COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

We answer your questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine. Check back later for updates.

Last updated: 2/11/21

There is no magic end point to reach herd immunity. We believe when we have enough people protected either from vaccine and those who have had disease that when a person is introduced to the community who has COVID-19, the virus will not be able to spread from one person to another. But this also assume people continue to wear a mask, avoid gatherings/visiting outside their household and washing  hands often. At this time vaccination alone will not stop the spread. This  understanding is likely to change as we learn more about the vaccines.

At this point with what we know and just importantly, what we do not know about immunity, gathering with people outside your immediate household still has a high risk of spreading COVID-19 with each other. Each community will need to balance the need for community events against the risk of spreading COVID-19.
TCC will be developing a guideline to share with rural communities that provides a  spectrum of activities from less safe to more safe based on a number of factors, such as number of elders vaccinated, type of event (indoor/outdoor), etc.

We don’t know. With the COVID-19 virus evolving and changing, it is likely some type of booster or repeat vaccines may be needed in the future. Some companies are working on this in case it is needed.

It is not likely but it is not impossible to catch COVID once vaccinated. The vaccines available today are 95% effective for protecting you from moderate to severe illness. That means in the studies, 5% of the vaccinated patients later did get a mild case of COVID-19. Maybe others got became infected without symptoms. We don’t know yet if or how often that occurs.

At this time we believe the vaccine will reduce the spread of COVID-19 but it is not clear to what extent. As noted above, a small percentage of those vaccinated do get infected later, perhaps without knowing it, and they are likely able to spread it to others. We do know the vaccine will reduce severity of illness for a person exposed to who later gets COVID-19, and in the long run fewer infected people with less severe disease will reduce transmission.

We don’t know. Current evidence is that the vaccine results in good immunity for most people, and is likely to last for many months, a year or more. But with the virus evolving and changing, the immunity may become less effective over time.

The vaccines approved at this time are not approved for children under 16 years of age. Pfizer can be given to those 16 years of age and older. Moderna can be given to those 18 and older. Vaccine studies in children are ongoing, and we hope to hear results with recommendations soon.

The three strains highlighted in the media right now [South African, UK, Brazil] seem to spread more easily, and to be more resistant to immunity from prior infection or vaccination, meaning a person might get infected again. Thus, while the vaccines might be less effective are preventing infection, they all seem to remain quite good at preventing severe COVID-19 infections or death. While there are three main new strains now, there are many more strains with minor changes, and we should expect the virus to continue changing over time.

Yes, hospitals and medical facilities are low risk areas for spreading COVID-19 and the vaccine will protect you from serious illness if you are exposed.

Yes, but vaccination is not the only thing keeping the person and those around them safe. Because the vaccinated person may still be a carrier and bring COVID-19 home, travelers still need to wear a mask, keep social distancing space, no hand shaking, no hugs, no visiting in homes outside their own and washing hands often.

This is a challenging decision each community must make for itself. It is about understanding risks and balancing risk of exposure with activities necessary for the community. How much safety does a community want versus how much disruption in people’s lives and work can be tolerated? At this point, continued quarantining would be recommended as the safest course.

  • The virus can take as little as 2 days to develop or a long as 14 days. Most people will turn a test positive within 7 days of being exposed but a 7 day quarantine will miss some people. We have seen people become positive up to 10 and even 14 days after exposure.
  • There is confusing guidance regarding quarantine; the CDC continues to say the safest quarantine time is 14 days but added two options: The first is a 7 day quarantine with a negative test at the end, and the second is a 10 day quarantine, with the understanding that maybe 5% of positive cases would be missed in either case. Each village has to balance the chance of missing a case against the benefits of reduced quarantining.
  • The State of Alaska is following 5 or 7 days with a test at the end.
  • Regardless of time imposed for quarantine, the individual must be free of COVID-19 symptoms before they come out of quarantine and need to continuously self-monitor for any of the common COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Quarantine time has not changed with the new strains.

This is balance of risk versus workload of a rural community to manage travel in and out. As described above, the vaccinated person, though protected from severe illness themselves can be a carrier, and unknowingly bring the virus into the community. Having the vaccine will not result in the person having a positive COVID-19 test.

This is balance of risk versus workload of a rural community to manage travel in and out. A community can consider, once a certain percentage of community is vaccinated to discontinue managing travel, this is a community decision.

  • Some communities have utilized tribal courts and fined residents who violate travel/quarantine restrictions.
  • Some communities monitor airplane travel but not inter-village travel.
  • TCC has distributed the all available one time funds to Tribes for COVID-19 activity.
  • Tribes can use I.H.S. tribal shares
  • Tribes have COVID-19 funds

No. This is health care information of an individual and TCC is not at liberty to share that beyond the individual.