Vaccination, alongside social distancing and mask usage represents one of the strongest tools to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, two vaccines are FDA approved.
The first is the Pfizer-BioNtech Vaccine. It is given over two doses scheduled 21 days apart. The vaccine is administered intramuscularly (IM) into the deltoid muscle. It is indicated for patients at least 16 years old.
The second is the Moderna Vaccine. It is given over two doses scheduled 28 days apart. The vaccine is administered intramuscularly (IM) into the deltoid muscle. It is indicated for patients at least 18 years old.
The CDC currently recommends testing for the following subgroups:
- Symptomatic patients (fevers, coughs, shortness of breath, new loss of taste or smell, headache, congestion/runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and muscle ache)
- Close contacts with infected individuals (defined as more than 15 minutes over a 24 hour period with person within 6 feet)
- High risk activities: (travel, large social gathering, indoor crowded areas)
- Referred by healthcare providers
Two testing types are widely employed to detect for Sars-CoV-2.
The first is a viral test. A swab in inserted into the nose or mouth and collected. The rapid test (done within 15 minutes) is an antigen test (detects viral proteins) with the benefits of speed of results though with a loss of sensitivity (false negative meaning that a negative test does not mean you definitively aren’t sick but a positive means you are). The second viral test is a nucleic acid amplification test. The are much more sensitive as they directly look for viral genetic material with the downside of having to be sent to a lab (longer time for results).
The second test is an antibody test. It is used to assess if you have had a past infection of COVID-19 by looking for an immune response (body creating antibodies to fight an infection). These are administered by having your blood drawn and sent for serology testing. These are currently not being used as diagnostic for current infection as the body might take 1-3 weeks to create the antibodies.