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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding the forthcoming COVID-19 vaccines, but we encourage you to take advantage of a wealth of information provided by the nation’s top health and regulatory agencies on this important topic. Learn about the cutting-edge research and proven science that supports the safe and effective distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to the public, by visiting the links provided throughout the text below.

Can I get COVID-19 from the Covid-19 vaccine?

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the US use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal of the vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms such as fever. These symptoms are a normal sign that the body is building immunity.

Messenger RNA vaccines–also called mRNA vaccines–are some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. These vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein–or even just a piece of a protein–that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Learn more by visiting the links provided below.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get a vaccine when it’s available?

Little is known about natural immunity that may or may not be gained from having had the virus. Early evidence suggests that this natural immunity may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Currently it is recommended that you get the vaccine, even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously.

Should I be worried about the safety and effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine because it was rapidly developed and tested?

The emergency situation warranted an emergency response. This does NOT mean that adequate safety or testing protocols were bypassed. The Pfizer vaccine, which is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed nationwide, was developed using a novel methodology that allows it to be free from materials of animal origin. It is synthesized by an efficient, cell-free process without preservatives. It has been studied in approximately 43,000 people.

To learn more about Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) and the process that allows vaccines to be distributed safely and effectively to the general public in a relatively short period of time, please watch this informational video from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You can also read more about EUAs and other aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing process by visiting the links below.

I’ve heard there are severe side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?

There are short-term mild or moderate vaccine reactions that resolve without complication or injury. The early phase studies of the Pfizer vaccine show that it is safe. About 15% of people developed short-lived symptoms at the site of injection. Approximately 50% developed systemic reactions including headache, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting for a day or two. Keep in mind that these side effects are indicators that your immune system is responding to the vaccine and are common when receiving any vaccine.

Do I still need to wear a mask after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is presently unknown whether you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. Until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.

What is the current status of COVID-19 research in pregnant or breastfeeding women?

No pregnancy related data have yet been released. Typically, in large trials, there are some inadvertent pregnancies that are followed for birth outcomes. Pregnancy and breastfeeding will probably not be contraindications to receiving COVID-19 vaccine; however, there is no safety data in pregnant woman, fetuses or infants at this time.

Will there be a vaccine available for children before the 2021 school year?

This will depend on the results of the trials of the vaccine in adolescents and children that are planned or underway now. But based on the current pace of research, it is potentially achievable that we will have a vaccine for at least some age groups of children and adolescents before the 2021-22 school year begins.

Will the vaccine be required for school entry?

When a vaccine is shown to be safe and effective in children, health authorities, including the CDC and the AAP, will make recommendations on when and how children should receive the vaccine. However, it is a state government decision which vaccines are required for school entry. Those decisions could vary by state.