In the race to get people vaccinated against COVID-19, Novant Health has administered more than 10,000 doses of the vaccine. Questions are pouring in as more people become eligible, and curiosity about the new variants is at an all-time high.
Here are answers to the latest batch of questions from Healthy Headlines readers. Have a question? Send it to us using the comment function at the bottom of the story. Because of the high volume of questions, we’ll answer the most common questions in upcoming stories, so keep an eye on our site and check the COVID-19 section.
How big of a concern is it that the COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective with the new variants of COVID-19 that we’re hearing about?
There’s a notion that the current vaccines may not be quite as effective against the new variants. That may be true over time, but we don’t know for sure right now. The good news is the COVID-19 vaccines still provide significant protection against the variants that we are aware of today.
What we know from flu vaccination is, while it’s important how effective a particular vaccine is, it’s equally if not more important how many people get the vaccine. Let’s say the flu vaccine is about 40% effective in a given year. That may not seem high, but if every eligible person gets the flu vaccine, we’d have almost no flu mortality.
The COVID-19 vaccines are currently about 95% effective. That is remarkable. But even if it was only 75% effective, that’s still very effective. So, we can’t just consider how effective a vaccine is as it often comes down to how many people choose to get it. You can overcome less effectiveness if everyone gets the vaccine. That’s why it behooves us to continue to wear masks, be socially distant, wash our hands and get vaccinated as soon as we’re able to.
The directions say not to use acetaminophen before I get vaccinated, but I am in chronic pain and prescribed hydrocodone. How far in advance of my appointment should I stop?
If you take anti-inflammatories regularly, please consult with your doctor before stopping this medication.
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If I received the first dose from a health department but was unable to schedule a second dose through them, can I get the second dose from a different health care provider?
Yes. There is no concern from getting vaccine from different locations. However, it is essential that the type of vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) be the same. Wherever is most convenient to obtain the vaccine is acceptable.
How long should I wait to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen after I receive the vaccine?
While it’s not recommended to take something like acetaminophen prior to your COVID-19 shot, it is acceptable to take it once the vaccine has been administered.
My second vaccine is scheduled prior to the 21-day guideline that Pfizer has indicated. Is it OK to get it on day 20?
Yes. The recommended timeframe for the Pfizer vaccine is 17-23 days. With that being said, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently states there is no need to restart the vaccine series even if the second dose is administered more than three weeks (Pfizer) or more than four weeks (Moderna) after the first dose.
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Should I get my second dose vaccine in the same arm as the first one?
It doesn't matter which arm you receive the vaccine in. This is a personal choice.
Should I be tested for COVID-19 before receiving your vaccine?
No. Testing is not recommended before receiving the vaccine. However, if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, are under quarantine or have a COVID-19 test result pending, we ask that you do not visit the vaccination site. Please contact your primary care physician and reschedule your vaccination when you are symptom-free.
Curious when you will become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine? Answer a few quick questions and pre-register here.