Informed Choices - When We Don't Have All the Answers Yet

We all want this pandemic to be over, and for life to get easier.

We're tired, and we want easy answers.

The reality is, it's complicated.

We're learning as fast as we can, and there's still a lot we don't know.

 

 Get up-to-date information to make your best decisions.

 

Click on the Highlighted Text in these sections for links to more info or resources.

(This page is updated frequently: current as of 15 June 2021) 

More and more COVID-19 vaccines are becoming available in the US

(currently Pfizer, Moderna, plus Johnson & Johnson getting restarted)

 

Vaccine is now at hospitals, nursing homes, public health sites & many pharmacies.

 

EVERYONE in the US age 12+ is eligible for vaccination. 

 

Getting vaccinated will DECREASE your RISK of getting COVID-19.

 

Even after you’ve been vaccinated, you are still at some risk.

It is still important to WEAR A MASK, WASH YOUR HANDS, and LIMIT EXPOSURE.

(from the CDC: What can I do once I'm fully vaccinated?)

 

WHAT WE KNOW and WHAT WE DON'T KNOW YET:

 

It is still not known how long the vaccine will last, or how often it may need to be repeated.

 

There is still a small chance that a vaccinated person can carry and spread the virus without being sick.

 

None of the vaccines are approved yet for children under age 12 - they are being studied, and we expect to be vaccinating younger kids later this year.

 

There are currently three versions of a vaccine currently available in the US:

Pfizer is an mRNA vaccine, given in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart

Moderna is an mRNA vaccine, given in 2 doses, 4 weeks apart

Johnson & Johnson is a DNA vaccine, given as a single dose

(J&J now restarted after learning more about some very rare but dangerous blood clots -

about one in a million people, mostly women between 16-50)

 

You should get the SAME version (Pfizer or Moderna) for BOTH your first and second shot.

 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was temporarily halted and now restarted in the US because of concerns about rare but very dangerous blood clots. This pause allowed us to gather more information, and make sure healthcare providers everywhere know all about these rare clots and how to treat them. (These very rare clots are different from typical blood clots, and require a different kind of specialized hospital treatment.) It is now considered safe to resume using this vaccine in general. It is not yet known whether women and all persons with estrogen (natural or supplemented) may be at higher risk for these rare clots. 

Rare but life-threatening ALLERGIC REACTIONS have happened with the COVID-19 vaccines - if you have a history of previous severe allergic reaction ("anaphylaxis"), and choose to get vaccinated, you should receive your vaccine in a hospital or facility with full “crash cart” emergency services, and should remain waiting there for at least 30 minutes after the shot.

 

SIDE EFFECTS may include muscle aches, fever, fatigue, and headache, and can last 1-3 days. These temporary, unpleasant-but-not-dangerous reactions can be treated with Tylenol or Ibuprofen, and seem to be more common after the 2nd dose. 

  

People with major diseases of the immune system, including autoimmune diseases, may be at slightly increased risk of immediate flares in their immune or autoimmune disease when they get vaccinated. We are still studying and watching for any long-term effects. On the other hand, people with major diseases of the immune system DO very clearly have a HIGH risk of hospitalization or death if they catch COVID-19 disease.

 

If you have previously tested positive for COVID-19 (whether you got sick or not), you can still get vaccinated. If you were severely ill (hospitalized or treated with IV medications), you should wait at least 90 days from when you first tested positive before getting the vaccine.

 

The vaccines currently available in the US are being distributed under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This is a fast-track process in response to a major public health crisis. There has not yet been enough time, information, or experience for these vaccines to receive full standard FDA approval. Expect information and recommendations to continue to evolve as we all learn more in the coming months and years.

Click here for QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT if you’re undecided about getting vaccinated

  

Learn more about each of the different COVID-19 Vaccines (from the CDC)

NYTimes: How the Pfizer vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)

NYTimes: How the Moderna vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)

NYTimes: How the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works (currently AVAILABLE in the US)

NYTimes: How the AstraZeneca vaccine works (not yet available in the US)

NYTimes: How the Novavax vaccine works (not yet available in the US)

 

 
 
 
 

Questions & Answers with the Plague Doctor

The Plague Doctor has traveled far across the realms and the ages to visit and answer your questions.

 

Click on each box below for a conversation.

 

Scroll farther down for more local resources, information and helpful links. 

Do YOU have a question for the Plague Doctor? Let us know! 

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LOCAL LINKS - click on the highlighted text to visit the link: