COVID-19 Vaccine: What Seniors Need to Know

Many states have begun the process of vaccinating the public against COVID-19. Seniors are some of the first in line for the two authorized vaccinations, and we know there is a lot of varying information circulating about the vaccines, their efficacy, and their side effects. We're here to answer your questions and bust some myths about the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Your Questions Answered

How will I know when I can get my COVID-19 vaccine?

Check your State Health Department for information on when you will be able to receive your vaccine. States are organizing their vaccination efforts to best meet the needs of their citizens.


Will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test after I get my COVID-19 vaccine?

No. None of the authorized vaccines or any of the vaccines currently in clinical trials will make you test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test.


Do I still need to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have already had COVID-19 and recovered?

Yes. Re-infection is a risk and can cause severe health issues. You should get vaccinated even if you have recovered from COVID-19.


Is the COVID-19 Vaccine really free?

Yes. The US government has invested $10 billion to research, produce, and distribute the vaccine for free. 


Can I receive the vaccine if I am uninsured? 

Yes. The US Department of Health and Human Services has ensured that everyone will be able to receive a free vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund. 


Is it safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying health condition?

Most likely, unless you have had an allergic reaction to one of the ingredients in the vaccine. Check with your doctor if you are worried about an underlying health condition and click here for more information from the CDC


Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. Confusion arose because of the “mRNA” name of the vaccine, but COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will not change your DNA in any way. Read on to learn more about how mRNA vaccines work.


What is an mRNA Vaccine?

mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. They teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. The first two vaccines authorized for use in America are mRNA vaccines. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. The vaccines work with immune cells to create proteins that will help build an immune response and make antibodies. Watch the video below to learn more about how the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine works:

What to Expect After Your Vaccine

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Since there are multiple authorized vaccines, the side effects may vary. Reported side effects include pain and swelling at the site of the vaccination, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue.

You will most likely experience mild to moderate side effects after getting vaccinated. While it has been widely reported that people are experiencing anaphylaxis as a result of their vaccination, the case numbers are very low. According to the CDC, there have only been 21 cases of anaphylaxis in over 1,800,000 vaccinations. 

It is recommended that you call your doctor if the redness and swelling in your arm increases more that 24 hours after your vaccination, or if you have side effects that persist for more than two days.

Be sure to ask your medical provider when to schedule your second shot. You may be able to schedule an appointment when you go to receive your first dose of the vaccine. You will need to get your second dose 21 days after your first shot if you receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. If you receive the Moderna vaccine you will need to return 1 month (or 28 days) after your first shot for your second dose.


Using Your Smartphone to Monitor Your Health

The CDC has created a vaccine monitoring app called V-Safe. The app will provide you with personalized check ins after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine. V-Safe will use text messages and web surveys to monitor your health and send a reminder when it’s time to schedule your second vaccine. You will need the vaccination record card provided to you during your vaccination and your smartphone to register. Click here when you’re ready to register for V-Safe. You will begin to receive mid-afternoon reminders for your check-ins once you are registered. Learn more about V-Safe by clicking here

Remember, you can check your State Health Department to find out when you will be able to receive your vaccine. Many states have already started administering vaccines to seniors. We must continue to practice the CDC guidelines put out earlier in the year if we are going to end the COVID-19 pandemic. For the health of ourselves and others, we must continue to wear a mask, wash our hands frequently, and practice social distancing.

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