A reason for hope: The COVID-19 vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines are the most important tools we have to end the pandemic. The Good Samaritan Society is working to immunize as many residents as possible and now requires all staff members be vaccinated.

We’re committed to giving you the information and resources you need to make the right decision for your health. That’s why we encourage you to get vaccinated. These vaccines help keep our communities safe and healthy.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine for those ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines are available under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). The Pfizer vaccine is also authorized under EUA for children ages 12 to 15.

Why should you get the shot? It’s safe, effective and a way to safely see your loved ones without the fear of spreading a virus. Read more.

Residents and employees in Le Mars, Iowa, discuss why they chose to get vaccinated. Watch now.

Getting the vaccine to our residents

Most of our residents and employees have already received both doses of the vaccine. We continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines to new residents and now require all staff members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Our independent living and home-based residents will work with their general physicians to get the vaccine.

Do you need a third dose of the vaccine?

The CDC recommends that immunocompromised people receive a third dose of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna. A third dose is not recommended at this time for those who received the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.

This recommendation only applies to a small group of people. It doesn’t apply to all residents in long-term care or adults over a certain age. Instead, the criteria apply to people with certain health conditions.

Eligible conditions include:

  • Taking immune-suppressing or biologic drugs
  • Ongoing cancer treatment
  • Organ transplants
  • Having had a stem cell transplant in the last two years
  • Primary immune deficiency diseases
  • Advanced or untreated HIV
  • High-dose steroid use (more than 20 milligrams of prednisone, 3 mg of dexamethasone or 80 mg of hydrocortisone each day)

The third dose can be given any time as long as it’s been at least 28 days since the second dose was administered. It’s preferred that you receive the same vaccine as your first two doses, but you can receive a different mRNA vaccine if necessary.

The Good Samaritan Society is working to actively identify which residents qualify. If you think you or a loved one is eligible for a third dose, contact your Society location or your primary care provider. We’re ready to administer third doses today.

Separating myths from facts

There’s a lot of information out there about the COVID-19 vaccines. Make sure you’re getting your information from trustworthy sources. We’re working with health experts to provide you with information you can rely on. Follow us on Facebook to get the most up-to-date news about COVID-19 and our services.

Dr. Gregory Johnson, chief medical officer for the Good Samaritan Society, debunked some common myths. Read the full article.

Fact: The COVID-19 vaccines don't contain a live virus
The available vaccines are mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and a viral vector vaccine (Janssen, or Johnson & Johnson). These vaccines deliver messages to your immune system that help it recognize and fight a COVID-19 infection. It is impossible to get the COVID-19 virus from the vaccines. Watch the full video to learn more.

Fact: mRNA vaccines can't access your DNA
The COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA can’t change your DNA. mRNA is a short-term message that can’t access a cell’s nucleus, which is where DNA is stored. After it delivers its message to your immune system, it dissolves and does not hang around. Watch the full video to learn more.

Fact: Millions of Americans have safely been vaccinated
Over 325 million doses of the vaccines have been given in the U.S., and 172 million Americans are fully vaccinated. The vaccines went through a rigorous approval process and showed limited side effects in clinical trials. We know they are safe and effective. Watch the full video to learn more.

Vaccine side effects

These vaccines may cause some mild side effects. This isn’t a bad thing. These reactions show the vaccine is working and your body is building an immune response.

Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include chills, fatigue, fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, nausea and vomiting.

At the injection site, you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

These side effects are most common after a second dose of the vaccine and will typically resolve after one or two days.

Read more about vaccine side effects.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

  • Why should I get vaccinated?

    Vaccines are our best shot at ending the pandemic. COVID-19 has surged around the world with devastating effects, especially for seniors and vulnerable adults. Vaccines are a safe way to build up immunity and protection from COVID-19 in our communities.

    The immediate benefits of the vaccine are clear. These vaccines will keep you healthy by reducing your chances of catching a potentially deadly virus. Vaccines use your body’s natural defense system to help you safely develop immunity against a disease.

    Read more about why you should get the shot.

  • Do I need to get the vaccine if I already had COVID-19?

    Yes, you should still get the vaccine after you’ve recovered. There are documented cases of people who were previously infected with COVID-19 getting sick again. By getting vaccinated, you’ll boost your immunity and get better long-term protection.

  • What are the long-term effects of the vaccine?

    Currently, there is no data about the potential long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is extremely rare for vaccines to have negative long-term side effects that appear beyond the FDA’s required two-month monitoring period in all clinical trials. All vaccines must meet this requirement before receiving an Emergency Use Authorization.

  • Will Society locations reopen after residents are vaccinated?

    Our locations are open to visitors. Contact your location’s administrator to learn more.

  • Will the vaccines be effective against the variant strains?

    Yes, the vaccines provide protection against variant strains. Learn more from Dr. Gregory Johnson.

  • What can I expect during my vaccine appointment?

    When you go to your appointment, remember to cover your mouth and nose with a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible.

    Learn more about the risks and considerations of the COVID-19 vaccines.

    At your appointment:

    • You’ll be given a fact sheet about the specific vaccine you’re being offered. This will help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine. After your shot, you will receive a vaccine card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received and the date you received it.
    • You’ll get information about v-safe, a free smartphone tool that uses text messages and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. Learn more about v-safe.
    • Expect to be observed on-site for 15 minutes after you receive the vaccine.

    You will schedule an appointment for your second dose after receiving your first.

  • Who shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    The vaccine isn’t recommended to people:

    • Under the age of 12 for the Pfizer vaccine or 18 for the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.
    • With an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate.
    • Who has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. You should not receive additional doses of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in this case.
    • Who recently received a COVID-19 antibody treatment. You must wait 90 days after treatment to get the vaccine.
    • Currently infected with COVID-19. Please wait to get vaccinated until after your illness has resolved and you have met the criteria to stop isolation.

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