Polk County Public Health answers more COVID-19 vaccine-related questions

Submitted
Crookston Times

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required?

    While getting the vaccination is highly encouraged, it is not required. There is high confidence in the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine as the FDA’s process worked as designed and multiple systems are in place to monitor safety. Safety and effectiveness have always been priority.

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

    The COVID-19 vaccine is free to everyone. Some vaccination clinics may ask for medical insurance information. You should not receive a bill. If you do not have insurance, you can still get vaccinated.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

    Reinfection with COVID-19 can happen and vaccination is recommended for those who have already had COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

    The first COVID-19 vaccines to reach the market in the United States are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Human cells break down and get rid of the mRNA soon after they have finished using the instructions. The mRNA does not interact or do anything to the DNA of your cells.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

    No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible you could be infected with the virus just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

I received the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine; do I still need to wear a mask and

social-distance?

    While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it is important for everyone to continue with precautions such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and washing hands often. It is also important to note that it may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one.

When can I get vaccinated?

    With the limited doses available to us, we continue to vaccinate eligible individuals as directed by the State of Minnesota. In Polk County phase 1A is complete, which included healthcare workers, first responders, community vaccinators and long-term care facility staff and residents. The state provides direction for the next phases and dose distribution. When phase 1A is completed, we are to move to individuals 65 years of age or older and E-12 educators, school staff, and childcare workers.

    Thank you for your patience as we work closely with our local healthcare and pharmacy partners to vaccinate eligible individuals against COVID-19. As more vaccine becomes available, everyone will have the opportunity to receive it. A timeline for when all Minnesotans will have access to the vaccine is unknown. In the meantime, you can act now by getting your flu shot if you haven’t already, be patient as priority groups are vaccinated, and continue to practice preventative habits such as wearing a mask, staying 6 feet from others, washing your hands often and staying home if sick.

    For more on the vaccine, visit: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine.html Visit the Polk County Coronavirus Response Hub (https://coronavirus-response-pcg.hub.arcgis.com/ ), the Minnesota Department of Health (https://www.health.state.mn.us/ ) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/ ) websites for more information. Follow PCPH and NMPH  on social media for local updates.