Website Content for Black/African American Community & Civic Organization Leaders

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How do I know the vaccines are safe?

It’s normal for anyone to feel doubts or concerns about a new vaccine. Scientists tested the COVID-19 vaccines in large medical studies to make sure they met safety standards. Researchers recruited thousands of clinical trial participants to see how the vaccines offer protection for people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, including Black/African American people. Moving forward, the FDA will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines to make sure even very rare side effects are identified.

What guidance is there about volunteering safely?

As it receives new information about the virus that causes COVID-19, CDC updates its guidance on how to stay safe from the COVID virus. To keep volunteers and community members safe, CDC currently recommends:

  • Everyone ages 12 and up get vaccinated as soon as possible.
  • Wearing a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth when inside public places (even fully vaccinated people in areas of substantial or high spread of COVID-19 should wear masks inside public places).
  • Staying at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you.
  • Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces (volunteer events are much safer if they’re conducted outside or in open areas).
  • Cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily (tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks).
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol (especially before preparing food, after using the restroom, after sneezing or coughing, after touching animals, and after leaving a public place).
  • Getting tested if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you think you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 

Our community is our backbone, and it’s our duty to protect one another. By following these guidelines, we can continue to volunteer and work toward a healthier, safer community.

Can I safely volunteer without a mask after I’ve received a vaccine?

Safety is the main priority in serving our community. That’s why it’s important to follow proper safety guidelines when performing volunteer and civic duties.

Because many civic and volunteer events occur with multiple members of the community, there’s a chance that some people are at an increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, such as the elderly. Community members are receiving vaccines at different rates, so it’s important to stay vigilant if you’re going to participate in civic activities. Continue to wear a mask at public events (especially if you are in an area of substantial or high spread of COVID-19) and if possible, encourage virtual or outdoor meetings to reduce the likelihood of spreading COVID-19. Together, we can continue to build our community while protecting one another.

How do I keep the people that I serve safe?

The best way you can keep the people you serve safe is by getting vaccinated. Since all of the available COVID-19 vaccines reduce the likelihood of contracting the coronavirus, this is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between people. Additionally, wearing a mask before and after you’ve been vaccinated reduces the risk that COVID-19 can be passed from you to another individual. Gathering in small groups, as well as staying 6 feet away from others, also decreases the likelihood that someone who is carrying the COVID-19 virus transfers it.

By combining masks, vaccines, and proper social distancing measures, we can protect the people we serve from getting COVID-19.

What can I do once I’m fully vaccinated?

If you’re fully vaccinated you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic. To maximize protection from the highly contagious Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask inside public places if you’re in an area of substantial or high spread of COVID-19.

If you’re not yet vaccinated, you should continue to: • Wear a mask when inside public places.

  • Keep at least 6 feet part from people who don’t live with you and who may not be vaccinated.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use alcohol based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must still follow federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws, rules, and regulations. That includes public transportation, airport/airplane, local business, and workplace guidance.

Do people with compromised immune systems need extra doses of a COVID-19 vaccine?

People with compromised immune systems are less able to fight infections. If any of the following apply to you, you may not be fully protected from COVID-19 even if you’ve received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s mRNA COVID-19 vaccine:

  • You have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency disorder, such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
  • You have an advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • You’ve ever had an organ transplant or had a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years.
  • You’re being treated with corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medicines for such conditions as arthritis, asthma, or an autoimmune disease, such as lupus, sarcoidosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
  • You’re being treated for cancer.

To get the most benefit from the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, people with compromised immune systems should get a third dose. Wait at least 4 weeks after you get your second dose to get your third dose. An FDA and CDC review of data for Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine will determine whether a second dose is appropriate for people with compromised immune systems.

You should also continue to follow current COVID-19 prevention measures until your health care provider says it’s safe for you to stop:

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth around people you don’t live with and when inside public places.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water aren’t available.