COVID-19 Vaccines FAQs
On behalf of our patients, the doctors at Austin Gastroenterology have been closely following the latest news about the novel coronavirus pandemic, including vaccine development, testing, and distribution.
The approval of the first COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna has been met with enormous public interest and have generated many questions and we’d like to answer some of them below.
Austin Gastroenterology is not providing COVID-19 vaccines to patients at this time, but we encourage patients to get the vaccine if it is available. We recommend you contact your local pharmacies and primary care physicians who are offering the vaccine to schedule your vaccination. For more information on the COVID vaccine please visit the Texas Health and Human Services COVID-19 Vaccine Information webpage.
FAQs about the COVID-19 Vaccines
By: Pradeep Kumar, M.D.
Almost all adults should get vaccinated.
The providers at Austin Gastroenterology defer to pediatric experts on this topic, as work exclusively with adult patients. However, these vaccines have not yet been approved for children younger than 16.
Yes. Extensive clinical trials show that the approved vaccines are clearly effective. They have shown between 90-94% effectiveness.
No. Of the vaccines approved as of January 2021 (Pfizer and Moderna), they are very similar in effectiveness and side effect profile.
Yes. Very few serious side effects have been reported so far. Local reactions such as muscle pain and arm pain are common. A few patients with underlying serious allergic conditions have had reactions.
Tier 1A and 1B are currently eligible for the vaccine.
Tier 1A are front-line workers as well as patient-facing clinical healthcare professionals and their staff.
Tier 1B are people over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions. For a list of these conditions, visit the Texas Health and Human Services Phase 1B Definition pdf.
Yes. Patients with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, as well as patients with cirrhosis will qualify for Tier 1B vaccine administration – even if these conditions are not on the list in the Texas Health and Human Services Phase 1B Definition pdf. These conditions impair the immune system and those affected with these disorders should consider themselves Tier 1B.
No. Being on immunosuppressive medication makes it even more important that you get the vaccine.
The answer is not clear. There is no data on the optimum course. It seems reasonable to separate biologic medication from the vaccine by 48 hours. (This is a grade C, level III recommendation, meaning it’s an expert opinion with low quality evidence.)
No. Get the vaccine whenever you can, as soon as you can. Adjust your medication around your vaccination.
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