INFO FOR UD & EXTENSION STAFF
What are your thoughts and feelings about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Take a few moments and watch the following video featuring two highly respected members of our UD community: Dr. Joan Coker, Physician and University Trustee, and Dr. Tim Dowling, Physician and Director, Student Health Services, where they discuss their views on the vaccines and where to get trusted information, Building Community Through Vaccine Confidence.
Getting the vaccine is one of the many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Protection from COVID-19 is critically important because for some people, COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death.
Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight off the virus if you are exposed. After you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you may be able to start doing some things that you stopped doing because of the pandemic. You should keep taking precautions in public places or when you are with unvaccinated people from more than one household.
Getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. For additional information, visit the official CDC vaccine webpage.
The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
The Delta variant is more contagious: The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people.
Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern:
The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others. CDC is continuing to assess data on whether fully vaccinated people with asymptomatic breakthrough infections can transmit the virus.
Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time:
For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had breakthrough infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.
The FDA finally did authorize the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster, it was only for certain adults — those over 65 and others at high risk of severe COVID-19 — at least six months after their last dose.
Who needs the booster: If you're immunocompromised or can't mount a strong immune response to the vaccine, you need a third shot of the mRNA vaccines to protect against severe disease or hospitalization.
Advantage to waiting: Right now the only booster available uses the same variant of the virus as the one found in the first two doses of the vaccine — that is, the booster shot encodes for a piece of the original variant of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
2021-2022 FLU SEASON
- Flu viruses are constantly changing so it’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year.
- The timing of flu is difficult to predict and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Reduced population immunity due to lack of flu virus activity since March 2020 could result in an early and possibly severe flu season
- You should not wait for flu activity to be rising or high in your community to get a flu vaccine. September and October are generally good times to be vaccinated and ideally, everyone should be vaccinated before the end of October. While flu activity may be low in your community now, it could begin increasing at any time. Remember, after you are vaccinated, your body takes about two weeks to develop antibodies that protect against flu. Ideally, you should get vaccinated against flu by the end of October.
FLU VACCINE AND COVID
Efforts to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have led to a decrease in routine preventive medical services, including immunization services. Ensuring that routine vaccination is maintained or reinitiated during the COVID-19 pandemic is essential for protecting individuals and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases and outbreaks. Routine vaccination prevents illnesses that lead to unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations and further strain the healthcare system. For the 2021–2022 influenza season, influenza vaccination will be paramount to reduce the impact of respiratory illnesses attributed to influenza and resulting burdens on the healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Communicating the importance of vaccination to patients and parents/caregivers, as well as the safety protocols and procedures outlined in this guidance, can help reassure those who may otherwise be hesitant to present for vaccination visits.
Annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months and older to decrease morbidity and mortality caused by influenza. Healthcare personnel should consult current influenza vaccine recommendations for guidance around the timing of administration and use of specific vaccines.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure. Thus, healthcare personnel should use every opportunity during the influenza season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons, including:
Essential workers: Healthcare personnel, including staff in post-acute and long-term care facilities, as well as pharmacy staff, and other critical infrastructure workforce
Persons at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19: Including adults aged 65 years and older, residents in post-acute and long-term care facilities, and persons of all ages with certain underlying medical conditions. In addition, severe illness from COVID-19 disproportionately affects members of certain racial and ethnic minority groups.
Persons at high risk for influenza complications: Including infants aged 6 months and older and young children less than 5 years of age, children with neurologic conditions, pregnant people, adults aged 65 years and older, and other persons with certain underlying medical conditions
It is important to counsel patients about the risk of self-limited side effects after influenza vaccination, including local reactions, such as redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site, and systemic reactions, which include fever, chills, headache, and body aches. If they occur, such side effects normally resolve within 72 hours after vaccination. Because of concerns about COVID-19, if a vaccine recipient develops fever after vaccination, they should stay home until they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. Influenza vaccination does not cause respiratory symptoms common in COVID-19, such as cough or shortness of breath. If the vaccine recipient develops new symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., cough or shortness of breath), or if fever does not resolve within 72 hours of vaccination without the use of fever-reducing medications, the recipient should contact their healthcare provider. If the patient develops emergency warning signs for COVID-19, they should seek emergency medical care immediately.
FLU VACCINE & COVID VACCINE
COVID-19 vaccines may be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines on the same day. It is not known if the reactogenicity of COVID-19 vaccines is increased with coadministration, including with other vaccines known to be more reactogenic, such as adjuvanted vaccines. When deciding whether to administer an(other) vaccine(s) with a COVID-19 vaccine, vaccination providers should consider whether the patient is behind or at risk of becoming behind on recommended vaccines, their risk of vaccine-preventable disease (e.g., during an outbreak or occupational exposures), and the reactogenicity profile of the vaccines.
If multiple vaccines are administered at a single visit, administer each injection in a different injection site. For adolescents and adults, the deltoid muscle can be used for more than one intramuscular injection administered at different sites in the muscle.
Comparing available vaccines
Johnson & Johnson
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shot in the muscle
shot in the muscle
shot in the muscle
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|How well it works||
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How the vaccines work
The COVID-19 vaccines allow us to develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different vaccines work in different ways, however like all vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory cells” that will remember how to fight the infection in the future.
