The following FAQs have stemmed from questions regarding the vaccine itself, its safety and effectiveness. For information regarding eligibility and how to sign up for the vaccine, please scroll towards the second part of this document.
Is the vaccine free? How is the vaccine being paid for?
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.
Is one vaccine better than another?
No, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines will produce the same results. They have both completed clinical trials and have data which demonstrate the vaccines are safe and effective. The FDA and CDC review the data thoroughly before granting an Emergency Use Authorization.
How many doses are needed, and why?
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses - Pfizer 21 days apart, Moderna 28 days apart. A majority of COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials require two doses. The first dose primes the immune system, helping it recognize the virus. The second dose strengthens the immune response. Receiving both doses will provide the best protection against COVID-19.
How safe is the vaccine?
The FDA carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. Then, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews all safety data. The FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, to make sure even very rare side effects are identified. Any approved vaccines will have undergone the same level of safety protocol as previous vaccines.
How can I trust a “rushed” vaccine?
Unfortunately, the name “Operation Warp Speed” gives the impression that clinical trials were rushed. However, other vaccines have been approved with similar Phase III clinical trial timelines. In comparison, the Shingles vaccine was studied for 13 months, the Hepatitis-B vaccine was studied for 6.5 months and COVID-19 trials have 6+ months of clinical data.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine a “live” vaccine?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a live virus or carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person. mRNA technology has been studied and researched for years. To learn more about how mRNA vaccines work, read what the CDC has to say here.
If I have had COVID-19, should I still get vaccinated?
Yes. Evidence has demonstrated evidence of reinfection, so you should consider getting vaccinated.
Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 (by getting sick & getting better) or getting my immunity from the vaccine?
It is unknown how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. However, COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
Will the vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19 on a test?
No, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on viral tests for COVID-19. (Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results, as the vaccine works to induce antibodies to protect you.)
Does the vaccine interfere with my DNA?
No. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nuclei of our cells, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the “messenger” instructions.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to feel unwell for a few days?
Fever is a potential side effect and your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. Symptoms typically go away on their own within a week. Side effects are a sign that the immune system is working.
How will side effects be tracked?
You or your healthcare provider may submit side effects and adverse events to VAERS – Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Report mild side effects to your primary care provider. For severe side effects, report to the nearest emergency department or call 911. You will also be able to use VSAFE – A smartphone-based tool that checks in with patients to ask about side-effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
Now that I have received the vaccine, I am ok to not wear a mask, right?
This is incorrect. When you receive the first shot you do not become immediately immune and it takes a few days for your body to start developing antibodies. Please continue wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and washing your hands often.
Now that there is a vaccine, will COVID go away soon?
Though we wish we could say this is true, unfortunately things will not go back to how they were before COVID just yet. To achieve herd immunity, about 70 percent or more of the population will need to be vaccinated first. Though this will take time, we are hopeful that with a vaccine and community members continuing to do their active role to stop the spread, that the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and brighter.
We know that many people are hopeful to receive a COVID vaccination soon and have questions. When will the vaccine be available? When will I be eligible? We know it’s frustrating to wait for these important details. Please know we will share information as soon as it is available.
If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, your first step is to fill out the survey from the Health Department at www.dgcoks.org/vaccineinterestform. It’s best to complete this form from a computer instead of your smart phone or tablet. If signing up multiple people, try to use a different phone number for each. Watch for a confirmation of receipt to appear on your screen following submission.
Who is eligible for the vaccine in Phase 2?
People in Phase 2, according to the KDHE, include:
- People 65 years of age and older
- People who live in congregate care settings
- High-contact critical workers, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security
Are high-risk individuals prioritized within Phase 2?
As we planned for Phase 2, Unified Command anticipated an approach that would prioritize individuals by age or risk factors within the 65+ category. This tiered prioritization was removed at the state level just prior to the Phase 2 launch, which left decision-making at the county level. Unified Command decided to forgo prioritization in Douglas County in an effort to reduce potential delays in vaccine delivery.
Our goal for Phase 2 is to vaccinate qualified individuals as quickly as possible. With 30,000-40,000 individuals in this category, this will take some time, but the planned approach will ensure the process is quick and efficient.
The CDC names phases differently and recommends people age 75 and older get vaccinated in Phase 2? Are you following the CDC or the KDHE guidelines?
We recognize that there are differences in the CDC and KDHE guidelines when it comes to the names of phases and the age of eligible patients. We will be dependent on the guidelines that the KDHE and Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health (LDCPH) implements when determining who will be eligible in this phase.
How will people be notified as to when they can receive the vaccine? Do we have to contact the provider to make an appointment or will there just be an announcement that the vaccine is available?
You will receive a phone call when it is your turn to receive the vaccine. It is imperative that you fill out the vaccine interest form from the Health Department here so they are aware you would like the vaccine. At this time those 65+ are being chosen at random. When you receive your call, they will schedule a time for your first dose. You can visit lmh.org/vaccine and watch LMH Health’s social media channels for the latest information.
I am worried I will misstep on the form, can’t I just call?
Yes, we want to make this as easy as possible. If you do not want to fill out the online form yourself, you can call the Senior Resource Center at 785-842-0543 to complete this form by phone. If you are unable to do so, a friend or family member can assist as well.
I filled out the interest survey from the Health Department. What do I do now?
Once you have successfully filled out the interest survey, watch for a confirmation of receipt to appear on your screen following submission. After you see that confirmation, you are officially on the “list”. It can be hard to stay patient when waiting for the COVID vaccine, but please know you have taken all steps and now it is time to wait for your call. Continue to practice all COVID safety precautions like mask wearing, social distancing and practicing proper hand hygiene. You can check to see if you have correctly filled out the Vaccine Interest Form, you can search for the record here. This list of names will be updated at 11 a.m. weekdays (Monday-Friday). If no record is found, please fill out the vaccine interest form again.
How will I know what to do when I get the call to receive my vaccine?
The persons who have given you a call, from either the Health Department or LMH Health, will explain your next steps and schedule your appointment. From there, you will want to write down when your appointment is and make sure to show up that day no more than 5 minutes early with a full tank of gas.
Help! I got a call but I missed it, did I miss my opportunity?
Not at all. The person calling will leave a voice message and you can call back to then get your information and schedule your appointment.
I have an appointment to get the vaccine but need to reschedule. Can I do this?
If you were chosen to receive your vaccine and contacted by LMH Health but cannot make it, please reschedule by calling 505-2424. If space is still available, you will be rescheduled for the current clinic. If there is no space, you will be scheduled for a future clinic.
I submitted the form, but received my vaccine elsewhere. What do I do to get off the list?
The state/country does not have a central database of who has been vaccinated and where, therefore, there is a chance they will be contacted for first dose even after they have already received one.
In this case, you will need to inform the caller that you have already received a dose when they call you that you are next to receive the vaccine. The first dose and second doses of the vaccine MUST be completed by the same organization. For example, if the patient receives their first dose with the Health Department and receives a call from LMH Health to get a dose, the patient cannot go to LMH Health for their second dose. They MUST return to the Health Department to receive the second dose.
LMH Health is no longer holding COVID19 Vaccine Dose #1 clinics. LMH Health is collaborating with the Lawrence – Douglas County Public Health Department (LDCPH) to support a larger, centralized vaccination clinic each week. If you need to start the COVID19 Vaccine series, then please complete the LDCPH Vaccine Interest Form. The health department will notify you about when and where to receive the vaccination series.