COVID-19 Vaccine Wisdom Straight From the South Florida Community
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? Is one vaccine more effective than the others?
The coronavirus vaccines that are currently available — including the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — are all safe and will protect you against a severe case of COVID-19.
The most important thing is to get any of the COVID vaccines as soon as you can. And remember: whichever vaccine you get for the first dose—that’s the one you have to get for the second dose. There’s no mixing and matching. Check the related question below for more information on where to get the COVID-19 vaccine in South Florida.
Can I get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine?
No, you cannot get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine. However, after receiving it you may feel some side effects, such as soreness on your arm, where the injection was placed, muscle or joint aches, a headache, fatigue, chills or a low-grade fever. These mild to moderate side-effects are short-term and pretty common. They’re just your immune system kicking in, producing specific antibodies and cells so that your body can be ready in case it is exposed to the coronavirus in the future.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women or those trying to get pregnant?
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, it’s important to have a personal discussion with your health care provider so you can make the best health decision for you and your family.
That said, here are some facts to keep in mind: the vaccines are considered low-risk for pregnant women. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends pregnant women who meet criteria for vaccination have access to the vaccine and not be prevented from receiving it.
That’s because pregnant women who do get infected with COVID-19 are at risk of becoming more severely ill than women of the same age who are not pregnant.
The vaccines are also considered safe for women planning to become pregnant. There is currently no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine will impact fertility. If you find out that you’re pregnant after a first vaccine dose, it is still recommended to take the second dose.
Keep in mind that getting the vaccine if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant is a personal choice. Among the things to consider is how much exposure you get to people who are or may be infected, and how many cases of COVID-19 there are in your South Florida community.
Does the vaccine affect fertility?
Disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines affecting fertility has been floating around the internet since they became available at the end of 2020.
The truth is: there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems—or problems getting pregnant. The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have both recommended that women who are pregnant have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
In addition, if you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, during the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trials, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant. The only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.
As with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available.
Women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant should consider the facts about the coronavirus vaccine as well as what could happen if they develop severe COVID-19 symptoms while pregnant, which can have potentially serious impact on the pregnancy and the mother’s health.
As always, if you have specific questions about your health and whether the vaccine is right for you, ask a health professional. Even if you don’t have a usual source of health care, you can find free or low-cost providers at findahealthcenter.hrsa.gov.
Do I need to share my immigration status to get vaccinated?
COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone, regardless of immigration status.
In fact, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have specifically announced they will not conduct enforcement operations at or near vaccine distribution sites or clinics.
Some personal information might be requested to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and the personal information requested will vary by site, but rest assured that this information is kept private and will not be shared with other entities.
It’s understandable to feel fear. So if you have concerns about sharing personal information, reach out to a trusted source in the community, like Centro Campesino, Hispanic Unity, the Urban League of Broward County or the Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center for advice.
Was the vaccine rushed?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine was not rushed. Even though the vaccines were developed more quickly than others in the past, they went through all the appropriate clinical trials and have been carefully tested on tens of thousands of people around the world.
While COVID-19 is new, these types of viruses (called coronaviruses) have been studied since the 1960s. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines rely on technology that had already been in development for years.
Plus: more than 320 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. And the results of that monitoring are reassuring: some people have no side effects at all, while many people say they feel some pain or swelling at the injection site, headaches, chills or a low-grade fever. All of these are mild and temporary.
A very small number of people have had a severe allergic reaction, but this is extremely rare. And if it does happen, the healthcare professional administering the COVID-19 vaccine has medicine to immediately and effectively treat the reaction.
The CDC continues to monitor reports of any serious adverse reactions to the vaccines, which remain extremely rare.
Where can I get the vaccine?
FINDING A COVID-19 PROVIDER IN SOUTH FLORIDA
This State of Florida Vaccine Finderoffers a map with all COVID-19 vaccine sites across both counties and the entire state.
Another way: text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish to find the closest site offering the vaccine.
WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 VACCINE IN BROWARD
Memorial Healthcare System is also administering COVID vaccines.
