COVID-19 Vaccines: Myths vs. Science
The good news for moving past the COVID-19 pandemic: More and more people are getting vaccinated. The bad news: Misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines continues to spread, fueling vaccine hesitancy.
Vaccinating a significant percentage of West Central Florida’s population is key to helping our region rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. BayCare is pleased to see that vaccine access has grown significantly across all our communities, with multiple public and private providers.
Still not vaccinated? Look below for links to providers in your area and for frequently asked questions about the vaccine. Please talk to your provider if you have any additional questions.
Benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine
Vaccines have long been a tool to help mitigate the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines help the body produce antibodies that can fight off a specific disease and has two benefits: It helps prevent people from getting infected and, therefore, it can also help reduce the spread of the disease. Health care experts hope the COVID-19 vaccine will help people from getting seriously ill even if they get infected with COVID-19. However, they recommend that people who get the vaccine should continue to take safety precautions.
Types of COVID-19 vaccines
Several biomedical companies are working on vaccines. There are a few completed vaccines and others still in different phases of clinical trials.
The vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE has been approved for emergency use authorization by the FDA, and is being distributed across the U.S. This vaccine, which shows to be more than 95 precent effective, may help prevent people age 16 and older from getting infected. Patients receive two doses of this vaccine 21 days apart.
Another vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. has received emergency use authorization by the FDA, and is being distributed across the country. This vaccine is about 95 percent effective. This vaccine can reduce infections among asymptomatic individuals and could potentially help prevent the spread of the virus from person to person. The Moderna vaccine is given to patients in two different doses 28 days apart.
The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is the third to receive emergency use authorization by the FDA. This vaccine was found to be 66% effective in preventing COVID-19 illness and was also highly effective in preventing hospitalization and death in those who did get sick after exposure to the virus. It is administered as a single injection.
BayCare has paused administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in light of the April 13 guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Drug Administration. Read more.
Is the vaccine safe?
While scientists around the world have raced against time to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA’s rigorous review classifies them as safe and effective. The vaccines have shown promising results and no major side effects. To help track any issues, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed several tracking tools for people to share any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Who will get the vaccine first?
The vaccines are being distributed based on guidelines set forth by states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Due to limited supply, the CDC first made the vaccine available to front-line health care workers and long-term care facility residents. On December 23, the governor of Florida expanded that list to people age 65 and older and the medically vulnerable. We are working with local and state partners to expand the vaccination to other groups as the vaccine and resources become available.
Is BayCare providing vaccines?
BayCare is proud to have supported vaccination efforts in West Central Florida for health care workers, the medically vulnerable and our patients for several months. As of May 1, 2021, BayCare is pausing its first-dose vaccine scheduling due to the broad access across our region from public and private providers. BayCare encourages anyone still seeking a vaccine to scroll down this page to find providers offering the vaccine in our communities.
How many doses do you need?
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, three to four weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just a single dose.
Who should not get the vaccine?
There is currently limited data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or those under 16 years old. People over 16 years old can receive the COVID vaccine. Individuals with a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines should check with their physician before getting the vaccine.
What are the side effects?
After the COVID-19 vaccination, some people have reported side effects that went away after a few days. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may include redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills and joint pain.
Can you get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines will not give people COVID-19. The vaccine protects the human body from getting infected. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.
Does the vaccine have a cost?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines will be given to every American at no cost. However, providers who administer the vaccine will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s insurance or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
Should I stop my safety precautions?
While vaccinations have started, people need to continue to practice safety measures.
Other COVID-19 vaccine options are provided throughout the area. For the most accurate information concerning other vaccine options and registration requirements, please select from the following:
As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, people are hoping to soon return to normalcy. BayCare medical experts say there is finally light at the end of the tunnel, but you need to continue to be vigilant and not let your guards down even if you’re vaccinated.
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine developments, visit CDC.gov.