The coronavirus vaccine has been approved, and it may be available to the general public within the next few months.
The Arkansas plan will begin with vaccines for healthcare workers, first responders, and essential leaders in the government. Next will come people at higher risk, including the elderly, poultry plant workers, school employees, and workers in prisons. Then workers at universities, care homes, police departments, and other high-risk individuals will be vaccinated.
After this stage, vaccinations will be available to the population at large. The plan has special concern for the Marshallese community, homeless people, and people with underlying conditions that could make them more vulnerable.
Here are some things you should know.
- The Food and Drug Administration has approved the fast-tracked vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. Other companies including AstraZeneca are also working on vaccines.
- Up to one out of three patients may experience mild side effects from the vaccine including fatigue, headaches, chills, and fever. This is not an infection; it is just your immune system in action. Adverse reactions are more common with the second dose of vaccine and injection site pain is also common. These are common side effects of vaccinations and do not have long-term effects. The COVID-19 vaccine does not use the coronavirus, and you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
- Younger people seem to be more likely to get side effects from the vaccine than older people. In the trials, people 18 to 55 experienced more side effects.
- The vaccine requires two doses to work. A second dose must be given three to four weeks after the first. More research is needed, but at this point, the vaccines will require two doses. The companies making the vaccines are working out a variety of plans for reminding people to get their second dose of the vaccine, including cards and text messages.
- People who have already had COVID-19 might still need the vaccination. Some people have gotten reinfected by the coronavirus after having one bout of the ailment. If you’ve had COVID-19 already, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should have the vaccine.
MANA clinics will inform patients as soon as we receive the vaccine. We are not scheduling appointments at this time. For more information, see COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions.