COVID-19 Vaccinations — The Basics

Bethellutheranchurch   -  

By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

The vaccine is here! This is the moment that many of us have been waiting for 10 months. As with everything related to COVID-19, there are many unknowns with the vaccine—when can you get it, how long protection lasts, who will be administering it and where…  Today’s blog will provide you the information that is current as of Monday, January 11, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. By the time you read this, there may be additional information available. Information in this article comes from the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health, and the Olmsted County Health Department.

Who should get the vaccine?
Everyone should – when it is their turn (see below). You should get the vaccine even if you were diagnosed with COVID-19 during the past 10 months. However, if you have recently had COVID-19, you should delay vaccination until about 90 days from diagnosis.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t get the vaccine?
You should not get the vaccine if you had a life-threatening reaction to the first dose of the vaccine or if you have had a life-threatening reaction to any of the components of the vaccine.

The vaccine has not been tested in children and at this time it is not being administered to those under 16 years old.

There is currently not enough information available for individuals who are pregnant and those who have a compromised immune system or who have an autoimmune disease. The COVID-19 vaccines are thought to be safe in pregnant and lactating people. Those who are pregnant and considering getting the vaccine should talk to their provider about what’s best for them. Individuals who are immunocompromised or who have the autoimmune disease should also talk to their care provider before receiving it.

When can I get my vaccine?

Those who are most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, followed closely by those slightly less vulnerable, and so on. In Minnesota, we are currently in Phase 1a, which is for health care workers and long-term care residents. Phase 1b will expand vaccination to adults aged 75+ and frontline essential workers, and Phase 1c will further open eligibility to include adults aged 65-74, adults aged 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. Further details to come. There is not a definitive date set for anyone to receive the vaccine. Visit the Olmsted County Public Health webpage for the most up-to-date information.

Is the vaccine safe?

Every COVID-19 vaccine has undergone the same clinical trials that other vaccines have. Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have reviewed the safety data and given their recommendations to proceed, and as with all vaccines, they will continue to monitor for safety concerns to make sure even the rarest of side effects are identified and corrected. Steps were not skipped in the clinical trials for the vaccine.

Can I get COVID-19 from getting the vaccine?
No. The vaccine does not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and therefore it is impossible for you to get COVID-19 from taking it.

Tell me about the vaccines
There are currently two vaccines that have been approved for emergency use:


2 shots, 28 days apart for individuals 18 years old and over

The shot is given in the upper arm

Does not contain eggs, latex, gelatin, preservatives

➜Pfizer BioNTech 

2 shots, 21 days apart for individuals 16 years old and over

The shot is given in the upper arm

Does not contain eggs, latex, gelatin, preservatives

What are the side effects of the vaccines?
You may experience pain and swelling at the injection site. You may also experience fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These symptoms should only last a few days. A less common side effect is swelling of the lymph nodes under the arm in which you received the vaccine. As with any vaccine or medication, there is a rare side effect of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). You will be monitored for 15-30 minutes after vaccine administration to ensure you do not experience an allergic reaction. If you are concerned about any side effects you experience, contact your healthcare provider.

How much does the vaccine cost?
The federal government covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine; it will be provided to people at no cost. Providers will be able to charge an administration fee. This can be reimbursed through the patient’s insurance or the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. So, people getting the vaccine may be asked for insurance information.

Do I really need to get 2 shots?
Yes! One vaccination will not protect you significantly. The vaccine is about 95% effective only after getting both doses.

Can I quit following the public health measures after I get both doses of the vaccine?
No. At this time you are advised to continue staying home if ill, washing/sanitizing your hands frequently, maintaining six feet of distance from others, wearing a mask when you leave your home, and state recommendations for gatherings. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions, such as wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing, will be important.

Is Bethel going to hold a COVID-19 vaccine clinic?
At this time there is nothing scheduled. However, I will stay in touch with Olmsted County Public Health and Hy-Vee to determine if and when we can offer this.

I have some questions, who should I contact?

You can contact me: Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse at or through the church office.

Your healthcare provider

Olmsted County Public Health:   507 328 6000

COVID-19 Vaccine Myths Debunked

Minnesota Department of Health

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Be well (and get the vaccine when you are able)!