Viral Facts

Viral Facts is a video series that provides evidence-based answers to common questions about COVID-19.

Do you have questions about COVID-19 that you’d like answered in a future episode? Reach out to us at digitalmedic@stanford.edu.

Episode 1: COVID-19 Vaccine Safety, side effects, and risks, explained

This episode provides evidence-based answers to these questions:

• The COVID-19 vaccines are new so what do we know about short- and long-term side effects?

• What’s the deal with allergic reactions to the COVID vaccines?

• Has anyone died because of COVID vaccines?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Answering Patients’ Questions. 2 November 2020. <https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/hcp/answering-questions.html>.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States. 5 March 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html>.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Considerations: Preparing for the Potential Management of Anaphylaxis after COVID-19 Vaccination. 3 March 2021. <https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/managing-anaphylaxis.html>.

Gee J, Marquez P, Su J, et al. First Month of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring — United States, December 14, 2020–January 13, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:283–288. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7008e3

Episode 2: do covid-19 vaccines protect against variants? also, what is a variant?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to these questions:

• Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if there are new variants?

• What is a variant?

• Are COVID-19 vaccines effective against new variants?

• Should I wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine while the variants are being studied?

Episode 3: 7 ways scientists safely developed covid-19 vaccines in record time

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the question:

• How were COVID-19 vaccines developed so quickly?

Anthony Fauci, MD: How COVID-19 Vaccines Progressed Quickly & Safely. (2020, October 1). [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ip7kKPNLN00

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. (2020). Explaining Operation Warp Speed. https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-coronavirus-lpha/pdf/fact-sheet-operation-warp-speed.pdf

U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2020). About Emergency Use Authorizations. https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/mcm-legal-regulatory-and-policy-framework/emergency-use-authorization

Episode 4: What can i do after i’ve been vaccinated for covid-19?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the questions:

• If I am fully vaccinated for COVID-19, what am I able to do safely?

• Is a fully vaccinated household able to gather with another fully vaccinated household?

• Is a fully vaccinated household able to gather with a household of unvaccinated individuals?

• Can I travel? Can I go to large gatherings and parties?

• Do I still need to wear a mask and physically distance?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html#anchor_1615134468166

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Science Brief: background rationale and data for public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. March 8, 2021.

Episode 5: Are covid-19 vaccines safe for pregnant women and children?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to questions around:

• Protective benefits of the vaccine for mothers and babies

• Risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy

• Why the benefits of vaccination for pregnant people outweigh the risks

• Studies on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for kids.

https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-moderna-covid-19-mrna-1273-vaccine-what-you-need-to-knowhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7644179/

https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-moderna-covid-19-mrna-1273-vaccine-what-you-need-to-knowhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7644179/

Episode 6: why do i need 2 doses of the covid-19 vaccines?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the following questions:

• Is the second dose of COVID-19 Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines necessary for protection against COVID-19?

• What do I do if I miss my second dose appointment?

• What are common side effects after the second vaccine dose?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/effectiveness/why-measure-effectiveness/breakthrough-cases.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/second-shot.html

Episode 7: Is it better to get infected with COVID-19 or get the vaccine?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the following question:

•Is it better to get the vaccine or just get COVID?

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/adverse-events.html

https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/long-term-effects.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-long-term-effects/art-20490351

Episode 8: What do i do if i have covid-19?

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the following question:

• What should you do if you or someone you know has COVID-19?

https://covid19.who.int/region/searo/country/in

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/world/asia/india-coronavirus-cases.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n677

Episode 9: COVID-19: Tips for home monitoring with limited resources

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the following question:

What should you do if you or someone you know has COVID-19 and you don’t have immediate access to a clinic or hospital?

https://globalhealth.stanford.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Home-Oxygen-for-COVID-19-patients76-1.pdf

https://nidhirohatgi.medium.com/managing-covid-19-in-india-breaking-through-the-myths-and-caring-at-home-7d541792b9c5

https://www.indiacovidsos.org/home-care

Episode 10: 4 Things To Know About COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids & Teens

This episode provides evidence-based answers to the following questions:

• Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids? 

• If kids are not likely to get seriously ill from COVID-19, why should they get vaccinated? 

• Can kids spread coronavirus?

• Which activities are safe for your family if adults are vaccinated but your kids are still unvaccinated? 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/adolescents.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

Episode 12: I’ve had COVID-19 – Should I still get the vaccine?

Many people who have previously had COVID-19 are wondering if they still need to get vaccinated against the disease. The short answer: Yes. Getting vaccinated is the most reliable way to strengthen your immunity and protect yourself from getting a COVID infection in the future. Vaccines also provide more protection against variant strains of COVID-19. Dr. Victoria Ward shares more in this episode of Viral Facts.

