Skip to Content
CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19 UPDATE)
MCN Government
  • HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has created an informative video geared towards teens that provides facts and dispels myths around the COVID-19 vaccine. To view the video, click here.
  • New mobile health units will deliver COVID-19 vaccines to both Natives and the general public in rural and underserved areas. Advance appointments will not be required.  The events will be listed on this page.
  • For questions, please call our Vaccine Information Line at (918) 758-3601

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

All vaccines follow strict tests and trials before being approved and available to the general public. Although COVID-19 vaccines were created quickly, safety and efficacy were not compromised during the development or approval process. There will be continued monitoring for any adverse events associated with receiving the vaccine. More information is available at the CDC.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines utilize mRNA genetic code to cause an immune response. These do not alter human cells. They only present the body with instructions to build immunity to COVID-19.

Janssen’s one-shot vaccine is a viral vector vaccine similar to the common vaccines that most of us have received. A viral vector vaccine uses a modified virus (in this case a weakened version of an adenovirus) to deliver important instructions to our cells.  These instructions, just like in an mRNA vaccine, trigger the production of antibodies.  So, although the delivery method is different, each vaccine is working to achieve the same end – triggering an immune response to fight COVID-19.

Does the vaccine affect my DNA?

No. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for individuals that are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or might become pregnant in the future.

Is the vaccine recommended for children?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against the virus.  Children 12 years and older are able to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

How is the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine different from Moderna or Pfizer?

The three available vaccines use two different technologies to trigger immune responses. Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines (see DNA question above for more information) whereas Janssen’s one-shot vaccine is a viral vector vaccine similar to the common vaccines that most of us have received. A viral vector vaccine uses a modified virus (in this case a weakened version of an adenovirus) to deliver important instructions to our cells.  These instructions, just like in an mRNA vaccine, trigger the production of antibodies.  So, although the delivery method is different, each vaccine is working to achieve the same end – triggering an immune response to fight COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me ill?

There could be localized reactions including but not limited to pain at the injection site, redness, and swelling. Other side effects identified during the clinical trials have included fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle pain. More safety information can be found at the CDC. 

How many shots are needed with the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is a two (2) dose vaccine given 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is also a two (2) dose vaccine given 28 days apart. Janssen is a one-shot vaccine

What happens if I don't receive my second dose within the recommended timeframe?

The vaccines may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.  There is currently limited data on the efficacy of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window.

Can I get the two doses from two different manufacturers?

No, this is not recommended. If you start the series with Pfizer, you must get both doses from Pfizer. This will ensure the greatest efficacy is achieved.

Will I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

No you will not be charged for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine through MCN Health?

Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health is now vaccinating all Natives and the general public 12 years and older.

Am I eligible for the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes. You are still eligible and should receive the vaccine. The vaccine will further boost your immune response to fight COVID-19.

Once I have been fully vaccinated can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing?

Fully vaccinated people (in a non-healthcare setting) can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulation including local businesses and workplace guidance.

Unvaccinated people should continue to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

Where can I sign up to receive the vaccine?

We have established an automated vaccine information line to provide our citizens and patients with the most up-to-date vaccine information.  You may call 918-758-3601 to leave a message to sign-up to receive the vaccine.  You can also find information on our vaccine page.

This line is not for emergency use.  If you have received the vaccine and are experiencing a reaction outside of the normal side effects of vaccination, please call 911 or seek care through your local emergency room.

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?

Yes.  All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another.  The most important decision is to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.

How will COVID-19 variants affect me?

As variants emerge, it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you from new variants of COVID-19 is to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Why are variants occurring?

Viruses like COVID-19 typically develop variants. As variants develop, the virus can become more or less transmissible, or can change in other ways — meaning we may need to adjust how we treat it.

How effective is each vaccine type?

We continue to learn about the efficacy of each type of vaccination.  Data currently shows the following:

Pfizer – 95% efficacy in preventing laboratory confirmed infection; in adults 65-74 years, effectiveness for preventing hospitalization was 96%.

Moderna – 94.1% efficacy in preventing laboratory confirmed infection; in adults 65-74 years, effectiveness of full vaccination for preventing hospitalization was 96%.

Johnson & Johnson – 66.3% efficacy in preventing laboratory confirmed infection; in adults 65-74 years, effectiveness of full vaccination for preventing hospitalization was 85%.

