BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas — Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is here in the Brazos Valley, there's also a lot of information to keep track of. What group are you in? Are you required to get the vaccine? Does it cost anything? Where do you go, what do you do? What if you've already had COVID-19, should you get the vaccine? We compiled a list of your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine and got you the answers.
How do I Sign Up?
Here is a simple place where you can find how to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in the Brazos Valley.
The Brazos County Vaccine HUB has gotten its first 5,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will begin vaccinations on Monday, February 1. These vaccinations will be for those who qualify for 1A or 1B categories. If you need to know what category you are in, click here.
If you don't want to wait to be vaccinated at the sites above, you can travel to other vaccination HUBS across the county. Click HERE to be sent to other counties to look at their vaccine availability.
What phase do I qualify to be in?
The Texas Department of State Health Services has broken up the groups as to when they will be able to get the vaccine.
Phase 1A: Tier One
- Paid and unpaid workers in hospital settings working directly with patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are at high risk for COVID-19.
- Long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents.
- EMS who work 911 emergency services, including pre-hospital care and transport.
- Home health care workers, hospice workers who work with high-risk patients
- Residents of long-term care facilities
Phase 1A: Tier Two
- School nurses who provide health care to students and teachers.
- Workers who provide mortuary or death services to those with COVID-19.
- Public health and emergency response staff who are involved in giving COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.
- Direct care staff in free-standing emergency medical care facilities and urgent care clinics.
- Staff in outpatient care settings who have direct contact with patients who display symptoms of COVID-19.
- Pharmacy workers who provide direct services to clients, vaccinations and testing for people who may have COVID-19.
- People 65 years of age and older.
- People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. Some of these conditions include cancer, COPD, chronic kidney disease, organ transplant recipients, pregnancy, Type 2 diabetes and sickle cell disease. Also on this list is obesity and severe obesity, if your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher. Heart conditions include heart failure, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathies.
The DSHS said providers could begin vaccinations in Phase 1B on December 29, but vaccine supply is limited. That's why not many people from this group have been vaccinated yet.
At this time, the State of Texas has not outlined any specific tier of the general public who will be included in Phase 2. The state said it hopes when it is time to start vaccinating this group, that there will be enough vaccine to go around. The state has set a goal that frontline workers and those who are the most vulnerable or at high risk for COVID-19 will have been vaccinated by this point.
What was it like to get the COVID-19 vaccine? A Brazos County health care worker shared their story with us. You can watch that here:
What are the vaccines and what are their risks? What are their differences?
Currently, there are two COVID-19 vaccines available: Pfizer and Moderna. Other companies are also making their own vaccines, in the hopes with more vaccine, we can get people vaccinated faster. However, companies must go through a rigorous approval process to make sure their vaccine is ready for the public. Here are the two vaccines available at this time, along with some quick facts and a link to learn more:
- 16 years of age and older
- 2 doses given within 21 days
- A shot given in the upper arm
- Data shows it to be 95% effective
- While considered safe for pregnancy/breast-feeding, go over these concerns with a doctor
- Unknown at this time how long the vaccine will protect you from COVID-19
- Common side effects: Tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, pain at the injection site. It should be noted that Pfizer said most of these side effects happened after the 2nd dose. The side effects were also known to last several days.
- For more details on the Pfizer vaccine, including frequently asked questions, click here.
- 18 years of age and older
- 2 doses given within 28 days
- A shot given in the upper arm
- Does not contain eggs, preservatives or latex
- Data shows it to be 94.1% effective
- Most common side effects: Pain at the injection site, chills, tiredness and headache. It should be noted that Moderna said the side effects were noticeable within a day or two of people getting the vaccine. They reported the side effects to be similar to flu-like symptoms. The symptoms were also more common after the 2nd dose.
- For more details on the Moderna vaccine, click here.
Now, can you choose the vaccine you want to get? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the number of vaccines available, allergies, etc. As always, if you have questions, ask your doctor!
How much will the vaccine cost?
One of the biggest questions is, do you have to pay to get the COVID-19 vaccine? According to the federal government, NO.
The CDC and the Medicaid Services and the Centers for Medicare said everyone in the United States can get the COVID-19 vaccine for free whether or not they have health insurance.
Vaccine providers can charge a fee for giving the shots, but that should be covered by your insurance company. What if you don't have insurance? The federal government has set aside money for those who need it for the COVID-19 vaccine. Need proof? The Trump Administration set up the Health Resources and Services Administrations Provider Relief Fund: ↓Click below for that info!↓
Can my kids get vaccinated?
At this time, you must be 18 years of age or older to get the vaccine. Pfizer has been launching trials involving children around the age of 12, but it's just not ready for them yet. Health officials said a vaccine for kids could come by the fall of 2021.
If you have any questions you would like to see answered, or would like more information, let us know! Text us your questions or comments at 979-703-8404. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org