Episode 13: should immunocompromised people get the covid-19 vaccine?

We’ve been getting a lot of questions on how to stay protected against COVID-19 if you are immunocompromised, meaning your immune system is weakened in some way. Dr. Seema Yasmin answers the following questions in this episode of Viral Facts:

• Should you get a COVID-19 vaccine if you are immunocompromised?

• What if you are not immunocompromised, but your loved ones are? How can you keep them safe?

• Is it okay for immunocompromised people to stop wearing a mask after they get vaccinated?

Episode 14: What is the Delta Variant?

What is the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19? What exactly do you need to know about it? Do vaccines protect you from this variant? Dr. Seema Yasmin explains the answers to these common questions and more in this episode of Viral Facts.

Episode 15: I’m Young and Healthy – Why do I need a COVID vaccine?

A Q&A session with Dr. Mahadevan and a student who is wondering why he and his friends should get vaccinated against COVID-19, even though they are in their early 20s and generally healthy.

Episode 16: Do I Still Need to Wear A Mask?

There’s been a lot of confusion about what the latest masking guidelines are, especially in light of the more contagious Delta variant. Dr. Seema Yasmin helps clarify the situation and provides some advice on the best course of action. She answers common COVID-19 mask questions such as:

• Should you wear a mask if you are vaccinated?

• Should you wear a mask if you are not vaccinated?

• Why are these guidelines constantly changing?

• How should you keep yourself updated?

Episode 17: COVID-19 Breakthrough Cases & Vaccines

We’ve received many questions about breakthrough cases of COVID-19 occurring in people who have been vaccinated with one of the COVID vaccines. Dr. Matt Strehlow discusses these breakthrough cases, and what they tell us about the effectiveness of vaccination. He answers questions such as:

• What exactly is a breakthrough case and how often are they happening?

• What happens if you’ve been vaccinated and still contract COVID?

• Can vaccinated people still transmit the COVID-19 virus?

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/health-departments/breakthrough-cases.html

Episode 18: What is Long-Haul COVID?

Long-Haul COVID, or Post-COVID syndrome, occurs in about 10-30% of people infected with COVID-19.

• What exactly is Long-Haul COVID?

• Why does it happen?

• How do you protect yourself from Long-Haul COVID?

• What should you do if you end up getting COVID symptoms that persist longer than 28 days?

Dr. Victoria Ward answers these common questions in this episode of Viral Facts.

Crook H, Raza S, Nowell J, Young M, Edison P. Long covid-mechanisms, risk factors, and management. BMJ. 2021 Jul 26;374:n1648. doi: 10.1136/bmj.n1648. 

Alwan NA. The road to addressing Long Covid. Science. 2021 Jul 30;373(6554):491-493. doi: 10.1126/science.abg7113. PMID: 34326224.

COVID ‘Long Haulers’: Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

Post-COVID Conditions | CD

What It Means to Be a Coronavirus “Long-Hauler” – Cleveland Clinic

Episode 19: What are booster shots? Do i need one for COVID-19?

There are a number of studies going on to determine if and when booster doses are going to be needed to “boost” the benefit of the COVID-19 vaccines. You may be wondering:

• What are booster shots and why are they needed?

• Are booster shots needed for COVID-19?

• If so, who is currently eligible for a booster shot?

Dr. Charles Prober explains the answers to these and other common questions in this episode of Viral Facts.

https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/downloads/child/0-18yrs-child-combined-schedule.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)02046-8/fulltext#%20

Episode 20: 7 Questions About the Flu Vaccine & COVID-19 Vaccine

It’s that time of year when people are starting to get vaccinated for influenza, aka the flu. It’s important to get your flu vaccine every year, and especially important this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Mahadevan answers these common questions about the flu and COVID-19 vaccines:

• What does the flu vaccine protect me from?
• When should I get the flu vaccine?
• Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time?
• Should I get the flu vaccine if I have already gotten the COVID-19 vaccine?
• Does the flu vaccine increase your risk of getting COVID-19?
• Will the flu vaccine definitively prevent me from getting influenza?
• Can everyone get the flu vaccine?

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.html

Episode 21: Kids and COVID-19 Vaccines: Safety, Side Effects and Risks, Explained

Dr. Victoria Ward, a pediatrician at Stanford, explains how the COVID-19 vaccines work in children and answers the following questions:

• Is it better for children to get the vaccine or to simply get the COVID-19 virus?
• If your child has had the virus that causes COVID-19 in the past, should they still get the vaccine when they are eligible?
• Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids?
• Does getting the vaccine change children’s DNA?

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#pediatric-data

https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/draft-landscape-of-covid-19-candidate-vaccines

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/myocarditis.html

https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/heart-inflammation-covid-19-and-the-rare-side-effects-of-the-vaccine/2021/09

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