Patient FAQ


**For the most comprehensive and current list of FAQs, please go to the CDC website, or click on


If I can still get covid19, even after being fully vaccinated, what is the point of getting it?

The Covid19 vaccine is not 100% effective at preventing you from getting the virus. However, it does lower the risk of you getting the virus, and we are now seeing that vaccinated populations are much less likely to be moderately or severely ill if they do get it, much less likely to be hospitalized and far less likely to die from the virus. The vaccination is all about reducing the risk. While it is not 100% effective, it is mostly effective and can prevent a greater healthcare burden to individuals, communities and healthcare facilities.  A vaccinated person who is exposed constantly to unvaccinated people, especially in crowded, indoor settings where no one is wearing masks, can become infected themselves.  Even though some vaccinated people have come down with COVID, it is typically a very light case not requiring medical care let alone hospitalization.  99.5% of COVID deaths are among the unvaccinated.


How many vaccinated people have gotten COVID?

We have not seen any data on this.  Anecdotally, we have seen “breakthrough” cases here locally, and while some do get sick enough to be hospitalized, most experience only very mild symptoms.


Now that the Delta variant is out, will the vaccine even help?

Yes.  In fact, the Delta variant makes the vaccine more important than ever because of its strength.  Unvaccinated who are infected with the Delta variant carry 1,000 times the amount of virus than people with the original variant (controlled study comparing 60 people infected with Delta variant to 60 people infected with the original virus).  The Delta variant now accounts for 83% of new cases in the US.


I have diabetes, CHF, COPD, _____ disease/illness, so I don’t think I should get the vaccine.  Right?

The only contraindications for getting a covid19 vaccination are having a previous severe allergic reaction to a covid19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. If you are acutely ill with a cold or other illness, you should wait until that illness has resolved to get the vaccine. All other chronic illnesses (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, obesity) put you at a higher risk of complications from getting a covid19 infection, and we therefore HIGHLY recommend that you reduce your risk of hospitalization or death by getting vaccinated. Of course, if you have questions about a specific illness/disease, you are encouraged to make an appointment with your PCP and discuss this.

Is the Vaccine experimental?

No.  The vaccine has been extensively tested before being released.  The FDA approved it (Pfizer, Moderna, J&J) under its “Emergency Use Authorization” or EUA.  Full FDA approval takes longer to accomplish, but the EUA vaccines are NOT experimental.


If I have already been infected with COVID19 and recovered, why do I still need to get it?

Even though your body created antibodies in response to you getting the virus, getting the vaccine will give you added protection.  The data suggests so far, that immunity from the illness only lasts a minimum 3 months and maximum 8 months. Furthermore, there are many people who are unvaccinated, who have gotten the virus multiple times, and sometimes have had more severe symptoms the second time. There is some data that shows that after you have had the infection, getting even just 1 dose of the vaccine increases your immunity by 1000 times. Of course, if you get one of the 2-dose vaccines, we still recommend completing the course.


If I am pregnant, can I get a covid19 vaccine?

Yes. Many pregnant women have received the vaccine and there have been no associated harmful effects noted on the fetus or on the mother. We do know that getting covid19 (the virus) while pregnant increases a mother’s risk of severe symptoms, hospitalization and death by up to 2%. In addition, if you are vaccinated and breastfeeding, there is good data to show that you pass on immunity to your newborn for as long as you are breastfeeding.


What are the ingredients in the vaccine? Does it contain toxic metals?

* None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, rare earth alloys or any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.
Note: Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG is a primary ingredient in osmotic laxatives and oral bowel preparations for colonoscopy procedures, an inactive ingredient or excipient in many medications, and is used in a process called “pegylation” to improve the therapeutic activity of some medications (including certain chemotherapeutics). Additionally, cross-reactive hypersensitivity between PEG and polysorbates (included as an excipient in some vaccines and other therapeutic agents) can occur.

See the table on the next page for a detailed list of ingredients for each vaccine.




