The University will distribute vaccinations to the NKU community free of charge in the coming weeks. In order to shed some light on the vaccine and whether one should get it, below are some questions that may come up and answers from the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Valerie Hardcastle, executive director of the Institute for Health Innovation.
Q: Is the vaccine free to the NKU community with insurance?
A: The vaccine will be free to anyone in the NKU community, regardless of insurance status.
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine going to protect me from receiving the virus?
A: Yes. Hardcastle said, in around 98% of cases, the vaccine will protect you from getting sick. According to the CDC, the vaccine works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus causing COVID-19 and will protect you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Q: If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?
A: Yes. According to Hardcastle, some people who have had COVID-19 once are able to get it again within a few months. The CDC said the vaccine should be offered to you regardless if you’ve already been infected with COVID-19. CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first.
Q: I recently recovered from COVID-19 and have natural immunity, do I still need the vaccine?
A: Yes. At this time, Hardcastle said, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The CDC said the immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. Nonetheless, receiving the vaccine is a way to protect yourself even further beyond natural immunity.
Q: Can taking the vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
A: No. According to the CDC, none of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. The vaccine trains and teaches our immune systems to recognize and fight the virus causing COVID-19.
Q: If I take the vaccine, am I immediately safe from the COVID-19 virus?
A: No. According to the CDC, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Q: If I take the vaccine, do I have to continue wearing facial coverings and follow other social distancing procedures?
A: As of now, Hardcastle said the recommendation/requirement is that you will still need to wear a mask and follow other social distancing protocols after you are vaccinated because it is not yet known whether you could still spread the virus to others after vaccination.
Hardcastle expects that this question will be answered more definitely in the months ahead as more data are collected on vaccinated individuals.
Q: Can I receive the vaccine while currently infected with COVID-19 and will it help my immune system fight against the virus?
A: According to Hardcastle, the answer is “it depends.” People should check with their primary care providers regarding the advisability of getting the COVID-19 vaccine if they are sick (with anything), as the answer is going to depend on the specifics of the particular circumstances. It is unclear whether it would help your body fight off the virus more effectively.
Q: Will I have to receive a follow up vaccination if I take the vaccine at NKU?
A: Yes. Hardcastle said the vaccines that NKU will receive to distribute all require two shots. “Depending on which vaccines we get, the second dose will be administered either 3 weeks or 5 weeks after the initial shot,” Hardcastle said. When you get the first shot, you will be told when to come back for the second one.
Q: How will the distribution of the vaccine impact the Norse Nine?
A: Hardcastle said there should be no change to the Norse Nine at least until everyone possible in our region is vaccinated and it is clear how long the vaccine will last.