It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to produce these “memory cells”. Therefore, it is possible to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccination did not have enough time to provide protection
After vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. This is completely normal and is a sign that the body is building immunity to the virus.
mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of this harmless protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that this protein is not supposed to be there, and build “memory cells” that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future.
Vector vaccines contain a modified version of a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19. Inside the shell of the modified virus, is material from the virus that causes COVID-19. This is called “viral vector”. Once the viral vector is inside of our cells, the cells receive instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Our cells then make copies of that protein. This prompts our bodies to make “memory cells” that will remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future.
- The vaccine will protect you from becoming infected with the virus, and from getting severely ill if you are diagnosed with COVID-19.
The vaccine is both SAFE and EFFECTIVE!
Through rigorous evaluations, the vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are 94% effective and safe across a wide diversity of racial and ethnic groups.
Even though the vaccine was developed quickly, no corners were cut.
The vaccine was strictly monitored by the FDA, and more people than is standard volunteered for trials to speed up the testing process.
The CDC still monitors the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine through the use of technology.
- You can get the vaccine with confidence!
In the arm where you got the shot:
Throughout the rest of your body:
These side effects happen within a day or two of getting the vaccine. They are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away within a few days.
In clinical trials, reactogenicity symptoms (side effects that happen within 7 days of getting vaccinated) were common but were mostly mild. Some people had side effects that affected their ability to do daily activities.
Side effects (such as fever, chills, tiredness, and headache) throughout the body were more common after the second dose of the vaccine.
The Vaccine does not affect fertility or DNA. It does not make you magnetic.
There isn’t any evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause female or male fertility problems.
COVID-19 vaccines will not make you magnetic because they do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field.
The materials in COVID-19 vaccines never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where DNA is located. Therefore, they do not interact with your DNA or change it in any way.
Pfizer vaccine now approved by the FDA for ages 12-15 as well as 16+ Delaware is currently working on informational materials and preparing to make the vaccine available to this newest group of vaccine –eligible people.
Where can our 12-15 year olds get their Pfizer vaccinations?*
Nemours & ChristianaCare hospital systems
DPH public health clinics and new vaccination clinics
*Written parental consent is required to vaccinate individuals younger than 18 years old, however the parent is not required to be on site with the child during the vaccination. ID for the minor child is not required.
Is it safe for my child to get the vaccine?
COVID-19 is a vaccine-preventable disease, just like measles, mumps and other childhood diseases. The vaccine is their best protection against it.
According to Pfizer, clinical trials involving 2,260 12-to-16-year-olds showed its efficacy is 100%.
No cases of coronavirus were found among children aged 12 to 15 who received the vaccine, while 16 cases were identified in the placebo group.
The children produced strong antibody responses; much higher levels compared to trial participants 16 – 25 years old according to trial data from Pfizer.
Why should I get my child vaccinated?
Children are not immune from COVID-19. 1.5 million cases, and more than 13,000 hospitalizations from the disease nationwide have been reported to the CDC among children ages 11-17. The vaccine is their best protection.
It’s particularly important to vaccinate children in this age group with underlying health conditions, or those who live with those who do. These individuals, including vulnerable seniors, are all at higher risk for severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
While youth are less likely to be hospitalized, 61% of those who were had at least one underlying health condition.
- As more people get vaccinated, adolescents represent an increasing proportion of recent COVID-19 cases.
Overcoming the fear
Seek professional help. A professional therapist has knowledge and experience in helping people with phobias, such as fear of needles. A therapist can help explore the roots of your fear and offer coping skills and techniques, such as cognitive behavior therapy or exposure therapy.
Ask your doctor about medication to help manage anxiety. Some patients benefit from a topical anesthetic to numb their arm before the shot.
Look at positive posts and photos of people holding their COVID-19 vaccination cards. This may help you associate the vaccine with positive feelings.
Practice deep breathing exercises (this can help you cope during your vaccine appointment, too).
Focus on the benefits of the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and effective tool to protect yourself and your family against a virus that has wreaked havoc in our lives for more than a year.
After making your appointment:
Bring someone trusted with you for support. Some vaccination centers may not allow it, but you can ask ahead of time for a special exception.
Tell the nurse about your fears before getting the shot. The nurse may be able to explain the steps, count down, etc. to give you a sense of control.
If you feel faint, tense your muscles or make a fist. You may even ask the nurse if you can get the shot lying down or stay for a few minutes after it, to prevent fainting.
Don’t look. There’s no need to look at the needle, it will only increase your anxiety.
Distract yourself. Even though it will be over in seconds, distraction can help. Listen to a song or play a video on your phone, practice deep breathing, wiggle your toes, or tune into your senses.
Even after receiving the first and second dose of the vaccine, it is important to continue to protect yourself and others. While medical experts feel very confident that the COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from the virus and help get us all back to normal, it will take a large number of people getting the vaccine before our community can relax on following the golden rules that have helped protect Delawareans from getting coronavirus so far.
You must continue to:
- Follow outdoor masking guidance issued by the CDC. (effective May 21, 2021)
- Risk for COVID-19 spread increases in large crowds that include unvaccinated people. In those cases, CDC recommends that everyone continue to wear a mask.
- DPH may require masks for crowded venues and large gatherings including concerts, sporting events, etc.
Practice social distancing of at least 3 feet. (Lowered from 6 feet effective May 21, 2021)
Wash or sanitize your hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces frequently contacted by others.
Stay at home if you feel sick, experience symptoms, or think you have been exposed to COVID-19.