As an organization committed to the good of the community, Augusta Health continues to keep the community informed about COVID-19. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority, and the U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Here is a list of some frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. This list will be updated as news and data regarding the COVID-19 vaccine develops.
The content in this first section was added 01/17/2021 and edited 01/18/2021 to include new information.
When can I get the Vaccine?
Augusta Health is working with the Virginia Department of Health and the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) to support their phased vaccination approach.
If you are a healthcare worker who practices or works in Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County:
Email VaccinationTaskForce [at] augustahealth.com for more information.
If you are a Frontline Essential Worker:
You will be vaccinated through clinics arranged through your employers with CSHD. Please connect with your employer or CSHD for more information.
If you are 75 years of age and older and live in Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County:
You will receive a communication from your health system such as Augusta Health. It will include instructions on how to schedule and where to go for vaccination. This clinic is planning to begin vaccinations on Wednesday, January 20. THESE VACCINES ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY—PLEASE REFER TO THE COMMUNICATION YOU RECEIVE FOR INSTRUCTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT.
If you are between 65 years of age and 75 years of age and live in Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County:
You will be eligible for vaccination and notified very soon, but we are not yet taking registration for those clinics.
If you do not live in Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County:
Please contact your local health district for information on where your allocated vaccine is available.
If you do not meet the current criteria for receiving a vaccine:
If you do not meet the current criteria for vaccination at Augusta Health (healthcare worker in SAW region or age 75 and older and living in Staunton Waynesboro or Augusta County), you should not schedule a vaccine appointment at Augusta Health at this time. An ID is required for the vaccination. If you do not meet criteria, you will be turned away so the limited vaccine resources can be used for those who need them most.
How will future clinics be determined?
We are working with the CHSD to coordinate vaccinations for eligible priority groups. Priority groups are determined based on availability of vaccine and recommendations from the CDC and the VDH.
Still have questions?
For more information on vaccine eligibility and the current phase for each health district, please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/.
We appreciate your patience as we work diligently with the Virginia Department of Health and the Central Shenandoah health District to ensure everyone who desires a COVID-19 vaccine will have access to one.
The content below was originally published 12/17/2020.
When Can I Get The Vaccine?
There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The goal is to eventually give everyone the ability to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as there are large enough quantities available. Once widely available, vaccines will be available in doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.
How Much Does The Vaccine Cost?
When the vaccine becomes available to the public, we anticipate it will be at no cost. As more information becomes available, we will be sure to provide an update.
How many shots do I have to get to be vaccinated for COVID-19?
The COVID-19 vaccines currently being reviewed by the FDA requires 2 doses for effectiveness. The second injection, must be 3-4 weeks (depending on manufacturer) from the date of the first injection, and both doses must be the same brand vaccine. We may eventually learn that one vaccine is enough or more vaccines still undergoing trials only require 1 vaccine dose, however, the current vaccines require that you must have both to have a sustained immune response.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?
The COVID-19 vaccination does not use the live virus, and will not make you sick. It typically takes a few weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity. This means it is possible for a person to become infected with COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and become ill. You could experience muscle aches, low-grade fever, or mild "malaise" (don't feel good) the evening after your shot. However, this is a sign that your immune system is at work producing a response to the vaccine and should not be viewed as a bad side effect.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me test positive for COVID?
Vaccination will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you are currently infected. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody test. Antibody tests indicate that you have had a previous infection and that you have some level of protection against the virus.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I currently have COVID-19?
No, even if asymptomatic for COVID-19, vaccination should be postponed. While mild illness is not a contraindication to vaccination, medical visits for those with COVID-19 should be postponed to avoid exposing others to the virus.
I have already had COVID-19. Do I still need to be vaccinated?
Due to severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
Will receiving an mRNA vaccine like the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person's genetic makeup (DNA).
What allergens are in the COVID-19 vaccine?
No specific allergens/contraindications have been found to date. Augusta Health will monitor the FDA approval EUA approval notice closely and notify the public if any allergens or contraindications are identified.
If I am immunocompromised, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The two current vaccines are not live attenuated vaccines, and appear safe to administer in immunocompromised populations. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, "Patients with compromised immune systems, whether due to chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant, should plan to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when they have the chance".
If I am pregnant or lactating, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
We recommend that pregnant and lactating women consult with their ob/gyn before receiving the vaccine. Pregnant women were not included in clinical trials leading up to the vaccine's authorization but according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shouldn't be withheld from pregnant women who are eligible for vaccination based on priority groups outlined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. In addition, vaccination should be offered to lactating women based on their priority group.
Will I have to get this vaccine every year?
Currently, we do not know if this will become a seasonal vaccine. Much will depend on how many people are vaccinated and how quickly herd immunity can be achieved.
Will I still need to wear a mask and socially distance after being vaccinated?
It's important for everyone to continue using all tools available to stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines made with human embryos?
Neither the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines have used human embryos in vaccine production
Where can I get more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?
For more information please visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov