COVID-19 Update for Vanguard Patients
Updated July 8, 2021
COVID-19 VACCINATIONS ARE AVAILABLE IN VERONA AND JERSEY CITY
Moderna Vaccine for those 18 years and older. It’s 2 doses, 28 days apart in Jersey City and Verona.
Pfizer Vaccine for those 12 years and older. It’s 2 doses, 21 days apart in Verona.
Call 973-559-0081 or chat with us to schedule Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
Available Now in Verona:
J&J (Janssen) Vaccine for those 18 years and older. It’s a single dose. See below for additional information about rare side effects of this vaccine in women ages 18-50.
Call 973-239-2600 or chat with us to schedule J&J.
PFIZER FAQs for Parents and Guardians.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
Preliminary data from the vaccine trial, showed the vaccine was well tolerated in children 12-15 years old. All participants in the trial will continue to be monitored for long-term protection and safety for an additional two years after their second dose.
How effective is the vaccine for younger groups?
In the trial, there were 0 cases of COVID-19 in the ~1,100 children who received the Pfizer vaccine and 16 cases in the ~1,100 children who received placebo. That means the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19. They also saw that the vaccinated children had high levels of antibodies in their blood. The same dose was used in all age groups.
Do children need the vaccine when they have not been affected by the virus as much as adults?
Yes. Although COVID-19 in children is usually milder, they can still spread the infection and occasionally get very ill themselves, require hospitalization or have lingering effects. In the U.S. over 3,000 children who contracted COVID-19 have been hospitalized with an uncommon inflammatory syndrome known as Multisystem-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C. Another reason to consider a COVID-19 vaccine in children is to help protect the broader community.
Do children experience the same side effects?
Yes, from the trial children who received Pfizer experienced similar side effects to the young adults, and side effects were more common after the second dose. The most common side effects include pain at the injection site, headache, body aches, fever, chills, and fatigue. The side effects generally clear up within 48 hours.
Already received the COVID-19 Vaccine?
If you are a Vanguard patient, please click here and send us the date(s) and type of vaccine so we can update your medical record and remove your name from our vaccine outreach list. This will help us focus our efforts on those who still want the vaccine but haven’t received it.
How to Report Vaccine Side Effects:
Consider signing up for v-safe and reporting any symptoms after immunization. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that checks in on you after your COVID-19 vaccination. Your participation helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe — for you and for everyone. This information will not go to your PCP but to the CDC. The website to register is: https://vsafe.cdc.gov/en/
J&J (Janssen) Vaccine:
Following a recent pause to investigate rare reports of blood clots, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC recommend vaccination with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine resume among people 18 years and older. However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis (blood clots) with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).
Does This News About the J&J Vaccine Apply to the Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines?
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines (mRNA vaccines) are completely different in how they are made and how they work from the J&J vaccine and have not been found to cause blood clots.
To keep you informed, we update this COVID-19 patient information web page weekly to be your go-to resource. Here you’ll find the answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19, the vaccine, how Vanguard is approaching vaccine distribution, and the steps you can take to protect your health.
- COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms
- About COVID-19
- How COVID-19 spreads
- COVID-19 signs and symptoms
- Treatment for COVID-19
- Up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19
- How do you know if you have COVID-19?
- When should you get tested?
- COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing
- COVID-19 antibody testing
- The COVID-19 Vaccine
- What are my options for getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
- When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to Vanguard patients?
- Potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine
- [Checklist] Should you get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Patient Vaccination FAQs
- Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine
- Staying Healthy
- What can you do to stay healthy?
- What should you do if you get sick?
- Related health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Mental health
- Addiction and substance abuse
- Contact Information
COVID-19 SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
COVID-19 is an infectious disease that is transmitted by a virus. It can cause respiratory symptoms that range from mild to severe. Older people and those with chronic conditions are most at risk for more severe symptoms.
How COVID-19 spreads
COVID-19 spreads through droplets of saliva or nasal discharge. These droplets are tiny and not visible to the naked eye. They may be in the air or on surfaces. You may get the virus by encountering an infected person who sneezes, coughs, or talks. You also may be exposed to the virus if you touch a shared surface and then touch your face or eyes. Wearing a mask and maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet from others is the best way to protect yourself against infection. For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) FAQ page.
COVID-19 signs and symptoms
You may have COVID-19 and be asymptomatic. If you do have symptoms, they may appear anywhere between two and 14 days after exposure to the virus.
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Treatment for COVID-19
For most healthy people, the treatment for COVID-19 is to manage symptoms. This includes taking over-the-counter medicines such as acetaminophen and staying hydrated. Patients also should quarantine, get plenty of rest, and isolate from others, including those in their household.
If your symptoms worsen, you may require medical care in a hospital. There are new treatments available, including a monoclonal antibody intravenous infusion. This may be given as an outpatient treatment in a hospital, usually in the ER. Hospitalization and other antiviral treatment may be required for severe cases. Your primary care provider can advise you on the best course of action, depending upon the severity of your symptoms.
Up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19
How do you know if you have COVID-19?
A diagnosis is confirmed with a medical test administered by a licensed professional. At Vanguard Medical Group, we offer both viral and antibody tests for COVID-19. Viral tests measure the amount of virus currently in your system. Antibody tests measure whether you have antibodies from a prior infection with COVID-19.
When should you get tested?
Ask yourself these questions to see if you should get tested for COVID-19. If you answer “yes” to either question, please request a telemedicine appointment to discuss this with your provider.
- Do you have any of these symptoms of COVID-19?
Fever, cough, chills, unexplained muscle pain, shortness of breath, sore throat, loss of taste/smell
- Have you had close contact (within 6 feet) with someone with confirmed COVID-19 for a total time of 15 minutes or more?
The CDC offers this interactive self-checker tool, which can help you decide whether or not you need to be tested.
COVID-19 PCR and rapid testing
For when you think you currently have COVID-19
The PCR test detects the virus within your system within days of infection and even before you have any symptoms. This test is sent out to a laboratory for processing. Results are generally available within two to three days.
The Rapid test can provide results within 24 hours. It generally is best used to detect COVID-19 when the patient is symptomatic. It is available at four of our locations: Cranford, Jersey City, North Haledon, and Verona.
Your primary care provider will determine which test is right for you based on your potential exposure, medical history, and symptoms. He or she may also recommend testing for flu, strep, or other illnesses when you get your COVID-19 test.
Here’s the process for Vanguard Medical Group patients to schedule a test:
- Schedule a video appointment so we can understand the timing, symptoms, and reason for testing.
- If the Vanguard provider believes that testing is appropriate for you, we will promptly schedule your test.
- You’ll visit one of our offices for the appropriate test.
- We’ll contact you with the results and see if you have any additional questions.
- We will bill your insurance.*
*COVID-19 tests are billed according to your individual insurance company’s policy. Medicare and major insurance plans are accepted.
COVID-19 antibody testing
At this time COVID-19 antibody testing has limited usefullness
If you had COVID-19 infection or have been vaccinated then you will likely have antibodies. At this time the antibody test cannot determine your level or protection or the timing of vaccination. Some people on immunosuppressive medication may not respond as well to the vaccine and can discuss with their healthcare provider if antibody testing would help clarify their risk of getting infected. We can test to see if that’s the case, but the test has to be done at the right time. If it’s given too early, you may get a false negative. It’s also important to understand the pros and cons of the test and the implications of the results. That’s why it’s important to have your primary care provider assist you in doing this test.
Here’s the process to schedule a test:
- Schedule a video appointment so we can understand the timing, symptoms, and reason for testing.
- If the Vanguard provider believes that testing is appropriate for you, we will promptly schedule your antibody test.
- You’ll visit one of our offices for a quick blood test.
- We’ll contact you with the results and see if you have any additional questions.
- We will bill your insurance. *
*Antibody tests are billed according to your individual insurance company’s policy. Medicare and major insurance plans are accepted.
To learn more about COVID-19 antibody testing, click here.
THE COVID-19 VACCINE
There are several manufacturers developing COVID-19 vaccines. As of this writing, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen have received emergency approval from the FDA for their vaccines. Pfizer and Moderna have applied for full approval from the FDA and that determination is expected this summer. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are given in two doses. The Pfizer vaccine is given 21 days apart, Moderna vaccine is given 28 days apart, and the Janssen vaccine is given once. A fourth vaccine called Novavax is expected to apply for Emergency Use Authorization this summer. Novavax is also a 2 dose, 28 days apart vaccine.
Currently all people age 12 and older, living, working, or studying in New Jersey are able to receive an age-appropriate vaccine.
The vaccine will help us to reach herd immunity when enough people are vaccinated. Until that time, our best defense is to continue to wear masks, maintain your social distance, and do not gather in large groups.
Patient Vaccination FAQs
What are the most common side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common side effects of a COVID-19 vaccination are like symptoms of other vaccinations and include pain at the injection site (most common), fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever. These symptoms are usually mild and resolve within one or two days and can be managed with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Side effects appear to be more common after the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer but can occur after the first dose. These same side effects can occur after the J&J vaccine which is a single dose. Most people can continue to perform their normal daily activities. If you have symptoms lasting for more than three days, contact your primary care provider.
Additionally, a harmless, red, warm, and itchy rash has also been seen to appear 7-10 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, in the arm where the vaccines was given. It is a brief immune response, and the rash should disappear after a few days. It does not appear to be dangerous and you should still receive your second Moderna vaccine dose. If the rash lasts longer than a week, spreads to a different area of the body, and/or grows larger than 5-6 inches, please contact your provider.
Will a COVID-19 vaccination make me sick?
It is possible you might feel unwell for a few days after receiving the vaccination, but these symptoms are signs that the vaccine is working (although the side effects don’t need to occur for the vaccine to work) and should not last more than two or three days. The vaccine will not cause you to be infected with the COVID-19 virus.
How will I know whether my symptoms are from the vaccination or a COVID-19 infection?
In general, if the symptoms are only at the injection site (like arm pain or redness), then this is most likely due to the vaccination. If you experience symptoms of a flulike illness with muscles aches and fatigue and fever that last more than two or three days or occur more than a week after your vaccination, it could be a COVID-19 infection. It also might be COVID-19 if you have a cough, congestion, or new loss of taste or smell. In that case, you would need to follow up with your provider for further evaluation. Again, these would not be from the vaccination.
Is there any COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in children?
The Pfizer vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization for children age 12 and older. At this time the other vaccines only have emergency approval for ages 18 and older.
I have an egg allergy. Can I receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg and are not produced in an egg-based medium.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain any preservatives?
No. None of the vaccines contains preservatives at this time.
Does the COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine vial contain any latex?
No. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccine vials do not contain any latex.
How long will it take to build immunity (protection) after getting the COVID-19 vaccination?
It typically takes 2 weeks after the second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and 2 weeks after the Janssen vaccine for the body to build full immunity.
How long does immunity last after I receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown and will continue to be studied.
Can I receive just one dose and be protected?
Completing both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine is highly recommended. After 1 dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, efficacy was 50.8% to 92.1%. After two doses, efficacy was 94.1% for the prevention of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. These trials were not designed to fully observe efficacy after just one dose, so receiving 2 doses to complete the series is highly recommended.
The Janssen vaccine is the only single-dose vaccine currently available. Overall efficacy rate for preventing hospitalization after vaccination was 93.1% and overall efficacy rate against symptomatic COVID-19 is 66.3%.
Can I receive COVID-19 vaccine doses from different manufacturers?
The safety and efficacy of a mixed series have not been evaluated, so your first and second COVID-19 vaccinations should come from the same manufacturer.
Can I receive other vaccinations on the same day as my COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes, there are no restrictions on receiving other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccines.
If I was previously infected with COVID-19, should I still receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
Yes you should still receive a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have previously been infected with COVID-19. The vaccine trial results show the vaccine is still safe and efficacious to use on patients who have a history of COVID-19. Patients who have had COVID-19 typically produce antibodies; however, it is unknown how long they will last. Antibody levels produced by a vaccine tend to be higher and suggest better immunity than those from a natural infection.
As long as you are no longer having symptoms and not under quarantine, you may schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
Do I need to get tested for COVID-19 infection or antibodies before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination?
No. Testing for acute infection or antibodies is not recommended before receiving the vaccination.
I received monoclonal antibody and/or plasma therapy for COVID-19. When can I receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
Vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid the treatment interfering with vaccine-induced immune responses. If you contracted the virus after receiving your first mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose (Pfizer or Moderna) and received monoclonal antibody treatment, you should receive your 2nd mRNA vaccine dose 90 days after receiving the treatment.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines live?
No. They are not live vaccines.
