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COVID-19 FAQ

GETTING VACCINATED

Who is eligible now for the vaccine in Nevada?

The State of Nevada has created a system for vaccine distribution under the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The process initially focuses on critical populations, those most at risk, front line workers, and those most likely to be exposed to the virus to mitigate the burden of disease to the public. There is no set timeline for moving through this system. If you would like to be notified about when you are eligible for the vaccine, please complete this survey https://dpbhrdc.nv.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=N7ACTF4CYL or visit https://www.immunizenevada.org/county-specific-covid-19-vaccine-plan to see your County's plan.

 


Nevada's Prioritization Lanes

General Population

Nevadans 70 years & older

Nevadans 65-69 years

Nevadans 16-64 years with underlying conditions; Individuals with Disabilities; Nevadans Experiencing Homelessness

Healthy Adults, 16-64 years


Frontline/Essential Workforce

PUBLIC SAFETY & SECURITY 

  •  NV Dept. of Corrections Staff
  •  Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and National Security
  •  State and Local Emergency Operations Managers/Staff

FRONTLINE COMMUNITY SUPPORT

  •  Education (Pre-K & K-12) and Childcare – public/private/charter school settings
  •  Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Frontline Educators, Staff & Students
  •  Community Support Frontline Staff (i.e. frontline workers who support food, shelter, court/legal and social services, and other necessities of life for needy groups and individuals)
  •  Continuity of Governance (State and Local)
  •  Essential Public Transportation
  •  Remaining Essential Public Health Workforce 
  •  Mortuary Services

FRONTLINE SUPPLY CHAIN & LOGISTICS

  •  Agriculture and Food Processing
  •  End-to-End Essential Goods Supply Chain (includes manufacturing, transport, distribution and sale of essential items) 
  •  Utilities and Communications Infrastructure
  •  Nevada Department of Transportation and Local Emergency Road Personnel
  •  Frontline Airport Operations 
  •  Other Essential Transportation

FRONTLINE COMMERCE & SERVICE INDUSTRIES

  •  Food Service and Hospitality 
  •  Hygiene Products and Services
  •  Depository Credit Institution Workforce 

FRONTLINE INFRASTRUCTURE

  •  Infrastructure, Shelter and Housing (Construction)
  •  Essential Mining Operations

OTHER

  • Community Support Administrative Staff
  • NSHE Students living in campus-sponsored residential settings (e.g., dorms, campus-sponsored apartments, etc.)
  • NSHE Remaining Workforce

NDOC Inmates & Transitional Offender Group Housing

NDOC inmates will be vaccinated following the same prioritization as the general population.

When will Nevadans 65 and older be able to get vaccinated?

To see which groups your County is currently vaccinating based on Nevada's Playbook, please visit https://www.immunizenevada.org/county-specific-covid-19-vaccine-plan

This plan is subject to change and based on vaccine availability. If you would like to be notified about when you are eligible for the vaccine, please complete this survey https://dpbhrdc.nv.gov/redcap/surveys/?s=N7ACTF4CYL

Are part-time residents (such as those here for the winter season) eligible to get vaccinated in Nevada?

Based on updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at this time proof of residency is not required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if the individual meets the requirement for the age group that is currently being vaccinated.

The CDC states, “to achieve the public health objectives of ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of all Americans, Nevada must distribute or administer vaccine without discriminating on non-public-health grounds within a prioritized group.”

In short, this means two things:

  • Out-of-state residents within the age group currently being served in Nevada (e.g., 70 years and older, 65-69 years, etc.) cannot be denied vaccination based only on state or county residency status.
  • Vaccinations based on occupational groups are for Nevada residents only as they are identified and determined in the Nevada-specific COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook. Ideally, individuals should be vaccinated in the county where they work. However, we encourage counties not to turn otherwise eligible individuals away if they make an appointment and successfully arrive at a vaccination event.

