Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Friday shared her experience with getting the Wuhan coronavirus vaccine. Members of Congress are considered top priority for receiving the vaccine because of U.S. Presidential Policy Directive 40 (PPD-40) which ensures "continuity of governance" during a national emergency.
According to the freshman congresswoman, she will receive her second immunization when she returns to Washington, D.C. in January to start the next Congress.
"When I come back and get my follow-up shot in January, that's when immunity starts to kick in," she explained.
She shared a picture of a "screening questionnaire for SARS-CoV2 vaccination" which asked a number of questions, like whether or not the person getting vaccinated is immunocompromised, has severe allergic reactions or is on any kind of blood-thinning medications.
"Reasons they may want to ask you follow up questions: if you're feeling sick, have had COVID exposure, are pregnant or nursing, had another vaccine recently, etc.," Ocasio-Cortez wrote. "These factors aren't all outright 'NOs' but they might prompt a follow up convo with the doc to make sure you're all clear or if you should reschedule."
In another slide, the congresswoman explained common side effects from the vaccine, including feeling sick one to two days after receiving the shot.
"Sometimes people might feel under the weather for 1-2 days after the vaccine. That is how vaccines work & it's totally normal! It's a sign the vaccine is working - your body is learning to fight COVID and build up immunity. (If you don't feel under the weather, that's fine too it's still working)," AOC explained.
According to the legislator, fatigue and headaches are the most common side effects but are predominantly seen after the second dose of the vaccine. Fatigue was the other common side effect, something that between 21 and 26 percent of people reported.
She also stated between three and 16 percent of people reported a "mild fever" after their shots.
"About half of people feel sore in their arm after their shot," AOC said. "I don't feel any soreness personally!"
One of the questions Ocasio-Cortez received was whether or not someone who previously had the Wuhan coronavirus should get the vaccine. She encouraged those folks to consider getting vaccinated.
"YES. You should still get the vaccine even if you had already got COVID before/have COVID antibodies," she said. "This is because we do not know how long natural immunity lasts (some studies suggest people may get it twice) and the vaccine can not only extend your immunity but also make your immunity stronger."
In her Instagram stories, AOC answered questions from her followers. One of them was whether or not someone should take the coronavirus vaccine if they are pregnant or if there are fertility issues down the road. According to the congresswoman, roughly 70,000 people participated in the coronavirus vaccine trials. Those who were pregnant or who were trying to conceive were removed from the trial and will be taking part in the next round of studies which focuses on how the vaccine impacts pregnant women. She did, however, say that officials believe some women partook in the Moderna trial because they didn't know they were pregnant.
"So far there are very close studies of that. We haven't really seen any major adverse effects of that," she told her Instagram audience. "We will be getting a lot more of that information now."
Ocasio-Cortez shared an article stating 13 pregnancies were reported in Moderna's trial period through December 2nd. Six of those women received the vaccine either while pregnant or shortly before becoming pregnant. They are being closely monitored.
If you have any questions or unease about the COVID vaccine, I got you!— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 19, 2020
I’d *never* ask you to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.
Yday per national security policy (PPD40), Congress began getting vaccinated.
I took the jab & am here to answer your questions. Ask away! pic.twitter.com/ZyBgXi7kRl