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COVID VACCINE UPDATE (January 4, 2020)

The Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration have certified two vaccines for distribution in the United States.  The Pfizer-BioNTech is a mRNA vaccine that requires you to have 2 shots, 21 days apart.  The shot is given in the muscle of the upper arm and does not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex, which are known to cause allergic reactions.  Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines is also a mRNA vaccine that requires you to have 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart.  The shot is given in the muscle of the upper arm and does not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex, which are known to cause allergic reactions.

The CDC recommends that 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. 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.

Distribution of the vaccine has proven to be especially challenging, and each state has been tasked with figuring out how to get the vaccine to all who reside in each state.  Decisions as to who will receive the vaccine first have been left to each state.  Guidance has been provided by the CDC.  For more information, on when the vaccine might be available to you, consult with your local Public Health Department or your primary care provider.

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