Recorded webinar of the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) and AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine for a one-hour education on the pandemic in Long Term Care, the new vaccine, and an interactive Q&A with attendees. Click here.

YouTube of Leading Physicians Answering Frontline Professionals Q & A - Click here.

Below are some of the top answers to questions that we have received. It's important to note the COVID-19 Vaccine is available to all ShiftMed employees, employees will have the opportunity to be vaccinated at each ShiftMed Client Facility Partner and can find a list of facilities near them with dates and times here.

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is effective and safe?

Safety is the most critical priority in vaccine approval. Most side effects occur within six weeks of vaccination, but the FDA requires eight weeks of safety monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines. Monitoring for safety will continue as the vaccine is distributed to the public. To access safety, the FDA typically requires that a minimum of 3000 participants are included in a vaccine trial. But for COVID-19, there have been between 30,000 and 50,000 participants in the trial for both approved vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna).

How effective is the vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is 95% protective from COVID-19; the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% protective. The trials were performed on a large, racially diverse population.

Why should we trust the vaccine?

The FDA is using the same strict standards that it has for decades – no steps were skipped. Plus, two independent advisory committees are reviewing the results; these groups advise the FDA and CDC.

What is a EUA, and what does that mean for me?

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a vaccine that is developed for a public health emergency. The EUA incorporates a shorter approval process, but no steps are skipped. The FDA assesses if the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh the known risks.

When and how long will I be protected?

The COVID-19 comes in two doses that are administered 3 – 4 weeks apart. Protection from the virus occurs one to two weeks after the second dose. Studies are undefined as to how long the vaccine will protect the population; information is still being collected, and the people will know more as time passes. Studies show that the vaccine is still working after four months. Most officials and doctors believe that the population will have to have vaccine shots for COVID-19 like we do for the flu shot.

How was the vaccine developed so quickly?

Because the development of the COVID-19 vaccine was a global effort focused on a single task, the vaccine was developed very quickly. The effort came with unlimited resources of money, knowledge, manpower, and technology. The vaccine development came quicker than usual because of the large pool of diverse adult volunteer trial participants.

Do the COVID-19 vaccinations include the virus?

No, the two vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines, also known as mRNA, which do not contain the COVID-19 virus. mRNA technology is what is used in many cancer treatments. mRNA vaccines instruct the body to build a protein; they do not have access to cells or the nucleus. The body knows that the protein should not be there, so the body will produce antibodies that will destroy the virus.

Will I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, many people in the community will need to get vaccinated before the spread of the virus drops enough to stop the use of masks. We need to establish a herd immunity before we can take off masks.

Can the vaccine give me COVID?

No, the vaccine cannot give you COVID, but patients may experience some short-term discomfort that is often common with vaccines. These side-effects include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and pain at the injection site after vaccination. These effects typically last for 24-48 hours. The side effects are a good thing – they mean that your body is doing its job and making antibodies. Studies have found that those over the age of 55 have fewer side effects.

Vaccines are the only way to control the COVID-19 pandemic – everyone must do their part and get vaccinated to get back to a normal life. If you require more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

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