By SCF Public Relations

In what state health officials are calling a turning point in the pandemic, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Alaska. Southcentral Foundation received an initial allotment of the Pfizer vaccine with the Moderna vaccine expected to arrive soon.

Following state and federal guidelines, SCF has prioritized vaccinations for frontline health care providers and Elder customer-owners who are at high risk of infection. Primary care teams will be reaching out to Elder customer-owners who are at high risk to schedule appointments for vaccinations. Additional vaccines will be arriving in the coming months and eventually, all customer-owners who want to receive a vaccine will have an opportunity.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require a second vaccination dose (21 days later for Pfizer, and 28 days later for Moderna vaccines). SCF care teams will schedule a second vaccination appointment during the initial vaccine appointment. Receiving only the first dose will not result in long-term immunity. It is critical to receive both doses and receive them from the same location. Given the limited quantity of vaccines, customer-owners are urged to return for the second dose.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It takes a few weeks for the body to build up protection from the vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.

There are side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine, and most are mild and short-term. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Common side effects include having pain and tenderness at the injection site; feeling tired; headache; general aches; or mild flu-like symptoms. While feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realize you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia).

Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home, and arrange to have a test.

If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, can I still pass the COVID-19 infection to others?
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and both vaccine doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. At this time, we do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus, but we do expect it to reduce this risk.

With COVID-19 vaccinations becoming available, now is not the time to let your guard down. Continue to maintain physical distancing, wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently, and avoid gatherings, even after receiving the vaccine.

For more information, please call your primary care provider with questions.