After many long months of dealing with the new outbreak, COVID-19 vaccine products have finally been approved and have started being given to people around the globe. And as some of the first who either already have been or will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine, both seniors and their care providers should have all the latest important information on this development.
Our Avamere at Mountain Ridge assisted living community staff are all on top of these kinds of details normally, and especially with regard to the COVID-19 vaccine. We know that not only are many of our residents some of the first who are or will be eligible for this vaccine, but that they may have a variety of questions or concerns about it. Here’s an important primer on everything you and your loved ones need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine.
How the Vaccine Works
First and foremost, let’s be clear about how the vaccine works so everyone understands. There’s a mistaken impression out there that vaccines actually give the virus to everyone who takes them – this is not true.
Rather, the COVID-19 vaccine transmits a tiny amount of the virus, in a synthetic version, into the body. This small amount, which is known as a messenger RNA for this specific COVID vaccine (the first of its kind in history, a major achievement), cannot actually give you the virus itself, and is not a “live” virus. It also will not alter your DNA in any way once it’s given to you. But by placing this small amount of synthetic virus in the body, the vaccine allows your immune system to become familiar with it and produce the sort of antibodies needed to fight the actual COVID-19 virus if you’re infected with it.
The other major concern for many here is whether the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Simply put: These vaccine types have gone through extensive safety testing, and absolutely are safe. In fact, a big part of the reason they weren’t available months earlier is the need for them to pass through specific safety standards and protocols for public use – which they passed.
Limited Side Effects
Now, the vaccine being safe does not mean some people won’t have minor side effects. Firstly, some may have minor irritation or pain at the injection site – this is normal and nothing to worry about. In addition, some may even experience minor symptoms similar to COVID, such as fatigue – these are simply signs that the vaccine is working as intended and is informing the immune system of the potential risks.
Once you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, it’s important to maintain safety protocols while in public, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands and distancing from others. This is because we don’t yet know whether having the vaccine means you can’t spread COVID-19 to others – in fact, the evidence we have at this point indicates you probably can. For this reason, until enough of the population has been vaccinated to eliminate the disease entirely, even those who have been vaccinated should assume they’re a risk to spread COVID to others, and should take proper precautions.