Why do we need a vaccine if physical distancing and wearing masks can help prevent coronavirus spread?

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and physical distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

The approved Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine and the Moderna vaccine in the United States require two shots to be fully effective. 

Dr. Jeffrey Murawsky, MD explains why you need two doses in this video

How will I know when to return for my 2nd dose?

The VaxText text messaging resource is a free service. By texting ENROLL to 1-833-VaxText (829-8398), vaccine recipients can opt-in to receive a weekly text reminder for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine or a reminder for when they are overdue for their second dose, in English or Spanish.

The provider who gives you your first vaccine will also give you paperwork with the follow-up date on it, and will notify you by phone, email, or text depending on their appointment system.

What is v-safe After Vaccination Health Checker?

When you get a COVID-19 vaccine, your healthcare provider will give you a v-safe information sheet. This sheet provides instructions on how to register and use v-safe. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. Find more information on the CDC website

Once I've received two doses of the vaccine, will I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, for several reasons:

  • It will take a while for everyone to get vaccinated.
  • Scientists don't yet know if a vaccinated person can still spread the disease, even if they can't get sick. This is being studied right now. 
  • It will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

How much will the vaccine cost me?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be free. With limited initial supplies, it will take some time for everyone to get access, but eventually, everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine for free. The U.S. government invested in vaccine development and is purchasing and distributing the vaccine at no cost to both the insured and uninsured. However, vaccine providers (ie doctor's office, clinic) can get reimbursed for an office visit from health insurance or through the Provider Relief Fund when the patient is not insured. 

Earlier this year, the Nevada Division of Insurance passed regulations to ensure there would be no out-of-pocket costs to Nevadans covered by health insurance for COVID-19 vaccinations. This means consumers who have coverage with individual health plans, small group plans, large group plans, and catastrophic plans will be covered to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without any co-payment, co-insurance, or other form of cost-sharing, including the cost of administering the vaccine. Nevadans who are insured by entities not regulated by DOI may still be covered to receive the vaccine by federal law.

Additionally the vaccine is free for Nevadans insured through Nevada Health Link plans, those enrolled in Nevada Medicaid Fee-for Service or Managed Care, and those without insurance can visit a Federally Qualified Health Center or a local public health clinic. 

Can I get a vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine agree that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals when eligible for vaccination. It is recommended you discuss your options with your healthcare provider.

If you are considering pregnancy, getting vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to you is a great way to ensure that you — and your pregnancy — are protected. 

Can I still get sick from COVID-19 after I get vaccinated?

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

What are the underlying health conditions eligible to get vaccinated?

Nevada is using using CDC guidance to identify the specific underlying health conditions causing the person to be at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. These conditions are:

  • Cancer

  • Chronic Kidney Disease

  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), Cystic Fibrosis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, And Other Chronic Lung Diseases

  • Down Syndrome

  • Heart Conditions, such as Heart Failure, Coronary Heart Disease, or Cardiomyopathies

  • Immunocompromised from Solid Organ Transplant

  • Obesity (Body Mass Index, BMI, Of 30-39) And Severe Obesity (BMI of 40 or Greater)

  • Pregnancy

  • Sickle Cell Disease

  • Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

  • Smoking

What do I need to know about my vaccine appointment?

Please remember to bring the following required documents to your appointment: 

  • Appointment confirmation email
  • Photo ID  

Other important reminders:

  • The vaccine to be provided requires two (2) doses. The initial vaccination date will have a second vaccination date 21 or 28 days later which you will be required to return to receive the second dose. The pharmacy where you received your first dose will send you information regarding your second dose. 
  • Any individuals who are currently sick or under isolation or quarantine for COVID-19 are not eligible to receive the vaccine until they are symptom free and/or released based on CDC guidelines.   
  • It is best practice to wait for 15 minutes after your vaccination before leaving the vaccination site. 
  • Please wear clothing that allows quick and easy access to the upper arm.
  • Expect to wait. Due to high patient volume, wait times may vary. 

Can I get other vaccines, like the flu shot, at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?

No, you will need to wait two weeks after getting the COVID-19 vaccine before getting other immunizations. 

VACCINE SAFETY

How do we know the vaccines will be safe?

The COVID-19 vaccine approval process is the same as it is for every U.S. vaccine. It’s a very methodical process with numerous independent groups assessing clinical trial data and making recommendations.

  • Among the 36,000+ people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials, no serious safety concerns were observed in the many months following vaccination. It’s rare for a vaccine to have any side effects more than two weeks after getting it.
  • To reflect our population, clinical trial participants include more than a third from racial and ethnic minorities, people over 65, and those with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiac disease.
  • After clinical trials, the FDA evaluates the data to determine whether the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine has been demonstrated and whether the manufacturing and facility information assure product quality and consistency. A typical FDA team is comprised of: physicians, chemists, statisticians, pharmacologists/toxicologists, microbiologists, experts in postmarketing safety, clinical study site inspectors, manufacturing and facility inspectors, and labeling and communications experts.
  • Two of the biggest safeguards to vaccines are the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), both of which are made up of independent experts who are not employees of the FDA or the CDC and both of which hold open meetings available to the public. 

Watch Cindy M. P. Duke, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG discuss vaccine safety 

How was the vaccine made & delivered so quickly when it usually takes years?

Because COVID-19 is so widespread, contagious and deadly, tremendous resources have been committed to vaccine development. These are the components that have led to the COVID-19 vaccine development:

  • Coordinated effort in the U.S. between the CDC, the National Institute of Health, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, and the Department of Defense to accelerate development of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine
  • Intensive vaccine research and development by multiple pharmaceutical companies simultaneously
  • Use of mRNA vaccine technology, a new approach that offers scientists an easier and faster way to produce vaccines compared to traditional vaccines, enabling them to do in months what previously took years to accomplish
  • Widespread and diverse participation in vaccine clinical trials
  • Aggressive funding from government ($10B) and private sources toward vaccine development
  • Availability of Emergency Use Authorization, put in place post-9/11 to allow treatments or vaccines to be available earlier than would normally be done under the approval process
  • In order to speed up the distribution process, vaccines are being manufactured while in clinical trials with the intention of discarding them if the vaccine is not deemed safe and effective by FDA and other authorities.

Why are pharmaceutical companies exempt from being sued over COVID-19?

The United States has a law called the 2005 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness, or PREP Act, which is intended to exclude lawsuits seeking financial award from products that help control a public health crisis. The pandemic is such a health crisis, and government leaders believe it is in our national interest to assume any future risk from a vaccine in order to advance development.  

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Among the 36,000+ people who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine through phase 3 clinical trials (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTec trials), no serious safety concerns have been reported. Some participants reported transient side effects including: sore arm, fever, muscle pain and fatigue that resolved in 24 hours. Older adults reported fewer and milder side effects. In a small percentage of cases these side effects were severe — defined as preventing daily activities.

There were no Grade 4 reactions during clinical trials, requiring an emergency room visit or hospitalization. 

Watch this video to learn more.

What’s the difference between vaccine efficacy and vaccine effectiveness?

Vaccine “efficacy” is measured in clinical trials and is distinct from “effectiveness.” Vaccine effectiveness reflects real-world conditions and can only be measured once the general population has been vaccinated.

Should I be concerned about a severe allergic reaction?

Several vaccine recipients worldwide have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine. These people had a history of allergic reactions to vaccines. Their reactions were successfully treated with epinephrine and they recovered. Having allergies DOES NOT mean you will experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine. People with a history of serious food or medication allergies were not excluded from the vaccine’s Phase 3 trial and no serious adverse reactions were recorded. 

The CDC recently stated that people who have experienced severe reactions to prior vaccines can still get the Pfizer vaccine but should talk with their doctors beforehand, and be monitored for 30 mins after injection.

