How can I best protect myself?
Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way to protect yourself from getting seriously ill from the virus. As variants — like the delta variant — emerge, we must also continue taking other important precautions that slow the spread of COVID-19. This may include:
- Wearing a face mask to protect yourself and others when you’re out in public.
- Practicing social distancing. Maintain a 6-foot distance from other people and avoid crowds.
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 15-20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue. Throw it in the trash when you’re done.
What are Grady’s mask guidelines?
We require that caregivers, patients, and visitors wear face masks in our facilities at all times. For everyone’s safety, your mask should fit snugly and cover your nose, mouth, and chin. We understand that having different guidelines at various places you go may be confusing, but we touch patients when they are most vulnerable. They trust us to keep them safe, and we thank you for also doing your part.
How Can I Get My COVID-19 Vaccine?
With the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, widespread vaccination is available in the community. Everyone ages 12+ can now get their vaccine. On August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
Grady hosts walk-in vaccinations with the Pfizer vaccine for anyone 12 and older. Come by the ground floor atrium Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and get your shot!
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes, we strongly encourage you to get it.
Given the speed of development of these vaccines, it’s understandable that there have been questions about whether or not there’s been enough research and testing to ensure the vaccines are safe. But all vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy, with at least two months of patient follow-up, and report their findings to the FDA.
Millions of people in the U.S. have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines have undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures safety before vaccines are made available. Data from large trials in patients are reviewed by experts who are completely independent from both the government and the manufacturers responsible for creating the vaccines. Additionally, the vaccines were tested in diverse patient groups (age, race, ethnicity, etc.) to ensure safety and effectiveness.
As with many vaccines, you may be sore where it’s injected. You may also develop fatigue, fever, and muscle aches afterward. This seems to be more common with the second dose of vaccine. If this happens, it means your immune system is taking notice of the vaccine and reacting.
How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
When you receive a COVID-19 vaccine, your body builds up the immunity it needs to fight the COVID-19 illness and lessen the mild-to-severe symptoms. It is important to remember that it takes the body a few weeks after vaccination to produce the necessary antibodies to protect you from COVID-19. It is possible to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 just before or just after vaccination and get sick with COVID-19.
Will the vaccines be effective against new variants of the coronavirus?
When more people are vaccinated, there are fewer chances for COVID-19 to spread, regardless of the mutation. Scientists expected that the virus would mutate because viruses change all the time. From the data that are currently available, the vaccines appear to be effective against the new strains of SARS-CoV-2.
Can I test positive for COVID-19 because of the vaccine?
No, it is impossible for any of the vaccines currently authorized by the FDA to cause a positive result from a viral test (a test taken to see if you have a current infection).
Additionally, none of the existing vaccines can give you COVID-19 because they do not use a live virus strain.
Can I stop wearing my mask after I’ve been vaccinated?
No, you need to continue masking when you go out in public until enough people have been vaccinated and “herd immunity” is reached. Herd immunity occurs when a high percentage of the population is immune to a disease through vaccination or prior illness. The vaccine is effective at preventing you from getting sick with COVID-19, but we do not know if it prevents you from being able to spread COVID-19 without symptoms. In order to prevent this “asymptomatic spread” to the vulnerable people in your community, continue to wear a mask,
Can vaccinated people still get COVID-19?
No vaccines are 100% effective. In fact, breakthrough cases (when someone tests positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they’re fully vaccinated) are expected. Breakthrough infections are more common in indoor settings with large groups of people, the elderly, and in individuals with compromised immune systems. However, the vaccines greatly reduce the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. For more information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
If I’ve had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?
Yes. However, you must wait 20 days after getting infected with COVID-19.
Can I get a booster/third dose?
Please ask your healthcare provider. The FDA updated the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. People who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are not immunocompromised do not need an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time. However, there are plans for third doses for all fully vaccinated individuals and we will continue to follow the guidance.
People who are immunocompromised have a reduced ability to fight infections and other diseases and are especially vulnerable to infections, including COVID-19.
The FDA evaluated information on the use of a third dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine and determined that a third dose may be moderately effective in increasing protective antibody titers in individuals 12 years of age and older who have undergone solid organ transplantation, and who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
The Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is administered as a series of two shots three weeks apart. An additional, or third, dose may be administered 28 days after the second shot to certain immunocompromised people who may need it.