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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Planned Parenthood Mar Monte is proud to be vaccinating our health care staff.

Getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, and your community healthy and safe. 

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PPMM Health Center Staff Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

The COVID-19 Vaccine is Safe and Effective

The approved COVID-19 vaccines have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands of volunteers from diverse and representative age and race/ethnicity backgrounds. The vaccines have been determined to be effective and safe by the medical and scientific community who made it their highest priority to develop the vaccine as fast and safely as possible.

Vaccine Development

The three-phased testing process for vaccines is the same as every other vaccine approved prior to COVID-19. A safety board approved every study, and the FDA carefully reviewed the data from every phase of every vaccine trial. Vaccine developers have ensured that clinical trials reflect the nation’s diversity. Data will continue to be collected two years after a vaccine is first administered to ensure that the long-term effects are safe. You can review the evidence yourself by viewing the public information on the FDA’s website.

Some commentators have noted that the some of the COVID-19 vaccines utilized mRNA. mRNA is a messenger RNA and the vaccine uses a piece of mRNA that tells a cell to make a specific protein. An mRNA vaccine is not a virus and can’t cause disease.

Historic Injustices

The medical establishment’s history of racism and abuse toward Black, Indigenous, and people of color that has resulted in deep mistrust. This coupled with current day structural racism have contributed to COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on people of color. These realities make access to the vaccine of critical importance. PPMM is committed to providing our staff, patients, and the communities we serve with all the information they need to make an informed decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, and deciding what is best for their health and safety.

Once You're Fully Vaccinated 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued these guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated.

To learn more, please visit the CDC's most up-to-date science brief.

Finding Vaccine Appointments

In California, you can learn about vaccination eligibility and sign up for alerts at: https://myturn.ca.gov/

 

Concerns about the vaccine?

If you’re skeptical or concerned about the vaccine or side effects, we hear you. The likelihood of a severe side effect is less than 0.5%. When mild side effects occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus, and most go away in a few days.
 
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the vaccine, including the last date the answer was updated.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The most common reactions are pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These symptoms are commonly seen with other vaccines, also. Reports of fever and nausea are less common and no serious side effects were seen in the data reported from the clinical trials.

Last updated: 2/1/21

Is the second dose exactly the same as the first dose?

For vaccines that have two doses, your body just responds to the second dose differently. The first dose primes your body and the second dose boosts your antibody response. By the second dose, your body recognizes the foreign substance and reacts strongly. As a warning, people seem to experience stronger side effects after the second dose.

Last updated: 03/04/2021

Are there any resources specifically for Black, Indigenous, and people of color to help make a decision about vaccination?

Yes! The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 has created a video called Making It Plain - What Black America Needs to Know about COVID-19 and Vaccines. You can view the recording on YouTube.

You can also read an article written by Dr. Eugenia South, an emergency medicine doctor and professor, who penned an article entitled, “I’m a Black Doctor Who Didn’t Trust the COVID Vaccine. Here’s What Changed My Mind.”

Morehouse School of Medicine president Valerie Montgomery Rice hopes the Black community will believe trusted messengers and advocates about the vaccine. Read a Q&A with her here.

Last updated: 01/29/21

I’m pregnant. Is it safe to receive the vaccine?

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination. While safety data on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy are not currently available, there are also no data to indicate that the vaccines should be contraindicated, and no safety signals generated from Developmental and Reproductive Toxicity (DART) studies for the Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

In the interest of patient autonomy, PPMM recommend that pregnant individuals be free to make their own decision regarding COVID-19 vaccination. While pregnant individuals are encouraged to discuss vaccination considerations with their clinical care team when feasible, documentation of such a discussion should not be required prior to receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. You can read more information here.

Last updated: 01/29/21

How often can a person get the vaccine a year given the uncertainty of immunity strength over time?

The good news is that the people in the original studies for the vaccines are several months ahead of us so it will give us a good idea of when immunity may decrease. People whose immune systems do not react well may need a booster at one year. mRNA vaccines are not likely to be dangerous if you receive more than one dose and it may depend on the logistics of administering boosters. In the next few months, there will be more answers.

Last updated: 01/12/21

How long would you wait to get vaccinated after testing positive?

The new recommendation is that you wait 90 days after testing positive to get vaccinated because they are seeing side effects in people who have tested positive with COVID-19 early on after the exposure. We do think that when you have tested positive, you should have immunity for about 3 months. This information will likely evolve and we will receive more clear guidance soon.

Last updated: 01/20/21

What happens if we do not get the second dose in the allotted time?

For vaccines that have more than one dose, similar to other vaccines, there is typically a large window where you can still get vaccinated and your body would respond the same way. The current guidance allows for individuals to receive both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines up to six weeks after the initial dose and up to four days early. It’s important to get your vaccine when it’s scheduled due to availability and distribution issues.

Last updated: 03/04/21

After I receive the vaccine, do I need to continue to wear a mask?

Yes! We only know that the two available vaccines in the U.S.: Pfizer and Moderna, prevent severe COVID-19 disease. We do not yet know if it prevents you from transmitting asymptomatic disease. This means it is possible that you could be fully vaccinated and still become infected with COVID-19, not know it, and transmit to others. We also do not know the length of immunity.
 
This means that until additional information is available, there is no change in our policies, procedures, or guidance. Universal masking must continue. Staff with illness or known exposure must continue to report this to their supervisors and remain out of work until they have been cleared for return. Staff working remotely in order to protect our vulnerable populations and each other must continue to do so. Everyone should continue to avoid contact with individuals outside of their home.
 
As additional information and evidence is made available we will provide updates and appropriate changes.

Last updated: 02-08-2021

How do I safely wear a mask?

Yes! We only know that the approve vaccines in the U.S. prevent severe COVID-19 disease. We do not yet know it the vaccine prevents you from transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 virus that can cause COVID-19.

When you’re selecting a mask, you want to choose one that fits snugly against your face.

To help keep your respiratory droplets in and others’ out, you can wear a cloth mask over a standard medical mask (double mask). Another way is to use the ear loop knotting/folding technique with the single mask as shown in this video.

The CDC has very helpful guidance on how to improve mask usage here.

Last updated: 03/04/21

Does the vaccine stop transmission?

The quick answer is, we don’t know yet.

We do know that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing death and the serious health complications that strain our overburdened health care system.

Here’s where the answer gets a bit more technical: The vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19, the disease. But there’s also a virus (called SARS-CoV-2) that can infect you without it progressing into the disease, COVID-19. Most people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 will not die, but many will become sick and require medical care. Some people have already had the virus (SARS-CoV-2) and not had any symptoms. 

Here’s why that matters. We know the vaccines prevent the disease COVID-19 at a high rate. We don’t yet know if the vaccines prevent transmission of the virus. The vaccine can prevent what would normally be a severe illness into something mild and manageable. It saves lives and, because fewer people are hospitalized, improves quality of care, when care is needed. This is why it’s vital that all of us – regardless of vaccination status – continue to wear masks, wash hands, and socially distance.

Last update: 03/04/21