As we get further into 2021, more senior living communities have received the COVID-19 vaccine. These locations are prioritized in many regions. While we still face distribution challenges, all seniors should prepare to receive the vaccine and protect themselves as we try to move past last year’s pandemic.
While this is good news, it also comes with uncertainty. Many people are worried about effectiveness, side effects, and other related topics. East Shea Assisted Living wants to share seven things that every senior should know about the COVID-19 vaccine.
The COVID-19 Vaccine is Administered in 2 Doses and You Must Have Both
The COVID-19 vaccine is typically administered in two separate doses. The second is usually given three weeks after the first.
The first dose is meant to allow your body to recognize the virus and prepare your immune system. The second dose strengthens your immune response. This gives your body a better chance at fighting infection.
Studies using Pfizer’s vaccine found that the first dose was around 52% effective while the second increased effectiveness to 95%.
All recipients should be aware that it can take a few weeks for the body to develop immunity after vaccination, so you could become infected during that time. It is best to continue social distancing and wearing masks when in public or around others.
You Still Need to Get the Vaccine if You Already Recovered from COVID-19
If you had COVID-19 and recovered, you may have some natural immunity. However, we don’t know how long this protection will last. Reinfection is possible and could lead to severe medical complications.
Experts recommend that people who have had COVID-19 in the past still get the vaccine. Reinfection is uncommon during the first 90 days after diagnosis. The vaccine should be administered to provide protection after that time.
You Can Still Get the COVID-19 Vaccine if You Can’t Pay the Administration Fee
Right now, the CDC website states that “cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.” While some healthcare providers charge an administration fee, reimbursement can be provided by the Provider Relief Fund managed by the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Your health insurance company will likely cover the cost in most cases. If you are uninsured, then you can still receive the vaccine with the help of the relief fund. Please note that this could change in the future as distribution expands and high-priority recipients are vaccinated.
You May Experience Some Side Effects After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine may come with side effects for some patients. This is a normal reaction as your body begins building up protection from the virus. The most common side effects include high fever, headaches, body aches, and exhaustion.
Dr. Sandra Fryhofer with the American Medical Association stated that “We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” when discussing vaccination. Patients should plan accordingly before getting vaccinated to allow their body the best opportunity to build protection.
You Cannot Be Infected by COVID-19 As a Result of Getting Vaccinated
The COVID-19 vaccine, just like other vaccines, does not contain the live virus. You cannot be infected by receiving the shot.
However, patients should remember that it is possible to become infected prior to getting vaccinated or during weeks immediately afterward. Your body needs time to build up immunity. You should continue to practice social distancing and other safety measures before and after getting vaccinated.
We Don’t Yet Know How Long Immunity Will Last After Vaccination
COVID-19 is a new thing for everyone. There is much we don’t yet know, but medical professionals and experts are doing their best to learn. It is impossible to say exactly how long immunity will last after receiving the vaccine or after recovering from the virus.
That’s why it is best to continue using caution until we know more about the virus, new strains, and immunity. Data is being gathered from real-world conditions as we speak and will hopefully provide valuable insight into how to overcome the pandemic. In the meantime, we have to use what information and resources we currently have to mitigate risk and minimize the impact of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Supply is Expected to Increase in the Coming Months
The world was blindsided by the pandemic. While we have made significant progress with the creation of the vaccines, distribution is still being worked out. Medical professionals and high-risk people are prioritized, which means others may have to wait longer.
Many state and local governments have developed distribution plans for their communities. Eventually, we will all have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. In the meantime, we should do what we can to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus.
If you have questions about safety and assisted living, let us know. You can visit our website or follow our blog for more information on senior care.