COVID-19 Vaccination Information

 

Background

On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged 16 years and older for the prevention of COVID-19.  On December 12, 2020, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)  met to discuss and approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.

Pfizer’s vaccine uses novel messenger-RNA, or mRNA, technology, which contains genetic information about the pathogen (COVID-19). This information is designed to “train” the body to identify and block the virus spike protein or recognize a virus-infected cell. The immune system responds by attacking the virus.

The State of Hawaii has put together a COVID-19 Vaccination Plan that will provide operational and logistical guidance for coordinating a statewide effort.

The Queen's Health Systems COVID-19 Infoline (808-691-2619) is available to anyone who has questions about the vaccine.  It is available Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

 

Quick Facts

  • 43,538 people received the vaccine as part of a clinical trial study
  • The study saw no serious safety concerns for those who received the vaccine
  • The vaccine was proven effective across all ethnicities
  • The vaccine has met the safety milestones set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

Source: Pfizer

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:  Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

A:  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) strongly recommends you get vaccinated. The vaccine will help protect you from getting COVID-19. If you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you.

 

Q:  Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

A:  No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

 

Q:  If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

A:  Yes. The CDC recommends you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.

 

Q:  Can my child get vaccinated for COVID-19?

A:  No. More studies need to be conducted before COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for children aged 16 and younger.

 

Q:  Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

A:  Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

 

Q:  Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

A:  No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

 

Q:  Why do I need two COVID-19 shots?

A:  Currently authorized vaccines, and most vaccines under development, require two doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot, given 21 days later, strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.

 

Q:  Will the shot hurt or make me sick?

A:  There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.

 

Q:  Are there long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. At least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it is unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.

 

Q:  How do I know if the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

A:  All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. The CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.

 

Q:  Should I get the vaccine if I am immunocompromised?

A:  People with HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions, or who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at an increased risk for severe COVID-19.  Data is not currently available to establish safety and efficacy of the vaccine in these groups.  These individuals may still receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless otherwise contraindicated.  Individuals should be counseled about: unknown vaccine safety and efficacy profiles in immunocompromised persons, potential for reduced immune responses, need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19.

 

Q:  Should I get the vaccine if I am pregnant?

A:  There is no data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women.  Studies are ongoing and more are planned.  If a woman is part of a group (e.g., healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is pregnant, she may choose to be vaccinated. A discussion with her healthcare provider can help her make an informed decision. Considerations for vaccination: level of COVID-19 community transmission, risk of acquisition – her personal risk of contracting COVID-19 (by occupation or other activities), the risks of COVID-19 to her and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, the known side effects of the vaccine, the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy.

 

Q:  If I am breastfeeding should I get the vaccine?

A:  There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion.  mRNA vaccines are not considered live virus vaccines and are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.  If a lactating woman is part of a group (e.g., healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, she may choose to be vaccinated.

 

Q:  How do I report problems or bad reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  All recipients who receive the vaccine are encouraged to enroll in v-safe https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html.  This is a smartphone tool you can use to tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you report serious side effects, someone from the CDC will call to follow up.

 

Adopted from:  https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/acip/meetings/downloads/slides-2020-12/slides-12-12/COVID-03-Mbaeyi.pdf

 

Resources

Hawaii State Department of Health:  https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/

Centers for Disease Control:  https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/index.html

Food & Drug Administration:  https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19


12/12/2020

Queen's provides an update on its vaccination plans for receiving, storing, and administering the COVID-19 vaccine to its employees.

Click on the image below to view a story from the Star Advertiser:


12/05/2020
 
The Queen's Medical Center was the first hospital in Hawaiʻi to conduct a drill with the state Department of Health on the proper receipt, handling and storage of the Pfizer vaccine.
 

Click on the image below to view a clip from Hawaii News Now: