Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines in Napa Valley

From vaccine types to appointment details, you’re covered in the Napa Valley.

Q: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed, manufactured and distributed so quickly. How can I be sure they are safe?

A: It’s natural to worry that phrases such as “unprecedented speed” could imply that manufacturers or regulators cut corners to get the vaccines out so fast. But that’s not the case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authorized vaccines have been vetted through rigorous clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective. Millions of people in the U.S. have received a COVID-19 vaccine, and the vast majority have had either no side effects or mild side effects, such as pain at the injection site, chills or a headache.

Q: What’s the difference between the types of COVID-19 vaccines and what’s in them?

A: The first two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. — and others in development — use technology that works differently from traditional vaccines, which use harmless germs to produce an immune reaction in the body.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines contain molecules of RNA that “teach” your cells to create a protein that triggers an immune response and creates antibodies. If you are exposed to COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, these antibodies will protect you from getting sick or lessen the severity of illness.

Vaccines of this type: Pfizer, Moderna

Viral vector vaccines use a harmless virus modified with genetic material that instructs your cells to create a protein. This protein looks like a virus to your immune system, which learns to fight it.

Vaccine of this type: Johnson & Johnson

Q: Should I get vaccinated?

A: The CDC recommends that you get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible. Just about everyone can be vaccinated, including people who have previously been infected with COVID-19. So, who shouldn’t get a shot? The Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are not recommended for children younger than 18, while the Pfizer vaccine is not recommended for children under 16. People who are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccines should not get a shot, either.

Q: Will I be able to choose which vaccine I receive?

A: Because of high demand for the COVID-19 vaccines, providers don’t currently offer a choice. But rest assured, all of the CDC-recommended vaccines are extremely effective, with up to 95 percent success at fighting COVID-19.

Q: What will happen at my vaccination appointment?

A: Once you’ve scheduled your appointment, here’s what to expect:

Bring proper identification and be prepared to fill out a consent form.

Upon arrival, you will be asked to social distance, disinfect your hands and wear a mask.

You’ll get a CDC vaccination card noting the manufacturer, lot number and healthcare site of your vaccine.

After the shot, you’ll be observed for 15 to 30 minutes.

You’ll learn about potential side effects and receive follow-up instructions for a second dose, if needed. •

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