Getting the COVID-19 vaccine: Arizona doctor answers some frequently asked questions

More than 18% of Arizonans are now vaccinated against COVID-19. As these numbers continue to rise, some are wondering if those who have received their shot can get back to pre-pandemic activities.

FOX 10 spoke with Dr. Shad Marvasti, a physician and professor with the University of Arizona's College of Medicine, to learn more.

"There's a lot more data now to say that the risk of spreading it to each other, in terms of getting severely ill from COVID-19 among those who are vaccinated, is really much lower than those who are unvaccinated," Marvasti said.

However, he says it doesn't necessarily mean people can let their guard down.

"The risk still exists with vaccinated people hanging out with unvaccinated people," Marvasti said. "The reason why is the vaccinated folks can still technically have the virus or get infected without any symptoms, and the virus can kind of live in our nose or our mouth. 

"If we sneeze, cough, or even just speaking in close proximity to someone else without a mask -- you could spread it to them and the person that's unvaccinated has the risk of getting very ill," he continued.

MORE: Arizona Dept. of Health COVID-19 vaccine prioritization

As for vaccine efficacy and whether any type - Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson - is better than the other, the professor says they all work equally as well.

"All of them equally reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19," Marvasti said. "There's no reason to wait -- any COVID vaccine that's been approved by the FDA is a good, safe, effective vaccine to get."


Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

MORE: How to sign up and schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment

MORE: Maricopa County COVID-19 vaccine status updates

MORE: Arizona Dept. of Health COVID-19 vaccine prioritization

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Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

FOX 10 is working to keep you up to date with local and national developments on COVID-19. Every weekday on FOX News Now, our live coverage begins at 7 a.m. MST reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.

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