Baptist Health Lexington specialists answer COVID-19 vaccine questions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the state continues its rollout phases of COVID-19 vaccines, public health officials are working to achieve herd immunity to stop the spread of the virus.

According to Baptist Health Lexington, officials hosted a virtual COVID-19 vaccine town hall for employee questions about the vaccines. Infectious disease specialists, Mark Dougherty, MD, and Daniel Rodrigue, MD; and maternal-fetal specialist Agatha Critchfield, MD, provided the answers.

Q: How do the vaccines effect pregnancy?

A: “In registries right now there are about 15,000 pregnant women who have received the vaccine, including many healthcare workers. And we have not seen at this point any concerns with pregnancy in getting the vaccine.

“We have been reassured enough at this point and know that COVID is significant enough in pregnancy that all of our national overseeing bodies — Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — have all endorsed pregnant women, or women who want to get pregnant, or women who are breast feeding getting the vaccine if they want.” — Dr. Critchfield

Q: Should I be concerned about side effects of the vaccines?

A: “Side effects seem to occur most often after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and it’s fairly common for people to get fever, chills, and fatigue that last from 24 to 40 hours and most people are completely better after that.” — Dr. Dougherty

Q: Why does someone who has the second shot get more side effects that the first shot?

A: “That’s because they’re responding more vigorously to the challenge. You have some element of immunity already from the first dose and your body is acting more vigorously because it sees something it recognizes, the system has already been primed.” — Dr. Dougherty

Q: What should you do if you’re between vaccinations, waiting on your second dose, and you get sick?

A: “In general the recommendations are to get over your illness, and make sure you’re out of isolation, and then consider your second dose of vaccination.” — Dr. Rodrigue

Q: What happens if you get your first dose and miss the appointment for your second dose? Do you have to start all over again?

A: “No. Just get it as soon as you can, in terms of rescheduling it, and move forward.” — Dr. Rodrigue.

Q: If people are allergic to the flu vaccine will they be able to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

A: “Yes. Most of the allergies with the flu vaccine have been related to egg allergies and there’s no reason that they couldn’t take the COVID-19 vaccine.” — Dr. Dougherty

Q: Someone told me to take Aleve before I received my vaccine. Later, I read that I shouldn’t take it. Which is correct?

A: “It’s advised to not pre-medicate with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. You want your body to react and have an immune response to a foreign antigen, and you might block that response. That’s been seen in other vaccinations. Typically, we’re saying don’t do it. If you need to take it afterwards, that’s fine, but taking it beforehand, try not to.” — Dr. Rodrigue

Q: We’ve been told to wear a mask after receiving the vaccine to prevent the possibility of spreading to others. Can you explain, since that’s not the case for other vaccines?

A: “Just because someone has been vaccinated does not mean that they cannot become infected and potentially spread it to others. We hope that the viral burden in the person who is vaccinated will be lower and more transient, that it won’t last as long. So, we hope they will be less contagious, but we really don’t know the answer quite yet. Just because you’ve had a vaccine doesn’t mean that you can’t potentially get infected, get minimal symptoms, and then pass it to someone else.” — Dr. Rodrigue


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