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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The COVID-19 virus has been around for quite a while now, and with new, increasingly wide-spread variants traveling around, it’s more than important to make sure you’re vaccinated and encourage those around you to get vaccinated. It may not be easy to convince your parents or friends to get the vaccine, but sharing these facts may be helpful in convincing those around you.

What is an mRNA vaccine?

An mRNA vaccine essentially gives the body instructions on how to recognize the COVID virus and build up a reserve of antibodies to fight the virus if you’re ever exposed to it. The mRNA is the blueprint that will create a small protein which is present on the surface of the coronavirus. The body recognizes that this protein is foreign to the body, and creates antibodies which will recognize and fight to destroy that protein. This immune response is what causes the side effects of the vaccine (see slide X for expected side effects).

Why are there different types of vaccines?

There are three main companies in the US who have developed a COVID-19 vaccine. All three vaccines essentially work the same way but are engineered just slightly differently and therefore have different rates of effectiveness and administrations. ALL THREE VACCINES ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE AGAINST COVID-19.

What can I expect after getting the COVID Vaccine?

It is normal, and expected, to have side effects after getting the COVD vaccine. The side effects can range from a sore arm to a more extreme response like a mild to high fever. Have no fear, side effects mean your immune system is working! Common side effects are: injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and joint pain.

After getting your vaccine, you’ll be monitored for 15 minutes during which time any reactions to the vaccines will be attended to.

What is the Delta Variant of COVID vaccine?

Delta is a highly contagious and possibly more severe strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The first case was diagnosed in the US in March and is now the leading variant in the US. Viruses are known to evolve and change over time as it spreads. The scariest part of the delta variant is the speed at which it spreads and the effect it has on unvaccinated individuals. As of now, those who are fully vaccinated seem to be protected against the Delta variant although recent CDC guidelines recommend that even those who are vaccinated continue masking indoors and in large groups.

How can I get the COVID vaccine?

Everyone 12 years and older can get the covid vaccine although in most states, parental consent is required for vaccination.

If you are in MD:

Vaccines are being offered in several different places including:

  • The Mall in Columbia: 10300 Little Patuxent Pkwy, Columbia, MD 21044

  • Howard County General Hospital: 5755 Cedar Ln, Columbia, MD 21044

  • MedStar Montgomery Medical Center: 18101 Prince Philip Dr, Olney, MD 20832

  • Northwest Hospital Center: 5401 Old Court Rd, Randallstown, MD 21133

  • Ascension Saint Agnes Hospital: 900 S Caton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21229

  • Howard Community College: 5500 Dragon Pl, Columbia, MD 21044

  • All Urgent Care sites and most major pharmacies

*If you would like assistance making a vaccine appointment or securing transportation to a vaccination site, please see this link to make an appointment with any of the AntiracistHOCO executives and we would be happy to help you.

I’m a minor but my parents are against the COVID vaccine, what do I do?

It’s never easy to be at odds with your parent(s)/ guardian(s) and there is no reason why anyone should consider doing anything illegal in order to obtain a vaccine. The best thing to do is keep having conversations and sharing facts and data about why one should be vaccinated. Until they are convinced, make sure to keep your mask on even if those around you have their masks off. Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20seconds, and remember that your decision to be safe can very well save not only someone else’s life, but your own life.

Additional Resources:

See the Howard County Public School COVID dashboard where updates are made weekly about new cases on a county wide basis as well as a school wide basis. On this page is their resource dashboard with links to county, state, and federal wide regulations and updates.

I’ve been vaccinated already, do I need the booster?

Yes, the booster will provide additional protection against the widely circulating Delta variant. Beginning in the fall, individuals who received the Pfizer or Moderna originally can receive a booster dose 8 months after receiving the original dose. Individuals who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely need a booster, however the CDC has not released official guidance yet.

Pfizer: Up to 95% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. Requires 2 doses 21 days apart. 

Moderna: Up to 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. Requires 2 doses 28 days apart. 

Johnson and Johnson: Up to 85% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. Requires 1 dose. Works by delivering a harmless virus containing genetic information of COVID into the body and instructing the body to make antibodies for the virus similar to Pfizer and Moderna.

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