COVID Vaccine Information

WHAT TO KNOW (From the Wisconsin Department of Health Services) 

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is working to get COVID-19 vaccine to Wisconsinites as quickly, fairly, and safely as possible. Wisconsin is currently getting a limited amount of vaccine. As a result, certain groups of people who are more at risk for COVID-19 are eligible for the vaccine.

What groups are eligible?
· Frontline health care personnel
· Residents and staff in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities
· Police and fire personnel, correctional staff
· Adults age 65 and older

The following groups are eligible on March 1 (in priority order):
· Educators and child care
· Members in Medicaid long-term care programs
· Some public-facing essential workers
· Non-frontline essential health care personnel
· Facility staff and residents in congregate living settings
More details about eligible groups and who this includes is available at
www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

I am eligible now. How do I know where to get vaccinated?
There are many vaccinators across the state and each community will have different options for where to get the vaccine. Possible options include your primary doctor, local pharmacy, or a community-based clinic. Check with your local public health department to find out what is available in your community. The main vaccinator for each eligible group is also available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

How will I know when my group is eligible?
The DHS website and social media pages will have up to date information on who is eligible at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm

Why are we starting new groups when we have not finished others?
It is very important that we vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible. Starting groups while finishing others allows vaccinators to continue moving forward with vaccine efforts to increase community immunity and get vaccines into arms. Everyone who is eligible now will still be eligible to get the vaccine.

Will I get the vaccine right away once I’m eligible?
Right now, there is a very limited supply of vaccine. This means that we all need to be patient and understand it will take time to get through each eligible group. Wisconsin has a large network of vaccinators ready to do more as soon as we get more vaccine.

My partner, spouse, or roommate is eligible to get the vaccine. Am I eligible too?
No. Eligibility applies only to those who are in eligible groups.

I am undocumented. If I’m part of a group that is currently eligible, can I get the vaccine?
Yes, if you are part of a group that is currently eligible, you can get vaccinated. President Biden has stated that all people in the U.S. – regardless of their immigration status – can get the vaccine. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security also supports vaccine access for undocumented immigrants. Vaccinators cannot require proof of residency or ID to get the vaccine.

I am not a permanent resident of Wisconsin. Can I get the vaccine?
People who live, work, or study in Wisconsin, and belong to a current eligibility group, may get the COVID-19 vaccine in Wisconsin.

I am public-facing, but am not on this list. Am I eligible?
Not at this time. Those eligible to get the vaccine today can be found at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm  Check the DHS website for updates on future eligible groups.

Additional COVID Information

THE COVID VACCINE: FAQ

The providers at Kaukauna Clinic recommend that you should get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. The vaccine distribution will occur in phases with healthcare and other essential workers and those at highest risk receiving the vaccine in the earliest phases. We are working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Outagamie County Public Health on developing a vaccine plan. At this time, we are not able to start routine vaccination for COVID for those 65 and older.  Please continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash your hands, and follow state and local recommendations.

When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available? Can I put my name on a waiting list?

Priority is being given to frontline healthcare workers, followed by those in nursing homes and other vulnerable populations. The CDC’s prioritization list determines who gets the vaccine and when.

We will share relevant information when doses become available to the general public. We anticipate the majority of patients will be vaccinated via community vaccine sites. We encourage you to watch the news and social media to be made aware of these sites

There is no waiting list at this time.

Does the vaccine actually protect against serious COVID-19 illness?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without you having to become sick with COVID-19. If you get COVID-19, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill or from developing serious complications.  Early results from clinical trials have shown that some vaccines may be 94–95% effective in preventing the spread of illness from COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect the people around you, especially those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

How long does protection against COVID-19 last once I receive the vaccine?

We do not know how long protection will last following vaccination, but further information from ongoing clinical trials will become public over time

What are the side effects to this vaccine?

The most common side effects found in the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine trials included pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain. Side effects tended to be more frequent after the second dose, according to the analysis. No serious long-term effects of the vaccine have been found to date, and monitoring will be continued in trial participants for two years.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine actually make a COVID-19 infection worse?

No, there is no evidence that any of the coronavirus vaccines in development worsen a coronavirus infection. In fact, if you get COVID-19 infection after getting vaccinated, it will be less severe than if you had not been vaccinated.

Can I develop COVID-19 infection from the vaccine?

No, the vaccines in development do not contain active viruses, but only small fragments of the spike protein that allows the body to develop an immunity to the virus. There is no chance of getting COVID-19 infection from these vaccines.

