Is the vaccine safe?
The vaccine has been through extensive clinical trials and has proven to have relatively minor side effects, such as muscle aches and low-grade fever. Because it is an mRNA vaccine, there is no COVID-19 virus in the formula. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Pfizer has stated that individuals with severe allergies should not get the vaccine at this time. The FDA has approved the vaccine for pregnant women. Learn more about safety protocols and the development of the vaccine directly from Pfizer.
Is the vaccine effective?
In clinical trials, when both doses were completed, the Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective at preventing COVID-19. For comparison, the efficacy of the annual flu shot averages about 40%.
You must receive a second dose at least 21 to 28 days after the first dose for the vaccine to be effective. Without the follow-up dose, the first is not effective and is essentially a wasted vaccine. Because there is a very limited supply of doses,
the Oregon Health Authority is imploring people to get their second dose. We cannot afford any wasted vaccines.
How will we know if we’re having side effects from the vaccine or real symptoms of COVID?
The recommendation at this time is to consider symptoms during the first three days after vaccination as side effects. Anyone currently on quarantine due to exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19 should wait to receive vaccinations until their quarantine period has ended, so we can be more certain of where symptoms are coming from.
Does the vaccine contain eggs? I’m allergic.
No, the mRNA vaccines do not require the use of egg products in their manufacture.
If I have already had COVID, do I still need the vaccine?
Because we know very little at this time about how long immunity lasts following the resolution of the COVID virus, the OHA recommends people get vaccinated even if they have already had COVID.
Once I get the vaccine, will I still need to wear a mask and socially distance?
Yes. Current evidence/knowledge shows that the vaccine protects against the virus itself, but not that it can prevent transmission of the virus to others. In other words, you could be vaccinated, have the virus without symptoms, and still transmit the infection to someone who is not yet vaccinated. We will need to continue our prevention measures for many months until a majority of the population has been vaccinated.