Neighborhood FAQ & Resources for COVID-19

"Garfield Rising" sculpture with surgical mask

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Walk-in (no appointment) free COVID-19 vaccines available on Saturday, 6/5 from 10am – 3pm at the Alwun House (1204 E Roosevelt).

There are a million FAQ’s about Covid-19 but we wanted to gather some questions we’re hearing from our neighbors as well as some Garfield & Phoenix related information in one place. We are not the experts, although we have talked with some!

Lots of links and resources at the end.

We also have a recording of a 30 minute presentation with Dr. Amish Shah from our Garfield Community COVID-19 Forum.

Who can get vaccinated?

This had some major changes in early May, 2021. Everything these days is by age:

  • Pfizer – Anybody 12 years of age and older.
  • Moderna – Anybody 16 years of age and older.
  • Johnson & Johnson – Anybody 18 years of age and older.

When can I get vaccinated?

There are lots of places and appointments are much more available than before:

I won the Vaccine Lottery and got injected, when does it start working?

Two weeks after your last shot! According to the CDC there are thee vaccines currently in use, all of them you get injected in the muscle of your arm.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech – you need two injections, 21 days apart. Fully effective about two weeks after the second shot.
  • Moderna – you need two injections, 28 days apart. Fully effective about two weeks after the second shot.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen – only one injection, fully effective in 2 weeks.

Are there any known side effects from the COVID-19 Vaccine?

People have a wide range of mild side effects, the second shot especially can make people feel sick for a couple of days. Other people just have a sore arm and feel fine! There does not seem to be any correlation to the vaccine working really well and getting sick; even if you have no side effects you’re likely protected. The CDC has a good page detailing side effects and when to worry about them.

I got jabbed and time has passed so it’s fully effective, can I take off my mask?

As of early May: mostly yes! The CDC just announced that fully vaccinated (last jab + 2 weeks) people can pretty muc get back to normal. Still wear masks on public transit, planes, etc. and businesses may still ask you to wear masks, some states & countries may require a quarentine if you travel there, etc. There are some edge cases, check out the guidelines for full details.

The vaccines are designed to prevent severe reactions to Covid-19, and the early data seems to indicate you’re also less likely to pass it on even if you’re sick and don’t know it (asymptomatic). That research is still being done, however.

When can we all go back to normal?

Depends on what that means. If you’re fully vaccinated, at this point you’re pretty much good to go, at least in the US. Other countries are still suffering, and unvaccinated people will still be at risk until we reach “herd immunity” (enough people are immune that the virus stops circulating). That’s estimated to happen if we achieve 70% vaccinate rates, nobody knows if we’ll get there.

The better question is probably “is getting the vaccine safer than getting Covid-19?” So far all the data seems to be a strong yes.

What about all these COVID-19 variants (UK, South Africa, India, etc.), does the vaccines protect against them?

As the virus continues to mutate this will be an open question but, as of May, 2021, the vaccines do seem to provide protection against the variants. There is some data indicating the vaccines seem effective against most variants, but COVID-19 keeps mutating. This is part of why it’s so important to stop the spread of COVID-19; by wearing masks, social distancing, washing hands, getting vaccinated, etc. we reduce the amount of COVID-19 in the world and so there’s less out there to mutate. The same actions that keep you safe keep everyone else safe! The CDC does have some detailed information on their Vaccine Effectiveness page.

I heard the Johnson & Johnson vaccines is less effective, should I avoid it?

Take whatever vaccine you can as early as you can! In trials, nobody who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was hospitalized after 4 weeks (source) so it seems to work really well at what most of us really want (not to get a really severe case).

J&J was tested later (when more variants were around) and in different populations than the Moderna and Pfizer so the effectivity numbers aren’t apples-to-apples. Here’s good summary article if you want to research more.

Where can I get tested?

There are a ton of different places offering COVID-19 tests. Try local pharmacies, etc. Many have “free” tests where they’ll bill your health insurance if you have it, and it’ll just be free if you don’t. Most will ask for some kind of photo identification. The City of Phoenix is running a free testing blitz.

Resources and More Information