WHAT IS IT?
The two vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA), with no live or killed virus at all. Each vaccine contains a small piece of messenger RNA, which is a biochemical signal we all have in our bodies to help us make protein in muscle, blood, and skin. After vaccination, this vaccine signal is translated by our cells into the spike protein of the SARV-Co V-2 virus, the virus that causes COVID-19. A person’s immune system reacts to protein by creating antibodies. Clinical studies have show both vaccines to be very effective.
To put this in perspective, a flu vaccine typically provides protection for about half of the people vaccinated. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, in contrast, have been shown to be 95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19. You need two vaccinations to be fully protected: a second vaccine at 21 days, if you get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine; or a second vaccine at 28 days, if you get the Moderna vaccine.
IS IT SAFE?
The science and data show that these are safe vaccines. The FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness, and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. For more detailed information, you may refer to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet available online at https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download or https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been tested in a trail of almost 44,000 people worldwide, including a small number of Navajo Nation tribal members. Mild side effects, like the ones associated with the flu vaccine, are to be expected. For some vaccine recipients, side effects may include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle ache, headache, and injection site pain. You can expect the side effects to subside after about 2 days.
To date, serious side effects are rare. We have learned from the vaccine rollout experience in the United States that anyone with a history of severe allergies might be at risk for a reaction to the vaccine. Vaccine administrators would need to watch that person for 30 minutes after vaccine administration, instead of the usual 15 minutes for everyone else. Both vaccines contain no live virus, so no one receiving these vaccines would be infected with the SARS-Co V-2 virus as a result. These vaccines are made of messenger RNA, which are excluded from the nucleus of our cells and unable to alter our genes. Messenger RNA do not stay in the body for very long, since it is quickly degraded and destroyed by our cells after it is translated into spike protein.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advise that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant or breastfeeding women who meet criteria for vaccination, include health care providers.
IS IT FOR ME?
In our opinion, these are effective and safe vaccines that could save your life. If you get the vaccine, you are helping protect our patients, families, communities, and colleagues from catching COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to all health care workers who currently work in HIS facilities and voluntarily agree to be vaccinated.
We strongly recommend that you consider getting vaccinated, particularly if you are 65 years old or older, or have a chronic health problem like diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, or heart disease.
As part of your decision about whether to get vaccinated, we recommend that you discuss vaccination with your medical provider, especially to determine if you have a contraindication.
If you have previously had COVID-19, you remain eligible to receive the vaccine after you recover. Individuals who have previously had COVID-19 may elect to wait up to 90 days after the onset of illness, since they may have temporary immunity. Your employee health team can give you further advice if you have questions.
The Camas Center Clinic began vaccinating health care professionals and Tribal Elders on December 16, 2020. Since that time we have vaccinated over 400 Tribal Members, Tribal employees and community patients at the Clinic. We also vaccinated 631 employees and spouses at NQRC, along with over 50 teachers from the Selkirk and Cusick School Districts. With over 1000 vaccinations being given, we have seen mild to no side effects. The Clinic encourages all Tribal members over the age of 18 to call for a vaccination appointment. If you have concerns or questions regarding the vaccine, please call us. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact the Camas Center Clinic at 509.447.7111
WHAT IS IT?