The coronavirus pandemic has been a very scary time for everyone, and for seniors especially, as they are more at risk. Thankfully, there is now a vaccine available. But there is a lot of information out there, some unclear or misleading, so it’s understandable to have questions. Whether it’s for you or your loved one, read on below to find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine.
1. When can seniors get the vaccine?
Assisted living or nursing home residents and individuals over 65 years old are in the first priority group 1A to get the vaccine. The rollout has varied by state, but most are already in the process of vaccinating 1A and 1B. So if you’re a senior who hasn’t received a vaccine yet, you’re more than likely eligible already. However, even those who are eligible are having some trouble scheduling an appointment.
2. Who should seniors contact to schedule a coronavirus vaccine?
To start, contact the Department of Health in your area, whether state or local, to find out about how and when you can get your first dose. You can also reach out to your healthcare provider or your pharmacy to see if they’re getting the vaccine. Unfortunately, that isn’t always a guarantee, and some may have to go a little out of the way to get one at a mass vaccination center.
Seniors may want to reach out to a friend or family member for help scheduling. Some are scheduling appointments online, and that system may be harder for older adults to navigate. Seniors should also consider asking a loved one to go with them, in case of side effects. Or if you’re the loved one of a senior, you can volunteer to help schedule the vaccine and/or go with them to the appointment for support.
3. What COVID-19 vaccines are available?
Back in December, Pfizer’s was the first vaccine to be approved, with Moderna’s following a few days later. Both vaccines have proven to be highly effective in preventing the virus. However, they require two separate doses for you to be effectively immunized. Pfizer recommends 21 days between doses, while Moderna is 28 days in-between.
At the end of February, Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine was also approved by the FDA. It has also proven effective, and the vaccine has begun shipping for use. You can ask your healthcare provider which options are available in your area.
4. How much does it cost?
The coronavirus vaccine is free. If you’re scheduling a vaccine with an institution that asks for money, that is most definitely a scam.
5. What are the side effects?
The vaccines have been proven safe and effective. Despite what some have claimed, you do not get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and no one has died from it. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines essentially have the same side effects. And in most cases, they’re fairly mild and will go away on their own.
The most common side effects are pain where the vaccine was injected, fatigue, headaches, fever, and/or chills. Less common side effects are muscle and joint pain and delayed swelling at the injection site. If you do have any of these side effects, they should only last a couple of days.
There have been a few rare incidents of allergic reactions. Prior to receiving the vaccine, you should ask a healthcare provider to look up if you have a history of allergic reactions to any part of the vaccines. If you do experience an allergic reaction, such as a rash or difficulty breathing, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
At the Mission at Agua Fria, we make sure to look out for our residents’ health no matter what. You can trust that you’re in great hands here and that your health is our top priority. You can find more information about the Mission at Agua Fria on our website.