Q&A: Answering your questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine

SPOKANE, Wash. — You asked and we answered—the vaccine rollout is complicated and scientific, so we took your questions to the health experts.

Currently, we are still only in group 1A for the COVID-19 vaccine administration. This means only residents of long term care facilities and health care personnel are getting it, but as more groups open up there is some important information for you to know.

Anne asks, “My honey & I are both in the >65 years old age group. When will the COVID vaccine be available for group 1C in Spokane?”

There is not a specific date when people 65 and under will be able to access the vaccine. They fall under the CDC’s group 1C along with people with high risk medical conditions. It simply depends on how quickly groups 1A and 1B get vaccinated.

Another person writes in, “If the vaccine affects people differently because DNA is unique, why would the vaccine be mandatory, it should be a personal choice?”

According to the State of Washington Health Department a vaccine is basically a training session for your immune system. Vaccines teach the immune system to look for key features of the virus, so when the virus does show up it can fight it off. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Ken asks, “I tested positive for COVID-19, and had most of the symptoms. Do I need to take the vaccine when it is offered?”

The CDC says yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, the vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had the COVID-19 infection. At this time experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person.

Finally Andrea asked us, “I keep hearing reports of people having allergic reactions to the vaccine, why is that?”

The CDC says while severe reactions to the vaccine are rare, there have been some reports of people experiencing anaphylaxis. If this does happen you should not get the second dose. If you are also allergic to any of the ingredients inside the vaccine, you shouldn’t get it and instead ought to consult with your doctor. There have also been reports of people experiencing a sore arm or some redness where the injection was given. You may even feel flu-like symptoms, have a headache or body aches for a day or so, but health experts say this is absolutely normal and quickly go away.

The latest numbers from the State of Washington were only less than 70,000 people had been administered the vaccine as of December 29, 2020. However officials say they expected the number to increase once the holidays were over.