SANTA MARIA, Calif. - As anticipation rises with the authorization of COVID-19 vaccines in the US, questions are also rising surrounding the new immunization.
“Absolutely, I think it’s a big deal. I am worried about the safety, however, I also am high-risk,” said Santa Maria resident Eli Morales.
Doctors at Marian Regional Medical Center are closely relying on guidance from the FDA and California Department of Public Health.
They believe both science and evidence indicate the COVID-19 vaccine benefits outweigh the risks.
“Currently, there are two vaccine manufacturers that have submitted applications for emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration. One is Pfizer. The other is Maderna," said Dr. Scott Robertson at Marian Regional Medical Center.
Doctors say while both vaccines are shown to be effective in the preliminary data, the two are slightly different in how they are stored.
"So patients will need to have two doses depending on which manufacturer they get. They are not interchangeable. So if you get the Pfizer vaccine for dose one, you can’t flip-flop between manufacturers,” said Robertson.
Both vaccines require two doses, given three or four weeks apart.
“During the next few weeks, we will learn much more about how much capacity there will be to distribute the vaccine, and what the impact will have in our community,” said Robertson.
As doctors learn more about the vaccine, they say right now there is not enough information available to know whether the vaccine is safe for pregnant women, nursing mothers, or children.