Updated 4/27/2021

Why was the J&J vaccine put on hold?
The J&J vaccine was put on pause because of a rare side effect that occurred after receiving the J&J vaccine. Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in women younger than 50 years old. This adverse event is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare.

Why is J&J available again?
Public health authorities examined these cases and determined that the risk of this rare side effect was lower than the known effects of a COVID-19 infection.

Is the J&J vaccine a good option for me?
Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.

What symptoms should I watch out for if I get the J&J vaccine?
Patients who receive the J&J vaccine should seek medical care right away if any of the following symptoms develop within the first three weeks:

  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site

Why would someone want the J&J vaccine?
Some of the benefits of the J&J vaccine are that it’s a single dose vaccine and is more widely available.

I am concerned about the lower efficacy of the J&J vaccine.
The effectiveness of the J&J vaccine in preventing COVID-19 illness and death is similar to the other vaccines.  There is not one vaccine that is “better” than the others.  All are equally effective.

How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
Pfizer needs two shots 21 days apart. HealthLinc does not have the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna needs two shots 28 days apart. Johnson & Johnson requires one shot.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Common side effects include pain and redness at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches and pains, joint pain, headache, and fever. You may not feel your best for a day or two. It’s a sign your body is doing what it is designed to do – gearing up and getting ready to fight off the potentially deadly infection.

Can I still get COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine?
Just like the flu vaccine it is possible to contract COVID-19 even if you have had the vaccine. However, all the COVID-19 vaccines are successful at eliminating death and hospitalization from COVID-19.

Do I need to wear a mask when I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. As a vaccination site, all patients, employees, and visitors are required to wear masks on HealthLinc property.

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine? / Why do you need my insurance information?
Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. There is no cost for the patient.

Should I premedicate to prevent fever, pain, body aches or allergic reactions?
Per the CDC, taking over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects is not recommended. It is not known how these medications might affect how well the vaccine works. However, you can continue to take these medications if you regularly take them for other reasons.

What about after my vaccine?
Individuals that have no other medical reasons preventing them from taking over-the-counter medications, such ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin, or antihistamines, may take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects

Should I hold my other regular medications the day of my vaccine?
For most people, it is not recommended to avoid, discontinue, or delay medications for underlying medical conditions around the time of COVID-19 vaccination. However, when taking medications that suppress your immune system, you should talk to your healthcare provider about what is currently known and not known about the effectiveness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when taking these medications.

I have a weakened immune system cause by something such as HIV, cancer or immunosuppressive medications, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Individuals on immunosuppressive medications or therapies, and those with immunocompromising conditions such as HIV or cancer, may get COVID-19 vaccines as long as they do not have any other contraindications to the vaccine as these individuals may be at increased risk for severe COVID-19 .These individuals should be counseled about the unknown effectiveness and safety profile of the vaccine in immunocompromised populations and the continued need to wear masks, social distance, and wash hands frequently. Revaccination is NOT recommended after immune competence is regained in persons who received COVID-19 vaccines during chemotherapy or treatment with other immunosuppressive drugs.

Can I get my other vaccines the same day as my COVID-19 vaccine?
You should wait at least 14 days after you COVID-19 vaccine before getting any other vaccine. If you have recently received another vaccine, you should wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine. However, if an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is inadvertently administered within 14 days of another vaccine, doses do not need to be repeated for either vaccine.

COVID-19 and other vaccines may be administered within a shorter period in situations where the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential unknown risks of vaccine coadministration, such as tetanus toxoid-containing vaccination as part of wound management, rabies vaccination for post-exposure prophylaxis, and measles or hepatitis A vaccination during an outbreak

What if I am taking antibiotics?
There is no evidence that severe illness reduces vaccine efficacy or increases vaccine adverse events. However, as a precaution, all vaccines should be delayed until the moderate or severe illnesses have improved. Vaccines should not be withheld if a person is taking antibiotics, and mild illnesses are NOT contraindications to vaccination.

What if I have a bleeding disorder or take a blood thinner like warfarin or aspirin?
COVID-19 vaccine may be given to individuals that have bleeding disorders or take blood thinners. If possible, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends using a 23-guage or smaller caliber needle, followed by firm pressure on the site. Avoid rubbing for at least 2 minutes.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the vaccine?
Yes.  Immunity from COVID-19 only lasts 90 days.  Immunity from the vaccine last longer and with time we will find out how long the immunity lasts.

Is there anyone that should not receive vaccine?
Unless you have a history of a severe allergic reaction (i.e. anaphylaxis) to one of the vaccine components, we encourage you to get the vaccine.

What is the timing of the second Moderna shot?
If you received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get your second shot 28 days after your first shot. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary.  If you do receive your second shot earlier or later than recommended, you do not have to restart the vaccine series.

Will the state and feds be sending us an age appropriate vaccine for ages 16 to 18 years?
Pfizer is currently the only vaccine approved for children 16 and 17 years old. At this time, we have no plans to get the Pfizer vaccine and will continue to use the J&J and Moderna vaccine to vaccinate people 18 years and older.

My birthday is just shy of the latest age eligibility.  Where does that leave me?
We are unable to vaccinate anyone under the age of 18. There is no grace period at this time.

I heard that the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine has new and different side effects compared to the other vaccines. Is that true?
The side effects of the J&J vaccine are like the other vaccines and are a sign that the vaccines are helping your body build protection against COVID-19. This includes local reactions of pain, redness and swelling and the broader effects of tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea.

Are cells from aborted fetuses used in these new COVID vaccines?
No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines contain aborted fetal cells. All the vaccines used fetal cell lines in various aspects of developing the vaccine, but that is not the same as using aborted fetus cells. Fetal cell lines are cells grown in a laboratory.

Can I get the vaccine after having a procedure?
There is no need to postpone your vaccine until after your surgery. Any side effects, such as fever, that might occur from the vaccine would have resolved within seven days; most side effects resolve within three days. We do not recommend you schedule your vaccine within a few days of your surgery, especially after the second dose of either the Pfizer of Moderna mRNA vaccines. Over 15% of people will experience a fever after the second dose and less than 1% after the first dose.

If you check in on the day of surgery and are found to have a fever, it could result in having to reschedule the surgery. A fever immediately after the surgery raises concerns about a surgical wound infection, so it’s ideal if you can allow a week between the vaccine and surgery, especially for the second dose.

Does the vaccine change your DNA?
No. None of the vaccines can alter your DNA.

If I test positive for COVID, when can I get the vaccine? 
Once your quarantine period is over and any severe symptoms are gone.

What’s the difference between the vaccines?
The vaccines have different mechanisms of action. Moderna is an mRNA vaccine and J&J is a viral vector vaccine. Though the vaccines are structurally and mechanistically different, they both achieve the same result.

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/prepare-for-vaccination.html (updated 3/26/21)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect.html (updated 3/25/21)
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/pre-vaccination-screening-form.pdf (updated 3/15/21)