Should pregnant and/or breastfeeding women receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
Pregnant women were excluded from the vaccine trials, and there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccinations in pregnant or breastfeeding women. However, given the widespread use of the vaccines it appears that the COVID-19 vaccines seem to be safe during pregnancy. Given that COVID-19 infection during pregnancy may be harmful to the mother and the baby, most obstetritions are now recommending the vaccine to their pregnant patients. Data are not available to assess the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion. Studies in humans are ongoing, and more are planned. A discussion with her healthcare provider can help her make an informed decision.
Will receiving the COVID-19 vaccination affect any future COVID-19 test (PCR or rapid) results?
No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will not affect the results of future COVID-19 tests.
Will receiving the COVID-19 vaccination affect the results of a COVID-19 antibody test?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccination may affect results of a COVID-19 antibody test because the vaccine will cause your body to produce antibodies. The CDC discourages antibody testing for checking immunity after getting the vaccine. Certain tests may not be searching for the same antibodies that the vaccine triggers.
Can I spread the virus after receiving the vaccine?
We don’t know for certain, but early evidence suggests that the vaccine will stop you from spreading the virus. Most importantly, the vaccine is highly effective in preventing the virus from making you very ill or being hospitalized.
How much protection does the vaccine offer?
It appears the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that have been reviewed offer ~95% protection against infection and Janssen offers ~86% protection against severe forms of COVID-19 in the United States.
I was potentially exposed to COVID-19 in the community. Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccination?
We recommend you wait until your quarantine period has ended before receiving a COVID-19 vaccination to avoid exposing healthcare personnel (HCP) or other persons during a vaccination visit.
I have had an allergic reaction to certain foods, vaccines, and/or oral medications in the past. Can I still receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Most likely you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, we may want to monitor you for a longer period of time after vaccination. The CDC considers a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any other vaccination or injectable therapy (e.g., intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous) as a precaution but not a contraindication to vaccination. In addition, allergic reactions to foods, pets, venoms, the environment, latex, or oral medications (including the oral equivalents of injectable medications) are not a contraindication or precaution to vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients who have had a severe allergic reaction to any components used to make the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should not receive the vaccine. If patients experienced a severe allergic reaction (i.e. anaphylaxis) after 1 dose of either Pfizer or Moderna, they should not receive a second dose.
However, if you cannot receive Pfizer or Moderna, you may be able to receive Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. People who have received one Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, but cannot receive the 2nd dose, should wait at least 28 days after the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose to receive Janssen vaccine.
You should not receive the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine if you have a known polysorbate allergy.
As a child, I was allergic to penicillin and other antibiotics and experienced a rash. Am I at risk for a serious reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination?
A history of mild allergic reaction like hives alone, without signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, to a vaccine, injectable therapy, or oral med is not a contraindication or precaution to either COVID-19 vaccine and would not make you more at risk for a serious reaction to a COVID-19 vaccination. You should not receive a COVID-19 vaccination if you are allergic to any ingredient used to make the vaccine. Persons with a history of mild allergic reactions will be observed for 15 minutes after receiving the injection, and those with a history of anaphylaxis will be observed for 30 minutes after.
You may also want to talk to your primary care provider about seeing an allergist. Recent research has shown that many penicillin and other antibiotic allergies identified in childhood may not persist into adulthood.
How do I report if I have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccination?
V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccination. Depending on your answers, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. If you need a reminder, v-safe will also alert you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose. To sign up for v-safe, please visit V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker | CDC.
I have had Bell’s palsy. Is it safe for me to receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
Cases of Bell’s palsy were reported following vaccination in participants in all 3 COVID-19 Vaccines’ clinical trials. However, the Food and Drug Administration does not consider these to have occurred at a higher rate than expected in the general population and has not concluded that these cases were causally related to vaccination. Until more information and evidence are available, persons with a history of Bell’s palsy may receive aCOVID-19 vaccination unless they have a contraindication for vaccination. Any occurrence of Bell’s palsy following COVID-19 vaccination should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
I’m on a blood thinner. Can I receive a COVID-19 vaccination?
Taking blood thinners or having a bleeding disorder is not a contraindication for intramuscular injections, but you need to be aware that any bleeding at the injection site may take longer to stop and you may experience increased bruising.
I have dermal fillers. Can I receive a mRNA COVID-19 vaccine?