WHERE TO GET A COVID-19 VACCINE IN MIAMI-DADE
Find the latest updates about where to get vaccinated at this Miami-Dade County link. You can also call 305-614-2014, or email email@example.com for assistance. Appointments are not required to receive the vaccine at any of the sites operated by the county.
PHARMACIES & MARKETS ALSO OFFER COVID-19 VACCINES
The following pharmacies and markets are offering the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge. All require appointments, which must be made online at the links provided below.
How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work against the Delta variant?
The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is more transmissible and may be more deadly than prior strains. Already, it is estimated that delta accounted for more than half of new COVID-19 of cases across the U.S.
The good news is that numerous studies have already shown the three vaccines currently available—Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson— are effective against the delta variant and especially at preventing severe illness and hospitalization.
The variant is most threatening to unvaccinated people and people who are not fully vaccinated, meaning they have not received their second dose. Among both of these groups, the virus can spread more aggressively than previous strains.
I’m young and healthy. Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 can be severe for anyone. The protection you get from the vaccine is not just for yourself, but for others around you. The more individuals who are vaccinated, the less the virus can continue to transmit and the faster we can get out of this pandemic and back to a normal South Florida lifestyle. We can’t do it without you!
Do I need to continue wearing a mask and social distancing once I am vaccinated for coronavirus?
In general, people are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:
- Wear a mask in public indoor settings if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. (Like South Florida!)
- You may choose to were a mask if you or someone in your household is immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household is unvaccinated. People who are at increased risk for severe disease include older adults and those who have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, overweight or obesity, and heart conditions.
- Get tested if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- If you came into close contact with someone with COVID-19, get tested 3-5 days after the date of your exposure and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
- Isolate if you have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Follow any applicable federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
Is the covid vaccine safe for kids?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the Pfizer vaccine emergency use authorization for children ages 12 through 15. The FDA first gave this vaccine emergency use authorization for people age 16 and older in late 2020. The Pfizer vaccine requires two injections given 21 days apart. The second dose can be given up to six weeks after the first dose, if needed.
Research has shown the Pfizer vaccine is highly effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus in children ages 12 through 15. No vaccinated children got COVID-19 illness in the clinical trials. Previous research has shown the vaccine is 95% effective in preventing the COVID-19 virus with symptoms in people age 16 and older.
Nearly 9 million adolescents have already been vaccinated and serious adverse events have been rare.
Similar to adults, children can have mild side effects that typically last 1 to 3 days. More adolescents reported these side effects after the second dose of the vaccine. However, some have no side effects at all.
In the U.S., there has been an increase in reported cases of myocarditis and pericarditis— or inflammation of the heart — after the vaccination, particularly in male adolescents and young adults age 16 and older. These reports are very rare. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating to see if there is any relationship to COVID-19 vaccination. Of the cases reported, the problem happened more often after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and typically within several days after COVID-19 vaccination.
Most of the people who received care quickly felt better after receiving medicine and resting. Symptoms to watch for include: chest pain, shortness of breath, feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart. If you or your child has any of these symptoms within a week of getting a COVID-19 vaccine, seek medical care.
A COVID-19 vaccine can prevent your child from getting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. If your child gets COVID-19, the vaccine could prevent him or her from becoming severely ill. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also allow your child to start doing things that he or she might not have been able to do because of the pandemic, including not wearing a mask or social distancing in any setting, except where required by a rule or law.
Can vaccinated people get COVID-19?
Anecdotal and news media reports can make it feel as though COVID breakthrough infections—when a fully vaccinated person gets COVID—are happening everywhere. The truth? A very small percentage of fully vaccinated people can get COVID-19 if exposed to the virus—less than 2 percent. Even fewer become sick or are hospitalized.
The most important number to remember: more than 95 percent of the hospitalized COVID patients are unvaccinated.
Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID?
A study recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19 are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with the virus compared with people who were fully vaccinated after contracting the virus.
While antibodies from natural infection may provide some protection, studies clearly show nothing is more protective than the vaccine. People who have recovered from COVID-19 should get vaccinated not only to reduce their risk of reinfection, but also to prevent transmission and reduce the opportunity for more variants, like the more contagious delta, to continue to emerge.