7 Things to Know about the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination ProgramCoronavirus (COVID-19)
Now that authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the U.S. are available, Dr. Stephanie Stovall, Interim Chief of Quality and Patient Safety for Lee Health System, offers an expert’s take on what we should know about the new COVID-19 vaccination program and COVID-19 vaccines:
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed. Depending on the specific vaccine you get, a second shot 3-4 weeks after your first shot may be needed for optimal protection.
COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
CDC makes recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first when supplies are limited.
To help guide decisions about how to distribute limited initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have published recommendations for which groups should be vaccinated first.
The supply of COVID-19 vaccine is limited in the U.S., but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come.
The goal is for all to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 when sufficient enough quantities become available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects for some people. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.
The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about side effects and what tips can help reduce pain and discomfort after vaccination.
Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund
The first COVID-19 vaccines are being used under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested. Learn more about an EUA and how the CDC makes COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.
Dr. Stovall says the combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
“Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough,” Dr. Stovall says. “Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available.”
As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.