PROTECT YOURSELF.

Get the COVID-19 vaccine.

PROTECT YOURSELF.

Get the COVID-19 vaccine.

From the desk of AHF’s Chief Medical Officer

Hi, I’m Dr. Wohlfeiler, the Chief Medical Officer for AIDS Healthcare Foundation in the United States. The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is underway across the nation. Every AHF healthcare center and pharmacy registered early on to be vaccine administration sites. Some of our healthcare centers have already received vaccines and administered them to patients and staff who meet the local eligibility requirements.

Right now, we’re vaccinating people 65 and over, frontline healthcare workers and, where state laws allow, people with HIV. We expect to see more eligibility tiers open up as the supply chain rapidly expands.

Please watch this message from AHF's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Wohlfeiler.

You can download an English or Spanish transcription of this video here.

We expect supply to ramp up because a new COVID vaccine is now available. The new vaccine is from Johnson & Johnson and unlike the other vaccines, it only needs one dose and doesn’t require refrigeration. So, to summarize, there are now 3 vaccines available in the U.S. - the 2-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and the new single-dose J&J vaccine.

Providers like AHF can’t choose which of the approved vaccines they receive. While the effectiveness of each vaccine is different, it’s our view as well as the view of the CDC that staff and patients should take whichever vaccine they can access earliest. Each of the vaccines will provide protection against the virus. And the more of us who have immunity, the safer we will be. So, please do your part and get vaccinated.

Michael Wohlfeiler, JD, MD
Chief Medical Officer

Information on the COVID-19 crisis is constantly changing. This page updated 3/15/2021.
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I heard the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is less effective. Should I take it if it’s the only one available or wait for one or the other vaccines?
Every day you delay is a day you’re unprotected. Supplies are limited and there’s no guarantee you’ll get the vaccine you may want in the near future. AHF strongly recommends you get whichever vaccine is first available to you. They all offer excellent protection against severe symptoms of the disease, which could otherwise land you in a hospital.
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I’m hearing about bad side effects from the second shot of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine. How bad it is? I’m scared of taking it.

Most side effects are mild – like arm soreness or tiredness. Some people have symptoms that feel like the flu – chills, headaches, but these only generally last a day and can be treated with Tylenol or acetaminophen and rest. If you have these symptoms – you do not have COVID! Rather, they are a sign that your body is doing its job in developing antibodies to protect you.

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When is AHF getting vaccine? – I heard some healthcare center already have it.
A few of our healthcare centers have received limited doses. The supply chain is still very thin, and like other providers, we are waiting to receive more. When we receive any vaccine, we administer it according to state and local eligibility guidelines and will notify clients when they qualify.
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Will the vaccine protect me against mutations of the virus?
Viruses mutate constantly – COVID is no exception. We do not have all the data yet, but it appears that the Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines do provide at least partial protection from some of the more widely circulating variants. Drug manufacturers are working hard on creating booster shots that will specifically target new mutations. It is very likely that, in the future, we will all receive COVID boosters each year, much like we do for the flu.
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I have HIV.  Should I get the vaccine?

Yes.  Being HIV-positive should not stop you from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.  The only people who should not receive the vaccine are those who have a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).  It is important for people with HIV to be vaccinated because HIV might put them at an increased risk for severe illness if they get COVID-19. 

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If I have HIV, am I going to get more side effects from the vaccine?  

We believe that the vaccine will be effective and result in high levels of protection against COVID-19 in HIV-positive persons, especially if they are stable on antiretroviral therapy.  If your T-cell count is less than 200, if your HIV is not under control or if you have other questions or concerns, you should speak with your medical provider prior to receiving the vaccine.

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If I can get the vaccine from my local health department or another healthcare provider or pharmacy before I can get it from AHF, should I?  Or should I wait for AHF to call me?

Please get the vaccine as soon as possible, from any trusted healthcare provider – whether AHF or otherwise.  The sooner you get the vaccine, the sooner you’ll be protected.

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I’m a healthcare patient of AHF.  How will I know when I should get vaccinated?

As soon as AHF has the vaccine, we will start contacting patients to receive it.  We’ll follow state and local guidelines.  Right now, the first group will be people over a certain age (65 or 75) and people with serious health conditions.  As state and local governments allow more people to get the vaccine, we will contact patients in these other groups.

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I’m a pharmacy client of AHF.  How will I know when I should get vaccinated?

Please do not wait if you can get the vaccine from another trusted healthcare provider.  As soon as AHF has the vaccine, we will be offering it to pharmacy clients who according to state and local guidelines.  We will be announcing when we have the vaccine and who is eligible by text messages, phone calls, and through our website.

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How do we know the vaccination is safe?

Safety is our top priority at AHF. We're confident that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have ensured the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines are as safe as possible.

After a vaccine is approved for use, there are many vaccine safety monitoring systems in place to watch for side effects that may not have been seen during clinical trials. If an unexpected symptom arises, experts quickly study it to decide whether it is a real safety concern.

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Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19. Some people think that the flu vaccine gives them the flu. That's not true. The flu vaccine can give you a mild fever or muscle aches, but it DOES NOT give you influenza. While you may experience a sore arm, mild fever, and muscle aches after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you will NOT get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
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I’m worried about the side effects. What are they?

Side effects include sore arm, mild fever, tiredness, headache and muscle aches. If you have any serious side effect, let your provider know right away.  In rare cases, a few people have had a serious allergic reaction.  If you have allergies, talk to your provider before getting the vaccine.  At AHF, we have equipment and medicines on site to counteract an allergic reaction.

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I’ve already had COVID. Do I still need the vaccine?
Yes, you still should get the vaccine. We are still learning about COVID-19. At this time, there is not enough information to say if having had COVID-19, by itself, makes you immune; this is called natural immunity. More studies are needed to better understand how long natural immunity lasts with COVID-19. In the meantime, the vaccine should protect you.
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I hear that I need to have two shots - Do I really need two?

Yes, you need two doses of the vaccine. If you choose not to get a second dose, you will reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. The first dose of the vaccine may provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended.
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Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
No. The vaccines will be free.