Updated February 12, 2021
- What is the COVID vaccine?
There are two vaccines passed by Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA in December 2020. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Both vaccine systems contain viral mRNA which triggers your body to produce a portion of a specific protein. In response to that protein, your body builds up an antibody response and memory to the COVID virus itself. When you then encounter the COVID virus, your body knows how to fight off severe disease and prevent hospitalization AND death.
Both vaccines have shown to be about 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness after receiving both doses. Note, mRNA vaccines are NOT live viruses. They do not enter the nucleus of cells and do not alter your own DNA. Thus, mRNA vaccines cannot cause genetic changes.
- Was the vaccine rushed and made too quickly?
No, due to the global health emergency more resources were allocated to clinical trials to expedite the studies. mRNA vaccines have been studied for decades. Vaccines still have to go through large clinical trials (including similar number of clinical participants in these trials to other pediatrics vaccines we routinely offer at well visits), and rigorous FDA approval.
- Can the vaccine cause me to have COVID illness?
No, of the current vaccines available, neither are live vaccines. That means that the vaccine itself cannot get you sick with COVID-19. If someone has not fully completed the 2-dose vaccine series, one can still catch COVID as the vaccine has not had enough time to provide full protection.
- Can breastfeeding women and pregnant women receive the vaccine?
Although there is limited data for breastfeeding mothers from the vaccine trials, recent data suggests COVID does not transmit through the breast milk, and thus breastfeeding moms should strongly consider the vaccine. There is limited data in pregnant women who received the vaccine. The CDC and ACOG (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) have made statements and recommendations here and here, so talk to your OBGYN with further questions.
- Can children receive the vaccine?
Clinical trials need to ensure safety and efficacy for the < 16 year old population, especially as it has been shown that children typically have less severe disease from COVID-19. We will await the data before making recommendations for our patients.
- What should I do for my child while we wait for a vaccine?
Parents and caregivers should consider receiving the COVID-19 vaccine if it becomes available to them. Everyone should continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, and thorough hand washing.
It is important not to delay medical care, continue with regular pediatric well-visits and specialist appointments, keep on-track with routine vaccinations, including for serious viruses, such as the influenza virus. The CDC and our practice still recommends that all children greater than and equal to 6 months of age receive a Flu vaccine. In case of emergency, please either page the on-call physician or seek a pediatric emergency room so that any medical concerns do not escalate.
- If you previously had COVID, do you need to be vaccinated?
Yes, it is recommended if you have had COVID, you can still receive the vaccine after you have recovered. It is unknown how long immunity lasts after you have had the initial illness. Thus, the vaccine can be beneficial in boosting your own immune system against a second and possible more severe infection.
- Are schools going to require the COVID vaccine?
The COVID vaccine is not mandatory for school. As clinical trials for the vaccine are underway for children, more data and news are pending on how to plan for COVID preparation for the 2021- 2022 school year.
- Will the NFP providers be getting the vaccine?
Yes, and we are excited too! Our physicians, nurse practitioner and staff members want to ensure your family’s safety. The vaccine is one measure to protect ourselves and our patients amidst this raging pandemic. We will continue to thoroughly sanitize, mask, and follow health guidelines as vaccination clinics are being phased open to the community.
- Will North Fulton Pediatrics be administering the COVID vaccine in the office?
As of January 2021, the vaccines are not licensed for the pediatric population, and thus we do not have vaccine to distribute. As we have more information from the local Board of Health, we will be updating the website and social media outlets where COVID vaccination clinics will be available for the public. Follow us at Facebook and Instagram to hear about the most up-to-date news.
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