Dr. Sydney Deal, Comanche County Medical Center
I wanted to take the opportunity to address from FAQs about the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have more questions, please talk to your PCP. You may also visit my personal facebook page where all COVID related information is made public.
Q1: After I get my vaccine, when can I expect to have immunity?
A1: The time frame depends on which vaccine you receive. In the Pfizer trial, researchers experienced 52% efficacy at day 12 after the first dose. Efficacy increased to 95% after dose two. We can assume that Moderna is similar since the technology is the same. So far, Comanche County has received only Moderna vaccine, and I expect it will stay that way for a while. Moderna is 2-dose series 28 days apart. It is recommended that you continue to practice all the same safety guidelines and do not consider yourself immune until about 5-6 weeks after your first dose.
Q2: I already had COVID-19, can I get vaccinated?
A2: The CDC recommends that those who have already had COVID-19 still be vaccinated as we do not know how long immunity from natural infection lasts. If you would like to wait, we currently expect that immunity from infection lasts at least 90 days. Therefore, those who have been infected may wait 90 days after infection, but do not have to.
Q3: I currently have COVID-19, can I be vaccinated?
A3: If you currently have COVID-19, you need to wait until you have recovered from the illness before being vaccinated.
Q4: I am ready to be vaccinated, when will it be my turn?
A4: Every location that received approval for vaccination finds out weekly if, when and how much vaccine they will be allocated that week. We are at the mercy of the State of Texas but are doing everything in our power to get as much vaccine as possible and vaccinate as quickly as possible. People will be vaccinated based on priority group recommended by the Texas DSHS. We are currently vaccinating phase 1a and 1b. At this point there will be a supply and demand issue. I recommend that if you get the opportunity to be vaccinated, you do not pass it up. Look for announcements on the CCMC FB page, local newspapers, and your PCP about vaccination.
Q5: I recently received a different vaccine (flu, MMR, pneumonia etc.) How long do I need to wait before I receive my COVID-19 vaccine?
A5: It is currently recommended that COVID19 vaccine be administered alone with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine. If you accidently fall into that 14 day window, you do not need to repeat either vaccines.
Q6: Will a COVID-19 vaccine prevent people from getting and spreading SARS-COV2?
A6: In short, we still do not know the answer to this question yet. Vaccine trials studied whether people became sick with COVID-19. We do not know if those vaccinated can still be asymptomatic carriers. For this reason, even after your second dose, it is recommended to continue mask wearing, social distancing etc. Hopefully, we will have the answer to this question within a couple of months.
Q7: I received Monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma while sick with COVID, can I get vaccinated?
A7: If you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma while sick with COVID then you need to wait 90 days before being vaccinated. (These are infusions given in either the outpatient or inpatient setting. You will know if you had them).
Q8: I had Covid back in July—I was just tested last week and I am confirmed to still have antibodies—do I need to get the vaccine now, or wait?
A8: Antibodies are not the only immune response our body uses to fight infection. We also have memory B and T cells which play a big role, and we cannot test how strong that response is or how long it lasts. We don’t know how much antibody is a sufficient amount to prevent serious disease, and we don’t know how long natural immunity lasts. For these reasons, it is recommended that if your infection from covid was longer than 90 days ago, you should be vaccinated. We may find out later that natural immunity in the majority of the population lasts longer, but this is our current working time frame.