Every day, our physicians answer a variety of questions about the pandemic. We’ve compiled a few of our most common questions — and answers. Let’s take a look:
Where can I get the vaccine?
At Greater Family Health, the Moderna vaccine is available for individuals over the age of 18.
However, everyone over 12 years old is eligible to get the vaccine. To find additional vaccine sites click here.
I’m undocumented. Can I get the vaccine?
Yes. All populations in Illinois, including individuals who are undocumented, can receive the vaccine. No one will be turned away.
How much does the vaccine cost?
It’s free of cost. You don’t need insurance to get the vaccine. For insured patients, Greater Family Health will bill your insurance carrier.
Will I have any side effects after getting the vaccine?
Some people do; some people don’t. The majority of the side effects, while not seen in every individual, are signs that your body is recognizing the vaccine and producing an immune response. You might feel tired, have muscle pain or feel a chill/fever. If you have any side effects, they will typically go away within one to two days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about possible side effects.
“Keep these possible side effects in perspective — feeling a little sick for a few days doesn’t compare to the symptoms associated with catching COVID-19,” says Dr. Deepak Ariga, Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases physician at Greater Family Health. “Nearly all the COVID-19 deaths we’re seeing now in the U.S. are from people who didn’t get vaccinated.”
After I get the vaccine, when does it start to work?
It takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection after being vaccinated with the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (or a single dose with the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine). During this two-week timeframe, you should continue to wear your mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.
Is the vaccine safe?
Yes. The U.S. vaccine safety system is a deliberate and multi-phase process to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. As of early July, almost 50% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.
“COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials,” according to the CDC. “The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA). These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.”
What is the Delta variant — and will the vaccine protect me from it?
The Delta variant is a very contagious form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We found out about this strain in India, back in December 2020. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from this highly infectious, deadly strain.
My child is under the age of 12. How do I protect them from the virus?
We recommend the following:
- Wearing a mask in indoor public places
- Stay 6 feet away from others
- Have outdoor playdates
- Avoid taking your child to indoor activities, like movie theatres and bowling alleys
- Wash their hands often
- Get yourself and all household members over the age of 12 vaccinated
After I get vaccinated, how will my life change?
Good news! After you’re fully vaccinated (and you’ve waited two weeks), you can resume many activities you did before the pandemic. To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant, wear a mask indoors in public. You should continue to wear a mask where required by state/local laws, businesses or your workplace.
When will the pandemic end?
We don’t know. But we do know this: The more people who get vaccinated (ideally over 75%-80% of the population), the faster we will reach herd immunity. We’re all in this together. That’s why we urge our patients to get vaccinated today.