Q&A: COVID-19 Vaccine Conversation 

Marco Island & the Covid-19 Vaccine

February 26, 2021

Disclaimer:  This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding your medical situation, health, or eligibility for receiving the vaccine.


Recently, two pharmacies on Marco Island began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the public.  Since there are many concerns surrounding the vaccine, I asked Dr. Kimberly Barry, a local pharmacist and immunizer of the COVID-19 vaccine, to answer some common questions.


Which COVID-19 vaccines are approved for use in the United States?

“The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a 2 dose series, preferably administered 21 days apart.  The Moderna vaccine is also a 2 dose series, but the 2nd dose is administered preferably 28 days later.  The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently recommended for people ages 16 and older, whereas the Moderna vaccine is currently recommended for ages 18 and older.”


How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

“They assist our bodies in developing immunity to the COVID-19 virus, without having us actually get the virus.  In simple terms, because of how the vaccine works in our body, we are left with a supply of “memory” lymphocytes that remember how to fight this particular virus in the future.  Lymphocytes are white blood cells of our immune system that make antibodies to fight viruses and recognize antigens (foreign substances) in our body.”


How long does it take for this protection to kick in?

“Typically, it takes a few weeks after being vaccinated for our body to produce the lymphocytes.  It is possible to become infected with the virus just before or just after being vaccinated and then get sick because the vaccine did not have adequate time to provide protection.”


Which vaccines are the local pharmacies administering?

“There will likely be more options in the future, but for now, I believe both local pharmacies are administering the Moderna vaccine.  It arrives frozen, but can be stored in a refrigerator at 36-46 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 days unopened.  Whereas, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has storage requirements at this point which may make it difficult for a retail pharmacy to properly store it without an ultra-cold freezer available or other equipment.”  


When can teens get the vaccine?

“Currently, Pfizer and Moderna are conducting clinical trials on teens, and the results may prompt the start of vaccines being administered to teens around the summer months.”


Should teens consider getting it?

“I think it should absolutely be considered.  While COVID-19 is potentially less dangerous for kids, the CDC has reported 280 deaths in kids.  Also, over 2,000 kids have contracted a rare condition related to COVID-19 called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome which can cause organs to shut down, including the heart.  I have read that it will also be important for kids to get the vaccine in order for our population to reach herd immunity.”


Where is the vaccine administered on the body?  What are the most common side effects?

“The vaccine is administered in the deltoid muscle.  The most common side effects are pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site.  Other common side effects throughout the rest of your body are fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.”


After someone receives the vaccine, do they have to wait at the pharmacy for a certain period of time to make sure of no adverse reactions?

“Pharmacies have epinephrine on hand in case of a rare anaphylactic reaction.  It is recommended that the individual remain in the area for at least 30 minutes if they have had a history of an immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine, or injectable therapy, and persons with a history of anaphylaxis.  All other people can leave the pharmacy after 15 minutes.”  


Have you received the vaccination?  Did you experience any side effects?  Were you apprehensive about receiving the vaccine?

As an immunizer, I did receive my 1st dose of the Moderna vaccine.  The only side effect I experienced was slight soreness of my deltoid muscle for a few days.  I felt comfortable receiving the vaccine based on literature I reviewed prior to receiving it.”


Generally, how does someone sign up to get the vaccine at a retail pharmacy?

“From what I have been told, at least locally, the appointment sign up is done on the pharmacy website.  Once the person receives the 1st dose, the 2nd dose is automatically scheduled.”


Does the vaccine cost anything for the individual getting it?

“The vaccine is free to the individual.”


In addition to local vaccination efforts, are there any other efforts that you would like to see happen?

“Yes, I would like to see more mass vaccination sites.  There are so many elderly people in our community that are desperate to get the vaccine and have gone to great lengths to attempt to get it.  When large-scale, COVID-19 vaccination efforts have been done locally, they have been successful in getting many people vaccinated in one day.  I would like to see vaccination sites all over Collier County so that it would be less of a waiting game to get the vaccine.”


What is the best part about giving the COVID-19 vaccine?

“The more people that are vaccinated means the more lives that can potentially be saved.”


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About the Contributor
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Kathryn Barry, Sports Editor

Kathryn Barry is a junior at Marco Island Academy and the Sports Editor for The Wave.  She is a Marco Island native as well as an athlete, who runs track...

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