Three manufacturers's COVID-19 vaccines have been federally approved for emergency use in the U.S. as of early March: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. The first two require two shots — an initial one and a booster about three to four weeks later — and the third one is a single dose.
Here are answers to some important questions that Floridians may have still have about the COVID-19 vaccines and their availability.
Who can get vaccinated against COVID-19?
The Food and Drug Administration has granted an Emergency Use Authorization for all people 12 and up to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
People 18 and older can get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Where in Florida can I get a vaccination?
COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available — often without an appointment — at retail pharmacies in the Tampa Bay area and across the state.
What are the coronavirus variants currently in Florida, and what do I need to know about them?
As the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus becomes dominant in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Florida is among six states with the highest numbers of new cases.
On July 27, the CDC revised its previous guidelines, urging fully vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where cases are surging.
On July 28, Pfizer said a third dose of its vaccine can boost protection against the delta variant, but the data have not been peer-reviewd or published.
Are the available vaccines effective against the variant COVID-19 strains?
The CDC says that while no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness, evidence suggests they may make illness less severe.
According to an Associated Press analysis of government data, nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated.
When will children be able to get the vaccine?
Clinical trials are underway to determine the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12.
Pfizer is expected to apply for an Emergency Use Authorization in September for children ages 5 - 11 — and later for children as young as six months.
What's the difference between the available vaccine brands?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were both shown to be about 95% effective and require two doses.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was shown to be 66% effective and requires one dose.
Will I need to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?
At this time, the medical community thinks that reinfection may still be possible for those who have already contracted the coronavirus. There have been anecdotal reports of people getting infected twice. For this reason, it’s a good idea to get vaccinated even if you have already been sick with COVID-19.
A recent study from Columbia University indicates that the variants, on the other hand, "raise the specter that reinfections could be more likely."
If I take the vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19?
None of the vaccines currently being used in the U.S. will return a positive coronavirus test result once administered. But because the purpose of the vaccine is to produce an immune response in the body, those who get vaccinated could possibly get a positive result on a test for COVID-19 antibodies.
After I get vaccinated, can I take off my mask?
The CDC on July 27 revised its earlier guidance due to rising case numbers. Fully vaccinated people are now urged to wear masks indoors in parts of the country — including Florida — where COVID-19 is surging.
What are some possible side effects/symptoms I can expect after getting the vaccine?
According to the CDC, some common side effects of the COVID vaccines are:
- Pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
- Muscle pain
The CDC recommends that you seek medical attention if:
- The redness or tenderness where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours.
- Your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.