Idaho, Utah and Wyoming Coronavirus Vaccine FAQ

Sterling Urgent Care has developed this FAQ to answer commonly asked questions about coronavirus vaccine and vaccinations in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. The information contained in this FAQ represents the latest guidance and findings from the Centers for Disease Control, the Untied States Food and Drug Administration and health departments in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

For state-specific information on COVID vacinations, please see our state-specific pages:

Idaho Coronavirus Vaccine Information

Utah Coronavirus Vaccine Information

Wyoming Coronavirus Vaccine Information

 

Updated January 2021 

Answers to Common Coronavirus Vaccine Questions

What is the coronavirus vaccine?

Coronavirus vaccines have been developed to reduce the risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. There are several different vaccines in varying stages of development and release. Vaccines developed by Moderna as well as Pfizer and German drugmaker BioNTech received Emergency Use Authorizations from the United States Food and Drug Administration in December2020 and are available based on priority lists created by the states of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.

Who can get the coronavirus vaccine?

Vaccine distribution is determined by state health officials. Please see our Idaho Vaccine Information, Utah Vaccine Information and Wyoming Vaccine Information pages for the latest guidance.

Is the COVID vaccine safe?

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID vaccine has been through three stages of clinical trials during which more than 40,000 people received two doses. No significant adverse effects were reported, though some people experienced pain at the injection site or flulike symptoms, including fatigue and muscle aches, for a day or two after getting an injection.

The vaccine has been authorized for use in persons over the age of 16.People under the age of 16, pregnant or lactating women and people with a history of severe allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, should not get the vaccine at this time.

Should anyone avoid the COVID vaccine?

Pregnant women, lactating women and children under 16 years of age should not receive coronavirus vaccine at this time. Additional clinical trials are needed to determine safety in these groups. Women who are planning to become pregnant or who are receiving fertility treatments should talk to their doctors about the coronavirus vaccine, particularly if they have health conditions that put them at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19.

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Do I still need the coronavirus vaccine?

Health officials recommend waiting for 90 days (3 months) after a COVID-19 diagnosis before getting the coronavirus vaccine. The vaccine is recommended even for those who have been diagnosed with COVID, as there is little known about how long antibodies from a COVID-19 infection last. Additional data should be released to address this question in the coming months.

Why should I get the coronavirus vaccine?

COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, can be fatal for people of all ages. Some people who get the virus never get symptoms but are still able to infect others. By getting vaccinated, you reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and spreading it to others. You will be helping your community dramatically reduce the number of infections so that restrictions on gathering and activities can be lifted in the future.

Does the coronavirus vaccine work?

In clinical trials, the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine also prevented people who were infected from developing the most severe symptoms.

At this point in time, we do not know if these results will continue as millions of people are vaccinated. Most epidemiologists expect the effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccine to be a bit lower than the results from clinical trials, but it is still expected to provide good protection against infection and serious illness.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved by the FDA?

The COVID-19 vaccine has been given an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the United States Food and Drug Administration. This is not an approval and no COVID-19 vaccine has been FDA approved. The EUA is a step toward full authorization.

What is the difference between FDA Authorization and FDA Approval?

An FDA-approved vaccine is one that has been thoroughly researched with its short- and long-term effects documented. Flu vaccines, mumps vaccines and TDAP vaccines are all FDA authorized and safe for use in the overwhelming majority of people.

An FDA-authorized vaccine, like the current COVID-19 vaccine, has not been fully studied and documented, but it is believed that it will not harm people and that providing it will protect public health. Emergency Use Authorizations like the one for the COVID-19 vaccine are commonly issued by the FDA when a clinical study shows strong results and minimal side effects. This vaccine should be considered safe for people over the age of 16 except for women who are pregnant or lactating. There is currently no research on the effectiveness or safety of the vaccine in people under the age of 16, including infants. Additional guidance for kids and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be available in 2021.

People with a history of severe allergies, including anaphylaxis, are advised to speak to their physicians before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the COVID vaccine make me immune to coronavirus?

