COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know

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With Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, and Moderna all rapidly approaching approval for their COVID-19 vaccines, news channels are releasing updates nearly every day! We know that CRC survivors and caregivers have unique risks to consider when preparing for this next chapter in the fight against COVID-19, so we’re here to help.

Carmen Fong, Fight CRC Ambassador and colorectal cancer surgeon, helped us out by answering common questions in a quick video. You can read more details about the COVID-19 vaccine below.

@fightcrc

What questions do you have about the COVID-19 vaccine? #covid19 #coronavirus #coronavirusvaccine #covid covid-19 

♬ original sound – Fight CRC

What You Need to Know

What is the vaccine? 

All three major vaccine producers, Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra-Zeneca, have created vaccines that work by getting your cells to produce the spike protein from coronavirus, effectively allowing our immune systems to create the antibodies necessary to prevent infection.

There are no live COVID-19 cells in any of the vaccines, so you can’t get COVID-19 from these vaccines! 

What are the most important implications for the CRC community?

When available, get vaccinated! Even if you are a cancer patient at higher risk, it is important to get vaccinated to protect yourself! Work with your care team to plan how to safely receive the vaccine once it becomes available to you, especially considering it may take more than one shot. 

How will distribution work? 

Individual states have been given the leeway to determine which populations will receive the vaccine first. Cancer patients are likely going to be a priority population for most states, but may not be included the first wave of distribution depending on where you live. Stay current with your local health department’s communications to get the most up-to-date information on how the vaccine will be distributed in your area. And remember, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking steps to ensure that all Americans, regardless of insurance status, have access to the vaccine when it becomes available to them….at no cost!

Should I still get a flu shot this year?

Yes! Be sure to consider a flu shot this year as well, while taking proper social-distancing precautions.

Read more about this year’s flu season

More Information for Those Who Want It

What are the three types of COVID-19 vaccines currently being studied?

The three major types of coronavirus vaccines being studied are mRNA, protein subunit, and vector vaccines.

@fightcrc

There are three vaccines that are in production. What you need to know! #covid_19 #covid19 #covid #vaccinecoronavirus #coronavirus

♬ original sound – Fight CRC

How do the vaccines work biologically?

mRNA vaccines contain material from the virus that causes COVID-19 that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. After our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the genetic material from the vaccine. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future. 

Protein subunit vaccines include harmless pieces (proteins) of the virus that cause COVID-19 instead of the entire germ. Once vaccinated, our immune system recognizes that the proteins don’t belong in the body and begins making T-lymphocytes and antibodies. If we are ever infected in the future, memory cells will recognize and fight the virus.

Vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19—that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted in it (this is called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our cells, the genetic material gives cells instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Using these instructions, our cells make copies of the protein. This prompts our bodies to build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future.

How effective are the vaccines? 

Vaccines are still in phase 3 clinical trials, but Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra Zeneca are all reporting increasing efficacy rates as trials continue, some reporting as high as 90-95% efficacy. 

How can I find out more? 

If you want to keep receiving accurate and timely information, check in with the CDC and FDA websites often, as well as visiting our COVID-19 resource page.

24 thoughts on “COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know

  1. Hi.. I have my second dose on the 6 of May and my colonoscopy on the 5th of May.Is it ok to do it on the fifth or should I reschedule?

  2. Has there been any cases of an ulcerative colitis flare up after receiving the Moderna Covid vaccine?

  3. Hi ! My colonoscopy was done on 22 march 2021 and I get my 2nd dose of AstraZeneca vaccine after 10 days is it safe. Plz reply

  4. Have there been any studies on having had stage 2A colorectal cancer in the last 3 years and getting a vaccine for covid 19?

  5. I am scheduled for a covid vaccine on Thursday March 25 and a colonoscopy on Friday March 26, will this be an issue?

    1. Dr. Patel, Gastroenterologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center says, “The colonoscopy and vaccine can be completed on the same day. There is no data that the standard medications used for colonoscopy sedation affect the vaccine in any way.”

  6. I just had a colonoscopy and I’m scheduled for the vaccine, why is it asking if I had a colonoscopy? Do I have to wait a certain period after the colonoscopy to take the COVID vaccine?

    1. Dr. Patel, Gastroenterologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center says,”You can safely have your vaccine before or after your colonoscopy, however you may develop symptoms from the vaccine that could make preparing for or completing the procedure more difficult to tolerate. For example, some patients have fatigue or nausea from the COVID vaccine. You can imagine that these symptoms would make it difficult to complete the colonoscopy bowel preparation. It is hard to predict whether you will have symptoms from the vaccine, thus, I suggest scheduling the colonoscopy at least 2 days after your vaccine. This should provide you enough time to fully recover from the vaccine side effects before you have to begin preparing for your colonoscopy.”

  7. My 2nd dose of covid vaccine is scheduled for the same day as my colonoscopy. Is it safe to have my colonoscopy in the morning and my vaccine in the afternoon of the same day?

    1. Dr. Patel, Gastroenterologist at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center says, “Yes, the colonoscopy and vaccine can be completed on the same day. There is no data that the standard medications used for colonoscopy sedation affect the vaccine in any way.”

  8. I have a similar question. Can I get the covid vaccine a week before colonoscopy? Nurse not sure and I don’t want to wait for her reply.

    1. Hi! There isn’t a need to wait clinically, but to be the best protected from COVID exposure, wait 14 days. As always, you should talk to your doctor to confirm.

    1. Hi, Gerry! No need to wait clinically, but to be the best protected from COVID exposure, wait 14 days. As always, you should talk to your doctor to confirm.

  9. I received my covid 19 vaccine 01/29/2021. I have a colonoscopy scheduled for feb 1 2021. Is it safe to prepare For colonoscopy starting 1-31/2021

  10. Hello! Thanks for keeping us posted! I think that more information about the coronavirus vaccine needs to be disseminated. Due to the fact that now so many people believe stupid rumors and myths about vaccines like never before. Believe me, nobody wants to chip you or make you worse. Vaccines have long been shown to be effective, and this is even an indisputable fact. We have been able to overcome polio through vaccination. Do not believe those people who tell you otherwise.

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