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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Published: 12/14/20

The Coronavirus Vaccines: What You Need To Know

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first vaccine against SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by issuing an Emergency Use Authorization on Dec. 11.

When Will Vaccines Be Available In Alabama?

The first vaccines are likely to be available in Alabama the week of Dec. 14. Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first to receive the vaccine.

How Does a Vaccine Work?

When germs, such as viruses, invade the body, they attack and multiply. This invasion, called an infection, is what causes illness. The immune system uses several tools to fight infection.The first time the body encounters a germ or virus, it can take several days for the body to make and use all the germ-fighting tools needed to fight the infection. After the infection, the immune system remembers what it learned about how to protect the body against that disease.Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. Vaccines greatly reduce the risk of infection by working with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.

While some vaccines, such as flu vaccines, use dead or deactivated virus to imitate the infection, the vaccine approved for COVID-19 does not.It uses the body’s messenger RNA to teach the immune system to recognize the SARSCoV-2 virus. A person cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

How Effective Are The Coronavirus Vaccines In Preventing COVID-19?

  • The Pfizer vaccine, the first one approved, is 95 percent effective; meaning only five percent of those who got the vaccine during the clinical trials got COVID-19.
  • The Moderna vaccine, coming soon, is 94.5 percent effective. Only 5.5 percent of those in the clinical trial who received the vaccine became infected with COVID-19.
  • Both vaccines involve taking two doses, 21 days after the first for Pfizer and 28 days after the first for Moderna. Taking the second dose of the vaccine is essential for it to work.

By The Numbers

  • 43,000 people took the Pfizer vaccine in the studies. The only significant side effect was temporary fatigue and headache.

Vaccine Success

  • Smallpox, which killed millions (often 30 percent of those who caught it) was completely eliminated by a vaccine in 1977.
  • A vaccine developed in 1963 has made measles, once commonplace, extremely rare.

More Information and Resources from the CDC:

Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines

When Vaccine is Limited, Who Gets Vaccinated First?

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Central Health Center
(Guy M. Tate)

1400 Sixth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 588-5234

(205) 933-9110
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Birmingham, AL 35206
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All Centers are open 7:45am to 4:30pm. Phone lines for clinic appointments open at 7:00am Monday through Friday.

If this is a Medical Emergency call 911.
If you are a patient and need to reach your health care team after business hours for non-life threatening conditions, call (205) 588-5234. For Medical Emergencies dial 911.

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