Infrequently, people who have received dermal fillers may develop swelling at or near the site of filler injection (usually face or lips) following a dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This appears to be temporary and can resolve with medical treatment, including corticosteroid therapy. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people who have received injectable dermal fillers who have no contraindications to vaccination. No additional precautions are needed. You should contact your healthcare provider for evaluation if you develop swelling at or near the site of dermal filler following vaccination.
Should I pre-medicate with Tylenol or an NSAID (like Motrin or Aleve) before receiving my COVID-19 vaccine?
Routine preventive use of antipyretics or analgesic medications for the purpose of preventing post-vaccination symptoms is not currently recommended, as information on its impact on mRNA COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody responses is not available at this time. Antipyretic or analgesic medications may be taken after your vaccine, if necessary, to treat local or systemic symptoms.
Disclaimer: FAQs will be updated as we have more information.
What can you do to stay healthy?
The best thing you can do during this pandemic is to take all the necessary precautions to protect yourself from exposure to COVID-19.
- Wear a mask when in public or with groups of people who are outside of your “bubble.”
- Maintain a distance of 6 feet from others when out in public.
- Wash your hands with soap and water after you touch shared surfaces. Effective hand washing lasts for 20 seconds: about the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice.
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not readily available.
- Avoid unnecessary interactions in public places. Choose curbside pickup or home delivery for groceries and essentials whenever possible.
- Reduce exposure to people who may be visiting many homes, such as handymen.
- Avoid unnecessary travel, especially out of state.
- Eat right, exercise, and maintain social connections safely.
What should you do if you get sick?
Your primary care provider is uniquely positioned to evaluate your symptoms and determine whether you have COVID-19, another virus or bacterial infection, or another condition. We have many safe options for seeing you, including in person or through a telemedicine appointment.
Importantly, if you are in respiratory distress or experience any other emergency, call 911.
Related health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the potential for additional challenges related to behavioral health. These are issues that may be addressed by your primary care provider.
Social isolation, job loss, and concern about getting COVID-19 can take its toll on your mental health. This may result in you experiencing anxiety, depression, or issues regarding behavioral health. Read more about how your Vanguard provider can help with these challenges via the links below.
Addiction and substance abuse
There may be a tendency to turn to alcohol or drugs to help cope with stresses during the pandemic. When such use interferes with your daily life, it’s time to seek help. Your Vanguard provider can help you with a personalized program that can get you past addiction and substance abuse and on to a healthier life.
Telemedicine video and in-person options available
Keeping up with your health has never been more important. That’s why we’re offering several ways for you to connect with us.
As a Vanguard patient, you can be seen and diagnosed by a Vanguard provider through a telemedicine video visit. A Vanguard provider will review your conditions and have access to your medical history. This will help us to make the right diagnosis and prescribe the right recommendations for you. When you call the office to schedule an appointment, they will assess whether an in-person or video option is right for you.
It’s very simple to use from any device with a camera. When you schedule the appointment, our team will send you a link to begin the visit in an email message to your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Click the link in the message. You will be asked to allow access to your camera and microphone. You will then be connected to a Vanguard provider.
Video visits are not just for COVID-19. Telemedicine (video visits) can be a helpful way to get the care you need during the pandemic, especially if you are coping with a chronic issue such as diabetes or high blood pressure—and it can help prevent a trip to the hospital for more serious concerns.
Unfortunately, we are seeing too many news stories about people who are afraid to go for care and end up with a serious health problem. If you’ve been delaying or avoiding care, a telemedicine visit may be a comfortable alternative for you.
The providers at Vanguard are available and can use video visits to manage a variety of conditions, including:
- Allergic reactions
- Back pain
- Coughs and colds
- Depression or anxiety follow-up
- Bone density, including osteoporosis
- Medication refills (ADD, Cholesterol, Thyroid, etc.)
- Seasonal allergies
- Urinary tract infections
Video appointments are billed according to your individual insurance company’s policy. Medicare and major insurance plans are accepted.
Schedule visits by phone, chat, or email
You can request appointments through our website. Our offices are fully staffed, and in many cases, same-day appointments are available. If you think you have symptoms of COVID-19, call ahead and we will guide you to next steps. If there is any other way we can support you, please let us know.
Please follow our Facebook page and look for weekly emails with updates about COVID-19 vaccinations and ways to stay safe and healthy.
For any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our COVID-19 vaccine support team will monitor and respond to your query. For medical concerns, please contact your Vanguard provider.