Maine CDC director answers common questions about new vaccines

Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 4:26 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - As shipments of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines make their way through the state, many still have questions about the vaccines.

Do I still wear a mask after I get it? Is it safe? Do I need one? The head of the Maine CDC answers these questions and more.

Last week, Dr. Nirav Shah explained while emergency use of the vaccines was approved rapidly, the vaccines still underwent extensive testing. He explained the vaccines were safe and he himself would be getting it when the time came.

Reports lately have mentioned adverse reactions that have happened during the first week of the vaccination process. Dr. Shah says, “Across the United States, there were six serious reactions among individuals who had just received their COVID-19 vaccine.”

Dr. Shah says this includes individuals who have pre-existing anaphylaxis or severe allergic reactions. According to him, none of these individuals were hospitalized.

Dr. Shah says based on clinical trials of both vaccines, we know non-serious reactions can and will occur. He says, “This includes having some soreness in your arm after you get the shot. It may also include things like a fever or fatigue.” He says these are typical reactions to a vaccine.

After inoculation, Dr. Shah says it’s still important to wear a mask and social distance. “Although there are some early and encouraging data to suggest that the vaccine will limit your likelihood of transmitting or harboring the virus, more research is needed,” he says.

Dr. Shah says taking these precautions even after being vaccinated increases safety.

For those who’ve already had the virus, Dr. Shah says getting the vaccine is still a good idea. He says, “The vaccine may confer yet an additional layer of protection against COVID-19, such that even if you had the disease and have recovered, getting the vaccine is still a good idea for you.”

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