Should I still get tested if I have been vaccinated?

If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested, even if you have already been vaccinated. Getting a COVID-19 test will help us detect and track emerging variants.

Am I at risk for getting COVID-19 if I have been vaccinated?

As variants emerge, we may see breakthrough cases of COVID-19. Breakthrough cases are cases of COVID-19 that occur after someone has been vaccinated. They happen only in a small percentage of vaccinated people, but it is possible for them to occur. Causes of breakthrough infection can include an individual with a weak immune response, new strains or variants.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself and those around you from new variants of COVID-19 is to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

What was the purpose of the clinical trials in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A trial is used to check the safety and efficacy of a vaccine. The trials for the COVID-19 vaccines included a large number of volunteers. Half of the volunteers are given the vaccine and the other half a placebo. To avoid bias, the researchers and participants are not told which group receives the vaccine or the placebo until the results have been analyzed. All of the findings are verified independently. The COVID-19 trials have been accelerated; however, they have not skipped any required steps.

What is the revision to the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) fact sheet and how does that impact me?

On July 12th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced revisions to the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine fact sheets to include information pertaining to adverse reactions related to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. As of July 12th, there have been 100 preliminary cases of GBS reported of the nearly 13 million doses administered throughout the United States.

As of July 12th, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of Health (MCNDH) continues the use of Janssen vaccine for individuals ages 18 and older. The MCNDH has not had any reported cases of GBS in the 300 doses of Janssen administered. The MCNDH continues to offer Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in addition to the Janssen vaccine.

Why do some individuals require a third mRNA vaccine?

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because they are more at risk of serious, prolonged illness.  This additional does is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series.  CDC recommends the third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is administered at least 28 days after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna Covid-19 vaccine.

What are antibodies?

Antibodies are large proteins created by your immune system in response to foreign substances, such as viruses and bacteria. Once produced, antibodies bind to these foreign substances and either neutralize the threat directly or help other cells destroy it. If you become infected with a pathogen such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID, your body produces antibodies to help eliminate it. In a similar way, vaccines train your body to create antibodies and T cells to fight a disease, but without making you sick.

What is an antibody test?

An antibody test, also known as a serology test, is one of several types of COVID tests. An antibody test looks for antibodies against COVID in the blood to determine if someone has been infected in the past, regardless of whether or not they presented with symptoms, as COVID can be asymptomatic. It’s important to keep in mind:

· This test does not identify active COVID infections, which is in contrast to PCR tests and antigen tests.

· Antibody tests can be useful for tracking the spread of disease, understanding human immunity to the disease, and possibly prioritizing who should be vaccinated in the future.

Experts continue to study how well people who have recovered from COVID and have antibodies are protected from being reinfected.

What is an antigen?

Antigens are substances that can trigger your body’s immune response. There are two types of antigens: foreign antigens, which come from outside of the body, like from viruses and autoantigens, which come from inside the body. Usually, your immune system will not recognize autoantigens unless you have an autoimmune disease that causes your body to attack itself. Foreign antigens are the molecular structures found on the surface of viruses and include spike proteins. Your immune system responds to the presence of antigens by creating antibodies to recognize and fight the specific antigen. As the virus reproduces, mutations can occur in its spike proteins, which can make it more difficult for antibodies to recognize the virus. Antigen tests, also known as rapid tests, look for the presence of specific spike proteins to determine if someone is infected with COVID.

What is an antigen test?

An antigen test, also referred to as a rapid test, is one of many types of COVID tests. Like a PCR test, an antigen test identifies people who are currently infected with COVID. It looks for proteins of the virus (antigens) in someone’s nose and throat secretions using the same technology as the rapid strep test you would take at your doctor’s office.

An antigen test is very different from an antibody test, which only helps identify people who have been infected with COVID in the past.

Antigen tests can provide test results in minutes, unlike PCR tests which require between several hours and several days to process results in a lab. Due to their lower cost and quick result turnaround, antigen tests are used to screen people in environments such as hospitals, workplaces, or schools, where it is important to quickly identify active infection.

What does asymptomatic mean?

An asymptomatic person is positive for the virus but never shows signs or symptoms of the infection. The fact that COVID can be asymptomatic means we do not always know if a person has COVID unless they are tested, and therefore the virus can be transmitted unknowingly.