Covid-19 Commonly Asked Questions
Are the vaccines safe? Yes. The vaccines are the first of their kind on the market, but these
types of vaccines have been used in research for decades. The process to make them followed
all the usual safety rules as other vaccines.
Why should I get vaccinated? Getting vaccinated not only protects you against getting
COVID-19, but it also protects those in your family or community that are at high risk for severe
symptoms and/or cannot be vaccinated due to health conditions with certain
immunosuppression therapies. Being vaccinated means you might feel down for a day or two
after the shot, while getting COVID-19 means risking weeks of symptoms, hospitalizations, or in
severe cases even death. Vaccination is also the fastest way to herd immunity and life returning
fully to normal.
What are the side effects of the vaccine? The most common side effects of the vaccines are:
The site of the injection may be red, painful, or swollen and you may feel tired, achy, hot, cold,
nauseous or have a headache. These are all part of the immune system responding to the
vaccine, the same way someone may feel tired, achy, hot, cold, nauseous or have a headache
with a cold or the flu. The second shot for the Moderna or Pfizer tends to cause more side
effects because it is the second time the immune system is responding.
I had COVID-19, why do I still need to get the vaccine? Immunity to a virus depends on the
immune system’s ability to make targeted antibodies and remember the virus. Research is
finding that some people do not have lasting immunity after having the virus, so the vaccine is
recommended as it increases the likelihood that a person’s immune system properly mounted a
response to the COVID-19 virus.
Can I still get COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated? The vaccine prevents symptom
severity and hospitalizations, and is 90% effective. This all means the vaccine is very effective
though it is possible for a fully-vaccinated person to get COVID-19. This may be from coming
into contact with the virus before becoming fully immune (2 weeks after the last shot) or not
having responded well to the vaccine. The studied cases show that if this does happen, cases
tend to be mild.
What’s in the vaccine?The vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer use mRNA in an oil base. The mRNA naturally stimulates
the immune system similar to how a virus stimulates the immune system so it does not need the
common additional ingredients found in other vaccines, as many of those ingredients (called
adjuvants) are used to stimulate the immune system to the vaccine.
The vaccine by Johnson & Johnson uses an adenovirus to carry COVID-19 proteins to stimulate
the immune system exactly as any virus would so it also does not use adjuvants to stimulate the
Can my children be vaccinated? Children were not initially approved for the vaccine as they
were excluded from the original studies. The vaccine companies have now had enough time to
study the efficacy of their vaccines in children and the Pfizer vaccine has been approved for
ages 12 and older. Research for younger ages is being done now, but having everyone in the
household vaccinated who can be vaccinated will help protect the younger members who
cannot yet receive the vaccine.
What are the long-term effects of the vaccines? As these are new vaccines, the long-term
effect is not known which is why the vaccines are continuing to be monitored as paused as
necessary to review (like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine). Similarly, we also do not know what
the long-term effects of getting COVID-19 may be. However, what we do know is that the
vaccine does not cause “Long Hauler” symptoms, and as many as 40% of people with long haul
COVID-19 improve after getting vaccinated.
Will booster shots be needed? We do not know yet. Contact your doctor for more information or if you have questions for your specific conditions
and/or health concerns.
For questions on the Pfizer vaccine visit Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
For questions on the Moderna vaccine visit Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions | FDA
For questions on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine visit Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions | FDA