SUBMITTED BY THE BOCA GRANDE HEALTH CLINIC – Submission Note: The COVID-19 situation remains fluid. This article reflects information known at the time it was submitted to The Boca Beacon.
Before we answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, please note that if you have already called the Boca Grande Health Clinic, your name has been added to the list. There is no need to place more than one phone call to the Clinic; doing so may prevent others from being able to reach the Clinic.
What vaccines have been approved for use?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use in the United States. The FDA’s authorization for people receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine includes people 16 and older. Moderna’s vaccine received authorization for individuals 18 and older. Both company’s vaccinations require two shots three to four weeks apart to achieve maximum effectiveness. The Clinic has been provided an initial supply of the Moderna vaccine.
How do the vaccines work?
The COVID-19 vaccines carry a small stretch of genetic material known as messenger RNA or mRNA. It instructs cells in the body to make a small piece of material that looks like a part of the virus. Those small bits get recognized by the immune system as a foreign invader, and the immune system begins to make antibodies and immune cells that can recognize and neutralize the virus if the vaccinated person ever gets exposed.
Are they safe?
The FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA approves vaccines with advice from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC, whose members are experts from around the country in the fields of immunology, infectious disease, public health and more. Data safety monitoring boards at the National Institutes of Health monitor every trial and scour the data for irregularities and safety concerns. Scientists and doctors, career professionals whose mission is safety and public health, staff all these institutions.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations have been evaluated to be safe and highly effective based upon clinical trials completed. FDA analysis affirms Pfizer’s stated vaccine effectiveness of 95 percent and Moderna’s stated effectiveness of 94.1 percent.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. The current coronavirus vaccines in use or in development do not contain a live virus. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot infect anyone with the virus, and you will not test positive on viral tests used to determine if you have COVID-19.
Will it cure COVID-19?
A vaccine for COVID-19 is not a cure, nor is it a license to return fully to normal. The new vaccines are expected to prevent people from getting severely sick with COVID-19. No one knows yet whether these vaccines will stop the spreading of the virus to others. Also, it will take many, many months to vaccinate enough of the population to make a difference, so people will still need to practice social distancing and wear masks, even those that have had a vaccine.
Are there side effects?
According to the CDC, a COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given, fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, and joint pain. You will be monitored for 15-30 minutes after getting a COVID-19 vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days.
How long will it take for the vaccine to work?
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.
Are COVID-19 vaccines available on Boca Grande?
The Boca Grande Health Clinic has received an initial supply of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and has begun the process of administering the vaccine to patients 65 years and older with certain high-risk medical conditions that make them at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. The Clinic will schedule patients based on vaccine supply and will continue to schedule more individuals as more supply is received.
How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at Boca Grande Health Clinic?
The Clinic will use a medically focused and age stratified vaccine allocation system, weighing age and risk factors, to schedule vaccination appointments for those who have expressed interest. At this time, the Clinic is focused on the over-65, high-risk population. If you are age 65 or older and are interested in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine or would like to become a patient, please contact the Clinic by phone at (941) 964-2276. There is no need to place more than one phone call to the Clinic; doing so may prevent others from being able to reach the Clinic.
Is there enough vaccine for everyone?
Vaccine availability is a rapidly changing situation and meeting community demand for the COVID-19 vaccine will take some time to complete. The Clinic is working closely with the state of Florida to receive additional supplies of vaccine as soon as possible. The goal is to vaccinate everyone on the Island that is interested.
What can I do while I wait for the vaccine to become more readily available?
Until there is widespread availability of the vaccine, it’s vital that we remain on guard and take all of the appropriate measures to protect ourselves and our community from the spread of COVID-19. For your own health and to protect the health of those you love, please wear a mask, wash your hands, social distance, avoid gatherings of more than 10, isolate if ill and quarantine if you have had an exposure.
Where can I get more information on COVID-19 vaccines?
• Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in Florida at https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/covid-19-vaccines-in-florida/.
• The CDC website answers the common questions about COVID-19 vaccines at
• The FDA is another good resource for information that can be found at https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/counterterrorism-and-emerging-threats/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.