To better inform West Virginia residents, WVU Medicine held a virtual Q&A to discuss the state’s vaccine process and updated guidelines.

Dr. Meera Mehta, an infectious diseases pharmacist with WVU Medicine, answered common questions regarding COVID-19 via a discussion held through Facebook Live on Wednesday morning.

The conversation focused heavily on the procedure of getting vaccinated, as well as providing honest information about the pros and cons of receiving doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to Mehta, expected symptoms after vaccination include: arm soreness, headache, body ache, fatigue, muscle weakness, fever and chills.

These side effects should resolve on their own within 1-3 days and are mild in nature, however, if one is known to have allergic reactions to medication or other vaccines, they should be monitored for 15-30 minutes after receiving the vaccine.

“These symptoms are a sign that you’re building up immunity and are not uncommon in other vaccines as well,” Mehta said. “The benefit of getting vaccinated can outweigh the side effects or possibility of getting COVID-19.”

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine set to be released soon is one dose, compared to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that require two separate doses. 

Mehta stated that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses different technology. They are viral vector vaccines, which consist of a weakened, harmless virus and can be stored under regular refrigeration standards, unlike the other vaccines which require very cold temperatures.

Mehta recommends people still get vaccinated even if they were previously diagnosed with COVID-19. Although the body generates antibodies after suffering from the virus, it is unclear how long that immunity may last or how strong it will be.

Especially with the new variant of COVID-19 on the rise, Mehta emphasized the importance of getting as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“Vaccinations save lives,” Mehta said. “It’s really important to take the vaccine if you’re eligible for it. It is a huge tool that we have to protect ourselves as well as our friends, family and community against the virus.”

It is still unclear whether the general student population will be able to get vaccinated this semester, according to the current vaccination rate and public information. 

For more information, visit wvumedicine.org/covid. To register to receive a vaccination, visit vaccinate.wv.gov.