Below are the ingredients of each available vaccine:


Pfizer-BioNTech (mRNA)

Moderna (mRNA)

Active ingredient

Nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2

Nucleoside-modified mRNA encoding the viral spike (S) glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2

Inactive ingredients

2[(polyethylene glycol (PEG))-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide

PEG2000-DMG: 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycerol, methoxypolyethylene glycol






SM-102: heptadecan-9-yl 8-((2-hydroxyethyl) (6-oxo-6-(undecyloxy) hexyl) amino) octanoate

Sodium chloride


Monobasic potassium phosphate

Tromethamine hydrochloride

Potassium chloride

Acetic acid

Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate

Sodium acetate







J&J  or Janssen (viral vector)

Active ingredient

Recombinant, replication-incompetent Ad26 vector, encoding a stabilized variant of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) protein

Inactive ingredients



Citric acid monohydrate

Trisodium citrate dihydrate

Sodium chloride







Which  vaccines  are  available  at  Cascade  Medical  Center  and  can  I  request  a  specific  vendor  vaccine?

The  Pfizer-BioNTech  and  Moderna  vaccines  are  offered  by  Cascade  Medical  Center,  and  both  are  mRNA  vaccines.  Depending upon our supply, one or both vaccines may be available at the time you request the vaccine.


Should  people  with  a  history  of  Guillain-Barre  syndrome  or  Bell’s  palsy  receive  the  Pfizer  or  Moderna  COVID- 19  vaccines,  which  are  mRNA  vaccines?

Yes,  persons  with  a  history  of  Guillain-Barre  syndrome  or  Bell’s  palsy  may  receive  an  mRNA  vaccine,  unless  they have  a  contraindication  (allergic  reaction  to  the  first  dose  of  COVID-19  vaccine  or  known  allergy  to  any  of  the vaccine  components).


How many vaccine doses will be needed?  Once  vaccinated,  how  long  does  it  take  before  I  develop  immunity?

The approved Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses, 21 days apart.  Similarly,  the  approved  Moderna vaccine  also  uses  two  different  injections  with  four  weeks  between  each  one.  The same vaccine brand must be used for both shots.  Two shots are needed to provide the best protection.  The  first  one  primes  the  immune system,  helping  it  to  recognize  the  virus,  and  the  second  one  strengthens  the  immune  response.  Immunity  takes  some  time  to  develop  -  at  least  one  to  two  weeks  after  the  second  injection. 


What are the common side effects?

The side effects are like other vaccines.  The  most  common  side  effects  are  pain/redness  at  the  injection  site, headache,  fatigue,  muscle/joint  aches  and  low-grade  fever.  The side effects respond well to Tylenol and ibuprofen.  Nausea and vomiting are also reported as vaccine side effects.  Most side effects last less than 24 hours.  Side  effects  do  appear  to  be  more  prominent after  the  2nd  dose.


How does CMC know if other hospitals are at or near capacity?  My friends say there are lots of beds! 

CMC is in touch with healthcare organizations throughout the region on a daily basis.  We compare staffing, beds, and other resources to see how we can help each other respond to fluctuating demand and illness surges.  CMC refers to “capacity” of hospitals meaning “staffed-beds”.  Sometimes hospitals don’t have enough staff to use all their beds, so “staffed-beds” is all that really matters.  Now some departments may have capacity (e.g., Labor and Delivery) so a nurse who works in that department may think there is plenty of capacity, when the ICU is full and the General Medicine floor is full.  As a rural facility, we are most focused on the availability of staffed beds in critical care and in general medicine, as those are the units we would most likely need to send patients to if they need a level of care higher than what we can provide in Cascade.


How does the mRNA vaccine work?

From the CDC website:  “mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.”


How many people have died from the COVID vaccine?

3 deaths appear to be linked to the blood clots that occurred after people got the J&J vaccine.  There is no evidence that there were any other deaths caused by the vaccine. There is misinformation out there that thousands of people have died from the vaccine, which is false.  Some cite “VAERS” as their source.  A good explanation with cited sources can be found at


What is VAERS?

VAERS is the Vaccination Adverse Event Reporting System that is available through the CDC and FDA websites for ANYONE to report an adverse event from a vaccine.  It is intended to be an unrestricted and unfiltered intake of adverse event reports.  However, anyone can go on and report anything to it, so it is not to be used or cited as factual or scientific.  In fact the VAERS information brochure states “Adverse events reported to VAERS are not necessarily side effects caused by vaccination. An adverse event is a health problem that happens after vaccination that may or may not be caused by a vaccine. These events may require further investigation.”  You can find the full VAERS explanation at


How many people have died from COVID (the disease)? 

As of July 2021, over 600,000 nationwide and over 2,100 from Idaho, including several from Cascade and Valley County.