COVID Vaccine FAQs

Answers are based on expert guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization.

Last updated 1/19/2021. Please check back for updates.

Will I still need to wear a mask after I’m vaccinated?

Yes. Until vaccinations are widespread, we will all still need to wear our masks and abide the five! Forget what they are? Sneeze and cough in your elbow, don’t touch your face, wash your hands, keep at least 6 feet apart when with others and PLEASE stay home when we’re sick.

My mother lives in a nursing home and is getting vaccinated this week. Will she still need to wear a mask if everybody in the nursing home is vaccinated?

Yes. Even after vaccination everyone —residents and staff alike—in the nursing home will still have to follow all the current guidance to protect themselves and others. This will protect your mother and everyone else.

Why are nursing homes the first in line to receive the vaccine?

Nursing home residents and the professionals who work there are first in line to help save lives. Residents are often older adults with underlying chronic medical conditions and are most at risk of severe disease from diseases like COVID-19. Health care professionals, which include all paid and unpaid persons working in the facility who have direct or indirect exposure to residents or infectious materials are eligible to protect their health, the health of their families, residents co-workers and communities.

Is there anybody who SHOULDN’T get the vaccine?

You should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine IF you had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine

 

WATCH THIS SPACE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT MODERNA!

 

I heard the COVID vaccine can cause Bell’s Palsy. Is that true?

No. I think this rumor started because 7 people in the vaccine trials developed Bell’s Palsy during the trials. Four (4) were in the Pfizer trial and three (3) in Moderna.  According to the National Institutes of Health, Bell’s palsy affects about 40,000 people in the United States every year, which is 0.01% of Americans. In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trial, which included 44,000 participants, 4 people reported experiencing Bell’s palsy, which is also around 0.01%.  In other words, it’s about the same number as get Bell’s Palsy every year, even without a vaccine.

 

Still, the CDC will be monitoring this closely as more and more people get the vaccine. This kind of monitoring, or surveillance, is always part of the follow-up to any new drug.

 

My father lives in a nursing home and told me he heard a lot of staff saying they weren’t going to get the vaccine. Can’t they make them get vaccinated if they want to keep their job?

Mandates are nothing new: Healthcare workers are often required to get flu vaccines and people who work in hospitals might also be required to get a Hepatitis B vaccine. And they do. But those requirements came about after years of experience with those vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine is being administered under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) rather than a full FDA license so it’s probably premature to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine and could create hard feelings. However, the federal government has given the go ahead for employers to require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they wish to go that route. To read more:

Influenza Vaccination Information for Health Care Workers

Employers Can Require Workers to Get Covid-19 Vaccine, U.S. Says

 

Almost all the residents in my mother’s nursing home have been vaccinated but only about half the staff have been vaccinated. Is anything being done to encourage them to get it?

Yes. Employers and medical directors have been busy educating staff, answering questions, making it easy by providing the vaccine at no charge and arranging scheduling so staff can be off work if they have side effects. Others are using a variety of incentives large and small. Creating a culture where getting the vaccine is the norm is the ultimate goal and that may require a little more time. AgingME Director, Susan Wehry MD recently discussed this with Howard Gleckman of Forbes magazine How To Get Long-Term Care Workers To Take The Covid-19 Vaccine (forbes.com)

Interested in how incentives work?

Even Tiny Rewards Can Motivate People to Go the Extra Mile (hbr.org)

 

There is a lot of information out there about getting the vaccine. Who can I trust for information about the vaccine in Maine?

The Governor’s website has information about the vaccine in Maine including vaccine clinic locations.