More than Half of Pennsylvanians Have 1st Vaccine Dose
This week, Pennsylvania reached an important milestone in our vaccination efforts. We have administered first doses of vaccine to more than 50% of our entire population. We remain in the top 10 states for administering first doses. And on Monday morning (May 3), we ranked 5th in the country for total doses administered.
As more people get vaccinated, we will be on the way to being able to spend more time with friends and family. Vaccines are offering a path back to our lives.
Talking About Vaccines with Your Community
As a trusted member of your community, you can have a huge impact and influence on others who may be hesitant about getting their COVID vaccine.
Talking with your friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues about the benefits of vaccines can help them make an informed decision. Make sure you have the facts to share:
All Pennsylvanians 16 years old and older are eligible to get vaccinated now.
Many vaccine providers now take walk-ins and offer same-day appointments.
College students returning home after the semester ends should look to get their COVID-19 vaccines as quickly as possible. With the Spring semester, some college students may get their first dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) while still on campus but they may move home before receiving their second dose.
But don’t worry. Pennsylvania is committed to making sure that everyone – including college students – can get fully vaccinated. Even if you get your first dose in a different county or state, you can get your second dose here. Just find a vaccine provider near you and let them know you are a college student and can’t go to the same place as your first dose because of logistical challenges.
Vaccines are Safe and Effective
Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from getting sick with COVID-19. All three authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) evaluates the safety and effectiveness of all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. FDA staff are career scientists and physicians, recognized around the world for their expertise in evaluating vaccines. These public health experts analyze data from vaccine makers and clinical trials to make scientific decisions.
All COVID-19 vaccines go through rigorous testing and evaluation before receiving Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. It is a type of emergency approval used to make vaccines and other medical measures available during public health emergencies. Even though the emergency process may be different than routine reviews, all vaccines must meet criteria regulated by law to receive EUA. That includes multiple clinical trials to determine the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine.
It is important to remember that in public health emergencies, the development process for medical testing, treatment, and vaccines must still get approval from the FDA. The FDA has very strict standards that require a combination of clinical, non-clinical, and manufacturing data to be evaluated as part of the EUA process.
Additionally, none of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines or those currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to family, friends, and others around you. As more people get vaccinated, we will be on the way to being able to spend more time with friends and family.
Questions of the Week
If I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?
Fully vaccinated individuals should still take precautions and wear masks in indoor public areas and in crowded settings. The CDC and PA Department of Health recommends masks for unvaccinated people, including children 2 years old or older.
Pennsylvania’s mask order will be lifted when 70% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. Until then, masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
Per the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, fully vaccinated Pennsylvanians are not required to wear a mask during certain activities, including:
Visiting with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
Visiting with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
Participating in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues.
Along with the vaccine, the best way to protect yourself and others from getting COVID-19 is to continue safety measures like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause temporary symptoms, such as chills or headaches. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination.