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What to know about the COVID-19 vaccine in Sedgwick County

By Matthew Kelly / Wichita Journalism Collaborative

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine in Sedgwick County right now?

The Sedgwick County Health Department is currently offering COVID-19 vaccinations to health care associated workers and anyone 70 or older. Only Sedgwick County residents are eligible to receive the vaccine through the health department.

When will I be eligible to receive a vaccine?

Kansas recently entered Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, which includes people 65 and older, high-contact critical workers and people living in congregate settings. However, individual counties can, as Sedgwick County has done, prioritize different groups for vaccination as they wait for more doses to become available. Phase 3, which officials expect to enter in March, will include other critical workers and people aged 16-64 with severe medical issues. People aged 16-64 with other medical risks will be prioritized in Phase 4 before the rest of the general population.

How do I schedule an appointment to get vaccinated?

You can schedule a vaccination appointment in English or Spanish by calling (316) 660-1029 or by visiting https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/vaccine/schedule/. Caretakers or adult children can schedule appointments on behalf of residents 70 or older.

Where will I receive my vaccine?

Vaccines are being administered at INTRUST Bank Arena. The county has also partnered with Wichita Transit to open a drive-through vaccine clinic exclusively for people with mobility issues. The drive-through clinic is located at the Transit Operation Center at 777 E. Waterman.

What form of identification do I need to provide to receive my vaccine?

Residents 70 or older must provide an identification card, driver’s license or birth certificate to verify their age. Health care workers must provide either their medical license/certification, an ID badge or wallet card, a statement of current employment or a current pay stub.

Can I get the vaccine if I’m undocumented?

Many undocumented immigrants work essential jobs that are considered high-priority for vaccination. Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention require states to submit COVID-19 vaccination data, including some personally identifiable data about vaccine recipients, the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services have agreed that such information may only be used for the public health response to COVID-19. The agreement specifies that data may not be used for civil or criminal prosecution or immigration enforcement.

Do I need medical insurance to get the vaccine?

Vaccine costs are covered for people with private insurance, but uninsured adults can also get vaccinated for free during the pandemic. Providers that administer COVID-19 vaccines to the uninsured at no cost will be reimbursed through government funds.

What are the differences between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

Both vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19. Pfizer’s vaccine protects 95% of recipients while Moderna’s protects 94%. Vaccine trials ran from July to November, with 43,661 volunteers enrolling in Pfizer’s trial and 30,420 participating in Moderna’s. Both vaccines are administered in two shots, a priming dose and a booster shot, over the course of several weeks. Pfizer’s doses are spaced 21 days apart while the interval for Moderna shots is 28 days.

Can I trust the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. There are many misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine, but it is safe. The vaccine does not contain a microchip, will not alter your DNA or cause infertility, and it does not make you contract the virus.

What are the known side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The most common side effects experienced after being vaccinated are pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness or a headache. None of these side effects mean the vaccine is unsafe. U.S. health officials say roughly 1 in 100,000 people may have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine, but it is reversible and treatable.

How does the vaccine interact with medical conditions and medications?

People with underlying medical conditions may be more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. The CDC say people with underlying medical conditions can receive the vaccine as long as they have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of its ingredients. Experts say the COVID-19 vaccine is very unlikely to interact negatively with existing medications in a person’s body.

Can children and pregnant women get the vaccine?

Pfizer’s vaccine has been authorized for ages 16 and up while Moderna’s has been authorized for ages 18 and up. Pregnant women were excluded from clinical trials for the vaccines, and experts have reached no consensus on whether or not expecting mothers should be vaccinated. The CDC urges pregnant women to consult with their doctors before receiving the vaccine.

Can my employer force me to get the vaccine?

Employers can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees, but exceptions may be granted for medical or religious reasons.

What should I do after I get the vaccine?

Even after vaccination, you should continue practicing social distancing and wearing a face mask when you’re around others. Experts say it can take over a week for your body to start developing antibodies after you receive the vaccine. Continued caution will also benefit others

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