AP

EXPLAINER: What to know about COVID-19 vaccination in the US

Dec 15, 2020, 6:02 AM | Updated: 6:03 am

NEW YORK (AP) — The first shots of COVID-19 vaccine are being delivered, but it will likely be months before doses are widely available for everyone at U.S. drugstores and doctor’s office.

Details are still being worked out, but officials expect widespread availability by the middle of next year. A second coronavirus vaccine is being reviewed this week by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and others are in development.

Even with vaccination, you’ll still need to take precautions, like wearing a mask and social distancing, health officials say. That’s because there’s still some unknowns, including how much it reduces spread or how long protection lasts.

WHO’S GETTING THE SHOTS FIRST?

The limited doses of Pfizer’s vaccine are going to the most vulnerable first — health care workers and nursing home residents. That means the shipments are going to sites selected in advance by state officials. Hospitals are doling out the shots to their employees. For nursing homes, the government is partnering with CVS and Walgreens, which will be giving the shots in the homes.

Some top U.S. government officials will also be vaccinated in the first wave, according to the National Security Council.

WHO’S NEXT?

Health officials are still working through that question. Possibilities include anyone 65 and older, teachers, police and workers in other essential fields, such as food production, and those with health conditions that make them more susceptible to complications.

An expert panel that advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on vaccines will meet this month and make its recommendations. As with the first wave of shipments, it will ultimately be up to state officials to ultimately decide who’s next and work out the specifics. For example, Arkansas has planned to put poultry workers in its next group for vaccinations.

WHEN IS IT MY TURN?

For the rest of Americans, it could be a few months. U.S. officials say they expect to be able to give 20 million people their first shots in December. But with more vaccines in the pipeline, the shots could be widely available by the middle of next year.

State and local health departments will get the word out on eligibility as supplies ramp up.

WHERE WILL I GET A SHOT?

States are signing up pharmacies, health clinics and doctor’s offices to give the shots. Health departments will also probably run mass vaccination clinics. CVS said people will be asked to schedule their shots online, through an app or by phone.

Once doses are widely available, people should be able to use an existing government website, www.vaccinefinder.org, to find COVID-19 shots. The website is already used to find vaccines for the flu and other diseases.

ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?

Pfizer’s vaccine is for people 16 and older. Testing is just getting underway in children to determine if they can be given shots as well.

The CDC panel said pregnant women could get the shot, but said they might want to talk to their doctor first. The panel also suggests avoiding getting other vaccinations for two weeks before and after a COVID-19 shot.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

It should be free. The government is paying for the vaccine itself. And you shouldn’t be charged a copay or other fee to get it.

The cost for giving the shot will be covered by private and government insurance. If you don’t have insurance, providers can tap a government fund to cover costs.

WHEN WILL I GET MY SECOND SHOT?

It depends on the brand of vaccine. Pfizer’s is three weeks later. You’ll get a vaccination record card as a reminder. You might also get reminder texts, calls or letters in the mail, depending on the location.

Shots will be recorded in state and local vaccine registries that already keep track of other vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccines can’t be mixed and matched, so if a second dose is needed, providers will be checking to make sure you get the right one.

The CDC said it can take one to two weeks after the second shot to be fully vaccinated.

Not all vaccines in development require two shots. Johnson & Johnson is testing a single-dose vaccine.

WHAT ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS?

There could be temporary side effects right after the shot, including fever, fatigue, chills or soreness in the arm where you got the shot. Health officials will be watching for any serious side effects as more people get vaccinated, as well as for any potential longer-term issues.

People who have had severe allergic reactions to other vaccines or drugs should talk to their doctors first, the CDC panel said. Those who’ve had any kind of severe allergic reaction in the past should be watched for 30 minutes after vaccination. Others should be watched for 15 minutes.

WHAT IF I HAD COVID-19?

Vaccinations should be offered to people regardless of whether they’ve been infected with coronavirus, the CDC panel said. People who are currently infected and have symptoms should wait until they’ve recovered.

If you’ve been recently exposed to the virus, the panel recommends waiting until after the quarantine period of 14 days. It says getting vaccinated shortly after an exposure is unlikely to prevent you from getting infected.

___

AP Health Writer Tom Murphy contributed from Indianapolis.

__

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Wear a mask.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

A photo taken of Matthew Perry in 2022....

Clayre Scott

Criminal investigation opened in relation to Matthew Perry’s death

A criminal investigation has been opened in relation to Matthew Perry's death due to high levels of ketamine found in his blood.

27 days ago

FILE - The United Nations (UN) headquarters are pictured in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, Sept. 9, 2...

EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

U.N. to vote on resolution that would grant Palestine new rights

The U.N. General Assembly is expected to vote Friday on a resolution that would grant new "rights and privileges" to Palestine.

1 month ago

President Joe Biden arrives at Chicago O'Hare International Airport to attend a political fundraise...

ZEKE MILLER and AAMER MADHANI, Associated Press

Biden says US won’t supply weapons for Israel to attack Rafah

Biden said the U.S. was still committed to Israel's defense, but that if Israel goes into Rafah, "we're not going to supply the weapons and artillery shells used."

1 month ago

Adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who just testified in the Trump hush money trial....

Associated Press

Adult film star testifies in Trump hush money case

Donald Trump's attorneys have unsuccessfully pushed for a mistrial during the testimony of porn actor Stormy Daniels. She was testifying at Trump's hush money criminal trial that she had a sexual encounter with Trump after meeting him at a Lake Tahoe celebrity golf outing where her studio was a sponsor.

1 month ago

This photo provided by NASA shows an Eta Aquarid meteor streaking over northern Georgia on April 29...

CHRISTINA LARSON, AP Science Writer

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, debris of Halley’s comet, peaks this weekend. Here’s how to see it

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower, remnants of Halley's comet, peaks this weekend.

1 month ago

Actor Mark Hamill takes off sunglasses given to him by President Joe Biden, as he joins White House...

COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

‘Star Wars’ actor Mark Hamill drops by White House for a visit with ‘Joe-bi-Wan Kenobi’

"Star Wars" actor Mark Hamill has dropped by the White House for a visit with President Joe Biden.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

EXPLAINER: What to know about COVID-19 vaccination in the US