GENERIC - Coronavirus Covid-19 Vaccine

Cropped hand wearing a nitrile glove holding a Covid-19 vaccine vial and a syringe.

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - Since many people have questions about how the COVID-19 vaccines work and how safe they are, Prisma Health has provided some answers.

Prisma Health is offering the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses, at its clinics across the state.

Here are some answers the hospital system provided to common questions about the vaccine:

Does the vaccine alter my DNA?

No. The Pfizer COVID-19 mRNA vaccine does not interact with a person’s DNA. Our DNA is protected by a membrane that prevents particles or drugs from passing through easily. The vaccine does not enter the protected nucleus (where DNA is housed), so it does not have access to our DNA.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. The vaccines approved for use in the U.S. do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. It is not possible to get sick with COVID-19 from the vaccine.

How can a safe vaccine be made so quickly?

Vaccine development typically takes many years; however, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses, such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). We are fortunate that this earlier research gave us a head start to allow this vaccine to be developed in record time.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

So far, vaccine trials have shown that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are highly protective and generate a strong immune response, approximately 95% efficacy for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Sometimes when vaccines produce an immune response, there may be temporary symptoms that feel like the illness they are protecting you from. This does not mean you are infected or contagious. Instead, these symptoms are simply a sign
that your body is successfully generating an immune response to provide you protection.
Temporary symptoms are typically minor, such as a sore arm, fatigue, chills or low-grade fever, and go away within a few days. Symptoms are more likely after the second dose and only last about a day. Although rare, it is possible to have a severe allergic reaction. This often occurs within a few minutes to an
hour.

Do I need to wear a mask and physically distance from others after getting the vaccine?

Yes. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. Studies that have shown the vaccine works against developing severe disease were not designed to show if vaccinated people can still spread COVID-19 without developing symptoms. Because this may still be possible, it is important to protect yourself and others by following the CDC recommendations: Wear a mask over your nose and mouth; stay at least six feet away from others; avoid crowds; avoid poorly ventilated spaces; and wash your hands often.

I already had COVID-19. Am I supposed to get the vaccine?

Yes. If you have had COVID-19, you should still receive the vaccine. We do not know how long immunity lasts after being infected with COVID-19. The vaccine will make sure you are protected to the level of immunity found in the clinical trials. You should not receive the vaccine while you are infected, but after you recover and return to normal activities, you can and should receive the vaccine.

How much will it cost to get vaccinated?

There is no cost to receive the vaccine. The federal government will cover the cost of the vaccine. There will be no out-of-pocket costs to you, regardless of your insurance coverage or ability to pay.

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