With information about COVID-19 vaccines evolving rapidly, KUNR recently put on a Facebook Live event in Spanish with a local epidemiologist to address questions and concerns.
Our bilingual reporter Natalie Van Hoozer hosted the Q&A and spoke with KUNR’s Jayden Perez to share highlights from the conversation.
Jayden Perez: Natalie, this was KUNR’s fourth Facebook Live virtual event in Spanish. For our listeners who weren’t able to attend or don’t speak Spanish, what was it about?
Van Hoozer: I guided a question-and-answer session in Spanish with Washoe County Health District Epidemiologist Liliana Wilbert. We answered questions shared by community members, both ahead of time and during the Livestream on Facebook.
We had listeners from northern, southern, and rural Nevada as well as other areas of the Mountain West who wanted to know things like where to go for information about vaccine distribution and if the vaccines are safe.
Perez: What were the key topics you discussed?
Van Hoozer: We focused on general vaccine information and broke down how the vaccines work.
[Original quote in Spanish]
“Estas vacunas no afectan o interactúan con nuestra propia ADN, de ninguna manera. Esta es una de las preocupaciones de la gente, y esta vacuna no es así”, explicó Wilbert.
Here, Wilbert is saying that she hears community members asking if the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines affect our DNA, and she made it clear that is not the case.
We also talked about the importance of receiving both doses of the vaccine, as well as the side effects you might experience. Wilbert said it’s important to pay attention to side effects, especially in the first 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine. As you wait on-site after getting your shot, medical professionals are there to assist if you do have a reaction.
Perez: What are some common misconceptions about COVID-19 vaccines that came up?
Van Hoozer: We received several questions asking if it’s necessary to get the vaccine when you’ve already had COVID-19. Wilbert says that yes, even if you’d had COVID, you should get a vaccine.
The community also wanted to know if it’s okay to get vaccinated if you have a chronic illness.
[Original quote in Spanish]
“También es otra de las precauciones que se recomiendan, hablar con su médico de cabecera, si es recomendable, dependiendo de la enfermedad crónica. Pero [para] enfermedades como VIH o diabetes, está bien”, expuso Wilbert.
Wilbert’s saying that you need to consult your primary care physician because it depends on the illness. In general, it’s still okay to get the vaccine if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes.
When you do get the vaccine, Wilbert said that you still need to follow COVID-19 protocol, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing, because the virus is still being studied. It’s not completely clear the extent to which those who are vaccinated can still transmit the virus to others.
She also said the vaccine doesn’t have the live virus, so you cannot contract COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. Also of note to some in the community, Wilbert said that your immigration status does not matter, as that information is not needed to get vaccinated.
Perez: What are some resources available to those who want to learn more about COVID vaccines and their distribution?
Van Hoozer: The Immunize Nevada website has a vaccine locator, which is available in English and Spanish. That guide is a statewide list of sites offering COVID vaccines, including some sites in rural communities.
For information about Northern Nevada specifically, there is also the Washoe County Health District website and the Regional Information Center, which have details about local vaccine distribution, safety and eligibility.
At the national level, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information available in Spanish too, on things such as the new COVID-19 variants, best practices for mask-wearing, and coronavirus research updates.
You can find the recording of this event in the video section of KUNR Public Radio’s Facebook page or play the embedded video below.