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What seniors can expect with the COVID-19 vaccine



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.  — As of Monday, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine arrived at long term care facilities in Arkansas. For some families giving consent for their loved ones to receive the vaccine may be a tough choice.

State health leaders said older adults have really suffered from COVID-19. This is why nursing homes and long terms care facilities are a top priority for getting the vaccine.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health tells us studies show the elderly had really good responses to the vaccine. It is safe and will offer them some layers of protection from the virus.

She advises everyone taking the vaccine to read the fact sheet about the Moderna vaccine. It’s a few pages long and breaks down the benefits and risks of taking it.

There are few things you should let your provider know like if you have any allergies, a fever, bleeding disorder, or are immunocompromised.

“They should be aware that people who have weakened immune systems may not develop as a robust protective immunity from the vaccine, but some vaccine is going to be better than no vaccine for those folks.”

The ADH said before receiving the vaccine, you should answer all of these questions through a health screening with your provider.

According to the fact sheet about Moderna vaccine, it’s injected into the muscle. You get two doses about a month apart and there are some side effects related to this vaccine.

For those who receive the shot, Dr. Dillaha said the area where you get the injection can become tender. There can also be some swelling and redness on your arm.

Fever, headaches, muscle pain, vomiting and fatigue have also been reported but Dr. Dillaha says those symptoms are more likely to happen after people get the second dose.

“Those are things that people should be aware of so, when they happen, they should not be overly alarmed. They should be aware of them and treat the symptoms. They should know that it means the vaccine is working and that is important.”

Your provider should monitor you after receiving the vaccine.

If within an hour of getting the Moderna vaccine, you are having trouble breathing, swelling in your face and throat, have a bad rash all over your body, or feeling dizzy then you could be experiencing a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine.

While these cases are rare, Dr. Dillaha said if you do have a severe allergic reaction then you will need to get immediate emergency care.

On the fact sheet it does states you should not take the Moderna vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction after the first dose. You should also not take the vaccine if you are allergic to any ingredients of the vaccine.

After you get the first dose you’ll get a vaccination card for you to return to your second appointment.

Dr. Dillaha said it’s important that people make informed decision about getting the shot.