Frequently Asked Questions
FULL - All Dept. of Health in Charlotte County COVID-19 vaccine appointments are now full. More will be announced when they become available.
Second Dose: All individuals who received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Florida Department of Health in Charlotte County prior to Jan. 20 will be contacted to schedule their second dose. From Jan. 20 on, the second dose will be scheduled when the first dose is administered.
CharCoCares Text Messaging - Text CHARCOCARES to 888-777 to opt-in and receive texts when information becomes available on vaccine appointments, COVID-19 testing, area resources and more. The service is free; message and data rates may apply.
- Several Charlotte County Publix supermarket locations, by appointment only. Register online: publix.com/covid-vaccine/florida. Appointments cannot be made by phone. No walk-ups will be accepted.
- Florida Department of Health Vaccine Locator: floridahealthcovid19.gov/vaccines/vaccine-locator
- Florida Dept. of Health in Charlotte County vaccine information
- Vaccines in Forida | Latest Florida vaccine report
- Florida’s Draft COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
- General vaccine information from the CDC | CDC Vaccine FAQ
- HHS’s Operation Warp Speed webpage
Who will be able to get the vaccines? Where, when?
Gov. Ron DeSantis' Exec. Order 20-315 on Dec. 23, 2020, outlines the first phase of vaccine administration: all providers administering any COVID-19 vaccine shall only vaccinate the following populations:
- Long-term care facility residents and staff;
- Persons 65 years of age and older; and
- Health care personnel with direct patient contact.
Some healthcare workers, EMTs and residents of long-term care facilities in Charlotte County have already been or soon will be vaccinated. Local pharmacies are administering vaccines to long-term care facilities. That process is underway now and is separate from the vaccines being offered to the general public via the Department of Health. Hospital providers may vaccinate persons who they deem to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19.
Which vaccines will be available?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for individuals 16 years of age and older. In addition, several other coronavirus vaccines are expected to be approved in the coming months. All vaccines approved for emergency use will have been reviewed for safety and effectiveness. 12/29/2020: The first batch (approximately 2,000) of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for distribution arrived in Charlotte County, to be administered by the state Department of Health with the assistance of Charlotte County.
Who pays for the vaccine?
Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone.
Can I get the vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19 or think I may have had COVID-19 in the past?
We won’t know this until the vaccine clinical guidelines are issued. If a recipient currently has any mild symptoms, they are likely still able to get the vaccine just as they would with other types of vaccines.
There is not currently enough information to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.
How do the vaccines work?
Each vaccine may use a different approach with the same goal: to induce an immune response in the body against the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA vaccines contain a message from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build immune cells that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future. Most of the vaccines will require two shots, with the second shot received 21 to 28 days after the first, depending on the vaccine.
How did a vaccine get developed and approved so quickly? Was the process rushed?
Producing a vaccine is the top priority of scientists and governments around the world to help bring an end to the pandemic. Development of these vaccines has been accelerated, all while maintaining standards for safety and efficacy. Rather than eliminating steps from traditional vaccine development timelines, steps are proceeding simultaneously, such as scaling up manufacturing while safety and efficacy data are being collected. Pfizer recently completed their clinical trial, which included more than 43,000 people.
Find more at the HHS’s Operation Warp Speed webpage.
Are the vaccines safe?
Before receiving approval for emergency use, pharmaceutical companies must provide evidence that their vaccines are safe. A team of experts from the FDA, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other agencies review the data on safety and efficacy before recommending them for use.
Will the vaccine be safe for pregnant women and women trying to conceive?
Pregnant women and women trying to conceive were not included in the first round of clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines, so no safety data is currently available for these groups.
How long do the vaccines protect against infection?
Health care professionals and researchers are still learning about COVID-19 and new information is discovered nearly every day that is helpful in the fight against this disease. Because COVID-19 is still a relatively new virus, it is difficult to know exactly how the virus affects the body long-term and how long immunity from natural infection lasts.
