COVID-19 Vaccine Healthcare FAQs
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.
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.
What COVID-19 vaccines are available now?
On December 11, 2020, Pfizer was given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its COVID-19 vaccine, and the Moderna vaccine was given EUA December 18, 2020.
There are large clinical trials currently in progress or being planned for other COVID-19 vaccines in the United States.
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.
Is the vaccine safe?
Safety is a key concern among health officials and experts. Before the FDA approves a vaccine, the manufacturer must do rigorous research and testing to ensure the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. The FDA independently reviews and verifies the information from these tests. It then decides whether the vaccine can be licensed and given to the public.
No major safety concerns were uncovered in the FDA’s review of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.
For each vaccine authorized by the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) carefully reviews all available data about the vaccine from clinical trials and other studies, and makes recommendations for vaccine use in the general public. Recommendations include groups that should and should not receive the vaccine, as well as the timing, volume, number, and spacing of doses in a vaccine series.
The FDA and CDC continue to closely monitor vaccine safety after the public begins using the vaccine. Both agencies have longstanding and new safety systems in place for heightened monitoring of all COVID-19 vaccines.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The most common 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.
How many doses of vaccine will I need?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is administered intramuscularly (into the muscle, just like a flu shot) as a series of two doses, three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine is also given intramuscularly as a series of two doses, 28 days apart.
Both doses are needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer against COVID-19.
What if I only get one dose of the vaccine?
It is recommend that individuals receive both doses of the vaccine to ensure full protection.
If I had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to be vaccinated?
It is recommended individuals who have had and recovered from COVID-19 also should be vaccinated.
Do COVID-19 vaccinations need to be reported into the Georgia Registry for Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS)?
Yes, every single COVID-19 vaccine administered in the state of Georgia needs to be reported into GRITS. If you need assistance with reporting into GRITS, please contact the GRITS Help Desk at 1-866-483-2958.
I was vaccinated and need a vaccination record showing proof of receipt. Where can I obtain my vaccination record showing my COVID-19 vaccination?
First, check with the healthcare provider or location where you received the COVID-19 vaccine. They may be able to provide you with a record of COVID-19 vaccine receipt. If they are not able to provide you with this information, you can request your vaccination record from the Georgia Immunization Program by completing the Immunization Record Request Form located on the GRITS homepage https://dph.georgia.gov/immunization-section/georgia-immunization-registry-grits. Please follow the instructions on the form for returning your request to GRITS.
Can I still enroll as a COVID-19 vaccination provider/location?
Yes, you can still enroll to be a COVID-19 vaccination provider. Please visit dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine. Once on the page, select “COVID Vaccine Information” under the GA Providers and Healthcare Professionals section. This page will provide you with information on how to enroll.
I am a healthcare provider in private practice, where can I go to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
Private physicians and healthcare workers (dentists, pharmacists, etc.) should pursue vaccination one of three ways.
- Those affiliated with a hospital should contact the hospital to learn about their distribution plan for staff and affiliated physicians.
- If a physician and their office staff is not affiliated with a hospital, they may contact a hospital or a public health clinic for vaccine options. A list of public health clinics and their contact information can be found at https://dph.georgia.gov/media/60761/download
Healthcare workers with potential for direct and indirect exposure should seek out vaccination options as soon as possible.