Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Which vaccines are approved by the FDA?

The Pfizer product has been granted an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA in age 16 and older (two doses, 21 days apart).  Moderna has had a vaccine approved last week for ages 18 and older (two doses, one month apart).  Officially the FDA has not approved the “routine” use of any vaccine yet.

Is the vaccine safe?

From what we can tell the vaccines are very safe and effective. The mRNA technology has been in development for years, and will NOT cause changes in your own DNA.

The new vaccines coming from Novavax and Johnson and Johnson use different technology.  Johnson and Johnson uses an “adenovirus vector” to deliver the protein to trigger the immune system. This is NOT a live virus vaccine and you can’t get adenovirus from taking it.  The Novavax vaccine is a spike protein plus an “adjuvant” which helps the immune system spring into action. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is only ONE DOSE. The Novavax vaccine, like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, is a two-dose vaccine.

Could I, or my child, get COVID-19 from this vaccine?

No.  The vaccine does not contain active or killed virus particles and the vaccine will not make a virus in your body.

Is this vaccine available for my child now?

If your child is 1 years or older and has a qualifying health condition, he/she may be able to get the vaccine soon. Right now the vaccine supply is very limited. Ohio is now in Phase 1B of distribution.  See this link for more information:

Once vaccine becomes more available, more people will be able to receive it.  However, this vaccine has NOT been tested in patients under 12 years old.  Studies are ongoing in the 12-16 year old age group, and we expect some news on this by summer.

It is expected, that by spring of 2021, the general public (at least ages 16 and above) will be able to receive the vaccine.

My child has Crohn’s Disease and is on a medication that reduces her immunity. Will she be able to get the vaccine?

Yes, when the Ohio Department of Health opens up the criteria for these patients. The vaccines have not yet been tested in patients who have reduced immunity (commonly called “immunosuppression”).  Two questions are: 1) are they safe? and 2) will they produce a good immune response?  Most likely we will have more answers to these questions as the vaccine is more widely studied and distributed.

If the vaccine becomes available for children, can it be given with other childhood immunizations?

The vaccines have NOT been studied when given with other vaccines.  So the short answer, we do not know.  Right now, it is recommended that the Pfizer vaccine NOT be given within 14 days of another immunization.

If I or my child get the vaccine, how long does it take for us to get immunity?

About 1 to 2 weeks after the second dose of the vaccine.

How long does the immunity last?

We still need to check on the first patients who received vaccine in the studies.  But we can say at least 4 months for sure right now.

Will we need to get the vaccine every year, like a flu shot?

That is not known at this time. We don’t think so, as this virus so far has not produced different strains like the flu does each year.

If I’m pregnant or nursing, is it safe for ME to get the vaccine to protect my family?

Most likely there is no problem with doing this. The vaccine has NOT been studied in pregnant or lactating women, but many pregnant and breastfeeding women have received the vaccine since it came out and so far, so good. There is no reason to believe that they will be dangerous, but those studies have not been done yet.

If I get the first dose of the vaccine with the Pfizer vaccine, but another vaccine becomes available before I need the second dose, could I get the second dose from a different company?

There is no evidence this will work.  For right now, we recommend that if more than one dose is needed, it SHOULD be from the same manufacturer.

Will Pediatric Associates be offering any COVID-19 vaccines?

Probably not until the vaccine is more widely available.  We will have to wait and see if we get any of the vaccine, and how much.  We will offer it to eligible patients who are interested in the vaccination if we are able to get it.

How will I know when you are offering the vaccine?

Check our social media posts (Facebook and Twitter), and our on-hold messages.

Will there be a waiting list?

We don’t know yet.  Children in general are at lower risk, so they most likely will have to wait longer than adults and those with special health conditions.

How much will it cost, and will my insurance cover it?

Unfortunately, we don’t have the details on this yet.  Contact your insurance company to find out about coverage.  Each plan may be different.

My child had COVID-19 already.  Can he get the vaccine?  Is it safe?

The vaccine appears to be safe for those who have had the infection already.  It is NOT recommended to give the vaccine to someone who has a CURRENT COVID-19 infection.  For the Pfizer vaccine, it looks like a 90 day wait period AFTER a COVID-19 infection may be the best time to get the vaccine, but more evidence is needed.

What about these new virus “variants?” Do the vaccines work against them?

There are several new variants that have cropped up.  This is normal for viruses to do this. Mostly they make the virus more contagious. It does look like the strain out of South Africa (the B.1.135 strain) may be more resistant to some of the vaccines, especially the Novavax and Johnson and Johnson products.  More time is needed to determine if this is  problem and what we need to do about it.

What about these severe allergic reactions I’ve been hearing about?  My child has allergies.  Should I be worried?

In general, if your child has allergies, they should be fine to receive the vaccine if they are otherwise eligible.  Here’s where we need to worry:

If a patient has had an anaphylactic (life-threatening) reaction to any other vaccine, they should NOT receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
If a patient has had an anaphylactic reaction to any component in the COVID-19 vaccine, they should not receive the vaccine.
If a patient has had ANY other type of anaphylactic reaction other than above, they should be observed for 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.
All other patients should be observed for 15 minutes in the office after receiving the vaccine.