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COVID-19 Vaccine Update

  • COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Quantities of the vaccine are still limited. To make sure the vaccine is distributed fairly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Georgia Department of Public Health have established priority groups based on risk of exposure and the potential health impact of COVID-19. Only people in the approved priority group can receive the vaccine at this time. State and federal officials will continue to distribute vaccines according to Georgia Department of Health criteria. 

Georgia COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

Georgia residents aged 12 and older may be vaccinated.

For more information, please see the Georgia Department of Public Health website

South Carolina COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

South Carolina residents aged 12 and older may be vaccinated.

For more information, please see the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) website

  • Printed copy of your vaccination confirmation or email
  • On arrival to the vaccination site, you are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing
  • Please bring your government issued photo ID (ie, driver’s license) that matches the address and date of birth you entered during registration
  • If registering due to your role/occupation, also bring proof to verify you qualify to receive vaccination:  employer badge, license, picture of license, personalized letter from employer, etc.
  • Vaccines will be provided only by appointment, while supplies last.
  • After your vaccine injection, you will be asked to stay for a minimum of 15 minutes for observation.
  • Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
  • You will need 2 shots in order for them to work—remember to get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a healthcare provider tells you not to get a second shot.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination—the COVID-19 vaccine may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
  • After vaccination, continue to follow CDC COVID-19 Prevention Guidelines.
  • In order to maintain social distancing, companions without appointments will be asked to remain outside.
  • Wear a shirt or top with the upper arm accessible.

Is AU Health offering drive through vaccination?

Drive through vaccination is currently not available. We continue to evaluate resources and best practices for post-vaccine observation.

Do I need to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes! Both doses are necessary for protection, as effectiveness of a single dose has not been systematically evaluated
  • Expected 95% efficacy is not typically achieved until 1-2 weeks following the second dose
  • Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine is a 2 dose series administered 3 weeks apart
  • Moderna Vaccine is a 2 dose series administered 4 weeks apart
  • To ensure you are within the acceptable grace period for your second dose, it is being scheduled simultaneous to your first

How does the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines work?

They are both synthetic mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines that contain instructions for making proteins.  Once injected, the mRNA enters human cells and those instructions are translated to produce the spike protein found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.  The mRNA is then broken down.  The body recognizes the spike protein produced as an invader, and mounts an immune response—producing antibodies against it.

Since you have now produced antibodies to the spike protein on the SARS-CoV-2 virus, if your body is exposed to virus in the future you can mount an antibody response to protect you from getting sick.

What if I miss my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is highly recommended that you get your second dose in the proposed timeframe for each vaccine (3 weeks after the first for Pfizer-BioNTech and 4 weeks after the first for Moderna).

If you somehow miss your second appointment per the timeframe above, you do not need to restart the vaccination series, but the CDC recommends getting the second dose as soon as possible.

If I develop post-vaccination symptoms (pain/swelling at the injection site or fever, chills, tiredness, or headache), should I get the second dose?

Unless you are instructed by a healthcare provider or develop a contraindication to vaccination, you should complete the series in order to optimize protection against COVID-19.

What do I do if I have post-vaccination symptoms?

  • Applying a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area and using/exercising your arm can reduce localized pain and discomfort at the injection site
  • Drink Plenty of fluids
  • Fever lowering or anti-inflammatory medications (for example, Tylenol or Advil) may also be taken for treatment
  • Contact your healthcare provider if the redness or tenderness where you received the injection increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are worrying you/aren’t going away after a few days
  • Routine prophylaxis for the purposes of preventing symptoms is not recommended at this time, due to lack of information on impact of use on vaccine-induced antibody responses

Can my first dose be Pfizer-BioNTech and second Moderna?

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are not interchangeable and safety and efficacy of a mixed series has not been evaluated

If you are initially scheduled for a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, then your second scheduled dose will also be for Pfizer-BioNTech; the same process would occur for Moderna.

Can I get my Flu vaccine on the same day?

Per CDC guidelines, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time.

I am currently infected or have had a history of a COVID-19 infection; should I get vaccinated?

  • Yes, data has shown a likely improved immune response in patients who have already had COVID-19 and also subsequently receive the vaccine
  • You must be clear of isolation (at least 10 days from positive test and at least 24 hrs without fever before being vaccinated for COVID-19.  It is recommended that you wait 90 days after COVID-19 Infection before proceeding with vaccination
  • There is no recommended minimal interval between infection and vaccine; however, current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and thus persons with documented acute infection in the preceding 90 days may defer vaccination until the end of this period, if desired

I’ve had an antibody infusion or convalescent plasma for treatment of COVID-19; can I get vaccinated?

There is currently no data on safety or efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment

Vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses

  • This is based on estimated half-life of therapies and evidence suggesting reinfection is uncommon within 90 days of initial infection

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No!  Neither of the COVID-19 vaccines use a live virus, so getting the vaccine cannot cause the disease.

These vaccines instruct our immune system how to detect and defend against COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause a subsequent COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test to be positive?

No!  The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause the COVID-19 PCR or Antigen tests to be positive. 

