The COVID-19 vaccine is a newly developed vaccine that may protect you from getting COVID-19 or prevent the onset of life-threatening symptoms.
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).
SARS-CoV-2 is a newly discovered and highly contagious coronavirus that causes a range of symptoms that may be life-threatening in certain groups of people, including the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease.
The COVID-19 vaccine works by triggering your body to create antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. The antibodies help your body fight off the virus to prevent illness.
The COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are messenger RNA vaccines (mRNA vaccines). These vaccines don’t contain a live virus.
The vaccine works by providing your cells with the code they need to create the “spike” protein. The “spike” protein is a harmless part of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Your immune system recognizes that the “spike” protein is foreign and develops antibodies to destroy it.
When you come in contact with SARS-CoV-2, your immune system recalls the foreign protein and the antibody needed to destroy it. Like any other vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine improves your body’s natural defense against infection without you ever being sick.
The number of COVID-19 vaccine injections you need depends on the type of vaccine provided. Currently, the CDC recommends two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to get the most protection.
The length of time between your first and second vaccine dose depends on which COVID-19 vaccine you receive.
The authorization and dose requirements may change pending the results of ongoing clinical studies and the approval of new vaccines.
The CDC recommends you get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you have had COVID-19 to prevent reinfection.
After reviewing your medical history, including your allergies, your health care provider at Ribera Healthcare Clinic injects the vaccine into your arm. Your provider has you remain at the office for about 15 minutes to monitor for any adverse reactions.
Though the COVID-19 vaccine won’t make you sick, you may develop side effects within three days after your injection. Common side effects include:
These side effects usually resolve within a day or two.
It takes a few weeks for your body to build up immunity to the virus, and you may still get and transmit the virus after vaccination.
Until your community is fully protected, your health care provider recommends you continue to take necessary precautions to prevent further spreading of the virus. These precautions include washing your hands regularly, wearing a face mask when outside your home, and social distancing.