CareNow® - April 09, 2021

In December 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccine in the United States was given. Many people expected this would be the quick return to normalcy; however, the reality is that there’s a long road ahead when it comes to the global pandemic. 

Despite the fact that more and more people receive the vaccine each day, it will take a while for the vaccine to have an impact on people’s day-to-day lives. This is a disappointment to many people who are ready to return to a sense of normalcy, as the virus has turned everyone’s lives upside down.

So what exactly should we expect now that the COVID-19 vaccine exists? We’re taking a look at how your life will (and won’t) change after getting the vaccine.

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What Do I Need to Know About the Vaccine?

As of the date of this article, there are two main types of the COVID-19 vaccine that are authorized and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. As of December 2020, there were three large-scale clinical trials in progress: AstraZeneca, Janssen and Novavax.

A common question people have is: Do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve already been infected? The short answer is yes. It is possible to become re-infected with COVID-19, so it’s currently advised that anyone who’s been sick with the virus before still gets vaccinated.

Here are some other things you should keep in mind when it comes to the vaccine:

  • The vaccine will not give you COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 will not cause you to test positive for the virus.
  • Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can keep you from getting sick with the virus.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine will not alter your DNA.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, check out these frequently asked questions.

When Will We See a Change from the COVID-19 Vaccine?

It’s important that everyone understands the lag time that will follow the release of the COVID-19 vaccination as a result of production and high demand. Most everyone in the world wants this vaccine, and it can only be produced so quickly.

For instance, in California, the need for vaccines far outweighs the availability. According to Dr. Timothy Brewer, an infectious disease specialist in Los Angeles, CA, there are nearly 2.4 million people in California who are considered high priority; however, only around one-sixth of the needed dosage exists.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to determine how the next several months, or years, will play out. Pulmonologist Dr. Dan Clever agreed with Dr. Brewer that it will be quite a while before we see any effect from the vaccine. According to Dr. Clever, the earliest we would see any impact from the COVID-19 vaccine is well into the second quarter of 2021.

What Will Become the New Normal?

Most people in the United States are hopeful that once they get vaccinated, they’ll be completely protected from the COVID-19 vaccine. Unfortunately, there’s not enough data to prove this is true just yet. Dr. Brewer stated that it’s possible the vaccine could keep you from getting sick; however, you may still be able to become infected and can transmit the infection to someone else who’s yet to receive the vaccine.

Because of this, it’s important that you continue to practice social distancing and wear a mask when necessary. It can be disappointing that there is no new normal in sight, despite the fact that the vaccine is finally being distributed, but Dr. Brewer compares the pandemic to the new normal experienced after 9/11. Even though things feel “mostly normal,” we still take off our shoes when we go to the airport.

Although Dr. Brewer cannot say whether masks will become a mainstay in America, he does believe that the work-from-home lifestyle that’s become so prevalent during the pandemic is here to stay. In fact, in 2021, the number of workers who are permanently working from home is expected to double, according to a survey from Enterprise Technology Research.

What’s the Long-Term Impact of the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine has been welcomed with open arms by most everyone. But there is a looming question in the room: How long will the vaccines be effective?

Unlike the measles vaccine, which leaves you immune from measles for life, the coronavirus vaccine will be similar to the flu shot. This means your immunity will eventually go away.

There’s speculation that you may actually need to receive “repeat vaccinations” for the COVID-19 virus, much like you do for your yearly flu shot in the fall or winter. However, unlike the flu, it doesn’t appear that COVID-19 mutates quickly, so there will not be a need to regularly create new vaccines.

Both Dr. Brewer and Dr. Culver reiterate the importance of being patient. It’s likely that it will be months before there are enough vaccines for the majority of the population to receive one. They recommend that we continue doing the same preventative measures we currently are for at least the next four to six months.

If you believe you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or are showing symptoms yourself, it’s important that you get tested as soon as possible. At CareNow®, we offer both the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test as well as rapid testing at select locations.

During your visit, a qualified medical professional will help you determine if you would benefit from a rapid test or if it’d be better to send your test results to a lab. If it’s decided you should take a rapid test, you will receive your results within 5 to 13 minutes. For tests that require an outside lab, it should take between 2 to 5 days to get results back.

Don’t forget to take advantage of our Web Check-In® feature before your visit. 

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Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.