COVID-19 Vaccine Information
What do I need to know about COVID-19 vaccines?
The first COVID-19 vaccine to receive emergency use authorization in the United States was the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is for use in people 16 years of age or older and is administered in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. The second vaccine to receive emergency use authorization was the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The Moderna vaccine is for use in people 18 years of age or older and is administered in 2 doses, 1 month apart. The most common expected side effects of these vaccines include pain at the injection site, tiredness, muscle pain, headache, chills, joint pain, and fever. Side effects should be expected, and these side effects will go away within a few days.
Both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of the manufacturer of the vaccine, are recommended. One dose is not enough. Also, you should receive the same brand of vaccine for both injections. Mixing doses from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is not recommended. It's important to note that these COVID-19 vaccines are believed to be effective against the newest, more contagious variant of the virus, which was identified in late 2020.
How can I get a vaccine?
The CDC has recommended that vaccines first be distributed to health care workers and long-term care facility (i.e., nursing home) residents, followed by essential workers, people over 65, and people ages 16 to 74 with underlying medical conditions. The vaccine recommendations will expand as more doses of the vaccine are available. Vaccination distributions are being coordinated by Ventura County Public Health, and you may find out more information about vaccination availability by checking Ventura County Recovers. At this time we are not planning to administer this vaccine in our office.
The COVID-19 vaccine studies included people with medical conditions such as chronic lung disease, diabetes, and obesity, but they did not include people with cancer or those receiving cancer treatment. It is still uncertain if immunocompromised patients with cancer will develop immunity in response to vaccination. This means that the safety and efficacy of the vaccine in people with cancer or those undergoing cancer treatment is unknown at this time.
Experts agree that the COVID-19 vaccine may be recommended for people with cancer, cancer survivors, and those currently on cancer treatment, including chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The only people who should not be offered the vaccine are those who may have a harmful reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to a specific vaccine component. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live virus vaccine so the vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection. Once you have been vaccinated, you should still follow all the same precautions against COVID-19, including wearing masks and social distancing. The virus will remain in the community until the majority of residents are vaccinated, so these precautions are critical to preventing continued spread of the virus.
Adapted from Cancer.net for VCHOS