Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Regular Flu Different from COVID-19?

*William J. Bommer, MD, FACP, FACC, YourVaccinationGuide.org Chief Medical Advisor

Can I Still Get Vaccinated?

Yes, in the United States, vaccination is available to everyone 6 months and older. Check with your doctor, your health plan, or use Vaccines.gov to find out where you can be vaccinated now.

Where Do You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The CDC refers people to the Vaccine Finder. All locations may not be listed. Be sure to ask your health plan or provider what might be closest. Pharmacies near you may also have vaccinations available (CDC). You can look up your local health office by scrolling to the bottom of the page found here. Most vaccination sites require you to make an appointment.

Should You Get the Updated COVID-19 Vaccine?

Every fall there is a new COVID-19 vaccine available formulated to combat the anticipated strain of COVID-19. This is a similar process to the annual flu vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive this vaccination.

What is monkeypox and what should I know to avoid getting it?
This is a zoonotic disease which means that it can be spread from animals to humans. Monkeypox is related to smallpox and in most cases is a self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Most people recover from monkeypox, although severe cases can happen and recently, 3 to 6% of cases have been reported as deadly.

Symptoms include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).

Monkeypox looks like a rash, pimples, or blisters on the face, inside the mouth and other parts of the body like hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. During this stage the rash can be painful or itchy. The rash starts as a raised spots then it turns into small blisters filled with fluid. The blisters then turn to scabs and later fall off.

If you have a new or unexplained rash you should consult with your doctor.

Virus can be passed to others through proximity with someone with monkeypox by:

  • Contact with infected rash and scabs
  • Respiratory secretions or droplets that can be passed hugging, kissing, touching or being in face-to-face contact for prolonged period of time
  • Having oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus
  • Touching contaminated materials such as: fabrics and objects used by a person with monkeypox.
  • Pregnancy — from mother to the fetus.
  • If you believe you have monkeypox, call your health care provider’s office and inform them you would like to be tested for monkeypox. Cover the lesions in bandages and wear a mask to the appointment to limit any chance of spreading. (CDC)

    If you test positive for monkeypox, self-isolate. Don’t pop the blisters. Try to keep them clean and dry until the blister falls off on its own and the skin heals completely. (CDC)

    Since it is a viral illness, there is no specific treatment. Recovery can last anywhere from two to four weeks. Patients who are more likely to be severely ill, such as people with weakened immune systems, may be able to get an anti-viral treatment called tecovirimat (TPOXX). (CDC)

    There is a vaccine for monkeypox called JYNNEOS which requires two doses. You are considered to have the vaccine’s full protection fourteen days after getting the second dose. (CDC).

    What Happens When You Get Vaccinated?

    A vaccination is a simple injection (shot) in the arm. (Note, a nasal spray is available to healthy people 2 to 49 years old for the flu vaccine.) 

    After you get a vaccination, you may have minor reactions such as a sore arm or low-grade fever. These symptoms should go away within a few days at most. Remember, vaccines are continually monitored for safety, and like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects which are usually minor. However, a decision not to immunize also involves risks and could put you and your loved ones and others who come into contact with you at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease (CDC). 

    Is There a Treatment for COVID-19?

    Yes, there are treatments for COVID-19. They are only available by prescription and must be started within the first 5-7 days of developing symptoms. You can go HERE to learn more or visit our COVID-19 page.

    If You Have Already Had COVID-19 and Recovered, Do You Still Need to Get Vaccinated?

    “Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19” (CDC).

    Will You Be Immune After Being Vaccinated?

    Vaccines often provide long-lasting immunity to serious diseases without the risk of serious illness. They do not always provide 100% immunity, but always lessen the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death from the disease. Learn more HERE.

    How Do You Talk to Loved Ones Who Are Vaccination Hesitant?
    1. Listen, be respectful, and ask polite questions to help you understand their concerns.
    2. Do not tell them they are wrong, suggest there may be new or additional information to consider.
    3. There are many credible healthcare sources available through the CDC, YourVaccinationGuide.org, or your local healthcare professional. It’s best to find the one that they trust the most.
    4. Share other upsides that may be important to them such as continuing to be able to hug a grandchild, being able to hold a celebration, and travel, etc.
    5. Emphasize that:
        • The vaccines are safe and free.
        • Their chance of dying from COVID-19 or being hospitalized drops significantly with the vaccine.
        • They are protecting themselves and the people around them. Is someone they love over 65, under 6 months or in poor health? These groups are at risk.
    Can People with Chronic Health Conditions Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

    Yes, people with chronic conditions can get the vaccine (CDC). It is important, however, to talk to your doctor to find out if you should get the vaccine particularly if you have a compromised immune system or had an earlier reaction to a vaccine. Check with your doctor regarding the specific vaccine you are scheduled to receive. Visit the California Chronic Care Coalition for more information related to chronic disease or My Patient Rights if you have trouble accessing care.

    Can Children Get Vaccinated for COVID-19?

    Yes, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved to use for those 6 months to 18 years though they may have different dosages (CDC). The other available vaccines are for those 18 and over. Watch for updates in available vaccines for children.

    What is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)?

    CDC is investigating multisystem inflammatory syndrome is rare but can effect children and adults and is associated serious complications associated with COVID-19 (CDC).

    Should You Be Concerned About Side Effects of the mRNA Vaccine Causing Heart Issues (Myocarditis) in Your Children?

    In rare instances, cases of inflammation of the heart—called myocarditis and pericarditis–have been reported after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, appearing primarily in adolescents and young adults. The CDC is still investigating these reports.

    Symptoms of myocarditis and pericarditis:

    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
    • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart.

    Seek medical care if you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms (CDC).

    Are the Vaccines Made from Chicken Eggs?

    The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain material from chicken eggs. For 70 years, growing viruses in chicken eggs was the way many vaccines were created. Several flu vaccine makers still use this process. In 2019, all the flu vaccines approved in the U.S. were cell-based, not egg-based, but we recommend that you continue to ask every time you get a vaccine if you are concerned or have been told not to take egg-based vaccines (CDC).

    What Does the Term "Long Haulers" Mean?

    Long COVID is a term applied to a wide variety of symptoms that can range from mild to severe and may be similar to symptoms from other illnesses. Symptoms can last weeks, months, or years after COVID-19 illness and can stay or come and go. Long COVID doesn’t affect everyone the same way. This makes Long COVID difficult to diagnose.

    Fatigue, brain fog, and post-exertional malaise (PEM) are common symptoms, but more than 200 Long COVID symptoms have been identified (CDC)

    Should I still test if I've been exposed or have COVID-19 Symptoms?

    The at home or rapid test are antigen tests In general, antigen tests are less likely to detect the virus than PCR tests, especially when symptoms are not present. So one  negative test doesn’t mean you don’t have COVID-19. To be sure, the FDA recommends 2 negative tests for individuals with symptoms or 3 negative tests for those without symptoms, performed 48 hours apart (CDC).

     

    What is Herd Immunity?

    “Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a community (the herd) becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. As a result, the whole community becomes protected — not just those who are immune.

    What percentage of a community needs to be immune in order to achieve herd immunity? It varies from disease to disease. The more contagious a disease is, the greater the proportion of the population that needs to be immune to the disease to stop its spread. For example, the measles is a highly contagious illness. It’s estimated that 94% of the population must be immune to interrupt the chain of transmission” (Mayo Clinic).

    Can the Vaccine Cause People to Develop COVID-19?

    No, the COVID-19 vaccines do not use the live virus and cannot give you the virus. It is possible that those vaccinated could still get COVID-19 because the vaccines are not 100% effective, but the vaccine will not give it to you.

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