Dr. Corey A. Fish (He/Him)
1 Feb 2021Dr. Corey A. Fish (He/Him)

Video: Dr. Corey Gets the COVID Vaccine

Video: Dr. Corey Gets the COVID Vaccine

Our CMO Dr. Corey Fish took his phone along when he received his first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. In this video, you'll hear why Dr. Corey was so excited to get the shot, his take on the rapid development of this vaccine and why vaccine side effects are a good thing for your immune system. 

0:33 Why the new COVID vaccines are safe, even with a rapid development timeline.

Vaccine makers didn’t skip steps when making the new COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines go through a rigorous testing and trial process. (Learn more about that in our COVID vaccine Q&A.) And Dr. Corey immersed himself in all the emerging research as the vaccine was developed and trialed. Dr. Corey shares how powerful the scientific and medical community is when we all work together. 

1:28 Vaccines and your immune system; how the COVID-19 vaccines work.

Vaccine makers mapped the physical and genetic structures of the COVID-19 virus and created a vaccine that mimics the distinctive “spike protein” on the exterior of the virus. When the COVID-19 virus enters your system, the spike protein allows the virus to attach to and enter your cells - making you sick. By introducing just a bit of that spike protein, the COVID-19 vaccine allows your body to recognize that the spike protein is an invader.  So that when the actual COVID virus enters your body, your immune system already has the tools to recognize and attack the virus before it makes you sick. 

3:06 Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and why side effects are a good thing.

After getting the COVID vaccine, many people experience redness and soreness around the injection site. People have also reported headaches, chills, fevers, and muscle soreness among a few other symptoms. What these symptoms share is that they’re all common immune responses. Since the vaccine is designed to activate your immune system to defend itself against COVID-19’s distinctive spike protein, these responses are actually a good thing! It means the vaccine is working as designed. These side effects have typically been mild and short-lived with all the new vaccines.

4:46 Dr. Corey gets his vaccine.

If you're squeamish about needles, feel free to skip this part - no blood! Just a little poke, and Corey was on his way. For those interested, Corey's arm was sore the next day, but no other side effects with this first dose.

FAQs on the Vaccine:

Does the vaccine work on the new strains of COVID-19?

The early indication is that the vaccine will be effective against emerging strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Additional recent data from Moderna has shown this to be true.

What does it mean when it says a strain is more “virulent”?

Virulence just means how easy it is for an illness to infect people and how sick it makes them. In the case of more “virulent” strains of SARS-CoV-2, this means that these strains can infect people faster, easier, and may make people sicker than less virulent strains.

I have a fever or am currently sick with COVID-19, should I still get the shot? 

Yes but the CDC currently recommends waiting until you are fever-free and either back to normal or close to back to normal before getting vaccinated.

I’m pregnant or expecting to become pregnant soon, should I get the COVID vaccine?

There’s limited data on covid vaccine and pregnancy. Neither Moderna nor Pfizer enrolled pregnant women in their studies. Because of that, the WHO is currently recommending against the vaccine at the time of this writing "except in those at high risk of exposure or having a severe case." The WHO does not recommend pregnancy testing before receiving the vaccine, nor does it recommend delaying pregnancy following vaccination.

I’m breastfeeding, should I get the COVID vaccine?

There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people or the effects of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. A lactating person who is part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated.

I’m immunocompromised, should I still get the COVID vaccine?

There is no data regarding vaccine safety if you are immunocompromised. Experts believe the vaccine is safe for this group so you may choose to receive it if you are immunocompromised.

I have an autoimmune condition, should I still get the COVID vaccine?

As long as there are no other contraindications to the vaccine, it is safe to receive if you have an autoimmune condition.

Can children receive the COVID vaccine?

The Moderna vaccine is approved for people 18 years and older. It is not recommended at this time that those under 18 years of age receive this vaccine until more data is available for this age group.

What are the side effects of the COVID vaccine?

  • Redness at site of vaccine (3-9%)
  • Swelling at site of vaccine (6.7-12.6%)
  • Tenderness in the armpit (11-16%)
  • Pain at injection site (86.9-90.1%)
  • Fever (0.9-17.4%)
  • Headache (35.4-62.8%)
  • Chills (9.2-48.3%)
  • Nausea/Vomiting (9.3-21.3%)
  • Muscle aches (23.7-61.3%)
  • Joint aches (16.6-45.2%)
  • Fatigue (38.5-67.6)

If I have side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine does that mean I am contagious?

No! Side effects to the vaccine are normal and an indication that the vaccine is doing what it’s supposed to be doing, which is teaching your body to generate an immune response if you’re exposed to COVID-19.

Can you catch COVID-19 directly after vaccination?

No vaccine is 100% effective and it takes a few weeks for the vaccine to do what it needs to do within your body. Because COVID-19 is still widespread, it’s important to continue to follow precautions such as masking and frequent cleaning and handwashing until these precautions are lifted.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. Because it is possible to become reinfected with COVID-19, it is important to be vaccinated when you are eligible.

Can I have an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely rare but possible. We will monitor you for 15-30 minutes after your vaccine. Should you develop symptoms of an allergic reaction such as difficult or noisy breathing or swelling of your lips or face or hives, call 911 right away.

How long will the vaccine protect against COVID-19?

It is not known at this time how long or to what extent immunity will last.

If I get the COVID-19 vaccine do I still have to wear a mask and social distance?

Yes, until such time as these guidelines are lifted, it is important to wear a mask.

Do patients need to be observed after getting the vaccine?

Yes, for 15-30 minutes.

If I just got another vaccine, can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

At this time, the CDC recommends that you wait 14 days from your last vaccine. You should also wait to receive another vaccine until 14 days after your COVID-19 vaccine.

Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine at the same time?

At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine should be administered by itself, at least 14 days from the date of your last vaccine. You should also wait at least 14 days from the date of your COVID-19 vaccine to receive another vaccine.

Who should not get the COVID vaccine?

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine,  you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*

If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—after getting the first dose of the vaccine, you should not get another dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.*

An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated, including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol (PEG) and polysorbate. Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

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