Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine
About the Vaccine
Pfizer-BioNTech is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in preventing COVID-19, the serious and sometimes-fatal respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, for those 6 months and over. This vaccine deploys messenger-RNA (“mRNA”) immunology to create a protein associated with SARS-CoV-2 in order to trigger an antibody response prior to infection by the virus. This increases the body’s ability to fight off the disease, reducing or eliminating symptoms, and quickening recovery time.
How Is the Vaccine Delivered?
By intramuscular injection, typically in the arm.
How Many Injections Are Required?
Two doses of the vaccine are initially required three weeks apart. A third dose of the vaccine is recommended for those who are immunocompromised. A booster dose of the vaccine is recommended for those who are immunocompetent and meet certain criteria.
Is There an Age Limit on Who Should be Vaccinated?
Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended only for individuals who are age 6 months or older.
Was the Vaccine Tested Before Release?
Yes. The vaccine was comprehensively evaluated for safety and efficacy in clinical settings, utilizing the standard protocols for all FDA drug approvals.
How Effective Was the Vaccine in Testing?
For persons receiving both injections three weeks apart, the vaccine was found to be 94-95 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.
Does the Vaccine Have Side Effects?
In some persons, yes. Included among the symptoms are swelling at the injection site, headache, joint and muscle pain, fever, chills, and nausea. The side effects are usually transient and mild, and can be taken as evidence that the vaccine is working to create an immune response. Severe side effects, such as allergic reactions, are rare. If you are concerned about a possible allergic or severe reaction, please consult with your medical provider prior to receiving the vaccine.
How Common Are the Side Effects?
Side effects were limited to a small minority of participants in the clinical trials.
Are There Persons for Whom the Vaccine Is Contraindicated?
Persons who are allergic to any of the vaccine’s ingredients, such as the mRNA or the accompanying lipids, or who had an allergic reaction to the first injection should talk with their provider about vaccination. To learn more about rare allergic reactions, see here. If you are pregnant or have questions about the vaccine and your personal health concerns, please consult with your provider prior to vaccination.
Do I Need to Share with My Physician Any Ongoing Health Conditions Prior to Being Vaccinated?
Yes. Let him or her know if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have a fever
- Have allergies
- Have a weakened or compromised immune system
- Have a bleeding disorder or are on blood-thinning medications
- Have already received another COVID-19 vaccine
Under rare circumstances, you may be advised to delay vaccination until a later date.
Will I Receive a Proof of Vaccination?
Yes. Healthcare providers, including Baptist Health, will document your injection. We will also schedule your second injection at the time of your first.