Frequently Asked Questions

Know the facts

There is a lot of misinformation out there about COVID-19 and the vaccines. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Sometimes recommendations change slightly as scientists and doctors continue to learn more about COVID-19.

Are you more afraid of the vaccine than you are of COVID-19? Ask yourself why. Over 2,000 Americans are still dying each day of COVID-19. Chances are you know someone who has died from COVID-19. Severe side effects from the vaccines are rare, and that is why it makes the news when even one person gets sick from the vaccine.

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Over 180 million people in the United Sates are fully vaccinated.

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Over 464 million doses have been given nation-wide.

1.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

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No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain live virus.

3.

If the vaccine isn’t 100% effective, why should I get it?

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Around 99% of recent hospitalizations and deaths have been among the unvaccinated. People who got the vaccine and then later get sick with COVID-19 have less serious symptoms.

Think of the vaccine like seat belts – we know people are much safer when wearing them than when they’re not wearing them.

4.

What if I get sick after the vaccination and can’t work?

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Some people can have mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated. Common reactions may include chills, tiredness and aching muscles.

This is normal and should go away in a few days. You are not contagious and this shows you that the vaccine is working with your body to protect you against COVID-19. However, if you get COVID-19, you may not be able to work for weeks or longer. Some people can have mild to moderate side effects after being vaccinated.

5.

If I have side effects from the vaccine, do I have COVID-19?

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No. This is the vaccine teaching your body's immune system to recognize and fight the infection they have been designed to protect against. This is not the disease itself, but the body's response to the vaccine.

Bottom line: Getting COVID-19 will make you much sicker than any reaction to the vaccine. COVID-19 can last weeks or even longer.

6.

Is mRNA the same thing as DNA?

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No, mRNA is not the same as DNA. The vaccines do not interact with or change your DNA.

The science that created two of the COVID-19 vaccines uses messenger RNA – “mRNA.” mRNA is something your body uses to send messages in your cells in order to protect you. mRNA vaccines work like an instruction manual for your body’s immune system.

mRNA vaccines have been studied and used for decades (over 30 years!) before COVID-19 emerged. This science was studied and used in vaccines against other viruses, such as the Flu, Rabies and Zika. It’s also used in life-saving cancer treatment. Because of this, we know how mRNA works in vaccines and that the vaccines are safe.

7.

The vaccines were developed so quickly, how do we know they are safe?

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The vaccines were developed quickly because so many researchers, scientists, manufacturers and distributors around the world worked together to share information.

Safety steps were not cut. mRNA vaccines, like Pfizer and Moderna, used technology that already existed.

Hundreds of vaccine candidates were being developed and tested simultaneously around the world. There was a huge amount of financial support to develop, test, manufacture and distribute the vaccines. Multiple trials were done all at the same time, instead of one after another.

8.

How do we know there won’t be long-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

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Going back at least as far as the polio vaccine, which was widely released to the public in the 1960s, we have never seen a vaccine with long-term side effects, meaning side effects that occur several months or years after injection.

And, in every vaccine available, side effects —including very rare serious side effects — develop within six to eight weeks of vaccination, not later.

COVID-19 vaccines have been studied in humans for more than a year now, and more than 180 million people have been fully vaccinated in the United States alone. The vaccines have been shown to be extremely safe. The safety monitoring systems have been able to detect very rare adverse effects — all of which occurred within days or weeks following vaccination.

This is what gives scientists and public health officials confidence in COVID-19 vaccines’ long-term safety — if there were significant side effects, they very likely would have been discovered by now.

9.

What about vaccinating pregnant women?

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Findings from U.S. vaccine safety monitoring systems are early but reassuring. These data, which included people who received mRNA vaccines (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant women who were vaccinated or for their babies.

Pregnant people reported similar types and frequencies of side effects as non-pregnant women, including serious side effects. Pregnancy outcomes in vaccinated people were similar to those in studies of pregnant women conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another report looked at pregnant women enrolled in the "v-safe pregnancy registry" who were vaccinated before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Scientists did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy.

10.

What if I want to have a child in the future?

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No, there is currently no evidence showing that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men.

However, there is data showing that having COVID-19 can cause fertility issues in some people.

11.

Is the vaccine safe for kids ages 5-11 years old?

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) has issued emergency-use approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 for kids ages 5 through 11. The FDA has deemed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine “safe and effective for the prevention of COVID-19 in children 5 through 11 years of age. In safety studies that included more than 3,000 children ages 5 through 11 who received the vaccine, no serious side effects have been detected. These studies also showed the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be 90.7 percent effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5 through 11.”

Call your child’s doctor today.

12.

How do we know what is in the vaccines?

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Lists of all the ingredients are widely available, including on each vaccine's website.

13.

If I already had COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?

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Yes, you need to get vaccinated even if you already had COVID-19 because of the new variants.

14.

If I get vaccinated, why should I still wear a mask and stay away from crowds?

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The vaccines are not 100% effective. Some vaccinated people still get infected, but because of the vaccine their symptoms are so slight, they spread the disease to their families and others without knowing it.

Until more people are vaccinated, masking, hand-washing and social distancing are still important.

15.

There are different vaccines. Which one is right for me?

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Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots several weeks apart. Johnson and Johnson requires one shot. Currently, only Pfizer is approved for use in children ages 5 to 17.

16.

Do the vaccines contain aborted fetal cells?

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No. The COVID-19 vaccines themselves do not contain fetal cells or DNA, though some vaccines have been developed or tested with scientifically vetted cell lines.

Major religious leaders have also issued statements supporting vaccination.

17.

Do I need a booster shot after I am fully vaccinated?

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Everyone ages 18 and older should get a COVID-19 booster shot.

  • If you got a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, get your booster at least 6 months after your second dose.
  • If you got a J&J vaccine, get your booster at least 2 months after your dose.

Although COVID-19 vaccines remain very effective at preventing serious illness, there is evidence that their protection decreases over time. A booster shot helps make sure you stay protected against COVID-19 and new variants as the virus evolves.

You can choose any of the 3 available vaccines for your booster (this is sometimes called “mix and match vaccines”). Booster appointments are available at most local pharmacies. If you have questions, contact your primary care provider.

What's the easiest way to get vaccinated?

Pharmacies! Most don’t require appointments; you can just walk in and ask for it. And there are many pharmacies near you.

FDA-Approved. Safe & Free.

Millions of Americans have been safely vaccinated. But to slow the spread of COVID-19 many more still need to get the vaccine.