Health officials address COVID-19 vaccine concerns

MERCER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – As companies get closer to having vaccines ready for distribution, many are concerned about getting a coronavirus vaccine.

“It may not be immediately available to the public until March or April,” said Board of Health member Dr. Daniel Wells. “The vaccine will [first] be provided to healthcare professionals in closed settings, like assisted-living facilities.”

Many people hesitate. Some claim they’ve gotten the flu after getting the flu shot and worry they’ll get coronavirus from the new vaccine. Officials say some symptoms are almost guaranteed, but that means it’s working.

“These vaccines that are coming are new,” said Mercer County Health Officer Dr. Steven Stephancic. “We are still learning about them and the different aspects of its side effect profile.”

The vaccine is expected to come in two doses. Officials say it’s crucial to get both in order for it to be effective.

“With most vaccines, we see the same side effects,” said Wells. “We see fatigue, we see injection site reactions and we see headaches. That’s the typical symptom profile for almost every vaccine you’ll ever take. What this vaccine is planning on doing…is inject the mRNA into your system to go into healthy cells and create spike proteins so your natural antibodies can create a defense against it.”

Even with a vaccine that could protect you from the virus, you’ll still be asked to wear a mask and social distance.

“It’s easy to think ‘I’m not doing anything,’ and ‘this isn’t really doing anything,’ but to the best that we can tell, it’s working,” said Stephancic. “It’s a matter of trying to mitigate the virus the best we can and decrease the infection rate.”

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Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at