Moderna vaccine safety: The Rest of the Story

By Public Affairs Staff    13 February 2021

Lt. Col. Marie E. Carmona, Deputy Commander for Nursing at the Dunham U.S. Army Health Clinic, opens and prepares a Moderna vaccine vial.

On Jan. 14, 2021, a USAWC held a virtual commanders' town hall. Maj. Gen. Maranian, Dunham Clinic commander Lt. Col. Saenz, Garrison and Garrison commander Lt. Col. Short answered questions posed by members of the Carlisle community.

Here are the answers to your specific questions and concerns:

Eligibility for Vaccine

Eligibility for the vaccine will extend to everyone in the U.S. Eligibility for the vaccine will extend to all DoD personnel. DoD personnel have the option of drawing from the PA or DoD supplies.

Below are details about the DoD Moderna vaccine rollout. We are not projected to get Pfizer. If we do get doses of a different vaccine, that information will be released.

For DoD personnel, it is not about WHO is eligible but WHEN.

DoD personal include active duty, TRICARE beneficiaries (to include their families) and certain DoD civilians and contractors and International Fellows.

DA guidance states, “Civilian employees, who are not otherwise eligible DoD beneficiaries, and select contractor personnel who usually receive influenza vaccines as part of a DA Occupational Safety and Health Program.”

As long as there is a limited supply of the vaccine and manpower, the vaccine process will be executed according to the DoD prioritization. See chart.

High Risk Category: the same criteria that made individuals high risk for getting COVID-19 is the same criteria used to classify those in the high-risk prioritization getting COVID vaccine.

We are not doing a sign-up for the vaccine, at this time. As we're working through priority 1A and 1B, we are working with the supervisory leadership to identify the eligible individuals.

When we moved to the general population, the initial rollout will be similar to what we do for the flu vaccine.

About Moderna

One cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine because there is not live virus in the vaccine. The virus is inactive.

Even if you are vaccinated, there is a chance that you could contract COVID-19 from another person, but the vaccine has shown that your symptoms are less server.

Once vaccinated, continue to wear masks, social distance, and wash hands, for the duration of protection against COVID-19 is unknown.

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Moderna is a two-dose shot. If you receive Moderna as your first dose, you must receive Moderna for your second shot.Jan. 15, 2021 -- "I will take one and Sergeant Major is committed to taking one," said USAWC Commandant Maj. Gen. Steve Maranian in reference to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during the Jan. 14 community town hall. "I have full confidence in the vaccines that have been given," he said, clarifying that he will wait his turn in the eligibility prioritization. "And, then I'll be in line early during that time to lead the way.”

“When my turn comes to get the COVID vaccine, I am looking forward to receiving my shot as well... When my number is called, I will be there with my sleeve up," said Lt. Col. Courtney Short, Garrison commander. And, as a healthcare worker in the top priority, clinic commander Lt. Col. Jennifer Saenz is getting her turn this week.

Carlisle Barracks is administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccination, according to DoD prioritizations. Getting the vaccine remains voluntary. Dunham Clinic personnel will be on-site to provide before and after educational briefings and monitor recipients for potential reactions and side effects.

“Everyone is encouraged to take the vaccine when available to protect your own health the health families, the community and lowering the public health risk associated with COVID," said Saenz.

Here is what you will want to know about the Moderna vaccine: information drawing on the handout patients receive upon vaccination, Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine website, and the FDA website.

The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 18 years of age and older. To find out more about the process and guidelines of a vaccine receiving EUA status, visit “Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines” link.

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is administered in a two-dose injection series. Upon receiving the first Moderna shot, individuals must receive the second Moderna shot within 24-32 days.

One cannot get COVID from the vaccine.

Short-term side effects include injection site reactions and general side effects.

Injection site reactions: pain, tenderness, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection, swelling (hardness), and redness

General side effects: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and vomiting, and fever

Talk to your vaccination provider if you have side effects that bother you or do not go away.

The medical literature notes that there is a remote chance that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. To mitigate the chances of a severe allergic reaction, be honest with the medical personnel administering the vaccine about the following—

  • If you have any allergies, including allergies to any ingredients in this vaccine or had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine
  • If you have received a different type of COVID-19 vaccine
  • If you have a fever
  • If you have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • If you are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • If you are breastfeeding.

* "If they mark ‘yes’ that does not mean they cannot receive the vaccine," said Lt. Col. Marie Carmona, Deputy Commander for Nursing, Dunham U.S. Army Health Clinic. "If they want to speak to a provider concerning the risk and benefits of the vaccine in relationship to their specific medical condition, I encourage them to reach out to their PCM or there will be a provider on site when the vaccine is offered."

When you receive your first dose, you will get a vaccination card to show you when to return for your second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Remember to bring your card when you return.