What are the vaccine ingredients?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is a sterile, preservative-free, frozen suspension for muscle injection.

Ingredients:
• mRNA
• lipids or fats: ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2- hexyldecanoate), 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol)
• potassium chloride
• monobasic potassium phosphate
• sodium chloride
• dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
• sucrose

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is a preservative-free frozen suspension for muscle injection.

Ingredients:
• mRNA
• Lipids or fats: (SM-102, 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000 [PEG2000-DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
• tromethamine
• tromethamine hydrochloride
• acetic acid
• sodium acetate
• sucrose

The lipids (or fats) in the ingredients serve as a slippery coating that helps to slide the vaccine into the cells. Neither vaccine contains food proteins.

There is no egg or egg-related component of the RNA vaccine.

VACCINE MYTHS

The COVID-19 vaccine will make me sick with COVID-19

No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. 

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, I will test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test

No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

The COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility

No. There is no scientific evidence that the vaccine could impact fertility. Because COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are not composed of live virus, they are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies. 

Additionally, since the vaccine is not a live virus, there is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of vaccination administration or to defer fertility treatment until the second dose has been administered.

Cindy M. P. Duke, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG, Medical Director of the Nevada Fertility Institute explains why she recommends vaccination for her patients in this video

 

I don’t need the vaccine because I’ve already had COVID

No. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called “natural immunity,” varies from person to person.  It is rare for someone who has had COVID-19 to get infected again. It also is uncommon for people who do get COVID-19 again to get it within 90 days of when they recovered from their first infection.  We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.

Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are working to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Is there a microchip in the vaccine so the government can track me?

No, the government is not using the vaccine to track you. There may be trackers on the vaccine shipment boxes to protect them from theft, but there are no trackers in the vaccines themselves. State governments track where you got the vaccine and which kind you received using a computerized database to make sure you get all recommended doses at the right time. You will also get a card showing that you have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

Those with asymptomatic COVID can't spread the disease

Throughout the pandemic, scientists have been working to understand the risk of transmission by asymptomatic carriers, and have continued to find that asymptomatic spreading contributes to the ongoing case numbers.

If certain communities experience low asymptomatic spread, it is most likely a result of srict public health measures.   

VACCINE TECHNOLOGY

What is an mRNA vaccine?

The approved Pfizer-BioNTec and Moderna vaccines, and several others seeking approval, are made using messenger RNA (mRNA). This new vaccine technology is unlike traditional viral vaccines that introduce a weakened viral protein to cause an immune response. mRNA vaccines deliver instructions to the cell to build a protein that resembles a viral protein in order to generate an immune response. mRNA does not alter or modify your DNA.

Mark S. Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Nevada, Reno-School of Medicine, Associate Chief of Staff – Research, Veterans Administration, explains how the vaccines work.

Will the vaccine alter my DNA?

The approved vaccines use mRNA technology. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work

Mark S. Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Nevada, Reno-School of Medicine, Associate Chief of Staff – Research, Veterans Administration, explains in this video.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

Mark S. Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Nevada, Reno-School of Medicine, explains the vaccine technology

COVID-19 PREVENTION

Will a flu vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, however flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care and public health resources.

How do I protect myself from COVID-19 while I wait for a vaccine?

You should cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay six feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often. 

How do you get immune to COVID-19?

There are two ways to develop immunity and protection from COVID -19:

  • Get infected with the virus and develop an immune response and antibodies
  • Get a COVID-19 vaccine which triggers your body to create an immune response and antibodies

Getting the disease is risky because you don't know how serious your symptoms will be, if you will require hospitalization, or if you might die. 

Getting the vaccine has no discernible risk for most people and minor, transient side effects.  

Mark S. Riddle, MD, DrPH, FISTM Associate Dean for Clinical Research, University of Nevada, Reno-School of Medicine, explains immunity in this video.

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