Therefore, it is also difficult to predict how long a vaccine will provide protection against the virus. As the vaccines are administered and new information is gathered, additional data about how long it will protect against the virus will be made available.
Will the vaccine be given annually or is it only for this year?
This is not known at this time. Scientists are continuing to collect data about long-term immunity to SARS-CoV2. Regarding vaccination, we won’t know how long immunity lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.
If you get the vaccine and become immune, then are exposed to it, can you pass the virus on to others from your exposure?
Based on our experience with other vaccines and early data from the COVID-19 vaccines, it is likely that people who are vaccinated will have enough immunity where they will not pass the virus to others if exposed, but this is not 100 percent certain.
Will masks still be required if you receive the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will give you COVID-19
False, the vaccine will not give you the disease, just like the flu vaccine can't give you the flu. And you can't get HPV from the HPV vaccine, and so on.
Once you get the vaccine your body starts to develop antibodies that protect you from the virus. This process can take several weeks, so if you get the COVID-19 vaccine and shortly thereafter are exposed to the virus, you could still develop the illness — leading to the perception that you got the disease from the vaccination, which is incorrect.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory for everyone, no exceptions
False. Neither the federal government, nor the state of Florida require anyone to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Individual employers, private schools, local school districts, sports teams and other institutions may require mandatory vaccination for people to attend or involve themselves. Charlotte County nor Charlotte County Public Schools have not adopted a mandatory vaccination policy.
Myth: The vaccines could potentially alter your DNA
False. The coronavirus vaccines being developed are called messenger RNA vaccines, or mRNA, which work by instructing cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. Despite the terminology, the vaccine cannot alter an individual’s genetic code or DNA.
Myth: Vaccines can make you sick, and cause side effects in 75% of people
False. In data from released by an independent review board, the two most common side effects were fatigue and muscle aches, both of which occurred in under 10% of participants in the Moderna vaccine trials. Pfizer-BioNTech SE’s vaccine produced even fewer side effects, with 3.8% of individuals reporting fatigue and 2% fever. These reactions typically resolve in 24 to 48 hours. They are a normal response to vaccines — one that shows it is working as intended.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccines were developed using fetal tissue.
False. Current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were not created with and do not require the use of fetal cell cultures in the production process.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will be forcefully administered by the military
The Department of Defense has made it clear that the military role is a "logistics-only" role. The military will help source, acquire and deliver items like needles, syringes, swabs and other items needed to safely and effectively develop and administer vaccines.
Myth: It's impossible to make an effective vaccine in just one year
False. It's normal and valid to worry about the speed at which the development of COVID-19 vaccines are progressing. However, just because the vaccine has been fast-tracked doesn't mean it won't work. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, several steps that typically occur in sequence, occurred in parallel. The safety and efficacy safeguards, however, are all still in place, including clinical trials, independent review of results and federal approval.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine is a microchip so the government can track you
False. The COVID-19 vaccine will not contain any sort of microchip or tracking device implemented by the government. The vaccine syringes will likely contain something called an RFID microchip from medical solutions company ApiJect Systems America, which will allow public health agencies to collect information about when and where the vaccine was administered, but that microchip wouldn't be injected into your body.
Myth: The COVID-19 vaccine will make you more susceptible to other illnesses
Vaccines historically do not result in immune suppression that leaves people susceptible to various diseases. The virus itself may suppress the immune system of the host and negatively impact the host's ability to stimulate antibody production. The vaccines boost adaptive immunity. The coronavirus vaccines in development in the U.S. do not contain live viruses that could make you sick. They cause the body to recognize the virus protein so the body's immune system can develop a response to it.
Myth: People who already had COVID-19, don't need to get a vaccine.
There is not enough information to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. This is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. However, medical experts recommend those that had COVID-19 should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis. People should not get vaccinated if in quarantine after exposure or if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
Myth: The vaccine is a bigger risk than contracting the illness; we should let the virus run its course naturally
Allowing the virus to "run its course" will require hundreds of millions of cases -- just in the U.S.