There has been a great deal of information in the news regarding the two COVID-19 vaccines that were approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), being administered in Florida, across America and around the world.
The primary discussion I’m hearing among seniors in the Clearwater area concerns the safety of the vaccines. But there are additional questions I wanted to explore, so I could share the information with you, and you can make an informed decision for yourself or your elderly loved ones regarding the vaccines.
I solicited facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Florida COVID-19 Response website to find pertinent FAQ’s about the COVID-19 vaccine and seniors in Florida.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
The current COVID-19 vaccines being used have gone through rigorous studies to ensure they are as safe as possible. Systems that allow CDC to watch for safety issues are in place across the entire country.
The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown to meet rigorous safety criteria and be effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. Clinical trials for all vaccines must first show they meet rigorous criteria for safety and effectiveness before any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can be authorized or approved for use. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.
Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have underlying health conditions?
People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines provided they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions,because they are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.
What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine?
The two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:
If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get a vaccine?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Do I still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I’ve had both doses of the vaccine?
Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others
- Avoid crowds
- Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
- Wash your hands often
Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Do I have to be a resident of Florida to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
State Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued a Public Health Advisory on January 21 prioritizing vaccines for residents of the State of Florida or individuals in Florida for the purpose of providing health care services involving direct contact with patients.
To prove residency an adult resident must provide a copy of his or her valid Florida driver license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card.
Seasonal residents must provide specific documents to show proof of a Florida residential address.
Where can I get a vaccine in Florida?
The following entities are administering COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals:
Hospitals are administering COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers with direct patient contact, including health care workers in their communities, as well as persons 65 years of age and older and hospital providers may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. A list of hospitals administering COVID-19 vaccine can be found here.
County Health Departments are administering COVID-19 vaccine to persons 65 years of age and older. They may require you to register for an appointment. Please check your County Health Department or county government’s website for more information. County Health Department contact information can be found at FloridaHealth.gov under “Contact Florida Health, Local Health Offices”.
Healthcare workers and seniors over the age of 65 are currently eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. You’ve probably seen news reports of long lines at vaccination sites, because there is such a high demand for a vaccine, especially among aging adults. As the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna manufacturers ramp-up production, supplies will increase, more doses will be distributed to vaccination sites across Florida, and everyone will get their turn.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations in Florida visit the Florida COVID Response website; text FLCOVID19 to 888777; call 866-779-6121; or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. If a Home Helpers® caregiver can be of assistance in any way, please contact me.
If you are not a “vaxer,” and you don’t plan to get a vaccine, I strongly recommend you continue to follow CDC guidelines for your protection from this nasty virus and its fast-spreading variants. A compassionate caregiver from Home Helpers® can provide companion care, respite care, recuperative care, wellness calls, and so much more. I gladly offer a FREE Consultation, so we can get to know each other, and I can assess specific needs.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for five consecutive years: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
Florida COVID-19 Response – FAQ’s
Florida COVID-19 Response – About Vaccines