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 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 Updated information on vaccine availability and link to scheduling an appointment can be found at
We now know that vaccinated individuals are much less likely to get infected with COVID-19, they are also less likely to get seriously ill from it or to pass it on to other people. Therefore, if you are fully vaccinated you are safe to remove your mask both indoors and outdoors except in specific settings such as: healthcare settings and public transportation. You should also follow your city and state mandates as they change based on the number of new cases in the community.
  • 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.
Part of the development process of any new vaccine/medication is the continued monitoring of side effects. There are some side effects that are so rare that they can only be seen once a product has been given to millions of people. After J&J was given to millions of people in the US, a few cases of blood clots were reported. It is now thought that the vaccine may be linked to this rare clotting disorder called VITT (vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia). So far this was mainly reported in women less than 50 years of age, 4-30days after they got vaccinated. The vaccination process was paused so the science behind the side effect can be studied. After 11 days of evaluation it was found that this side effect is extremely rare and should not stop further vaccination. Moreover, we have been able to develop a treatment plan in case this rare side effect does happen.
Absolutely! This very rare side effect should not prevent you from getting the first vaccine available to you. All available COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be very effective, and in addition to masking and social distancing for now, they are our safest way out of this pandemic. To put this in perspective, the likelihood of a person developing a blood clot is higher if they smoke, take oral contraceptives or if they have COVID-19 infection compared to getting the vaccine. The benefits of vaccination still outweigh the risks of an infection where 1-2% of people die and another significant percentage end up with long term issues including but not limited to fatigue, brain fog and reduced ability to perform physical activity.

If you have received your J & J vaccine 4-30 days ago and you start having severe headaches with changes in vision or associated with extreme nausea or vomiting you should go to the emergency room. Other signs to look out for are severe abdominal pain, leg swelling and shortness of breath. If you are one of the very few who do have this side effect, medical evaluation and treatment can prevent further complications.

Yes, the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A) has given the Pfizer vaccine emergency use authorization after studies showed both its safety and protective ability in children aged 12 and older.
While children are less likely to get sick from COVID-19 as we have seen throughout this pandemic, they are still just as likely to get the infection and spread it to others. As we start planning to phase our society back to normal reducing the number of people who can get infected or pass on this infection is key!
All of the 3 available vaccines in the US offer great protection against severe disease and hospitalization. This protection includes all the variants we have encountered so far including the delta variant. If enough of us get vaccinated we may be able to stop the spread of all of these different variants that seem to become more and more able to spread and cause disease.
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