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COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

what are the short-term side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection. These may affect your ability to do daily activities, but should go away in a few days. Side effects after the second shot may be more intense than your first shot. The most common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness, swelling on the arm where you got the shot
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

can I take any over-the-counter medicines if I experience symptoms?
Talk to your doctor about taking ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin or antihistamines for any pain or discomfort you feel after getting vaccinated. It is not recommend that you take these medicines before the vaccination to try to prevent the side effects.

Using your arm and applying a clean, cool wet washcloth over the area can help with pain and discomfort where you got the shot. If you have a fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.

can the vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized and recommend COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines in development contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. If you are infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after you are vaccinated, before you reach full immunity, you could still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

why should my child get vaccinated?
Children ages 12 and older are now eligible to get the COVID vaccine. Some adolescents and young adults may be hesitant to receive the vaccine. While uncommon, some adolescents may have severe COVID-19. Furthermore, young adults are currently spreading COVID infection at the highest rates. Vaccinating this age group will help decrease the spread of COVID among family members, close contacts and within our community. By decreasing the spread, everyone, including those at highest risk for disease, will be better protected. 

how do I know the vaccine is safe for my teenager?
Before a vaccine gets approved, a rigorous study is done to assess safety. Once the vaccine is approved, safety continues to be monitored. Over 66 million individuals in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated. We now have extensive data, including the research from the Pfizer clinical studies, to show the vaccine to be safe and effective in pre-teens/teens.

do I have to pay or go through insurance to get the vaccine?
No. The vaccines are available at no cost to the person getting the vaccine.

where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Visit to find a vaccine location near you.

do I need to get two shots to be immune?
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines require two shots to reach full immunization. The two shots are spread a certain number of days apart. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine requires only one shot to reach full immunization.

how long after I receive the vaccine am I fully immune?
For the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, you are fully immune two weeks after your second shot. For Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, you are fully immune two weeks after the first/only shot.

do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others after I’ve received the vaccine?
Visit the CDC for the most current guidelines for fully vaccinated people.

I’ve already had COVID-19. do I still need the vaccine?
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the
virus that causes COVID-19 again. Getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

if I have an underlying condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, people with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

how long will I be protected from COVID-19 after I receive the vaccine?
We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity.

what are the long-term side effects of the vaccine?
Vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. However, it does take time and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about long-term side effects. So, safety monitoring will continue.

can I still spread COVID-19 after I have received the vaccine?
We are still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated, keep wearing a mask, washing your hands, and staying 6 feet apart from others in public places.

where can I look if I have more questions or want more information?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is constantly updating the information on their website about COVID-19 and the different approved vaccines.