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Basic COVID-19 Vaccine Answers

  • Category: COVID-19
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Basic COVID-19 Vaccine Answers

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Please note: The COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available for the general public. It has been made available only to healthcare workers. As soon as we have details about vaccinating the community, we will share it. If you have immunization questions, you can call the Monterey County Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 831-769-8700. Get more information on this topic.

The arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccine has created a sense of hope and optimism for getting the current surge of cases under control. However, it has also created a lot of questions from the community. Here are a few common questions that our medical staff has been asked about lately.

What does the vaccine do?

The COVID-19 vaccine can help you avoid getting COVID-19, a disease caused by a new type of coronavirus. You will need two doses of the vaccines currently available, and you might need additional "booster" doses later on to help you stay protected. The vaccine prevents most cases of COVID-19, but if you do still catch COVID-19, your symptoms will probably be less severe than if you hadn't gotten the vaccine.

Can the vaccine make me sick?

You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine since it does not contain the live virus. Furthermore, the risk of serious problems from the vaccine is very low. You might not have any side effects from the vaccine at all. If you do, they will probably be a lot like the common side effects of other vaccines. Side effects could include symptoms like a slight fever, muscle aches and soreness. These side effects don't last too long, and they can be treated if they bother you. If they don’t go away over time or become more serious, consult a medical professional.

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine?

We encourage everyone who is medically able to get the vaccine to get it as soon as it becomes available to the general public. The more people who get vaccinated, the better we'll be able to stop the spread of the virus and return to a more normal lifestyle.

The vaccine is extremely important for people who are at high risk. This includes people who may be exposed to COVID-19 more often because of their jobs. It also includes people who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19 if they catch it. Some examples of people at high risk include those who:

  • Work in healthcare.
  • Are considered essential workers.
  • Have certain health conditions.
  • Are older than age 65.

If you've already had COVID-19, you may still be able to catch it again. Getting the vaccine may provide extra protection.

Why is it a good idea to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the best ways to help stop the pandemic. Getting vaccinated as soon as you can will help protect you from the virus. It will also help you protect people around you from the virus—people who could really be hurt, including those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. In fact, the risk of serious problems from COVID-19 is much higher than the risk of serious problems from the vaccine. For the vast majority of people, it’s far safer to get the vaccine than it is to risk catching COVID-19.

What should I do next?

Stay informed about the vaccine by following trusted news sources and agencies, such as the CDC or California Department of Public Health. Salinas Valley Health will share regular updates as more information becomes available. When the vaccine is made available to you, please get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

In addition, remember that even though a vaccine is becoming available you still need to follow all safety guidelines until public officials instruct you to do otherwise. Always remember to wear your mask, practice physical distancing and don’t gather indoors with people who don’t live in your immediate household.

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