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COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine approval is a turning point in our fight against COVID-19. At Codman Square Health Center, we know that our patients have many questions about the vaccine and are anxious to know more. We hope that these pages will help you understand more about the vaccine and how Codman will start providing it to patients and community members.

The state of Massachusetts has released its staged approach to vaccine distribution. Please see the chart below to understand which groups of people are prioritized to receive the vaccine at different stages and (estimated) times.

COVID-19 Vaccination Phases

At Codman, we are in the process of vaccinating our staff so that we can remain healthy and safe to treat our patients and community. We are also preparing to vaccinate patients, but we are not scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments at this time and do not have a waiting list.

We understand that patients have many questions about vaccine administration, safety, efficacy, and more. We have created a Frequently Asked Questions section below.

The country has never embarked on a public health project at this scale, so while we have an estimated timeline, it is difficult to predict any exact dates, and we all need an enormous amount of patience. While we wait, please remember that wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent hand-washing are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

If you need a COVID-19 test, find out more here about Codman’s testing site. Learn more here about how Codman is keeping its staff and patients safe while still providing care

Frequently Asked Questions for Patients

The state of Massachusetts has prioritized which groups of people will receive the vaccine when, based on their risk. See the chart below to understand the timeline and groups.

COVID-19 Vaccination Phases

No. Codman is not currently making appointments for patients to receive the vaccine and we do not have a waiting list. As the vaccines arrive, we will determine which patients should receive it when, and contact them.

The two currently approved vaccines are extremely effective at preventing the symptoms of COVID-19. They prevented 94% of COVID-19 symptoms compared to someone who got a salt-water “placebo” shot.

We do not know how effective these vaccines are at protecting someone from getting infected with COVID-19  without symptoms. We also don’t know if they reduce the likelihood that someone who is infected will spread COVID-19 to someone else.

It’s important to know that vaccines go through more testing than any other medical treatment. Before any vaccine is available to the public, it is tested in thousands of people and goes through a vigorous review process.

Just about 36,000 people received the COVID-19 vaccine, and federal regulators studied the data collected from researchers about those patients. Federal regulators decided that the vaccines were safe for distribution.

Most people who experienced side effects from the vaccines had mild symptoms such as a sore arm, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and fever. Side effects usually go away after a day or two, and are a sign that your immune system is working and preparing itself to fight the coronavirus in case you are exposed to it.

As more people get the vaccine, there may be some very rare serious side effects (1 in a million.)

Many people have no side effects from the vaccine at all.

It is always important to balance the potential side effects of the vaccine with the risks of not getting the vaccine and maybe getting COVID.  You can talk more with your medical provider about the risks and benefits for you.

No. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t actually contain the virus that causes COVID-19.

Yes. The federal government has committed to providing the vaccine at no cost to all Americans who want it. In Massachusetts, insurance companies and providers have agreed to provide the vaccine without co-payments or other out-of-pocket fees.

Both of the approved vaccines are new types of vaccines called mRNA vaccines. These vaccines contain mRNA “instructions” on how to make a small part of the coronavirus. They do not have any live coronavirus in them.

Both of the two currently approved vaccines require a second shot to work most effectively. They are given about 3 to 4 weeks after the first shot. There are several other types of vaccines, which may come out later in the winter/spring 2021.  Depending on when you decide to get the COVID vaccine, you may get one of the other vaccines.

The majority of symptoms start the same day or next day after the vaccine.  They last for about two days.  You may not want to plan on activities the day or two after you get the injection, or plan on activities you could do from home.  Many people do not experience any side effects at all from the vaccine.

We do not know the long-term effects of these vaccines. However, the technology used to create the COVID-19 vaccine has been used with cancer patients and has been studied since the 1990s, and there do not appear to be any long-term effects in those patients.

Just a year ago today, this coronavirus was completely unknown. Now we have an effective vaccine for it that has been tested in thousands of people. This is very fast for vaccine development! Though the development of the vaccine was extremely quick, researchers have been working on using mRNA technology since the 1990s.

The FDA, which regulates vaccines, has made sure all of the usual steps for safety and monitoring have been done for the coronavirus vaccines.  No study steps were cut out and the trials were as large as they usually are for this type of vaccine. In fact, these trials were larger than many other vaccine trials.

Over a third of people in each trial were from communities of color. This is not, however, representative of the impact of COVID on communities of color, which is far greater. There did not appear to be any differences in the response to the vaccine between the different groups.

Even if you get the vaccine, you should still wear a mask and practice social distancing. We don’t know how long the effects of the vaccine will last. The coronavirus does not appear to change quickly, and as long as the vaccine antibodies last, you should be protected.