COVID-19 Vaccines: Your questions, answered

States prepare for COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Q: Which vaccines have been approved?

A: The Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA). Staff at local hospitals have already started receiving the vaccine.

Moderna has also submitted its vaccine for EUA. The FDA will consider the Morderna vaccine today (Dec. 17). It’s expected the FDA will approve the Moderna vaccine, and Ohio is expected to start receiving shipments as early as next week.

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A third vaccine is undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials that would only require one dose.

Q: How many doses are required?

A: Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines would require two doses. Anyone getting a vaccine must get both doses from the same manufacturer.

Q: Will the vaccine be mandatory? Is the state requiring healthcare workers or other essential workers to get vaccinated?

A: The state is not making the vaccine mandatory for anyone, including healthcare workers or other essential employees. But, your employer can legally require you to get vaccinated. Businesses may be more likely to strongly encourage getting vaccinated rather than require it.

Q: When will vaccines be administered in Ohio?

A: Ohio has already received the Pfizer vaccine. The first shipment of Moderna vaccines are expected this month.

Q: Healthcare workers get the vaccine first, but who exactly qualifies?

A: A limited number of vaccines will be available initially. Ohio is expecting to receive 666,000 vaccines from both Pfizer and Moderna by the end of December.

  • Healthcare providers and personnel who routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients
  • Residents and staff at nursing facilities
  • Residents and staff at assisted living facilities
  • Residents and staff at Ohio’s veterans homes
  • Patients and staff at psychiatric hospitals
  • People with intellectual disabilities, and those who liv with mental health illness who live in froup homes and their staff
  • EMS responders

Q: If I’m part of Phase 1, where can I get my vaccine?

Essential workers in healthcare settings- hospitals and health systems

Long-term care/nursing home residents and staff- CVS and Walgreens

Q: If I’m not part of Phase 1, when do I get the vaccine?

A: Gov. DeWine has yet to say who will be part of Phase 2. A suggested list has been recommended by the National Academy of Sciences. It includes “People of all ages with comorbid and underlying conditions that put them at significantly higher risk and older adults living in congregate or overcrowded settings.”

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said there will be enough vaccines for all Americans by this Spring. “We’re going to be rolling out tens of millions of doses on a weekly basis as we get to that,” he said. The vaccine is expected to be available at local pharmacies and doctor offices.

Q: Is the vaccine safe?

A: The FDA said that there aren’t any specific safety concerns with the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Those that had adverse reactions reported injection site reactions, fatigue and headaches, along with muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved for children under 16 years old?

A: No. Neither vaccine is approved for anyone under 16, but testing and studies are underway. The vaccine could be approved for children next year.

Q: Is the vaccine effective?

A: Moderna said their vaccine is 94 percent effective. 30,000 participants were enrolled in Moderna’s trial. The monitoring board analyzed 196 COVID-19 infections among the participants and found that 185 occurred in those who received a placebo instead of the real vaccine, the release said. Additionally, all 30 participants who developed severe cases had received the placebo, according to the company.

The Pfizer/BionTech vaccine is reported to be 95 percent effective. Data released showed that, in a trial involving 36,600 participants, eight people who were given the vaccine developed COVID-19 while 162 people who were given a placebo got the virus.

Q: Can the vaccine cause erectile dysfunction or sterilization?

A: No, based on the findings, this is not true, said Dr. Tom Huth, the Vice President of Medical Affairs for Reid Health in Richmond.

“It doesn’t appear in any of the briefing documents for the FDA. And that’s actually a side effect that’s been seen with the infection, with one of the (long-term) COVID effects,” Huth said.

Q: Can I stop wearing a mask after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: No. Masks and social distancing will be recommended for a period of time for those vaccinated.