After months and months of social distancing and worrying about the health of our loved ones, the time has finally come when a large portion of the population is able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. But there are still a variety of questions surrounding the vaccine: how long does it last, how does it work, and is it safe?
At Stone Ridge Pharmacy, we want to help our local community live happy and healthy lives, whether that’s through free prescription delivery, access to compounding medication, or getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Our pharmacists are excited to be able to provide a limited supply of the Moderna vaccine for patients age 18 and older. We are making appointments for people who have been on our waiting list, but visit our COVID-19 page to fill out a form, and our team will be in touch with you shortly to schedule your appointment.
If you have any questions about the vaccine, read through these frequently asked questions, or give Stone Ridge Pharmacy a call. We would be happy to go over any questions or concerns you may have.
How Does the Vaccine Work?
There are three COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work in the same way, and the J&J vaccine works actually differently.
- Pfizer and Moderna: The coronavirus has a spike-like structure, and the spikes are called S proteins. Both of these vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA), which tells your cells to make these proteins on the surface of the cell. Your immune system will recognize the proteins, know that they don’t belong, and will begin to build up an immune response and make antibodies.
- Johnson & Johnson: This is a vector vaccine, which is a modified version of a different kind of virus. When the vector virus is injected, it gives cells instructions to make copies of the S protein. When S proteins are recognized, your body will begin creating antibodies.
How Long Does it Last?
mRNA vaccines are still fairly new and still being studied and tested, so there is little information about how long protection will last. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, in the phase 1 trial of the Moderna vaccine, antibodies persisted for nearly four months. Experts will keep everyone informed about the efficacy of the vaccines and whether or not a booster will be necessary.
Is it Safe?
While there may be some short-term side effects that occur after receiving a vaccine, the CDC says that long-term side effects are unlikely. Some symptoms that people may experience include:
- Swelling, redness, or pain at the injection site
- Muscle pain
Do I Still Need to Get the Vaccine if I’ve Had COVID-19 and Recovered?
It is highly recommended that you get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you have already had the virus and are no longer displaying symptoms. Because experts are unsure about how long you are protected after getting sick (and it is possible to become infected with the virus again, or infected by a variant), it is safest to get a vaccine for the most amount of protection.
Should I Get the Vaccine if I’m Pregnant?
It is still recommended that you get a vaccine if you are pregnant. Though there is limited data on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnant women, experts think risks are rare due to how the vaccines work.
How Do I Get a Vaccine?
A simple search online should bring up information about where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is also a VaccineFinder tool where you can search by zip code. The search will pull up results for local pharmacies and will have information about which vaccine they are offering. Simply call the location, and schedule an appointment.
Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment at Stone Ridge Pharmacy
Stone Ridge is providing Pfizer vaccines to those who are 18 years of age or older. You can schedule an appointment online, or call our Aldie pharmacy to speak with one of our team members. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to call us.