Yes. If you’ve been infected with COVID-19, you have some protection. But that immunity has limits. The biggest limit is that it doesn’t last as long as we would like it to. Studies have shown that people who have been infected can benefit significantly from vaccination. It gives them a strong, lasting immunity boost. After receiving the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, vaccine recipients have immunity levels comparable to those of uninfected people who have received their second dose.
The CDC states: The COVID-19 vaccine is necessary for those who contracted the COVID-19 infection. New CDC Study: Vaccination Offers Higher Protection than Previous COVID-19 Infection. This study of COVID-19 infections in Kentucky among people who were previously infected with SAR-CoV-2 shows that unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus. These data further indicate that COVID-19 vaccines offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections.
“If you have had COVID-19 before, still get vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “This study shows you are twice as likely to get infected again if you are unvaccinated. Getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you, especially as the more contagious Delta variant spreads around the country.”
It is important to note that an additional primary vaccine dose is not considered the same or equivalent to a booster vaccine. Persons who are eligible for an additional primary vaccine dose are also eligible for a booster vaccine.
Currently, the CDC recommends an additional primary vaccine dose for moderate to severely immunocompromised persons who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. There is not enough data at this time to determine if a second dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine would produce an improved antibody response in immunocompromised persons. Someone who qualifies for an additional primary vaccine dose should receive the same brand of vaccine as their first two doses. Conditions causing moderate to severe immune compromise include but are not limited to high doses of corticosteroids, recent cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, organ or stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, advanced or untreated HIV infection, and moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency.
People should consult their healthcare provider to see if they qualify for an additional primary vaccine dose based on their medical condition.
On November 19th, the CDC formally recommended booster COVID-19 vaccines all adults who had previously received 2 doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 1 dose of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine.
Additionally, the CDC has approved receiving booster doses from a different manufacturer than the original series — known as ‘mixing-and-matching’.
Adults eligible for a booster or additional dose of vaccine do not need to receive the same brand of vaccine as their first doses.
Persons who received the Pfizer vaccine and are 16 years and older should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after receiving their primary dose.
Persons who received the Moderna vaccine and are 18 years and older should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after receiving their primary dose.
Persons who received the Johnson and Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and are 18 years or older should receive a booster shot at least 2 months after receiving their primary dose.
The above includes those who received an additional primary vaccine dose, such as those with moderate to severe immunocompromise. This means that those persons are eligible for a fourth vaccine.
Booster doses are available for adults aged 18 years and older at least 6 months after they have:
The CDC recommends everyone 5 and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently approved for children ages 5 and up. The approved pediatric vaccine dose is one-third the adult dose, with two doses give three weeks apart.
Additionally, on December 9th, the CDC approved a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 16 and 17, at least 6 months after receiving their primary dose.
It is currently recommended that children NOT receive pain relievers such as Tylenol or Advil prior to vaccination to prevent side effects, as these can negatively impact the efficacy of the vaccine. It is also recommended that children be monitored for 15 minutes post vaccine administration for any immediate side effects, similar to the process for adult vaccination.
Pediatric doses can be found by contacting your child’s pediatrician, local health department, or the WA state vaccine finder.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued this statement: “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.”
In addition to the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant, lactating, those (eligible) that are considering becoming pregnant or who may consider future pregnancy. Pregnancy testing is not required prior to receiving Food and Drug Administration EUA-approved COVID-19 vaccine. Claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and have no scientific evidence supporting them. COVID-19 vaccines may be administered simultaneously with other vaccines, including within 14 days of receipt of another vaccine and vaccines routinely administered during pregnancy, such as influenza and Tdap.
Additionally, people who are pregnant and received their doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine more than 6 months ago may be eligible for a booster vaccine. Individuals are encouraged to talk with their healthcare provider to determine if a booster vaccine is appropriate.
Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others. To reduce their risk of becoming infected with the Delta variant and potentially spreading it to others CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people:
Yes. While the COVID vaccine (like other vaccines) does not guarantee 100% immunity, it does significantly decrease the likelihood that a fully vaccinated person will be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. While vaccine breakthrough cases are rare, persons with COVID-like symptoms should be tested and should follow public health guidelines.
The World Health Organization does not recommend hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19. This recommendation is based on six trials with more than 6000 participants who did not have COVID-19 and received hydroxychloroquine. Using hydroxychloroquine for prevention had little or no effect on preventing illness, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19. Taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent COVID-19 may increase the risk of diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, drowsiness, and headache. More information can be found here.
However, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria (not COVID-19).
Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug used to treat certain abdominal and topical parasite infestations in humans. It is also approved for the prevention and treatment of heartworm and other parasites in large animals, such as horses. Ivermectin is not FDA-approved for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 in humans. Initial studies are underway to assess the efficacy of Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19. It is important to note that Ivermectin preparations for animals differ than those for humans, and humans should not ingest any medications that are manufactured for animals.
No supplements/vitamins have been shown to reduce the risk of contracting or treating COVID-19.
At present, there is no known agent that can be administered before exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) to prevent infection. Clinical trials are investigating supplements such as zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. The CDC recommends that eligible individuals get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Steps taken to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe:
All authorized vaccines are very good at preventing severe infection, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The testing methods for the vaccines are not all alike, which makes it difficult to compare them. Johns Hopkins Medicine considers them to be equally effective.
The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on August 23, 2021. The J&J and Moderna vaccines are FDA approved under an emergency use authorization. They are past the experimental phase. While data is still being collected on adverse vaccine events, this is very common with all vaccines and medications that require FDA approval. This specific process is called post-marketing surveillance, otherwise known as a Stage 4 trial.
In the past, vaccines have taken many years to develop. However, the relatively quick development of this vaccine does not mean safety measures were skipped. There are several reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines were developed faster than other vaccines:
No. Vaccines of any type do not alter DNA. Coronaviruses and mRNA have been studied for decades. Coronaviruses cause SARS, MERS, and the common cold, and cause severe illness in endangered big cats. This early, preliminary research allowed scientists to build upon existing studies when creating the COVID-19 vaccine. Research into mRNA has been ongoing for decades. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines utilize mRNA. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses viral vector technology, the same technology used by other FDA-approved vaccines.
Governor Inslee’s emergency proclamation means that health care personnel who work in Washington need to be fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, with limited exemptions for medical or sincerely held religious beliefs, or they will be prohibited from working.
“Fully vaccinated” (under Section 6 definitions of the proclamation) means that nurses will need to have received their second Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or will have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on or by October 4, 2021, in order to be considered fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, as a condition of further employment. In other words, nurses will have to have a second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, on or by October 4 or risk being prohibited from working.
Yes. First, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on August 23, 2021. Beyond that, the Governor’s proclamation carries the full force of law and is granted as part of the emergency powers afforded in the Washington State Constitution. In addition, the Department of Justice has ruled that mandating vaccines subject to an Emergency Use Authorization is legal. In case law, there is precedent for employer-mandated vaccine mandates, most recently in the Texas lawsuit filed against Houston Methodist. This lawsuit, brought by terminated employees, was dismissed by a federal court.
Yes, under Gov. Inslee’s emergency proclamation, employers are prohibited from permitting health care workers who are not fully vaccinated by October 18, 2021, to continue to work.
Yes, limited exemptions remain: a medical exemption and a sincerely held religious belief exemption. There are no personal or philosophical exemptions permitted.
If you have a valid medical or religious exemption, the health care worker should be allowed to continue to work with a reasonable accommodation.
When an employee’s separation is the result of failure to comply with an employer’s requirement to become vaccinated, the Employment Security Department will examine a number of factors. These factors may include when the employer adopted the requirement, whether the employee is otherwise eligible for benefits, the specific terms of the vaccine policy including allowable exemptions, and the reason why the employee did not comply with the vaccine requirement.
For example, if the employee does not qualify for an exemption and does not comply with the vaccine requirement, a claim would likely be denied. However, some individuals may still qualify based on their own unique circumstances. ESD will evaluate each case on its own merit.
No. The proclamation does not allow for testing instead of vaccination. Affected workers must either be fully vaccinated or receive a religious or medical exemption.
Fully vaccinated is defined under section 6e of the proclamation (8/9/2021), stating that the vaccine must be under EUA, licensed or otherwise approved by the FDA. As such, vaccinations that are accepted are Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson.
The Proclamation does not require this. Any provision like this would have to be negotiated and agreed to by the employer.
The FDA website provides evidence for each COVID-19 vaccine and the reasoning behind the FDA’s emergency use authorizations. Each vaccine has a fact sheet with a list of frequently asked questions.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) has several resources for nurses regarding COVID-19, vaccines, treatments, and other information. Nurses do not need to be a member of ANA to access these resources.