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?
The CDC recently announced that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
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.
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated and should keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated. Here’s why:
- The vaccine takes time to kick in. You won’t reach your peak immunity until at least two weeks after receiving the full dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- You may still be able to spread the virus. While the vaccines prevent illness, experts are concerned that people who are not fully vaccinated can still become infected, have no symptoms and then spread it to others who have not been vaccinated.
- We need to protect people who can’t get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine may not be as effective in certain people with chronic medical conditions. And some pregnant women are deciding not to get vaccinated or postponing until after they give birth. So both of these groups can remain at risk.
- There are still a lot of people waiting to get vaccinated. Experts say we need to fully vaccinate at least half of our population for the pandemic to at least begin to end.