COVID-19 vaccine: frequently asked questions
When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are in earlier stages of development and testing.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases to different groups of people. In the first phase, phase 1A, the vaccine will be given to people who work in health care settings and people who live or work in long-term
care facilities. As vaccine supply increases in the months to come, more people will have the chance to get vaccinated. Ultimately, all Minnesotans will have an opportunity to get vaccinated.
How will we know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective?
COVID-19 vaccine development requirements are the same as for all other vaccines. Experts from federal agencies, including the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), review the information
collected during the vaccine manufacturers’ testing process to determine whether a vaccine is safe and effective. Experts continue tracking vaccine safety information once vaccines are given in real-life conditions to make
sure they are working as expected.
I have recovered from a lab confirmed case of COVID-19. Should I still get vaccinated?
Yes, people who had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. This is because COVID-19 is a new disease, so:
- We do not know if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again (how long they are immune).
- We do not know if being previously infected will make the next infection better or worse.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?
No one will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine . However, vaccination is highly encouraged because we know that these vaccines are very effective in preventing severe COVID-19 disease. Getting the vaccine will protect your health and help reduce the strain on the health care system.
I’ve heard that there is pork, gelatin, and tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is
No. There is no pork, gelatin, other animal products, or tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. However,
the COVID-19 vaccines can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.
Are there any side effects from getting the vaccine?
The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These side effects are most likely to occur one or two days after getting the vaccine. Although most people will not have significant side effects, some people may wish to schedule their vaccination to allow for a day or two of rest afterward. Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are a sign that your immune system is working well.
Will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No, there are no live viruses in the COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccines. However, the vaccines can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.
How much does a COVID-19 vaccine cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine itself is free. (The federal government has pre-paid for doses for all Americans.) When it’s their turn, most people will get the vaccine through their primary health care provider. By law, healthcare systems and clinics are allowed to charge vaccine administration fees and/or clinic visit fees. These fees will likely be covered by your insurance. If you do not have insurance or cannot afford these fees, other opportunities for fully free COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., community vaccination events) will become available later in 2021.
Will I still have to wear a mask and physically distance from others once I’ve received
the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, we will all need to continue to wear masks and practice other prevention steps for some time — even after receiving the vaccine. This is because, at this time, scientists are not yet certain that the vaccines prevents asymptomatic virus spread (i.e., you could get the vaccine but still get infected and spread the virus with mild to no symptoms). When public health experts know more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide, they will update the prevention recommendations.
For now, steps everyone should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include physically distancing (6 feet or 2 meters), wearing face masks, staying home when sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands frequently.
Will I still need to get my flu shot if I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes! The viruses that cause COVID-19 and flu are different. Benefits of flu vaccine include:
- Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year
- Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year
- Getting a flu vaccine may also protect people around you who are at higher risk for serious flu illness,
- like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions
Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?
- MDH COVID-19 vaccine FAQ: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine.html
- CDC COVID-19 vaccine FAQ: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.htm