What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Emergency physicians and other health experts trust vaccines to protect people from many types of viruses. These doctors on the frontlines have been treating patients with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Your community is counting on you. Are you ready to take your shot?

We want you to have the facts about the available COVID-19 vaccines, so we're going beyond the frequently asked questions to address some concerns and misconceptions below. Click below to expand and learn more.

Coronaviruses are not new.

These types of viruses were identified in the 1960s. The discovery of COVID-19, a specific type of coronavirus, increased the speed of research and development of treatments. More than 300,000 volunteers were in the COVID-19 vaccine’s clinical trials. Researchers worked closely with all communities in recruiting participants from diverse populations nationwide for the COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Getting the COVID-19 vaccination will not give you COVID-19.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the coronavirus, so it is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

The vaccine will not alter your genes, implant a microchip, or make you infertile.

The COVID-19 vaccine is made using mRNA technology, which is messenger RNA. The messenger RNA teaches your cells how to make the protein that defends your body against coronavirus if you come in contact with it. Messenger RNA does not interact with or change your DNA or genetic code or leave anything behind.

The only thing the vaccine can do is teach your body how to fight COVID-19.

We understand that for many reasons, you may be skeptical about medical science, especially treatments like the COVID vaccines that seem new. Be assured, vaccines that fight coronaviruses have been in development for more than 10 years and are among the most effective vaccines ever developed. They are now being put into use for this specific type of coronavirus (COVID-19)

The vaccine’s technology is safe.

The red tape to get the vaccine to the public was cut, not the research. The vaccine’s technology has been in development for over a decade.

No shortcuts were taken in the research and development process or the approval process of the COVID-19 vaccination – they simply removed unnecessary barriers to get it to the public as quickly as safely possible. The worldwide scientific community stopped everything to focus on this vaccination, which followed the FDA’s usual, rigorous approval process.

Vaccine sites will not report anyone to immigration authorities.

Information about your citizenship is not asked and not recorded when you get your vaccine. The vaccination sites are safe havens for you to receive the life-saving shots without risking your status. Nearly all of the vaccination sites nationwide should have options for individuals who do not speak English to answer questions and guide you through the vaccination process.

If you experience or witness any potential violations, contact the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

There are positive changes you can make after receiving the vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccination can prevent you from getting severe symptoms and seriously ill, which may lead to being hospitalized or death. Once vaccinated, it takes several weeks for your body to build adequate protection against COVID-19, so it's important to continue taking all the protective steps to avoid getting or spreading COVID-19 while your body is building this defense.

It is still possible for those who have been vaccinated to get infected with COVID-19 without having any symptoms and unknowingly spread the virus to others.

Once fully vaccinated, people can safely do the following:

  • Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without masks
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (i.e., visit relatives who all live together)
  • Avoid quarantine or getting tested after exposure to someone with COVID-19, unless you have symptoms

COVID-19 vaccines do not cause more allergic reactions than other vaccines.

Your body’s reactions to the vaccine are normal signs that the body’s immune (defense) system is kicking in. There have been reports of some mild reactions to the vaccine like chills, fevers, body aches, headaches and fatigue. These symptoms are similar to what you might experience after receiving the flu vaccine.

After the vaccination, you will be asked to stay nearby for 15-30 minutes to be observed. An actual allergic reaction is very rare. However, avoiding becoming ill with COVID-19 outweighs the potential risk of an actual allergic reaction, which is uncommon and a very low risk.

The vaccine has been proven to work.

The vaccine has been given safely to more than 106 million people in the United States through April 2021 and scientists continue to study its impact to save communities like yours.

How long a person will be immune to COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine is currently being investigated. We know from the earliest vaccinations that this protection is lasting at least 3 to 6 months, so far. People who receive the vaccine may eventually need a booster or it may become a yearly vaccination, similar to the flu or tetanus vaccination. But it is important for you and your family to be initially safe as we all work to end the pandemic.

All Americans 12 or older are eligible to get the vaccine.

Young and healthy persons have been contracting the virus and developing severe illnesses and death. They are not safe from COVID-19 as initially thought early in the pandemic. The elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are more at risk. Vaccination is a personal choice. The more people who are vaccinated, however, the less likely COVID variants will develop.

The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the important ways to protect people from getting or spreading the virus. We should use every tool available to end the pandemic so that we can all return to our usual way of life.

If you are pregnant, you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill and require hospitalization with COVID-19 compared to those who are not pregnant. COVID-19 also may place the pregnancy at risk, including pre-term birth. It’s important to discuss your specific situation with your health care professional.

If you’ve had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated.

We do not know how long your natural defenses remain after you’ve had COVID-19. It is important to get vaccinated to avoid getting sick again with COVID-19, and possibly having worse symptoms than the first time.

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