Once your body has amounted an immune response to the vaccine, some Antibody tests will become positive.  There is further research being conducted to differentiate between antibodies produced by actual virus exposure vs. vaccine administration

I have an autoimmune disorder or am a transplant recipient or candidate; should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends discussing with your physician, as the efficacy and safety of the COVID-19 vaccines for individuals with an autoimmune disorder or transplant is still being investigated.

I am pregnant or breastfeeding; should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • There is limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant, and it is recommended that you consult with your physician before receiving the vaccination
  • At this time, the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) recommends certain groups, including health care personnel and frontline essential workers, to be vaccinated in this phase
  • ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups
  • ACOG also recommends COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to breastfeeding individuals similar to non-breastfeeding individuals when they meet criteria for receipt of the vaccine based on prioritization groups outlines by the ACIP
  • References: CDC and ACOG

What will I receive as proof of vaccination?

You will receive a vaccination card per below, that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.

After I am vaccinated, should I continue to follow CDC COVID-19 prevention guidelines?

YES!  Please continue to follow the CDC Prevention guidelines !

  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect
  • Monitor Your Health Daily

I have further questions about the vaccine.  Can I get in touch with an AU Health provider to discuss?

Yes!  We offer Virtual Care visits from 10am until 10pm daily. For more information or to start a Virtual Visit, please visit our Virtual Care website

Respuestas rapidás a preguntas frecuentes sobre la vacuna contra la COVID-19

¿Debería vacunarme contra la COVID-19?

Sí. Se recomienda encarecidamente la vacunación. Esta vacuna evitará que contraiga y/o que propague la COVID-19. Si después de vacunarse se enferma igual, esta hará que la enfermedad no sea tan grave. Vacunándose, también protege a las personas que lo rodean.

¿Puede la vacuna contagiarme con la COVID-19?

No. Ninguna de las vacunas contra la COVID-19 autorizadas actualmente para su uso o en desarrollo en los Estados Unidos contiene el virus vivo que causa la enfermedad. Sin embargo, normalmente lleva algunas semanas hasta que el cuerpo genera la inmunidad luego de la vacuna. Esto significa que es posible que pueda infectarse con el virus que causa la COVID-19 justo antes o después de haberse vacunado y contraer la enfermedad.

Si ya tuve la COVID-19 y me recuperé , ¿necesito vacunarme de todas formas?

Sí. Los Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés) recomiendan que se vacune aún si ya tuvo la COVID-19, ya que puede contagiarse más de una vez. Puede tener anticuerpos que lo protejan por un periodo corto de tiempo luego de haberse recuperado de la COVID-19, pero no sabemos cuánto tiempo dura esta protección.

¿Puede mi hijo recibir la vacuna contra la COVID-19?

No. Se necesitan más estudios para recomendar la vacuna contra la COVID-19 para niños de 16 años o menos.

¿Es seguro vacunarse contra la COVID-19 si tengo un problema médico preexistente?

Sí. La vacuna contra la COVID-19 es de suma importancia para las personas con problemas médicos preexistentes como enfermedad del corazón, enfermedad pulmonar y diabetes. Las personas que tienen estos problemas de salud son más propensas a contraer la COVID-19 y presentar síntomas muy graves.

¿Es mejor obtener la inmunidad para la COVID-19 de manera natural que con la vacuna?

No. Puede tener anticuerpos que lo protejan por un periodo corto de tiempo luego de haberse recuperado de la COVID-19, pero no sabemos cuánto tiempo dura esta protección. La vacuna es la mejor protección y es segura. Las personas que contraen la COVID-19 pueden enfermarse de gravedad y otras han presentado síntomas continuos que duran meses.

¿Por qué necesito dos dosis de la vacuna contra la COVID-19?

Las vacunas autorizadas actualmente, y la mayoría de las vacunas en desarrollo, requieren de dos dosis. La primera dosis hace que el sistema inmunitario reconozca el virus y la segunda fortalece la respuesta inmunitaria. Necesita las dos para obtener la mejor protección.

¿Me dolerá o me enfermaré con la vacuna?

Puede presentar efectos secundarios, pero deberían desaparecer en pocos días. Efectos secundarios posibles: dolor de brazo, dolor de cabeza, fiebre o dolor de cuerpo. Esto no significa que tenga la COVID-19. Los efectos secundarios son una señal de que la vacuna está funcionando para generar la inmunidad. Si los síntomas no desaparecen en una semana, o si presenta síntomas más graves, llame a su médico.

¿Existen efectos a largo plazo a causa de la vacuna contra la COVID-19?

Debido a que todas las vacunas contra la COVID-19 son nuevas, llevará más tiempo y se necesitarán más personas vacunadas para conocer sobre posibles efectos secundarios poco comunes o a largo plazo. En los estudios clínicos se recopilaron datos relacionados a la seguridad equivalentes a al menos ocho semanas para todas las vacunas autorizadas y es poco frecuente que los efectos secundarios de las vacunas aparezcan luego de las ocho semanas de la aplicación.


Esta información es una adaptación de los Centros para el Control y Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC, por sus siglas en inglés), enero 2021.


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