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Getting your COVID-19 Vaccine at Esperanza

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Updated November 30, 2021

Update regarding booster shots: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 18+ get their booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. See below for eligibility.

  • You should receive your booster shot at least 6 months after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • You should receive your booster shot at least 2 months after the initial Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Update regarding COVID-19 Vaccines for Children: 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA for children 5-15 years of age to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends vaccinating your children 5+ as soon as possible.

 

Esperanza Health Centers now has several COVID-19 vaccine options for you! Text VAX to (773) 207-3133 to schedule your appointment or call us at (773) 584-6200.

 

DO I NEED TO BRING AN ID?  You do NOT need to bring an official government-issued ID to get your vaccine, but we do need something with your name and address, like a piece of mail or a bill.  The reason we ask for this is simply to verify the identity of the person receiving the vaccine. We will not ask about your immigration status. The vaccine is administered at not cost to you regardless of your insurance, income, or immigration status.


 

Your COVID-19 vaccine questions

 

Can I "mix and match" my booster dose?

Yes, if you completed the primary vaccination of any available COVID-19 vaccine and fall into the recommended categories (see above), you may receive a booster dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines provided you received your Moderna or Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago or you received your Janssen vaccine at least two months ago.

 

I heard that I may need a 3rd vaccine dose. Is this true?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised be offered a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after their initial two doses (28 days after a second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine).  You may qualify if any of the following apply to you:


•    You're receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood,
•    You received an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressant drugs,
•    You've received a stem cell transplant in the past 2 years or are taking immunosuppressant drugs
•    You have moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency,
•    You have advanced or untreated HIV infection, or
•    You are receiving active treatment with corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress the immune response


If you are NOT immunocompromised, you may be eligible for something called a “booster shot” which is currently recommended for people who were fully vaccinated with the PFIZER or MODERNA vaccine at least six months ago or more, or received the Johnson & Johnson/JANSSEN vaccine at least two months ago or more. More details on eligibility above.

 

Are these vaccines effective?

According to data from the clinical trials, all vaccines were shown to be highly protective against severe COVID-19, hospitalization and death.  While there is some evidence that the vaccines may be somewhat less effective against the more contagious Delta variant, they still confer substantial protection against severe illness and death and are considered a vital tool to protect your health.
 

Are these vaccines safe?

Over the past few months, millions of people have received a COVID-19 vaccine across the United States without any significant safety concerns. Vaccines were well tolerated by most recipients and are considered safe.

On very rare occasions, there have been cases of heart or heart lining inflammation (myocarditis or pericarditis) among recipients of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, usually reported a few days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.  If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or the sensation of fast beating or pounding heart after receiving either of these two vaccines, please seek medical attention right away.

There have also been rare reports of blood clots developing in persons who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, usually a week or two after their vaccine and usually in females ages 18-49.  If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath, swelling in the legs, persistent abdominal pain, severe headaches or tiny blood spots under the skin, please seek medical attention right away.
 

Are these vaccines safe for pregnant and/or lactating patients?

Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine recommend that COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant, lactating, and non-lactating individuals. 
 

Are these vaccines safe for children?

The Pfizer vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization for children ages 5 to 15 and has been fully approved by the FDA for children 16 to 18.  As with adults, the risk of developing myocarditis or pericarditis is considered extremely low. Children less than 5 years of age should not be given a COVID-19 vaccine until more information is known.

 

How does the vaccine against COVID-19 work?

Vaccines have existed for hundreds of years and they all work by activating our immune systems to create defenses against specific diseases. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines act in the same way. They use a molecule (called mRNA) that instructs our bodies to create a single, harmless protein that is found in the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  When our immune system detects this protein, it will begin to create antibodies capable of destroying it, thus giving us immunity against the COVID-19 virus and keeping us healthy.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.  
 

Can these vaccines make me sick with COVID-19?

The only thing that can make you sick with COVID-19 is live SARS-CoV-2 virus. None of the COVID-19 vaccines use any live virus and, therefore, cannot make you sick.
 

Will I experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects are not uncommon when you receive any vaccine and the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are no exception. While most side effects are mild and tend to resolve in about a day, severe side effects can result when you have a strong immune response to the vaccine. In the Moderna trial the most common side effects were fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, and headache while among those who received the Pfizer vaccine, severe side effects included fatigue and headache.
 

How long will I be protected from COVID-19?

Some vaccines give us lifelong immunity while others protect us for only a short period of time (that is why we get a flu shot every year). While we do not yet know how long immunity lasts from a COVID-19 vaccine, remember, any amount of protection could make a huge difference in keeping us and our families healthy and slowing the spread of the pandemic. As we learn more about COVID-19 immunity, we will update with more information.
 

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the U.S. can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response – the goal of vaccination – there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
 

How much will the vaccine cost?

Federal health officials have said that any approved COVID-19 vaccine will be free to everyone who wants one in 2020 and 2021, regardless of your insurance status. Vaccines will be covered under Medicare and Medicaid.
 

How are the vaccines delivered?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require TWO (2) doses administered three to four weeks apart to give you immunity against COVID-19, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires ONE (1) dose. The shot is administered in your upper arm/shoulder area.
 

REMEMBER: a vaccine is not a treatment for COVID-19 and it is not a cure. It is designed to protect you from getting COVID-19 and becoming sick. Just because we will soon have a vaccine does NOT mean you can start to ignore mask wearing, social distancing, or public health guidance on indoor gatherings. Now, more than ever, we are asking you to take these measures seriously.