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COVID-19 Vaccine

CDC Information | Vaccine FAQ | Antibody Infusion Treatment

While we are still in the trial phase of vaccination, there are several effective options that are being distributed across the country and Memorial is working closely with the Mississippi Department of Health to bring the vaccine to our community. Before a vaccine is openly distributed to the community, it must first be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once a vaccination is approved, it will be distributed, beginning with specific, pre-determined groups.

Check back to this page for updates with new information about the vaccine as it becomes available. 

Important things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine from the CDC

  • The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority

    The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

    CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, as an additional layer of safety monitoring to increase our ability to rapidly detect any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines.

  •  COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. Two doses are needed

    You need 2 doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccine. A second shot 3 weeks after your first shot is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against this serious disease.

  • Right now, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities

    Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.

  • There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come

    The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

  • After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection

    The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your vaccination.
Making COVID-19 Vaccination Recommendations
CDC makes vaccination recommendations, including those for COVID-19 vaccines, based on input from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Learn more about how these recommendations are made.
  • Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19

    Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot. Vaccination providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

  • The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested

    If more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved by FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. Learn more about how CDC is making COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

    All ACIP-recommended vaccines will be included in the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Program. CDC continues to work at all levels with partners, including healthcare associations, on a flexible COVID-19 vaccination program that can accommodate different vaccines and adapt to different scenarios. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available to their communities.

  • COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic

    It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

Considerations for those interested in getting a vaccination:

  • If you have recently had Covid-19 infection, you may have some natural immunity for up to 90 days which may protect you while waiting for vaccine to be available. 
  • If you want the vaccine but not sure if you may have already had the infection, you may want to consider asking your primary care provider to order an antibody test to see if you have any immunity. 
  • If you are pregnant, please confer with your OB/GYN provider and follow their guidance as to whether to take the vaccine or to wait as the CDC has not provided any recommendations but we do anticipate they will provide recommendations in the near future. 
  • The current Covid-19 vaccines are a two shot series, so if you are unable or unwilling to get the 2nd shot in 21-28 days you may want to consider waiting as it is optimal for full protection from the vaccine to follow the series as intended. 
  • There is report in the clinical trials of volunteers experiencing some post vaccination side effects. This can be common with any vaccination. CDC has relayed the most prevalent side effects from the vaccine can be fatigue, headache, and a sore arm However, some may experience temporary flu like symptoms (which can be typical with any immunization) as your body makes an immune response which is what creates the antibody protection we are striving for. 

Frequently Asked Questions

doctor conger and dr penico - memorial infectious disease specialists

Infectious Disease Specialists Dr. Nicholas Conger and Dr. Jesse Penico break down the most common questions about the upcoming Covid-19 vaccines:

How do these vaccines work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and a third promising one from Astra Zeneca, work by inducing your immune system into making an antibody against the virus. They have different targets, but all appear to be quite effective. All of them are reporting that they are preliminary studies show greater than 90% efficacy which is excellent for a vaccine. This is a huge breakthrough and occurred in record time. All of the people that worked on these vaccines and the people that funded them and supported them should be very proud of this achievement. Those vaccines take many years to develop. There are some infections that we are not able to make vaccines for despite years of research. For an infection like this that can infect almost the entire population an effective vaccine is a game changer.

When do you think a vaccine will reach south Mississippi?

The vaccine may be available for healthcare workers as early as mid-December, the same time for nursing home residents. Those are the two highest priority populations. By early next year, January or February at the latest the vaccine should be more widely available for the general population.

Do you think such a vaccine will be safe, and should people take it when it becomes available?

All three vaccines appear quite safe based on the preliminary data that is available to review. It looks like the vaccines that require two doses may cause pain, redness, and inflammation at the injection site, like vaccines can do. In addition, you might feel a little bit ill the day you receive it, but that usually just means that it is stimulating your immune system the way it is intended to. 90 to 95% efficacy is excellent for a vaccine. Compare that to the flu vaccine which averages between 49 and 50% effective annually. We have said that it will take herd immunity or mass vaccination to end this pandemic. A vaccine with efficacy greater than 90% could rapidly lead to herd immunity. Addition, in some of the vaccine trials, the few patients that caught coronavirus despite vaccination had shorter, less aggressive infection courses.

How does the vaccine coverage work? Will people need to get the vaccination more than once?

There are two current strains and the vaccines protect against both. They are unlikely to protect against other varieties of viruses. The levels fall after several months, but whether the immune system will need help of memory remains to be seen. It is yet to be determined if we will need repeat doses or annual boosters of this vaccine. It will depend on exactly how efficacious it is and what it does to the rate of ongoing spread in the community.

What will the overall effect of this be? Will things return more to normal, or will masks, social distancing, etc. be necessary for a while?

Experts hope that the vaccines widespread inoculation will provide enough immunity to provide herd immunity and finally stop the pandemic. We are all hoping that this could lead to a reduction in infection.

Antibody Infusion Treatment:

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, you may benefit from receiving the FDA approved monoclonal antibody infusion, geared towards reducing symptoms. This is a two-hour session including an infusion session and subsequent observation. Read the following criteria below to see if you qualify for this limited supply treatment:

  • Tested positive for COVID-19
  • Signs and symptoms within the past 10 days
  • 18 years of age or older with a risk factor for progression of disease
  • Mild to moderate symptoms
  • No recent hospitalization related to COVID
  • Not requiring oxygen therapy

*Treatment may reduce progression of the disease and hospitalization. Results may vary.