As your community pharmacy, we’re committed to providing you with the most up-to-date and reliable information regarding COVID vaccination availability and distribution. Please see our current list of COVID-19 vaccination frequently asked questions below. We will continue to update this list as new questions emerge.
“North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Thursday that the state would start will align with CDC recommendations and begin allowing anyone over the age of 65 to get the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s a shift from the initial distribution phases outlined by state health officials, which allowed people 75 and older to get vaccines when a county moved into Phase 1B.”
Buncombe County residents ages 65 and older can now register for COVID-19 vaccinations online. The online registration offers opportunities to register for appointments through Jan. 29, 2021. While it is uncertain the total number or type of vaccines Buncombe County Health and Human Services will receive from the state each week, a minimum of 500 appointments per week will be scheduled, with additional appointments added when state allotments of vaccines are confirmed. Appointments can also be made by calling 828-250-5000 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. To help residents stay safe at home and prevent the spread of COVID-19, there is no in-person appointment scheduling.
What is the vaccine availability?
The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is broken into phases based on immediate need. Phase 1 focuses on frontline healthcare workers and high-risk individuals. The CDC has its own phases and each state can use the CDC’s phases or create their own. Please follow the phases for your state. In NC, Phase 1 is broken down into sub-phases, shown below:
- Healthcare workers caring directly with patients with COVID-19 including staff responsible for cleaning and maintenance in those areas
- Healthcare workers administering a vaccine
- Long-term care facility residents and staff
- Group 1: People aged 65 years and older regardless of health conditions or living situation [updated to reflect Governor Cooper’s announcement on 1/14/21]
- Group 2: Healthcare works and frontline essential workers 50 years or older. This includes: firefighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector, specifically teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.
- Group 3: Healthcare workers and frontline essential works of any age
- Group 1: Anyone 16-64 years of age with high-risk medical conditions, which increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19 regardless of living situation such as: cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, etc
- Group 2: Anyone in close group living settings or incarcerated who has not already been vaccinated
- Group 3: Essential workers not yet vaccinated. This includes: transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, construction, finance, information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, and public safety, and public health workers
- College and university students
- K-12 students age 16 and older
- When a vaccine is approved for children younger than 16 years of age, they will be eligible to receive the vaccine.
- Anyone can receive the vaccine
For more information regarding North Carolina’s Phased Plan, CLICK HERE.
When is Sona getting the COVID vaccine, and which one are you getting?
We anticipate being involved in Phase 2 of the vaccine roll-out. At this time, we are not sure which vaccine we will be receiving.
Can an mRNA vaccine change your DNA?
No, mRNA vaccines do not change your DNA and they don’t enter into the nucleus of the cells (where your DNA lives).
Are the COVID vaccines live vaccines?
No. They do not contain the full virus and cannot give you COVID. The vaccine only codes for part of the spike protein and it does not include the virus at all.
If I take the vaccine, does that mean I can travel freely, not wear a mask, and do all of the things I did pre-COVID?
No. When you take the vaccine, you will dramatically decrease your risk of getting the virus and being hospitalized with a severe case of the virus. There is a small chance that you may feel ill and spread the virus, so we still need to wear masks until we have herd immunity.
If I have a suppressed immune system, should I still get the vaccine?
Yes. There is no live virus in this vaccine, so if you have a suppressed immune system due to things like cancer, a transplant, an autoimmune condition or have a suppressed immune system from another condition, it is still safe to take this vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
We do not know yet. Once more research is done, we can provide further insight.
What are the common side effects of the vaccine?
Side effects are common for the vaccine because it is your immune system reacting to the vaccine. Pain in the arm at the injection site, fever, fatigue, chills–these are common and will go away within 24-48 hours.
Is one vaccine manufacturer better than another?
All of the COVID vaccines use the same scientific process and safety protocols, the main difference is the time between vaccines and the temperature they must be stored at. Both vaccines maintain the same effectiveness.
How many doses of the COVID‐19 vaccine will I need to take?
Currently, the Pfizer‐BioNTech and Moderna COVID‐19 vaccines are the only vaccinations that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. Below are some of the key details of each vaccine:
|Pfizer BioNTech||> 16 years||Intramuscular in the arm (like a flu shot)||2 doses separated by 21 days|
|Moderna||> 18 years||2 doses separated by 28 days|
Do both doses of the COVID‐19 Vaccination have to be administered by the same provider?
No, you may elect to get your two doses from different providers. However, it is important to note that the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are NOT interchangeable; you should receive two doses of the SAME vaccine to be protected against COVID-19.
How will I know when to get my second dose?
After receiving the first dose of your COVID‐19 vaccination, you will be provided with a vaccine card with all pertinent vaccination information. This card will include information about the specific vaccine received, the date and location of the first dose, as well as a date for the second dose to be completed. It is encouraged that all patients schedule their second dose appointment, before leaving the site of their first dose administration. Individuals will be reminded when it is time to get their second shot.
You can also download V-safe, a smartphone application that sends reminders about receiving your second vaccine dose. V-safe also allows you to report any side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine directly in the app to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).