COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Are the COVID-19 vaccines available to the public?

The vaccines are not available to the general public at this time. The first doses are being given to health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, as directed by the CDC and State of Iowa.

As of today, Pella Regional Health Center does not have a confirmed timeline for availability of the vaccine for the next phase of distribution. Currently, the state has mandated that the available COVID-19 vaccine is limited to healthcare personnel and residents of long term care facilities. We are working diligently with the Public Health department to best serve the residents of Marion county. Pella Regional will continue to update this section of our website with information once we have confirmation about the phased distribution plan from the Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Committee and Marion County Public Health. We appreciate your patience.

When can I get a vaccine?

Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, the federal and state guidelines recommend that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be rolled out in phases to various groups, starting with healthcare workers, older adults in residential care facilities and first responders. They should be available to the general public well into 2021 as supplies increase.

As of today, Pella Regional Health Center does not have a confirmed timeline for availability of the vaccine for the next phase of distribution. Currently, the state has mandated that the available COVID-19 vaccine is limited to healthcare personnel and residents of long term care facilities. We are working diligently with the Public Health department to best serve the residents of Marion county. Pella Regional will continue to update this section of our website with information once we have confirmation about the phased distribution plan from the Iowa Infectious Disease Advisory Committee and Marion County Public Health. We appreciate your patience.

Learn more about the phased distribution plan on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website.

Can I schedule a vaccine appointment?

No. Currently, vaccine appointments are not available to the general public. Based on the State of Iowa’s vaccine timeline, we anticipate the vaccine will be available to the general public well into 2021 in a phased approach. Similarly, the vaccine is expected to be available to high-risk individuals and older individuals with medical conditions. We will update our web site with information if this changes.

Who decides when the vaccines will be available to the general public?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State of Iowa determine who gets the vaccine.

The vaccines will be made available in phases. People who need the vaccine sooner will be included in earlier phases. The CDC and the State of Iowa will provide guidance on who will belong to each phase of vaccinations.

Pella Regional will continue to update this section with more information on availability once we receive more guidance on the phased distribution.

Who is the COVID-19 vaccine approved for?

The FDA has authorized emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals 16 and older. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine to individuals 18 years and older. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their doctor about the vaccine.

I am pregnant, can I get the vaccine?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should talk with your provider about the vaccine.

I am immunocompromised or have a specific medical condition. Should I receive the vaccine?

Discuss the vaccine with your provider.

How many vaccine doses will be needed?

Two doses are needed to provide the most protection with both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine.

Once I get the vaccine, when will I develop immunity?

Immunity takes some time to develop, at least two weeks after the second injection. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the CDC, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are 95% effective after 2 doses.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me the virus?

No. The vaccine is not made with a live virus and cannot give you COVID-19.

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get the vaccine?

People may be advised to get the vaccine even if they already tested positive for COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.

Will enough COVID-19 vaccine be available to everyone who wants it?

Limited vaccines may be available at first beginning in 2020, but the COVID-19 vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially in 2021 and eventually be available for everyone who wants to receive it.

Will there be a cost for the vaccine?

It is anticipated the vaccine will be provided at no cost in most cases. In some cases, there may be a small fee to you or your health insurance for the administration of the vaccine.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Any vaccine or medication can cause side effects. For the most part these are minor (for example, a sore arm or low-grade fever) and go away within a few days. Safety is the top priority of any vaccine. Common side effects from vaccination include pain, swelling or redness where the shot was given, a mild fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint aches. These side effects were also noted in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Early results from the first COVID-19 vaccines tested in people showed it worked as intended with no serious side effects.

How long will immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine last?

It is not yet known how long immunity from COVID-19 infection lasts. The duration of immunity from COVID-19 vaccines are currently being evaluated. Data from clinical trials will be used to determine how long immunity will last and if it will be necessary for people to receive a booster dose of vaccine each year. Additional information will be forthcoming as vaccine studies continue.

How will the COVID-19 vaccines work?

The COVID-19 vaccine gives your immune system a preview of the coronavirus, so it learns how to stop it. It triggers antibodies in your blood to attack the virus’s unique spike protein. (Did you know, coronaviruses got their name because they have protein spikes that look like a crown?) Your immune system learns from the vaccine how to quickly recognize the actual virus and stop it from multiplying. The idea is to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from getting into cells, replicating itself and making you sick.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are mRNA vaccines, which are a new type of vaccine. Instead of using a weakened or dead version of the COVID-19 virus, they use a small strip of genetic code — the mRNA. This code teaches the body to make the spike protein that’s found on the COVID-19 virus. Once the immune system recognizes the spike protein, it creates antibodies — which are proteins that fight infections. These antibodies will stay in your body, and if the COVID-19 virus enters your body, the antibodies will fight it.

I’ve seen a lot of rumors on social media about vaccines. How can I tell what is the truth?

The internet has a lot of dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, and it can be difficult to know what to trust. The best thing you can do is educate yourself about the vaccines with information from trustworthy sources. The CDC has a page that separates myths from facts.

Where can I find out more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC’s FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine is a great resource that has updated answers to common questions.