How will people know when to get vaccinated?
The Idaho Coronavirus Vaccine Advisory Committee will be discussing this issue in meetings that will be open to the public, and decisions will be publicized through press releases, social media, blog posts like this one, and information at coronavirus.idaho.gov.
If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I need to get vaccinated, too?
There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. However, if you have recovered from COVID-19, you may want to wait until others have had a chance to get the vaccine and build some immunity before you consider getting vaccinated.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? Are they similar to other vaccines?
We are going to learn a lot more about this, as FDA releases data this week about the first (Pfzer/BioNTech) vaccine. What we do know so far is that people have reported soreness in the arm after vaccination, headache, fatigue, a general cruddy feeling and achiness, and in a few cases more severe fatigue. Most of these symptoms have cleared up after a couple of days. They are very similar to side effects reported for other vaccines. No serious side effects have been reported to date.
Will I have to continue to wear a mask and distance from others after I get a vaccine?
Yes, at least for now. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change COVID-19 recommendations. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
The Idaho COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee was formed by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at the direction of Gov. Brad Little in October and its members represent stakeholders from across Idaho, including the tribes, priority populations, healthcare systems and providers, and immunization organizations. Learn more about the committee and read meeting summaries and see the slides presented at the meetings at https://coronavirus.idaho.gov/idaho-covid-19-vaccine-advisory-committee/.
To slow the spread of COVID-19 in Idaho, please choose to:
- Wear face coverings
- Keep at least six feet between you and others
- Stay home if you are sick
- Wash your hands often
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Disinfect surfaces and objects regularly
Stay up-to-date with the latest and most accurate information on COVID-19 at the following websites:
DHW also posts lots of information, including daily updates on the numbers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Dr. Christine Hahn is the medical director in the Division of Public Health in the Department of Health and Welfare and the state epidemiologist.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is dedicated to strengthening the health, safety, and independence of Idahoans. Learn more at healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.