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What Tribal Communities Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

What Tribal Communities Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines
a woman and a man wearing masks

You can help stop the pandemic by getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

To protect our elders and our community, we need to use all our prevention tools. Vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect our health. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses so you can fight the virus.

Each tribal nation or state has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first. Contact your health department or clinic to find out when and where vaccines will be available in your community.

The COVID-19 vaccine can help keep you from getting COVID-19.

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COVID-19 can cause serious illness or death. All COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective. Even if you still get the disease after you get vaccinated, the vaccine should protect you from more serious illness.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be free for you.

The United States government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people in the United States. No one should be charged for the vaccine.

Some COVID-19 vaccines need two shots.

If you are told you need two shots, make sure to get your second shot at the time you are told, so you can get the most protection.

The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you COVID-19.

The authorized COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with COVID-19. They do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect others around you.

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects.

You may have tiredness, headache, chills, and mild fever for 1–2 days. These are normal signs that your body is building protection against COVID-19. After getting the shot, you will be asked to wait for 15–30 minutes to see that you are okay.

You should still get vaccinated if you’ve already had COVID-19.

Even if you have already had COVID-19, it is possible —although rare—that you could get COVID-19 again. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after having COVID-19. Vaccination is the best protection.

If you have recovered from COVID-19, ask your health provider when you should be vaccinated.

You should still take steps to protect yourself and others after getting each shot.

It is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic and keep our people safe. You should continue to wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public, stay 6 feet apart, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often.

Getting the vaccine and following CDC’s recommendations for protecting yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

The U.S. vaccine safety system monitors the safety of all vaccines.

medicine

All COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States were tested in clinical studies involving thousands of people, including American Indians and Alaska Natives. These studies were done to make sure the vaccines meet safety standards and protect people of different ages, races, and ethnicities. All authorized COVID-19 vaccines meet the same safety standards as other vaccines used in the United States.

CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe (vsafe.cdc.gov), to help identify any safety issues with COVID-19 vaccines. Sign up to participate after you’re vaccinated!

Unless you have had an allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, it is safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have ever had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get vaccinated. If you have had an allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, talk to your healthcare provider.

You may still get vaccinated if you have severe allergies to oral medications, food, pets, insect stings, latex, or things in the environment like pollen or dust.

If you are pregnant or want to have a baby one day, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine.

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If you are pregnant now or plan to be pregnant in the future, you may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you. There is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine will not change your DNA.

Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but the COVID-19 vaccine—like any other vaccine—cannot affect your DNA in any way.

It is safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if you have an underlying medical condition.

People with medical conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Vaccination is especially important for people with these conditions. People with a weakened immune system may not get as much protection from a COVID-19 vaccine as those with a functioning immune system, but some protection is better than none.

Should Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine be administered to American Indian and Alaska Native people?

  • CDC’s independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), recommends the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for use in those aged 18 years and older, including American Indian and Alaska Native people.
  • The global clinical trial for the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine included a diverse population. Data submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and ACIP on how well the vaccine worked included indigenous people from North and South America. However, only 5% of the indigenous study participants in the global trial were from the United States. As with the other authorized COVID-19 vaccines, numbers are too small to have an estimate for how well the vaccine works specifically in U.S. AI/AN communities.
  • Overall, the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine was 74% effective in the United States. Importantly, the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine prevented 90% of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the clinical trial, including among AI/AN. To date, there have been no reports of anyone who received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the clinical trial dying from COVID-19.
  • Effective April 23, 2021, CDC and FDA recommend that use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine resume in the United States. However, women younger than 50 years old should be made aware of a rare risk of blood clots with low platelets following vaccination and the availability of other COVID-19 vaccines where this risk has not been observed. Read the CDC/FDA statement.