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Quick Guide to COVID Vaccines

May 2, 2021

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If you’re a teen who thought that getting a Covid vaccine was just something for adults, think again.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 50% of American adults have gotten at least one shot of a Coronavirus vaccine. As of mid-April, the vaccines have been made available to anyone over the age of 16, so every week, more and more Fluvanna County teens are taking the plunge.

With three different vaccines available, knowing the differences and possible side-effects of each can help you decide which one to get. Here is a simple guide to the different vaccine types, plus things you need to know if you’re considering getting the vaccine.

Three choices of vaccines 

  • Pfizer

The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine available for teens ages 16-17, with the minimum age being 16 to receive it. Two doses are required to get maximum benefits, with each dose being separated by 21 days, and each needing to be the same vaccine. (You cannot under any circumstances mix a Pfizer with another vaccine dosage.)

After being fully vaccinated, the Pfizer vaccine is estimated to be 95% effective at keeping you from getting Covid- 19, and a teen’s risk of serious illness or death even if they do get Covid after being vaccinated are close to zero.

Possible side effects of the vaccine include minor allergic reaction, moderate to acute illness, fever-like symptoms, sore arm, and sensitivity on the injection site. Side effects can last up to 48 hours of vaccination to several days later, however, many teams have absolutely no side effects or only mild ones.

  • Moderna

The Moderna vaccine is more common in the young adult age group with it being available for Americans over 18. Two doses are required to get maximum benefits, with each dose being separated by 28 days. Each dosage has to be Moderna and must not be mixed with any other vaccine dosage. The Moderna vaccine is only slightly less (1% or less) effective at preventing Covid than the Pfizer vaccine, and is equally effective at preventing death or serious illness even if you do get Covid.

Possible side effects are virtually identical to those of the Pfizer vaccine, although again, many teens have only mild or no side effects.

  • Johnson and Johnson

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is only being available for Americans over 18. Only one dosage is required for this vaccine to get 72% coverage against Covid-19, and it has similar side effects to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. The CDC has stated that this vaccine is safe to use after a small number of recipients reported blood clots after receiving their dosage.


Where to get the vaccine

Several places where you can get your vaccine right now include your doctor’s office, hospitals, clinics, and some pharmacies. Currently, in Fluvanna, you can get your vaccine at Jefferson Pharmacy and CVS Pharmacy.

Before and after your vaccine

GoodRx Pharmacy Editor Christina Aungust stated that you should not take Ibuprofen or Tylenol for at least a couple hours before your vaccine as it can weaken your immune system to the vaccine. Plan ahead for any possible side effects by preferably getting your dose on a Friday so you have the weekend to recover if you experience any. The CDC recommends that you don’t get the vaccine while you have the virus.

Keep in mind that it takes at least a couple of weeks for your body to build up an immunity after getting the vaccine, so you should not change any precautions you’ve been taking (like social distance seeing and wearing a mask around unvaccinated people) until at least 2 weeks after your second dose.

After that, the CDC says you can remove your mask indoors when around other vaccinated people (but keep in mind that you won’t always know whether someone has been vaccinated or not if you’re not around close friends or relatives and that you could still transmit the virus to unvaccinated people). The CDC also recently announced that unless you are in a crowded outdoor space, you do not need to wear a mask when outdoors, whether you have been vaccinated or not.

For more information, go to cdc.gov. For information on how to get a Covid vaccine near you, contact the Blue Ridge Health District, or call these local pharmacies:

CVS – 434-589-2278

Jefferson Pharmacy – 434-589-7902

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