COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
- Ohio’s Phased Approach for Vaccinations
- Myths vs. Facts about the vaccine
- Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/
- US Food and Drug Administration (FDA): COVID-19 Vaccines | FDA
- Video about how the COVID-19 vaccine will work: Overview of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA technology – YouTube
- Ohio Department of Health Frequently Asked Questions: Click to view or Download
- Pfizer Fact Sheet for vaccine recipients and caregivers.
Why are pharmacies providing the clinics for vaccines instead of Jennings? Pharmacies have been providing vaccines for about 10 years, since the H1N1 flu. The pharmacy partnership is important because they are already prepared with everything needed for the vaccine. They will also do all the data reporting needed, so our staff will not need to get extra supplies, take time for extra training or staff the clinics. The pharmacy will come to our locations with all that is needed.
Should I receive the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding? Please check with your physician for additional guidance.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19? No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, vaccines. The goal of these COVID-19 vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause side effects, such as fatigue, headache, soreness or redness at the injection site, and muscle or joint pain. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, and some vaccines require two doses. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before, or just after, getting the vaccination and become sick, since it takes the vaccine time to provide protection. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
How long does it take for the vaccine to work? Sometimes the vaccine process can cause mild symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal. They are a sign that the body is building immunity. It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after receiving your vaccine. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. (information from CDC)
Were fetal cells used to develop the vaccine? Fetal cells were not used in the design, development, or production of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. (source: Ohio Department of Health)
Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me test positive on a COVID-19 test? Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. This is because antibody tests show you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results. (information from CDC)
Should I get the vaccine if I have already been sick with COVID-19? Yes. There are severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, so people are generally advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity you get from having an infection is natural immunity, and it varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. (information from CDC)
How long will the vaccine give me immunity from COVID-19? We won’t know how long the vaccine will give you immunity. We won’t know until we have more data on how well it works. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important parts of COVID-19 studies that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new data becomes available. (information from CDC)
Will getting vaccinated help prevent me from getting sick with COVID-19? Yes. While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work. (information from CDC)
Will receiving an mRNA vaccine alter my DNA? No! mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid –we describe mRNA as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. (information from CDC)
How is a vaccine developed and tested? Approval of a vaccine for use in people involves multiple phases with different goals for assessing effectiveness and safety in different populations. There are a total of 4 phases and the vaccine must meet very intense safety criteria before completing each phase. Once a vaccine is approved for use after phase 3, it has been tested in tens of thousands of people and if no significant harmful side effects are noted, it is considered safe for use. Phase 4 involves continued monitoring and gathering of safety data. This type of clinical trial has been used for decades to approve medications and vaccines.
Will I be able to stop wearing PPE if I am vaccinated? Jennings will follow the recommendations that we keep wearing a mask and appropriate PPE, physical distancing, and practicing hand washing until we know more results.
How will we know the vaccine safe? Safety is a top priority of the U.S. vaccine safety development and approval process. The development process for COVID-19 vaccines involved several steps comparable with those used to develop other vaccines such as the flu or measles vaccine, which have successfully protected millions of Ohioans for decades. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as independent medical experts, have ensured that every detail of COVID-19 vaccines is thoroughly and rigorously evaluated. Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19. Of the first two vaccines to be granted FDA emergency use authorization, the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 70,000 participants between the two studies. Although the COVID-19 vaccines themselves have been developed recently, the technology used in mRNA vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, has been studied for decades. (source: Ohio Department of Health) Click here for details on the CDC site.
What are some of the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? Will the vaccine make me sick? The vaccines tested in clinical trials can cause short-term mild discomfort (such as headache, muscle pains, fatigue, chills, fever, and pain at injection site) in a percentage of the people who receive them. When you receive the second dose of the vaccine, the discomfort can be more pronounced. This is a normal reaction, so be prepared. If you experience discomfort after the first dose of the vaccine, it is very important that you still receive the second dose a few weeks later for the vaccine to be effective. This does not mean that the vaccine has given you COVID-19. Rather, this means that the vaccine is causing your body’s immune system to react and create antibodies to fight off the virus.
Will this mRNA vaccine change my DNA? Messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where your DNA is kept, and therefore does not affect or interact with your DNA in any way. The mRNA from COVID-19 vaccines can most easily be described as a set of instructions for your body on how to make a harmless piece of “spike protein” to allow our immune systems to recognize that this protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies. Essentially, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to the virus, giving your cells a blueprint of how to make antibodies. (source: Ohio Department of Aging) Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
Was the vaccine rushed through too quickly? COVID-19 vaccine development and clinical trials were thorough, and thanks to a strategic scientific effort to streamline processes, could be developed more efficiently. There have been no shortcuts in the vaccine development process. The process has been quicker as a result of strategic efforts to run concurrent trial phases, as well as a commitment to help condense timelines and reduce or eliminate months-long waiting periods during which documents would be prepared or be waiting for review. In addition, during the process of vaccine development, the CEOs of AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, and Sanofi made a historic pledge to the world, outlining a united commitment to uphold the integrity of the scientific process as they work toward potential regulatory filings and approvals of the first COVID-19 vaccines. Messenger RNA (mRNA), used by the first two vaccines to receive FDA emergency use authorization (Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna), while new, is not unknown. Researchers have been studying mRNA for decades, and early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have allowed these COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA to be developed as safe and effective vaccines. (source: Ohio Department of Health)