Vaccines very rarely offer full immunity to any virus. During clinical trials, the COVID vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech has been found to be 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 infections. It also reduced the severity of symptoms in people who were infected. The vaccine should be considered good protection against the worst outcomes from a coronavirus infection, but it does not offer total immunity.

How long does the coronavirus vaccine last?

Researchers simply do not know how long antibodies from the coronavirus vaccine will last. This is because SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus that is believed to have circulated in humans for a little more than a year. Because of this, researchers only have about a year of data. Additional guidance on how long coronavirus vaccine lasts is expected in the coming months.

If I get a COVID vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask and social distance?

Even with a COVID vaccine, you will need to wear a mask and social distance until state health authorities determine it is safe enough to lift restrictions. You should continue to social distance from people who are not part of your immediate household. You could still become an asymptomatic COVID-19 carrier, or have mild COVID-19 symptoms and spread the virus even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

How does the coronavirus vaccine work?

The coronavirus vaccine stimulates the creation of antibodies that can identify and destroy the spike protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses to invade human cells. The vaccine does this by exposing your immune system to simulated spike proteins made from Messenger RNA (MRNA), a simple genetic molecule.

There is no active coronavirus, weakened coronavirus or fragments of coronavirus in any vaccine currently authorized for use in the United States by the United States Food and Drug Administration. You cannot become infected with coronavirus by the vaccine.

Why is the COVID vaccine kept at very cold temperatures?

The Pfizer and BioNTech COVID vaccine must be kept at temperatures of -94 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This is because the Messenger RNA (MRNA) that stimulates the human immune response is very fragile and will break down quickly in the vaccine solution at warmer temperatures. This does not happen in the human body.

How will I know if the coronavirus vaccine I receive was kept cold enough?

All distributors of the Pfizer BioNTech coronavirus vaccine are required to keep detailed storage and use records for every dose of vaccine. If the vaccine becomes too warm for too long, it is destroyed.

I have severe allergies. Should I get the coronavirus vaccine?

There were two cases of allergic reactions to the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on the first day it was offered in the United Kingdom. Both affected individuals had a history of severe allergies including anaphylaxis. 

Health officials in the United Kingdom and in the United States have advised people with a history of severe allergies to discuss getting the vaccine with their healthcare providers. Pfizer and BioNTech are currently investigating those allergic reactions, which were not life-threatening, to try and understand why they occurred.

I have Giullian-Barré Syndrome. Is the COVID vaccine safe for me?

People with Giullian-Barré Syndrome should talk to their healthcare providers and review their medical history before getting the COVID vaccine. If you have a history of severe reactions to vaccines, including neurological reactions or anaphylaxis, you may want to avoid getting the COVID vaccine at this time. Your healthcare provider can help you make the best choice based on your medical history.

I have an egg allergy. Is the coronavirus vaccine safe for me?

Eggs are not used to make the coronavirus vaccine, so it is believed to be safe for people with egg allergies. If you have any kind of severe allergy, you should speak to your doctor before you get the coronavirus vaccine to review potential risks. You may want to get vaccinated in a clinical setting, such as your doctor’s office or a hospital, instead of at a pharmacy or vaccine distribution event.

I have a compromised immune system. Should I get the vaccine?

Updated gudiance from the United States Centers for Disease Control recommends COVID-19 vaccination for people with compromised immune systems and autoimmune disorders. The effectiveness of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19 infection or severe symptoms is not known at this time.

Does the coronavirus vaccine cause Bell's Palsy?

Some people experienced Bell’s Palsy during the clinical trials for coronvirus vaccines. The number of Bell’s Palsy cases were not statistically higher than those found in the general population, so researchers have not established a clear link between these cases and the vaccines. Bell’s Palsy is a weakness in muscles on one side of the face. In the majority of cases, it is temporary and clears up within a few weeks.

If you have ever experienced a significant reaction to a vaccine, including anaphylaxis, you should speak to your physician before receiving coronavirus vaccines.