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February 24, 2021


Everything HVAC Workers Need to Know About the Coming COVID-19 Vaccines

How soon can HVAC workers get the COVID-19 vaccine? How will it change what they can and can't do? We've got answers.

This year, COVID-19 vaccines will become a critically important consideration for HVAC technicians. Field service technicians are obligated to avoid spreading the disease to their customers as much as possible; their high-risk customers’ very lives are at stake. Equally important, healthy HVAC technicians need to keep all crucial public buildings and services operational. This is why CISA has identified HVAC technicians as essential critical infrastructure workers

This article will answer some important questions HVAC technicians may have about COVID vaccines, including the following:

  1. When and where will I be able to get a COVID vaccination?
  2. How much does it cost?
  3. Can I get infected with COVID from the vaccine?
  4. Will the vaccine alter my DNA?
  5. Will I have a serious reaction to the vaccination?
  6. What other risks or side effects of the vaccination should I know about?
  7. Will I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing after getting the vaccine?

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The federal government has given approval to two different vaccines which both require two doses spaced a few weeks apart. At the time of writing, there have been 36 million doses distributed; 14.3 million people have received at least one dose, including 2.2 million who have received both doses. The federal government gives the doses to states, territories, and federal agencies. What those entities do with the doses is up to them, and they each have their own plans and systems.

The optimal source of information about where and when you can get the vaccination should be your boss. If you are the boss, or he/she doesn’t know, then it requires a little detective work.

Smart Service, for example, is based in Ohio. A Google search for the words, “vaccine locations Ohio” returns an article titled “Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio?” The contents of that article lead to this informative page, Coronavirus Vaccine | Ohio Department of Health. Ohio’s phased approach has a Phase 2 that will be offered to an expanding group of specific critical populations, but it doesn’t specify Phase 2 details yet. HVAC and other industry organizations are lobbying to have their trades included as early as possible in the phased rollouts, but the success of those efforts will likely vary from state to state. If your internet search is not fruitful, you may wish to call your doctor’s office and ask them.

How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The vaccination doses currently available were paid for with U.S. taxpayer money. Americans will not have to pay for the vaccinations. However, the business or service provider may charge an administration fee for giving you the shot. Your insurance should cover that, but if it doesn’t, nobody is allowed to be denied the vaccination for not being able to pay the fee. The amount billed to your insurance for the two shots should total about $45.

Vaccination Myths Debunked

  • The approved COVID-19 vaccines cannot infect you with the disease simply because they do not contain any COVID viruses. End of the myth. It is very important to note that you can still get infected from the virus just before or just after getting vaccinated. The vaccine requires a few weeks to become fully effective. More specifically, the two currently approved vaccines require a week or two after the second shot to become fully effective.
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. “mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way.” A better explanation that is still fairly brief and not overly complicated is available at Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.
  • After getting vaccinated, it is possible to test positive for the virus with an antibody test, but not on viral tests. If you fall into this situation, know which kind of test you are receiving.

Will I have a serious reaction to the vaccine?

For most normally healthy HVAC workers, no. Serious reactions can happen but they are rare. However, if you have ever had a serious reaction to other vaccines, you should definitely consult with your doctor before getting the vaccine. If you have had an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate, you should not get the vaccine. When you get the vaccine, you will be monitored for at least 15 minutes and the provider will be prepared to handle any emergencies.

There are common side effects that you should expect. These are indications your body is building an immunity to the virus and they will normally go away in a few days. You may experience pain and swelling at the injection site. You may experience fever, chills, tiredness, and headaches. These symptoms may be uncomfortable, but they are much preferred over contracting COVID. If you do experience symptoms more pronounced or that last longer than a few days, call your doctor.

Can I go back to normal after being vaccinated?

Sorry, but no, at least not yet. This pandemic is unique in modern history and the experts simply don’t know enough about it yet. They don’t know if being vaccinated will prevent you from becoming infected with the virus and spreading it to other people even though the vaccine prevents you from getting sick. “Herd immunity” is required before we can go back to something approximating life before the pandemic.  

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci, says, “April, May, June, July, and August, we could get, and I use this as an estimate, which I think is a reasonably accurate estimate, that if we could be at 70 to 85% of the people in this country, vaccinated, that we could develop a degree of herd immunity that would have a major impact on slowing down this outbreak. And hopefully by the fall of 2021, we could start approaching some degree of normality.” Note that he used the words “estimate” and “approaching.”  There will probably be a new normal where some degree of safe practices adopted during the pandemic will become permanent.

Until we reach the new normal, you will still need to follow the same guidelines you follow now; wear a mask, stay six feet apart, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and wash your hands often.

Suggested Additional Reading

We highly recommend these sites for additional questions and answers about the vaccines. These are the experts:

  1. Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
  2. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC
  3. What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC.

Summing It All Up

  1. Use the workplace, internet, or your personal physician resources to find out where and when you can get vaccinated.
  2. The vaccine cost to you is zero.
  3. The vaccine cannot infect you or change your DNA. It will not cause a positive COVID test result on viral tests but may on antibody tests.
  4. Serious reactions to the vaccine are rare but be aware if you have related allergies to consider.
  5. Flu-like symptoms are common but should go away in a few days.  Consult your doctor if experiencing unusual reactions.
  6. After you have been vaccinated and it’s been a week or two after the second shot, you must still follow the same, safe practices you’ve been following. Some degree of normalcy is estimated to return by the fall of 2021.