COVID-19: What You Need to Know
For the past 18 months, the COVID pandemic has changed so many aspects of our everyday life. At Steward Health Care our goal is to help you understand the importance of taking precautions so you don’t contract COVID-19, and to help you feel better quickly if you do become ill.
This page is intended to provide general COVID-19 information. For more specific questions about COVID resources in your area, vaccine clinic locations, or further educational resources, please visit www.coronavirus.utah.gov.
Masking, Handwashing and Social Distancing
We are learning that the COVID-19 virus can still infect people who are vaccinated, but fortunately they usually have only mild symptoms. Often, these individuals often don’t get tested and they remain mobile and active because they feel well. During this time they can unknowingly spread the virus to many others. That is why it is still recommended for everyone to continue to use social distance guidelines (maintain 6 feet between yourself and others), wash hands frequently, and wear a mask when in a public space or in areas not conducive to social distance guidelines.1
What To Do if You Get Sick: COVID-19 Testing
If you become sick, it is important that you get tested for COVID-19 and take all precautions to stop the spread within your home and community.
Stay home except to get medical care
- Stay home: People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 can recover at home. Do not leave, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
- Stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you feel worse or think it is an emergency.
- Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
- As much as possible, you should stay in a specific “sick room” and away from other people in your home. Use a separate bathroom, if available.
- Refrain from visiting any public place.
Seek medical attention, but call first:
- Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
- Call ahead: If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients If coming to the office, you will be asked to keep a mask on at all times.
Know the Symptoms
Vaccines are the most important tool we have for bringing an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are widely available and can now be given to children age 5 and older. You can receive your vaccination from local health departments, healthcare providers, and local pharmacies. Please note that Steward hospitals do not administer COVID-19 vaccine to the public, though we do vaccinate hospital patients and staff. To locate a vaccine clinic or to learn more about COVID vaccine booster recommendations, please visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine
Dispelling Vaccine Myths
There are lots of myths to dispel regarding COVID-19 vaccine. Here are just a few:
MYTH 1: “We can’t trust COVID-19 vaccines because they were rushed.”
Fact: First, all COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. Second, coronaviruses and vaccines against them have been around for many years. Scientists had previously invented the technology that allows quick modifications of the vaccines to make them effective against new versions of the virus. This is how our current COVID-19 vaccines were developed so quickly.
MYTH 2: “The vaccine causes severe side effects that will prevent me from doing day to day activities.”
Fact: You may have some mild side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are like the flu vaccine. These include pain and swelling at the injection site and fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
MYTH 3: “The vaccine will be too expensive.”
Fact: The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge at all hospitals and state-run vaccination clinics.
MYTH 4: “The vaccine will give me COVID-19.”
Fact: The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19. The approved COVID-19 vaccines in the United States do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine primes your immune system to recognize and fight off the virus but does not cause an infection. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after the second vaccination.
MYTH 5: “We don’t know what’s in these vaccines.”
Fact: All approved vaccines have published the ingredient lists. Despite theories circulated on social media, they do not contain microchips or any form of tracking device, and they do not contain fetal tissue in any form. The common ingredients used in these vaccines have been used for many years. For a complete list of ingredients for all approved COVID-19 vaccines, please visit www.cdc.gov.
MYTH 6: “Since the survival rate for COVID-19 is so high, and our immune systems are strong enough to fight diseases, I don’t need a vaccine.”
Fact: The vaccine protects you and also protects everyone that you come into contact with. Even if COVID-19 does not make you as sick as others, there is still a high likelihood that you could pass it on to someone else who might not be so fortunate. Widespread vaccination programs protect populations, including those who are most at risk and those who cannot be vaccinated. The vaccination of everyone, including young and healthy people, is essential to ending the pandemic.
It is true that a high percentage of people who get COVID-19 are able to recover. However, some people develop severe complications. More than 2.48 million people around the world have died from COVID-19, including more than 500,000 in the U.S. alone - the number is much, much higher for those who have survived but needed to be hospitalized. This disease can damage the lungs, heart and brain, and may cause long-term health problems that experts are still trying to determine.
MYTH7: “I already had COVID-19, so I won’t benefit from the vaccine.”
Fact: You should still receive the vaccine. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, the CDC recommends that you get the vaccine even if you already had a COVID-19 infection.
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. The vaccine is more effective, and studies have shown that it can protect you longer than having had a COVID-19 infection.
MYTH 8: “These vaccines will alter my DNA.”
Fact: This is simply not true. The two COVID-19 vaccines that contain mRNA, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. mRNA is not the same as DNA. Further, the mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Once the mRNA performs this function, our cells break it down and get rid of it.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
MYTH 9: “Once I get the vaccine, I won’t have to wear a mask or worry about social distancing.”
Fact: No, you will still need to wear a mask and socially distance. While the pandemic is still ongoing, we should continue to use all methods available to help end it. Even if you get the vaccine, you should continue to wear a mask around others, wash your hands and practice physical distancing.
MYTH 10: “Now that we have vaccines, the pandemic will be over very soon.”
Fact: This will not happen until a large percentage of the population is vaccinated. Given the strong recommendations from the CDC, the American Nurses Association, American Medical Association, and other reputable healthcare advisory boards, we encourage everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as timely as possible.
Monoclonal Antibody Therapy
While vaccination is the best line of defense against getting COVID-19, there is a treatment that can help prevent severe illness after a person is infected with the virus, but only when given very early after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. This treatment involves in intravenous infusion of antibodies that have been manufactured to fight against specific variants of the coronavirus. It is called Monoclonal Antibody Therapy. It is meant for people who have added risk factors that make them prone to getting severely ill or even dying from COVID-19, such as older age, obesity, or other health conditions. It works best when given very soon after the onset of the COVID-19 symptoms, and it is not effective if given more than ten days after symptom onset. Monoclonal antibody therapy is available for people who quality for the treatment or who have a doctor’s referral. To see if you qualify, talk to your doctor or use the risk score calculator on the Utah State coronavirus website.
Currently, Monoclonal Antibody Therapy is available at these Steward Hospital locations:
- Jordan Valley Medical Center
- Jordan Valley West Campus
- Davis Hospital & Medical Center
- Salt Lake Regional Medical Center
For more information about monoclonal antibody therapy in Utah, visit https://coronavirus.utah.gov/noveltherapeutics/
2Source: Center for Disease and Prevention. For more information, please visit the www.cdc.gov.