WISCONSIN — With the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccine on the way, many people may have questions about the vaccine, its distribution, and its effectiveness.
Luckily, Wisconsin health officials have been doing their best to answer common questions and we have all those answers here.
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Below are some common questions that people have had about the vaccine along with answers from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services as well as Advocate Aurora Health officials.
1. When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available?
The Centers for Disease Control is predicting we will have an approved vaccine at a limited quantity by the end of 2020, DHS said. The quantity of vaccinations is expected to increase drastically in 2021, but until a vaccine is officially approved, the time table of that is unknown.
2. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
There are two vaccines currently seeking emergency use approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Both of those vaccine trials appeared to be effective and no serious safety concerns were reported to date. Advocate Aurora Health said they're optimistic vaccinating people can help end the pandemic.
3. Who will be able to get vaccinated?
Once there are enough vaccines, everyone in Wisconsin will be able to get the vaccine. However, when there is only a limited supply, DHS said it is likely that front line health care workers will be the first group to receive the vaccine.
As supply increases, other essential workers, people ages 65 and older, and people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 will also likely be in the first groups to receive a vaccine.
4. How effective is the vaccine?
Both the Moderna vaccine and the Pfizer vaccine have reported high effectiveness rates across various age groups and demographics. Moderna reported 94 percent effectiveness in preventing mild COVID-19 symptoms, and Pfizer reported a 95 percent effectiveness, Advocate Aurora Health said.
5. How long does immunization last?
Advocate Aurora Health said more research needs to be done in order to determine how long the vaccine is effective.
6. Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?
Once the full trial data is examined, the CDC will make a recommendation about whether people who already were infected with COVID-19 should get vaccinated, Advocate Aurora Health said.
7. What can I expect when I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine may require two shots, and if it does, health officials will tell you when you need to get your second. The vaccine is similar to other vaccines so after you get it, you may experience discomfort in your arm, as well as non-serious effects. Advocate Aurora Health said providers will explain any side effects before you get the vaccine.
8. Why do we need a vaccine?
DHS said getting vaccinated will be one of the best ways to protect yourself and your community. A COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick and potentially prevent you from spreading the virus to those around you.
9. Is the vaccine safe for children?
More research will likely need to be done before there is a vaccine safe for children, Advocate Aurora Health said.
10. Will I still need to wear a mask and social distance after getting vaccinated?
Advocate Aurora Health said yes. Until there are enough people immunized to stop or slow the spread, masks and social distancing will continue to be very important in public.
11. What can we do until a COVID-19 vaccine is ready for the public?
Before the vaccine becomes available, these are the things you can do to stay safe:
- Stay at home as much as possible and especially if you are sick.
- Wear a mask in public.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when possible when you leave your home.
- Avoid close contact with people, particularly those who are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
- Get tested if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.