COVID-19 Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. To better protect yourself and others you should receive the vaccine even if you have had COVID-19. Having COVID-19 creates a natural immunity but we are still not sure how long that lasts. Moreover, the immunity you develop may be affected by how severe your disease was, so if you had mild disease the strength of your immunity to a future reaction may be mild too. We also know now that some of these vaccines reduce the risk of asymptomatic spread which was a major driver of infections during the peak of the pandemic.
Since the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is currently limited, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. Visit
https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan to see what groups are being vaccinated in the Tri-County area now and more information on thevaccination timeline. The goal is for everyone to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination easily as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. As the vaccine supply increases, more groups will be eligible to receive the vaccination.
Local information on vaccine eligibility, locations, and how to sign-up for appointments may be found at https://www.pcchd.org/306/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information. Updated information on vaccine availability and link to scheduling an appointment can be found at https://vaccinefinder.org/.
Yes. Wearing a mask and socially distancing are still recommended after receiving both doses of the vaccine. The reason for this is that we are still waiting on more evidence as to the ability of the vaccine to stop the spread of infection from infected people who have no symptoms.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth)
  • Wash your hands often for 20 seconds with soap and water
  • When washing your hands with soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer
The spread of contagious diseases (ones that spread from one person to another) can be limited when herd immunity is reached. This is reached when enough people have developed immunity to this particular infection and can fight it off. Vaccination is the safest way to reach this degree of immunity and limit the spread of disease. This is how we successfully eradicated diseases like Smallpox, an infection that plagued humans for at least 14 centuries prior to being eradicated with vaccines.
Yes, the vaccine is safe. While this is the first time mRNA technology has been used on such a large scale, the technology is not new. Moreover, the clinical trials that were done to get these vaccines approved underwent all the necessary phases to ensure both the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. No steps were skipped in the development of these vaccines. Tens of thousands of people were enrolled collectively in these two clinical trials. Millions have received the vaccines in the US since then with close monitoring and reporting of any side effects.
Those who are pregnant and/or planning to become pregnant can receive the vaccine if they choose to vaccinate. Initial vaccination studies did not include pregnant women so data in this special population is limited. Pregnancy may increase your risk of severe disease with COVID-19 in addition to the risk of premature birth so the risk of infection should be weighed against the hypothetical risk of receiving the vaccine. If there are concerns or questions, talking with your health provider may help you make the best decision for you. For women planning to get pregnant, it is important to note that unfounded claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility have been scientifically discredited.

Those with a medical condition can receive the COVID-19 vaccine safely. People with specific comorbid conditions such as but not limited to obesity, lung disease or kidney disease are at increased risk of severe disease when infected with COVID-19. If there are concerns or questions, talking with your health provider may help you make the best decision for you.

Allergic reactions can occur but have shown to be very rare. Some, with a history of allergies to some components of the vaccine have experienced severe reactions, known as anaphylaxis that can be treated. All individuals who administer these vaccines are trained to treat anaphylaxis if it does occur. Discuss your allergies with your health care provider prior to vaccine administration if you have concerns.

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live vaccine. Some short-term side effects that are possible are, redness and swelling at the site of the injection., fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, nausea, malaise, and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may occur within two days after the shot and last one to two days. Side effects may be more frequent after the second shot and less frequent among older adults.
No. You cannot receive the vaccine while infected. It is important to follow isolation guidelines while infected with COVID-19. Once your isolation has been discontinued and you are no longer ill you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you choose to.
The Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given three weeks (21 days) apart and the Moderna doses should be given one month (28 days) apart. Remember, the second dose should be obtained at the same location as the first. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.
At this stage of the vaccination process, there are no recommendations for special populations to receive one kind of vaccine. In an effort to establish herd immunity, curb the spread of the virus and limit the emergence of more worrisome virus mutants, it is recommended that people receive any of the vaccines as they become available to them. If you have specific concerns as to the vaccine you are receiving please discuss them with your healthcare provider.
COVID-19 VACCINE FAQ (PRINTABLE)
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