COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
How does an mRNA vaccine work?
mRNA vaccines have strands of genetic material called mRNA inside a special coating. That coating protects the mRNA from enzymes in the body that would otherwise break it down. It also helps the mRNA enter the dendritic cells and macrophages in the lymph node near the vaccination site.
mRNA can most easily be described as instructions for the cell on how to make a piece of the “spike protein” that is unique to SARS-CoV-2. Since only part of the protein is made, it does not do any harm to the person vaccinated but it is antigenic.
After the piece of the spike protein is made, the cell breaks down the mRNA strand and disposes of them using enzymes in the cell. It is important to note that the mRNA strand never enters the cell’s nucleus or affects genetic material. This information helps counter misinformation about how mRNA vaccines alter or modify someone’s genetic makeup.
Once displayed on the cell surface, the protein or antigen causes the immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating T-cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. These antibodies are specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which means the immune system is primed to protect against future infection.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The U.S. FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which have been shown to be safe and effective determined by data from large clinical trials. While vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized for use. The CDC continues to monitor adverse events through safety monitoring systems. Click here for more information on the CDC and safety monitoring. (Source: CDC, Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines & Benefits of Getting Vaccinated)
Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No. According to the CDC, none of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.
(Source: CDC, Facts about Vaccination)
Who should not get the vaccine?
You should not get the COVID-19 vaccine if you:
- had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the vaccine or have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredients of the vaccine.
- had an immediate allergic reaction, even if it was not severe, to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- have had an allergic reaction to PEG (polyethylene glycol) or polysorbate. Polysorbate is not in the vaccines but closely related to PEG which is included.
(Source: CDC, Allergic Reactions)
If you are pregnant, plan to be pregnant or breastfeeding, please talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated.
If you have already recovered from COVID-19, there are no recommendations by CDC on whether or not to get vaccinated. There is not enough information available to say if or for how long after COVID-19 infection someone is protected from getting it again (natural immunity). If you are currently infected with COVID-19, please wait until you have completed your quarantine period and are not experiencing symptoms before getting vaccinated.
If you have questions or concerns on whether to be vaccinated, please talk to your doctor.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most commonly reported side effects of the vaccines include:
- Injection site pain and swelling
If you experience any of these side effects, these are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away in a few days. The CDC still recommends getting the second shot even if you experienced side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you otherwise.
Each individual that is vaccinated should report their side effects in the v-safe health checker platform right away.
(Source: CDC, After Getting the Vaccine)
Rapid Results COVID-19 Testing
We offer drive-up rapid results COVID-19 testing at our two primary care clinics in Mesquite. To make an appointment, please contact:
2704 North Galloway Avenue
Mesquite, TX 75150
820 East Cartwright Road
Mesquite, TX 75149
Most insurance providers cover the cost of the test if a person is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. For those who do not want to use insurance or do not have insurance, we offer a flat $100 cash price.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Novel Coronavirus
How concerned should I be about the coronavirus?
- Coronaviruses can cause the common cold and pneumonia. Most people infected with the novel coronavirus have mild cold symptoms. A small fraction of people, however, may require more intensive care. We understand your concern about protecting yourself from respiratory diseases.
- We have launched an online self-checker for the novel coronavirus in the form of a bot nicknamed Robby. Robby walks users through symptoms and then gives recommendations if medical care is needed. Robby is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment purposes. Click the blue “Start Self-Check Assessment” button to launch the self-checker:
- Keep informed of the risk by checking the situation update on the CDC website.
What can I do to protect myself?
It is understandable to feel uncertain or anxious during a public health crisis, and we need to remember to avoid making assumptions about others’ perceived symptoms or any characteristics of identity. Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent the novel coronavirus infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
Here are the current CDC recommendations to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:
- Take everyday preventive actions for respiratory infections, such as avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying home when sick, and washing hands often.
- Avoid traveling to places with widespread or sustained community transmission of the coronavirus. A good place for reliable travel information can be found on the CDC’s travel advisory page.
Where can I learn more?
Concerned patients and family members should talk with their healthcare provider.
You can also find more information about the virus from these websites.
- CDC/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (updated daily with advice for public)
- Find the latest on the CDC website as well as the website of your state health department.
- World Health Organization.
- U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.