Morrow County Health District has begun receiving doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. MCHD employees are among the first Oregon residents to have the opportunity to get vaccinated. This is an exciting development, and the production of COVID-19 vaccines is a major step in the fight against the novel coronavirus. While mask wearing and social distancing are important tools in slowing the spread of the virus, widespread vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic.
At MCHD, we understand and respect that the decision to get vaccinated against COVID-19 is a personal one, and you may have some reservations. Here is some general information regarding COVID-19 vaccines to help you with your decision:
•Oregon will distribute doses of Pfizer’s vaccine first, followed shortly after by doses of Moderna’s vaccine and additional doses of Pfizer’s.
•Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work by injecting into your muscle a piece of genetic code (called mRNA) that gives your body instructions on how to replicate a harmless protein on the surface of the 2019-nCoV virus. Your immune system then creates the antibodies needed to destroy this protein, giving you protection against future infection by the novel coronavirus.
•Both vaccines require two doses, administered 21 to 28 days apart.
•Neither vaccine contains virus cells. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from either vaccine.
•The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines will be the first licensed mRNA vaccines in the US. However, the concept is not new—mRNA therapy has been studied for over 30 years, and mRNA vaccines for several other viruses (including influenza) have been tested. This extensive prior research is partly why the COVID-19 vaccines could be developed so quickly.
•Phase III trials, in which tens of thousands of people were given one of the COVID-19 vaccines, revealed no serious safety concerns for either vaccine.
•Either vaccine can cause temporary side effects in some people, including fever, chills, soreness, or headache. For a small fraction of people, these side effects may be harsh. While potential side effects may be unpleasant, they are not dangerous and will most likely resolve within 24 hours.
Please consider that the risks associated with COVID-19 far outweigh the temporary discomfort of any potential side effects. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine, please do not hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.