Frequently Asked Questions – COVID Vaccination
Like all vaccines, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines have been rigorously tested for safety before being authorized for emergency use in the United States.
mRNA technology is new, but not unknown. This technology has been studied for more than a decade.
mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus and do not carry a risk of causing disease in the vaccinated person.
mRNA from the vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell and does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA.
Q: Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccination?
A: The vaccinations from Pfizer and Moderna are 94-95% effective in building immunity to the COVID-19 virus. If you do get the COVID-19 virus after the vaccination, it will reduce the severity of your illness and reduce your chances of dying from the virus.
Q: When will I be able to get the vaccination?
A: The State Health Departments will distribute the vaccination along with a tiered plan for who gets it first based on many factors including risk, morbidity and prevalence factors. When more vaccinations are available, it will be available for everyone.
Q: Is the vaccine mandatory?
A: No, it is not, but we cannot express how strongly we recommend it for your safety and those around you.
Q: Can the vaccination give me COVID-19?
A: No, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations do not have the virus in them. They cannot give you COVID-19. The vaccine will not cause you to test positive for COVID-19.
Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccination change my DNA?
A: No, it will not do that. It introduces a component of a protein (mRNA) on the SARS-CoV2 virus and tells the body to make immunity that attacks the virus when it identifies it in your body.
Q: How long will I be immune to COVID-19?
A: Not all vaccines cause 100% immunity, you may still get the virus but it the severity of your illness is greatly reduced. The FDA does not currently have information as to how long the vaccination will help prevent your getting COVID-19. They will share more information in the future.
Q: How soon will the vaccination cause me to be immune?
A: The Pfizer and Moderna vaccinations start building immunity about 2 weeks after the first vaccination and then full immunity about one week after the second dose.
Q: When I get the vaccination, can I stop wearing my mask?
A: Not yet. All COVID-19 measures must remain in place until the CDC gives us guidance to change our practice. Even if you do not get sick from the virus, you may be able to spread it to others if you are in contact with it.
Q: Do I need the COVID-19 vaccination if I have tested positive for COVID-19?
A: Yes, you should still get the vaccination. You may not have enough antibodies built up to prevent you from getting it again. Your natural immunity may not last very long, and the vaccination will help. Depending on vaccine availability, the local health department may have people that have been positive in the last 90 days to wait until more vaccines are available.
Q: What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination?
A: Some people may experience normal vaccination side effects for the first 24 hours. This includes pain or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills and fever. The symptoms may be more pronounced after the second shot.
Q: Do I still need my flu shot?
A: Yes, you do. If you have not had the flu vaccination yet, check with your healthcare provider to determine when you should get the influenza vaccination and the COVID-19 vaccination as there should be over 2 weeks between the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.