaccines and other vaccines. It is even safe to get both vaccinations at the same time.
The vaccine is available at no cost to the public. Your insurance will be billed for the administration fee. There are no out of pocket costs to individuals.
Yes. The vaccination will be documented in our EPIC electronic health record. In addition, this information is reported to IRIS, the Iowa Immunization Registry Information System for the state. For those with a MyChart account through Mercy, the information will be available in MyChart.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines will provide, it will be important for everyone to continue using all of the tools available to help stop the pandemic, including wearing a mask, washing/sanitizing hands often and social distancing as appropriate. Also, keep in mind that not all individuals are currently fully vaccinated. Therefore, it will be important to respect the health considerations of others who may not have received the vaccine yet, including children.
There is currently adequate supply so anyone aged 12+ who wants to receive the vaccine is able to receive it.
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting the vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
Based on how the vaccine works and the variant strains being observed, current scientific opinion and evidence indicates that the vaccines will be effective in preventing illness, particularly severe illness, against the variant strains.
All of the vaccines have shown comparable effectiveness across all age groups, ethnicities and races in preliminary data analyses.
Yes. If you are wanting to (or could) conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended by the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine to receive the vaccine. The risk of poor pregnancy outcome from getting COVID-19 far outweighs the theoretical risk of the vaccine (there is no data indicating a risk due to the vaccine). There is data, however, that shows pregnant women have a more difficult time than the general population if they actually get COVID-19, including an increased risk of preterm birth.
Social media posts have falsely “purported a link between the spike protein formed by receiving the mRNA-based vaccines and blockage of a protein necessary for formation of and adherence to the uterus of the human placenta. The protein syncitin-1 is critical for the placenta to remain attached to the uterus and act as the source of nutrition and blood supply to the fetus during pregnancy, but this is not the protein known as the Covid-19, or SARS-CoV-2, spike protein…they are not the same proteins. At all. The antibodies produced against the Covid-19 spike protein will not block syncitin-1. While the Covid-19 spike protein shares several amino acids in common with syncitin-1, it is not similar enough (in fact, it’s not even close to similar enough) for the antibodies to recognize and block this critical placental binding protein.”
This information was pulled from this helpful article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ninashapiro/2021/12/27/the-covid-19-vaccine-does-not-cause-infertility-heres-why-people-think-it-does/?sh=32a34b5868f5
No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine is not a live product, so it is impossible. Those getting COVID-19 after the vaccine either contracted it before receiving their dose or were exposed before their immunity developed from the shot.
None of the vaccines contain antibiotics, adjuvants (including aluminum), preservatives (including thimerosal), or products of human or animal origin (including fetal tissue). Additionally, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has judged that “it is morally acceptable to receive all of the current COVID-19 vaccines.” They further state that “given the worldwide suffering that this pandemic is causing, we affirm again that being vaccinated can be an act of charity that serves the common good.”
According to the Society of Breast Imaging, “Some women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine develop swollen lymph nodes under their arm on the same side as their vaccine injection. This is the normal immune reaction to a vaccine. These swollen lymph nodes usually return to normal on their own in a few days or weeks.”
Consequently, to avoid additional testing and unnecessary anxiety, if you are due for a regular mammogram, please consider the following:
Unvaccinated patients: If at all possible, try to have your screening mammogram exam completed prior to your COVID-19 vaccination.
Vaccinated patients: If possible, schedule your screening mammogram for at least four to six weeks after your last COVID-19 vaccination. Then, when arriving for your appointment, please inform the facility of the date and site of the COVID-19 vaccination injection.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine series consists of two doses administered three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine series is administered 28 days apart. While we will work to ensure the doses are administered as close to three weeks/28 days as possible, they do not need to be exact to the day.
Second doses administered within a grace period of ≤4 days from the recommended date for the second dose are considered valid; however, doses administered earlier do not need to be repeated. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. There is no maximum interval between the first and second dose for either vaccine.
No. You should continue to wear masks, practice good hand hygiene, socially distance and take other precautions as advised by the CDC. You will not be immune after the first vaccination; the second vaccination of the series is necessary to promote immunity.
Both vaccines have shown strong – and essentially equal – degrees of effectiveness (greater than 94%), in the early stages after vaccination. The long-term effectiveness in larger populations remains to be seen.
In a sense, any vaccine is created with the intent of ramping up immune response to a protein or some trigger from a virus or bacteria. All vaccines for COVID-19, including Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) and AstraZeneca’s, make a protein that pretends to be the virus and triggers our immune system to kill COVID-19 when it sees the actual virus. The only difference is that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use RNA to make the protein, and J&J and AstraZeneca use DNA to make the protein with the help of adenovirus to deliver the information to our bodies.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. In only one dose, it has shown to be 72% effective in preventing moderate to severe infection and highly effective in preventing death.
Yes, it has shown to be effective in trials in multiple countries (South Africa, Brazil, etc.), and is an excellent tool to protect our community from COVID-19. It has been shown to prevent severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.
Potentially; different clinics offer different vaccines. Please call the clinic to find out which vaccine they are administering.
Yes, based on your eligibility, appointments are available here. In addition, a