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COVID-19 Vaccine

The safety of WellMed/USMD/Optum Florida patients continues to be our first priority. Deciding to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 is a personal choice. Like any medical decision, you are encouraged to consult with your doctor before obtaining the vaccine.

Availability

We are working closely with the Department of Health in Texas and Florida to obtain and administer COVID-19 vaccine as early as possible. We will keep you informed and notify you as soon as possible once we have more direction from the Departments of Health. We want to protect you as soon as possible.

When we do get the vaccine, you will be able to get it either at your clinic or another central vaccine center.

Cost

The cost is expected to be covered by your insurance.

The Vaccine

Your doctor is generally recommending the vaccine for all non-pregnant patients over age 16. If you have specific concerns regarding your individual situation, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Depending on the location, we may have either the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (2 doses, 21d apart) or the Moderna vaccine (2 doses, 28d apart).

Both vaccines have been shown to be greater than 94% effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. If you were to get COVID-19 after completing the vaccine, the likelihood of you developing severe disease requiring hospitalization would be much less. Both vaccines have been shown to be extremely effective in protecting you from severe infection – one that would put you in the hospital.

It is critical that both the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines are from the same manufacturer.

If you miss the second dose, you should receive the second shot as soon as possible. You do not need to restart the entire series.

Side Effects

Mild to moderate injection site pain is common.

After vaccination, some people may experience symptoms for 24-48 hours. These symptoms may include soreness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, and low-grade fever. The symptoms most often occur on the day after the injection. These symptoms may be similar to those experienced after the shingles vaccine but are not a sign of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Most of the symptoms are mild, and resolve quickly after 24 to 48 hours. We will be providing some recommendations for over-the-counter therapy after the vaccine is administered.

Safety

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. It contains no virus whatsoever (live, dead, or even virus particles). It contains the instructions that tell your body to make a protein that “looks” like the SARS-CoV-2 virus protein to trick your body into creating antibodies that fight the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19.

Both vaccines were tested in large clinical trials including a total of over 70,000 patients of various ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. Vaccine trials have shown a 90%-95% protection rate and very robust immune response one to two weeks after the second dose.

This measured benefit outweighs the risk on a population basis. According to Johns Hopkins, on 12/10/20, the U.S. recorded 3,124 deaths for that single day. Far fewer individuals will die as a result of the protective immunity conferred by the vaccine.

Taken with other vaccines

We do not recommend that you receive any other vaccines at the same time you are vaccinated for COVID-19. Our current recommendation is that you wait for 14 days after receiving your COVID vaccine before receiving another type of vaccination.

Getting vaccine after having COVID-19

Yes, you should get the vaccine, even if you had the virus, as it will give you even more protection. However, since re-infection is unlikely to occur in the first 90 days after an infection, we are asking that you wait until 90 days have passed after having tested positive to obtain the vaccine.

Need to continue masking/social distancing

Even after getting the vaccine, you will still have to wear a mask and social distance. Although you will have some protection after the vaccine, you may still be able to pass the virus on to others who are not protected. All protocols regarding masking and social distancing will still be in place until the pandemic improves globally, as per CDC recommendations.

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