COVID-19 Vaccines (March 2021)

By Kathy Rovenko, Faith Community Nurse at SOTV
Written March 2021

We’re happy vaccines are available in our area to protect the people in our community and enable us to more safely gather and worship together. We’re sharing information provided by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Even with vaccines, we’ll continue to use safety protocols of masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene to prevent spreading COVID.

A vaccine is a biologic/medical product that stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies to fight disease.

About the vaccine:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are given to protect a person from getting sick and having to be hospitalized. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a live virus that causes COVID, so a person can’t get COVID-19 from getting one of the 3 approved vaccines. 
  • Everyone 16+ is recommended to get vaccinated.
  • The vaccine was carefully tested before approval for emergency use authorization. It met the same safety standards as any other vaccine approved in the US. In addition, the clinical trials were as large as for any vaccine licensed in the last 15 years.
  • Pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of complications of COVID-19 disease. They should talk with their medical provider about receiving the vaccine.

Why get a vaccine?

  • To keep yourself and those around you safe. 
  • To help your body prevent COVID-19.
  • To help keep schools, businesses, places of worship, recreation, and eating establishments open.
  • The vaccines are safe and effective, and are free.

For people waiting to get an appointment for a vaccine, there is a Vaccine Connector on the MDH website. 

What do I need to know about reactions?

  • Most vaccinated people experience local redness or soreness at the injection site. A fair number of people will have mild symptoms — feel tired, have a low grade fever and muscle aches. This is an indication that your body is responding to the vaccine and that’s a good thing. It happens more often after the second dose.
  • If a person had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they should not receive another dose.
  • If a person had a life threatening reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine, they should not receive the vaccine.
  • If a person had a severe reaction to any medication, especially injections, they should be observed for 30 minutes after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Don’t get the COVID vaccine at the same time as receiving other vaccines.

Have you been fully vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected.

You should continue to mask and distance after being vaccinated to help prevent the spread. You can still get COVID after being vaccinated, but won’t be as sick. A person who does not have symptoms can still test positive for COVID and could spread it to others. Continue to wear your mask to protect others!

For more information, see the MDH and CDC websites. Also, the Dakota County website has information about the vaccinations they are coordinating.