Answers to questions about the COVID-19 vaccine


While there is much hope around the coronavirus vaccine, many people still have questions. CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook spoke with “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Norah O’Donnell on Wednesday to provide some answers to viewers.

What do we know about the adverse reactions in the two health care workers who got the vaccine in the U.K.?

There were two cases of very severe allergic reactions in people who had such a history of severe allergic reaction that they were carrying EpiPens with them. Now, they used those EpiPens and they were fine. Much more common are relatively minor reactions that show that your immune system is reacting properly, like redness at the vaccine injection site, some fever, soreness and fatigue.

How soon after getting the vaccine will it be safe to travel?

We all want to get back to normal, but for now Dr. Anthony Fauci and others are stressing the importance of saying it’s great we have this vaccine, we think it’s going to really help, but at the beginning you still have to do everything else, like wearing a mask, washing your hands and physical distancing. As we learn how much protection we have, how well it’s working, then we can start getting back towards normal — maybe not to normal right away but towards normal.

In the U.S., how will we know where to go and get the vaccine?

Each state will be figuring out how the vaccine is distributed. We do have general guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others saying that up first will be health care providers and people in long-term skilled nursing facilities. After that will be essential workers, and people who are vulnerable and older. How it will roll out state by state is going to be up to local decisions.

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