COVID-19 Vaccine General FAQ
This information is based on currently available evidence, resources, information, emergency use authorization and expert opinion and is subject to change. As additional evidence regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccine for individuals emerges, it will be necessary to modify this content.
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What do we know about the Delta variant?
Delta is believed to be the most transmissible variant yet. It may also be able to partially evade the antibodies made by the immune system after a coronavirus infection or vaccination. Delta may cause more severe illness, although more research is needed.
How contagious is the Delta variant?
The delta variant is about twice as transmissible as the original virus that emerged in late 2019. Delta has genetic features that allowed it to evade antibodies made by the immune system after a COVID infection or vaccination.
Is the Delta variant more dangerous than others?
While an increase in infections alone is troubling and can lead to more deaths—both through the increase in cases and by overwhelming the health system—early research suggests Delta is possibly more dangerous than the Alpha variant and twice as likely to lead to hospitalization.
Should I be more worried about variants like Delta?
Variants are expected as long as transmission continues. Delta is more contagious than previous variants and cases due to the Delta variant are increasing rapidly. Unvaccinated individuals should get vaccinated and continue masking until they are fully vaccinated.
With the Delta variant, this is more urgent than ever. The highest spread of cases and severe outcomes is happening in places with low vaccination rates and among unvaccinated people.
When will COVID vaccine be available in Georgia?
Vaccines are currently available for all Georgians 12 years of age and older.
Currently, one COVID vaccine has been granted approval as of 8/23/2021 – Pfizer-BioNTech; and two COVID vaccines have been granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) – Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Pfizer-BioNTech is the only COVID vaccine currently approved for 16 and 17-year-olds and authorized for children aged 12 through 15.
Who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?
The goal is for everyone 12 years of age and older to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID vaccines are widely available through doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and county health departments.
Where can I get a COVID vaccine?
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Commonly known side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are short-term injection site pain, fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and joint pain. These symptoms are temporary and are in line with side effects some people experience from some other vaccines, including the flu shot and the vaccine to prevent shingles.
Vaccines work to fight disease by producing an immune response within the body, and sometimes that means flu-like symptoms occur as your body responds to the vaccine. It is normal and expected.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and cannot cause COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for 16 and 17-year-olds and authorized for use in children aged 12 through 15. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines both have received authorization for use in individuals 18 and older.
Research is continuing and expanded clinical trials will study the vaccine safety and effectiveness in children and babies.
If I am pregnant, can I get a COVID vaccine?
Yes, if you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in v-safe, CDC’s smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.
What are the ingredients in the vaccines?
All three vaccines currently available have fact sheets for recipients and caregivers that list the ingredients of each vaccine. Those factsheets can be found at:
How many doses of vaccine will I need?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses are administered three weeks apart, and the Moderna vaccine doses are given 28 days apart. The first dose offers partial protection and the second acts as a booster. Both doses are needed to get the most protection the vaccines have to offer against COVID-19.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine.
All three COVID vaccines currently available are administered into the muscle in your upper arm, just like a flu shot.
What if I cannot get my second dose of COVID vaccine within the recommended time frame?
According to the CDC, the second dose of the vaccine can be administered up to 42 days, or six weeks, after the initial shot.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine showed a 95% efficacy rate 7 days after the second dose. The vaccine was 94% effective in adults >65 years old.
The Moderna vaccine showed a 94% efficacy rate 14% days after the second dose. These results were consistent across gender, age, and ethnicity.
J&J's vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S. and 66% effective overall at preventing moderate-to-severe COVID-19. The vaccine also offered “complete protection” against COVID-related hospitalization and death at day 28.
How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?
We do not yet know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID vaccine is a safer choice.
If I had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
Do I still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others once I have been vaccinated?
In areas with substantial and high transmission (https://dph.georgia.gov/county-indicator-reports), the CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant.
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the Delta variant. In rare occasions, some vaccinated people can get Delta in a breakthrough infection and may be contagious. Even so, vaccinated individuals represent a very small amount of transmission occurring around the country.
If you are NOT fully vaccinated, keep taking all precautions:
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Find a vaccine.
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others.
- Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you.
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available.
Are COVID-19 vaccines free?
Yes, COVID vaccines are free. Vaccine providers may be able to charge administration fees for giving the shot, but they will be billed to insurance with no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
Do I need an ID to get a COVID vaccine?
No ID is required to get a COVID vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe?
COVID vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Do COVID vaccines alter my DNA?
No. COVID vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.
Can being near someone who received a COVID vaccine alter my menstrual cycle?
No. Your menstrual cycle cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID vaccine. Many things can affect menstrual cycles, including stress, changes in your schedule, problems with sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. Infections may also affect menstrual cycles.
After getting a COVID vaccine, will I test positive on a COVID-19 viral test?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. Neither can any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States.
How were COVID vaccines developed so quickly?
Scientists began work on COVID vaccines in January 2020. With advances in scientific research and increased funding, the vaccines were developed and evaluated in tens of thousands of participants.
The vaccines met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
Vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID vaccines are safe.
What is an EUA?
In certain public health emergencies, FDA may issue an Emergency Use Authorization or EUA which allows a drug or vaccine to be used when there are no sufficient treatments or vaccines available. The FDA may grant an EUA once studies have demonstrated the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine but before the manufacturer has submitted a license application and/or before the FDA has completed its formal review of the license application.
What is ACIP?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a panel of medical and public health experts and medical ethicists who develop recommendations on the use of vaccines in the United States. The recommendations provide public health guidance for safe use of vaccines and related biological products.