What ages are approved for the vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine appears to be safe and effective for those 16 years and older and is approved for those ages.  The Moderna vaccine is approved for 18 and older.

When does protection against COVID-19 begin after the vaccine?

There is evidence of protection 12 days after the first dose. The 95% effectiveness is achieved seven days after the second dose.

What about allergic reactions to the vaccine?

There has been some recent media attention surrounding the allergy risks associated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Severe allergic reactions to the vaccine are very rare
  • Individuals are screened for possible allergy issues before receiving the vaccine
  • A 15-minute observation period is built into each vaccination appointment in case there are any issues with the vaccine
  • Severe allergy reactions are treatable, and all vaccine administrative sites have treatment available
  • The CDC website has more specific information about allergy issues regarding the vaccine and who should not receive it.

Should we be worried that this vaccine is approved under Emergency Use Authorization? Is the vaccine less safe than other vaccines because it was developed so quickly?

No, the EUA process has been thorough with data showing both safety and efficacy. People in the studies for new COVID-19 vaccines have been followed for at least two months after vaccination, long enough to see almost all side effects from any vaccine.  As with any new drug or vaccine, there will be ongoing monitoring and reporting of side effects.

Should the vaccine be given to those previously infected with COVID-19?

Yes, data from clinical trials suggest the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and likely effective in people who were previously infected with the coronavirus, and vaccination should be offered to them. However, people with a current infection should not be vaccinated until the person has recovered and they’re clear to leave isolation. There’s no recommended minimum period between infection and vaccination, but since it appears reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination could be delayed until near the end of that period.

Should the vaccine be given to children?

Currently, neither vaccine is approved for children under 16.

Should pregnant/nursing mothers get the vaccine?

  • The consensus in the medical community is that the vaccine is safe for pregnant and nursing mothers
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) say the vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant or nursing mothers just because they are pregnant or nursing
  • Although the vaccines were not tested on pregnant women, small numbers of women in the trials either became pregnant or were vaccinated while unknowingly pregnant, with no ill effects

It’s Important

  • Pregnant women are at higher risk for contracting more severe cases of COVID-19, versus the general population
  • Pregnant women frequently receive other immunizations to protect themselves and their babies. These include influenza, tetanus and pertussis

Does the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

There is no scientific evidence that the vaccine has any impact on fertility. Here are some key points:

  • Syncytin-1: social media outlets have comments stating that the antibodies from the vaccine will target the placental protein, syncytin-1, and damage the pregnancy or prevent it from happening. There is no scientific evidence to support this. In fact, every vaccine FAQ from every university or teaching hospital says the exact opposite. There is no scientist or doctor claiming this.  Antibodies made from getting the vaccine attack the spike protein from coronavirus. They recognize spike protein based on the size, shape, and composition of spike protein. There is absolutely nothing about the size, shape, or composition of syncytin-1 that is similar to spike protein. They are completely different.
  • Moderna did do animal studies to see if their vaccine would cause any pregnancy concerns. They discuss the research in their information submitted to the FDA and is available online for anyone to read. They found no issues with their vaccine in pregnancy or fertility in animals. You could easily assume the same for the Pfizer vaccine since it is very similar to the Moderna vaccine.
  • In the Pfizer study, there were 23 women who got pregnant shortly after getting vaccinated. It’s a small number, but there were no problems.

Should we just give one dose of the vaccine to individuals in order to extend the supply to more people?

No, that is not recommended by the FDA. We recommend that people complete the two-dose series in order to achieve the 95% efficacy rate.

Can I finally stop wearing a mask after I get the vaccine?

No, masks and social distancing will still be recommended for some time after people are vaccinated. While the vaccine is highly effective, it is not 100%, and it is not yet known how well it prevents asymptomatic infection or how long its effects will last. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.

Messenger RNA technology is new. How do we know it is safe?

There are several reasons why we know mRNA technology is safe. First, mRNA vaccine technology is not entirely new. Human trials of cancer vaccines using the same mRNA technology have been taking place since at least 2011.

Second, mRNA vaccines do not alter your DNA. That idea is completely false and has no scientific basis or rationale for that to happen. Once the injected mRNA enters a human cell, it degrades quickly and only stays in the body for a couple of minutes or hours. This is why people need two injections to develop the best immune response.

Third, mRNA vaccines are very specific. They are designed to only trigger an immune response to the virus’s spike protein, which is just one component of the viral membrane and enables the virus to invade our cells.