Vaccine Q&A

AIDS, HIV, Ebola, and so many other diseases have killed and killed again. Why weren’t vaccines made to eradicate these devastating diseases, and why is a vaccine for COVID-19 already on the market?
There is a vaccine for Ebola which is rushed to areas when there is an outbreak. Scientists have been trying to make a vaccine for HIV for many years, but it has been difficult. Several are now in clinical trials and will hopefully prove safe and effective. The reason the vaccine for COVID was made so quickly is that cases of this disease spread extremely fast around the entire world. Because COVID-19 spreads so easily from person to person, and there were outbreaks all around the world, it was declared a global health emergency. That way more money and resources were poured into the effort than for any previous vaccine. These efforts took place in countries around the world, and scientists were better able to work together to come up with effective vaccines and treatments more quickly.

Aren’t there any other effective drugs for COVID-19 besides the vaccine?
Unfortunately, no. The vaccine is by far the most effective at preventing severe disease and death. We don’t yet have any other drugs besides the vaccine to prevent COVID-19. There are drugs that can be given to people once they get sick with COVID. These medications can help you feel better faster and get less sick, but they can’t stop you from getting COVID-19.

On social media networks, it appears that Coca-Cola, motor oil, and plants all produce positive COVID-19 test results. Why?
There is a lot of misinformation on social media, and it is important to look carefully at where or who the information is coming from. The types of tests used in each of the social media “fake news” reports were rapid tests that needed to be conducted carefully with the right amount of time spent processing samples in the correct way. Several investigations have demonstrated that the test was not used in the correct way when testing for COVID-19 in things such as Coca-Cola or motor oil. This means that the test was falsely positive and incorrect.

Credible sources of information about COVID-19 we recommend are:
• U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
• The World Health Organization (WHO)
• Maine CDC
• Your healthcare provider or doctor

What happens if I refuse to take the vaccine? Can they force me to get vaccinated? What are the consequences if I say no?
No one can force you to get the vaccine if you don’t want to. There are no consequences if you say no to the vaccine. It is not mandatory.

Why do we still need to wear a mask, even after being vaccinated?
The vaccines are not perfect. A very small number of people, even if vaccinated, might still be able to pick up the virus, carry it, and give it to others. It can take up to 2 weeks after your second dose of the vaccine before you are fully protected. It will take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to get vaccinated, so you are helping to keep others who are not yet vaccinated safe.

The best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19 are wearing a mask, social distancing, not touching your face, eyes, mouth, or nose, and washing your hands frequently, especially before eating.

It is important to continue these healthy behaviors, even after you have been vaccinated. While these behaviors help stop the spread of the virus, the past year has shown us that they are not enough to end the pandemic. Vaccinating large numbers of people is the best and fastest way to return to life as we knew it before COVID-19.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The advantages of the vaccine are:
• Protection from infection with COVID-19.
• If you do get infected, it will be less severe.
• You will be less likely to make your family or friends sick if you are infected.
You will help keep other people who might not be able to get the vaccine (very sick people or babies) healthy and safe.

The disadvantages of the vaccine are:
• It is not 100% effective.
• We don’t know how long protection (immunity) lasts.
It is possible that you may need to get a booster shot, like a tetanus shot.

• There is a very, very small chance that you could have an allergic reaction to the shot.
• You may feel tired, have a headache, a low fever, and a sore arm for one or two days after getting the vaccine.

A man in South Africa received the vaccine and died. Why?
It is very hard to answer this question without more information. We do not know how long after receiving the vaccine he died, what he died from, and whether the vaccine was related to his death in any way. More than 381.2 million doses have been given worldwide since the end of December 2020. The vaccines approved in the U.S. were tested on more than 44,000 people of different ages and races. No increased risk of death was observed. It is very unlikely that this man’s death was caused by the vaccine.

These questions were developed by participants of In Her Presence classes.
Responses were provided by the Health Care Team.