Vaccine Information

Vaccines are the best defense against COVID-19

Vaccines will keep our family and neighbors safe and our hospital available. They’re also the best defense against current and future COVID variants. We understand that your health is your top priority and you have questions. Our commitment is transparency and communication, so we’re here to listen, help and vaccinate when you’re ready. These are some of your most frequently asked vaccine-related questions, and we’re updating this page regularly. In an effort to keep our phone lines open and our staff available, we ask that you look through these questions and answers rather than calling our office. If you have a question that isn’t answered, please submit it here.

---Vaccine FAQs ---

Why is it important to get a COVID vaccine?

It’s our only real protection from a highly contagious, unpredictable illness that is lethally dangerous to some people. The vaccine will protect you, your loved ones and our community, and it’s the only way for us to resume normal life.

All vaccines do two very important things:

  1. Help prevent you from contracting COVID.
  2. Significantly minimize COVID symptoms and illness if you do contract the disease or a variant like Delta. More than 90% of fully vaccinated people have not had a breakthrough case resulting in hospitalizations or deaths.

How do I get a vaccine?

Vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis with no appointment necessary Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM at the Casper-Natrona County Health Department. Just come to the front desk. The typical vaccination visit takes less than 30 minutes, so you’ll still have time to grab lunch on your way back to work.

Which vaccine should I get?

Whichever one is right for you. The CNCHD has all three available, and it’s totally up to you. Pfizer and Moderna are both two dose shots, and Johnson & Johnson is one. All three are great tools against contracting COVID, extremely effective against serious illness and all of them are safe.

Why are fully vaccinated people still getting COVID?

COVID vaccines are extremely effective, but they’re not impenetrable. Vaccines aren’t like bug zappers that kill viruses on contact. Instead, think of them like a poison trap in which the pest gets stuck, wiggles around, but eventually dies from insecticide. Vaccinated individuals can contract and carry COVID, but they typically don’t show symptoms and almost never experience serious illness. This is why we’ve recently seen fully vaccinated but frequently people like Olympians or professional baseball players testing positive for COVID but don’t have any symptoms. It’s their effectiveness against serious illness that is the most important reason to get them, though. Our hospitals won’t be overrun, and we won’t lose our loved ones and neighbors to COVID.

How does the unvaccinated population impact the vaccinated population?

Logic says that if one person wants to get vaccinated and one person doesn’t, it’s all personal choice and one person’s choice doesn’t affect someone else. Unfortunately, that’s not how disease prevention works. Extremely contagious diseases like COVID can move from host-to-host, and the more they’re able to move, the longer they’ll live. The longer they live, the more they’ll mutate and create new strains. But there’s a solution. The more people that are vaccinated, the harder it will be for the virus to find different hosts, even in breakthrough cases. This is Casper versus COVID, so beating this bug really will take all of us being vaccinated. Additionally, some people like children under 12 and others with certain health conditions can’t be vaccinated, so we need to protect them, as well.

Why is it important for most of our community to be fully vaccinated?

  1. Slows community spread, which will minimize virus mutations like the Delta variant
  2. Prevents our hospitals from filling up
  3. Helps us reach herd immunity
  4. Not everyone can get vaccinated, like kids under 12, people with certain autoimmune deficiencies and some allergies

Do current vaccines protect against the Delta variant?

The best protection from the Delta variant is with a vaccine. It’s also the best way to stop its spread. As long as the COVID virus exists, it will continue to mutate into more contagious, more powerful versions of itself to continue to survive. However, if a large percentage of the population is vaccinated, the COVID virus will struggle to find new hosts and eventually die out.

Do I need vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID?

If you’ve already had COVID, it’s true your body has already built up some level of immunity. However, we still don’t know how robust that response is or how long it lasts. Additionally, your level of immunity is dependent on a number of factors like your viral load, overall health and lifestyle factors. Vaccines, on the other hand, have been studied extensively, so we know that your shots give you a strong immune response, they’ll provide durable immunity and may protect against future variants. In other words, you’re more protected with natural immunity and a vaccine then you are on your own.

Are COVID vaccines safe?

YES. All COVID vaccines are safe. We understand and respect your uncertainty with medications, but the FDA and the world’s leading medical experts have been making sure that they’re safe. In fact, they’ve undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in US history. That’s how the CDC was able to detect 28 cases of rare blood clots among 8.7 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the spring. In Casper, we administered our first vaccine December 16 with great success. Since then, thousands of your friends and neighbors have been fully vaccinated with no complications.

Are vaccines FDA approved?

As of Aug. 23, the FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine for everyone 16 and over as a safe and effective protection against COVID-19. In the FDA’s review for approval, the agency analyzed effectiveness data from approximately 20,000 vaccine and 20,000 placebo recipients ages 16 and over. The trials yielded a 91% effectiveness in preventing COVID-19. Safety was evaluated in approximately 22,000 individuals in a vaccinated group and 22,000 in a placebo group. Most side effects included pain, redness or swelling at the injection as well as flu-like symptoms including fatigue, headache or fever. These symptoms typically subside within 24 hours. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control have monitoring systems in place to identify and evaluate any safety concerns moving forward. Use in children ages 12-15 continues to be emergency use authorization, but full approval for this group is underway. Read the official statement from the FDA.

Moderna applied for full approval for its vaccination in June 2021, less than a month after Pfizer. The FDA is expected to make an approval decision on Moderna in the coming weeks. All COVID vaccinations have undergone and exceeded the most rigorous and comprehensive safety standards medicine has ever seen. 

Do vaccines cause infertility?

There is no evidence that vaccines cause any fertility risks in men or women. In fact, no vaccine has ever caused infertility. This rumor may have started due to confusion between two types of proteins: the spike protein to which the coronavirus attaches in our body and the syncytin-1 protein, which is part of placenta formation during pregnancy. These two proteins are immunologically very different, and our bodies can easily distinguish between the two, so there is no risk that the mRNA would attack the syncytin-1 protein.

Do I need a third booster?

Third Pfizer/Moderna doses and second doses of Johnson & Johnson are currently being discussed on the federal level. The Casper-Natrona County Health Department will follow CDC guidelines, and we’ll update you as protocols become finalized.

How much does the vaccine cost?

All COVID-19 vaccines are free to individuals.

Does the vaccine cause side effects?

Some people may experience an immune response like chills, headaches, muscle aches, fatigue or feel arm soreness. All of these are normal and indicate that the vaccine is working.

Are people in Natrona County experiencing side effects?

Natrona County residents’ experiences are similar to national one. Most people have mild reactions like a sore arm, while others experience fatigue, mild fever, muscle aches and chills. However, these typically last less than 24 hours and have been easily managed at home.

Am I protected from COVID between my first and second vaccinations?

The Center for Disease Controls still recommends all measures of masking, distancing, staying home if you’re sick and getting tested. Currently, an exposure after one vaccine does not eliminate the requirement for quarantine if you are a close contact of a positive.

Is the second shot, or booster, the same as the first shot?

Yes, the medication, dosage and procedure are the same.

I have asthma and allergies. Should I get the COVID vaccine?

Asthma and allergies typically exacerbate COVID-19, so vaccines are typically the safest protection. Always consult with your healthcare provider to make the best decision for you and your health history.

Am I able to select which brand of vaccine I receive?

Yes, the Casper-Natrona County Health Department has all FDA authorized vaccines available. You select the vaccine that’s right for you.