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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. Both vaccines have been proven to reduce the chance of contracting the virus and reduce the severity of symptoms if you do come in contact with the virus.

Read latest news on the COVID-19 vaccines at WebMD.

Information from the CDC on the COVID-19 Vaccines

The CDC released guidelines for the current COVID-19 vaccines. Here are some things you need to know:

  • There are two different vaccines available for use in the U.S. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are the first to be authorized by the FDA. They are mRNA-type vaccines. Other vaccines also are being tested and reviewed.
  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a shot given in two doses three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine is also given in two doses about four weeks apart.
  • Based on the clinical trials, you need both doses to be fully protected from COVID-19.
  • In the U.S. it is recommended that both doses must come from the same maker. For example, you should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech shot for the first dose and the Moderna shot for the second dose.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

Both approved vaccines contain man made mRNA (messenger RNA) meaning it contains instructions for making proteins. When the mRNA enters the body, it instructs the cells to produce the “spike’ protein found on the surface of the virus itself. After the spike proteins are made, the cell breaks them down in small harmless pieces. The immune system recognizes said proteins as invaders and produces antibodies against them.

Who is at risk for COVID-19?

Severe side effects are rare but having some mild side effects are normal. The reason why you sometime do experience those side effects is because your immune system is priming against the virus.
Some reported side effects are:

  • Pain and swelling on the arm where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the same arm where the injection was given
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Should we be concerned about allergic reactions?

None of the approved vaccines contain any food proteins, latex or preservative hence having allergy to any of the ingredients is rare but can still happen. Only a very small number of allergic reactions to both vaccines have been reported. But most people have not had allergic reactions to the vaccines.

Who can get the vaccine?

Vaccines have been given in phases in many states. In Virginia in phase 1a, health care workers and people who live in long-term care facilities were given the vaccine first.
Currently we are in phase 1b, frontline essential workers (such as first responders) and people 75 or older are being given the vaccine currently.
In the next phase 1c, people 65 to 74, other essential workers, and people 16 to 64 with other conditions that put them a much higher risk of COVID-19 can get the vaccine.

Check out the Virginia Department of Health to see which phase of vaccination Virginia is in.

Our Expertise

Preston’s Pharmacy offers testing for antibody testing and COVID-19 testing in both locations, Arlington and Merrifield, Virginia.

For RT-PCR COVID-19 testing:

  • Results in:
    • 2 business days
    • Next day
  • For Rapid-Antigen tests: Results in less than 1 hour
  • Antibody tests: Results in 1-2 business days