*Editor’s note: This article was published in January 2021, when vaccines were not available to everyone. As of 2023, every Arkansas resident can access the COVID-19 vaccination and is encouraged to stay up to date with their vaccinations to protect the health of the community. There have now been more than 50 trials performed to prove the efficacy and safety of the vaccine.
Confused about the COVID-19 vaccine?
No wonder. There’s a lot of information swirling about the COVID-19 vaccination.
The desire to develop a safe vaccine against the novel coronavirus led to more than 50 clinical trials around the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is working closely with state health departments and partners to expand COVID-19 vaccination plans based on years of preparing for a pandemic.
It will take time for a vaccine to be available to everyone. When your time comes to get the vaccine, make sure to get vaccinated.
Vaccines are safe
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Any vaccines deemed ready for distribution to the public have been tested according to the federal Food & Drug Administration’s rigorous standards.
There’s more than one vaccine
Scientists are developing and testing many vaccines. Some may be ready before others. The CDC and other healthcare organizations continue to have flexible COVID-19 vaccination programs that can accommodate different vaccines and scenarios.
The people at highest risk will get vaccinated first
A limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines will only be available at first. Experts are distributing vaccines in a fair, ethical and transparent way. Some groups, like healthcare workers and first responders, have gotten COVID-19 vaccines first. Priority is also given to people with health concerns and those over age 70.
Eventually, vaccines will be everywhere
The goal is for everyone else who needs the vaccine to get it as soon as large quantities are available. Many vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers. Currently, if you are age 70 or older, you are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination in Arkansas. Visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics for a map of locations throughout Arkansas and select one close to you.
It’s not a cure
Vaccines may prevent infection. They do not cure the disease. It is still essential to protect yourself and your family even after you get the vaccination. Keep wearing a mask in public, washing your hands often and keeping at least six feet from those outside your immediate family.
Vaccines will cost you nothing
You won’t have to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine (or the administration fee), no matter where you get it.
Both vaccines currently on the market require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses must be 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine must be 28 days apart. It is extremely important that you get the second dose and that it be from the same drug company (Moderna or Pfizer). The provider who administers your first dose will provide you with the information that you need for your second dose.
Protect your family and friends. Help lessen, or even end, the COVID-19 pandemic. Get vaccinated.