RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Locals with uncertainties about the COVID-19 vaccine aired their questions to state health officials in an 8News special Wednesday night titled ‘Virginia Vaccinates.’
While the states’ top health officials say the Pfizer vaccine is safe, for those wary of getting it, top doctors said vaccine trials have included people with pre-existing conditions. With doubt lingering about the vaccine, doctors say: trust the science.
“Very mild side effects to the vaccine. 95 percent effective. The 5 percent who got the disease got a very mild disease. This is a very effective vaccine,” VDH Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver said.
Dr. Costco Sifri from University of Virginia Health, adds, “the research that was the foundation for the basis of these vaccines occurred for the last 10 years or so, with the first understanding of these other coronaviruses that have caused significant disease in humans.”
During the 90-minute special, health officials, including VDH Epidemiologist Marshal Vogt, helped eased the concerns of locals.
“We are going to see more vaccine candidates available for use, which will increase the supply of a vaccine,” he said. “By the time we hit spring and into summer, vaccines will be very widely available.”
Health care workers continue to receive the Pfizer vaccine. Long term care facility residents are next, followed by those working in high-risk settings.
Dr. Ebony Hilton with UVA says because those who had the virus reacted differently and developed different immunity, getting the vaccine is important.
“We know that immunity does wane. Even in our clinical trial, there are people that had COVID before that were still included in the vaccination trials. And what they saw is actually they had an improvement in their overall immune response,” she said.
There’s a 21-day wait between Pfizer’s first dose and the second. If authorized by the FDA, there will be a 28 day period between Moderna doses. What about possible side effects?
Officials said the first shot may include arm soreness and tiredness, while the second could show additional responses.
Marvin Figueroa, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, spoke during the virtual town hall about establishing trust in populations of people of color.
“We have higher ethical standards now” he said; adding that people of color are integrated in vaccine trials and development.
One question raised was whether the vaccine will be free for everyone. The short answer from Dr. Oliver: Yes.
- Coronavirus update: 25% of Virginia's population fully vaccinated; Residents over 16 eligible for vaccineVirginia is getting 77,983 COVID-19 vaccine doses into arms each day on average. According to the state’s health department, more than 5.3 million doses have been administered in Virginia.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, hinted that there could soon be changes to the COVID-19 health policy on face masks.
- All adults in the U.S. should be eligible for coronavirus vaccines starting Monday after President Joe Biden announced a deadline for states to expand eligibility.
- This morning, the Virginia Department of Health will be issuing a message alerting everyone 16+ they are now eligible to register for the shot under Phase 2.
- Petersburg City Public Schools announced that two students at Cool Spring Elementary School have tested positive for COVID-19.
- A woman was not allowed on her flight out of Charlotte Douglas Airport in North Carolina, all because of the type of mask she was wearing.
- The CEO of drug company Moderna announced this week that they will make a third booster shot for the two-dose vaccine available by the fall.
- The United States will likely move to resume Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine this coming week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases, the government’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.
- With summer travel plans heating up as the country continues to see vaccination numbers rise, many are eager to hit the road.
- Virginia is closing in on averaging 78,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses administered per day. This as the Virginia Department of Health reports 1,305 new cases of COVID-19 in Virginia for April 18.