After over a year of lockdowns, millions of cases, and far too many deaths, covid-19 vaccines are finally available in the United States.
The first round of shots was given out to front-line health workers in December of 2020. Now, almost every state across the country has expanded their eligibility to include everyone.
We created this all-inclusive guide to help you navigate the vaccination process, from finding a vaccination site to the common side effects of each vaccine and everything in between.
Am I Eligible for a Covid-19 Vaccine?
At this point, covid vaccines are available to the public in every state. But eligibility varies by age, state, and county.
In Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC, vaccines are only available to those sixty years of age and older.
New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts only offer vaccines to people fifty and up.
Vermont is providing vaccinations exclusively to people forty years old and older.
Finally, California, Hawaii, Illinois, and Virginia have all made vaccines available to people sixteen and up, but only in some counties. Eligibility is expected to open for all US residents within the next week.
Outside of the states mentioned above, everyone sixteen and older is eligible to receive their covid vaccine.
Where Can I Get a Covid-19 Vaccine?
If you’re eligible, the next step is finding a location.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vaccines are typically available at private doctors’ offices, health department clinics, urgent care centers, and pharmacies.
If you have a primary care physician, try giving them a call to see if they offer vaccines. There are also pop-up vaccination sites at certain supermarket chains, public libraries, and other community locations, so be sure to search online for a site in your area.
It’s important to note that some locations are appointment-based while others will have you waiting in line. If you choose a walk-in location, make sure to get there early enough to secure a good spot in line. To avoid the lines altogether, narrow your search to appointment-only sites.
Which Vaccine Should I Get?
Right now, there are three vaccines available: Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna. While each of these options is effective, they have their differences.
Let’s take a look at the CDC’s information on each vaccine to get a clearer picture.
NOTE: The CDC recommends getting whatever vaccine is first available to you and advises against waiting for a specific type.
Johnson & Johnson (J&J)
J&J’s clinical trials showed their vaccine to be 66.3% effective at preventing covid in those who showed no signs of infection.
In those who already had covid, it was highly effective at keeping them out of the hospital and preventing complications that lead to death.
This vaccine only requires one dose.
In those showing no signs of infection, the Pfizer vaccine was 95% effective at preventing covid during clinical trials.
This vaccine requires two doses spaced twenty-one days apart.
Moderna performed at 94.1% efficacy in clinical trials involving people who showed no signs of previous infection.
This vaccine requires two doses spaced one month apart.
What They All Have in Common
All three vaccines have the following potential side effects within the first few days of receiving a dose:
- Redness, pain, and swelling around the injection site
- And muscle pains
Each vaccination site typically has an observation area for you to wait in for a short amount of time after receiving your dose. Although they’re rare, severe side effects can occur, and these areas exist so the medical professionals on-site can monitor your condition and ensure your safety.
After you complete the vaccination process, the CDC considers you “fully protected” two weeks after you get your final dose.
Then, you can finally enjoy peace of mind when you go grocery shopping, meet up with friends and family, and go out in public.
In a Health Crisis, Trust Rescu’s Rapid Response
With the heavy influx of life-threatening covid cases, 911 wait times are through the roof in some areas of the country.
If you or a loved one has an emergency – covid-related or not – the Rescu app is the fastest way to get the help you need. Without saying a word, you can dispatch fire, medical, or police services to your address with just two taps.
In today’s environment, the risk of being placed on hold with 911 is too high to be ignored. Download the Rescu app today, and rest assured you and your loved ones are protected in an emergency.