ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — If the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA in the next few days, some Marylanders could have the vaccine available to them as soon as December 14- next Monday.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the possibility in a press conference with state health officials Tuesday, saying Pfizer's vaccine could be available to certain priority groups as early as the Monday date, with Moderna possibly rolling out December 22.
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With news of a vaccine comes questions on what Marylanders can expect once it rolls out.
Deputy Health Secretary Dr. Jinlene Chan laid out some questions she thinks Marylanders will have on their minds as they weigh the possibility of taking the vaccine over the next few months.
Is the vaccine safe? Are there potential side effects?
What we know from the vaccine trials: Pfizer enrolled over 40,000 people- a large vaccination trial. Moderna enrolled about 30,000 people, with some "significant efforts to ensure diversity and the people that were enrolled, both in terms of age, race and ethnicity," Dr. Chan said Tuesday.
People who took the vaccines did experience some mild side effects, but most people did not. The side effects usually came up in the first one or two days after getting vaccinated- and they are what some might expect, Dr. Chan said. The side effects included pain at the site of the injection, mild fever, headache, muscle aches and joint aches.
Dr. Chan said that these side effects show the vaccine is working.
"The body's immune system was responding to the vaccine, to be able to produce those protective antibodies that would ultimately protect that individual against getting the disease itself," she said.
For both Pfizer and Moderna, no safety concerns were flagged throughout the vaccine trials to date. They will be continuing to monitor trial participants for the next few years.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
The trials have only enrolled adults so far. Any approval or recommendation from the CDC for a vaccine will only be for adults at this time. However, children as young as 12 years old are starting to be enrolled in clinical trials.
"We anticipate the results from future trials will provide us more insight on the efficacy and safety in children," Dr. Chan said.
Will I need to get vaccinated every year?
At this point, we don't know, Dr. Chan says. There are some who suggest that it may be similar to the flu vaccine where you should get a vaccine or booster once a year, but health officials do not know if that will be necessary at this time.
Will I need to wear a mask after getting vaccinated?
It is still important for everyone to wear a mask, Dr. Chan said, even after you've received the vaccine.
She said the vaccine will protect the person who is vaccinated, but it is still important to social distance, wash your hands and wear a mask to prevent the potential transfer or spread of the coronavirus to people who are unvaccinated.
When can I pre-register for the vaccine?
In the coming weeks, the state will roll out information including a mechanism for Marylanders in the first few priority groups to pre-register and sign up for an appointment for the vaccine.
As the state moves into Phases 2 and 3, they will have more information on that for all Marylanders.
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