Help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Find answers to commonly asked questions and learn more about getting vaccinated. 

Since the early stages of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, health and government officials have gained insight into preventing, detecting, and treating COVID-19. 

Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to COVID-19 or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines prepare our bodies to fight the virus, if exposed, and can be crucial to maintaining long-term control of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Protect yourself, your family, and your community by becoming educated and taking action. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to resources from health and government officials. 

What COVID-19 vaccines are currently available for adults? 

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use authorization for adults over 18 from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020 and February 2021, respectively, as part of an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine also received emergency use authorization in December of 2020, and received FDA approval in August 2021 for adults 16 and older. Current proceedings are underway for full approval of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.  

FDA has released fact sheets for the PfizerModerna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines. Read the latest updates from FDA. 

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work? 

The COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are a type of vaccine, called a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which causes the body to make antibodies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) breaks down how vaccines work and provides information to understand mRNA vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) uses a modified strand of the virus that cannot replicate, which causes the body to make antibodies and immune cells. Watch these videos to learn how the vaccine works to create protection. 

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will help to prevent you from getting COVID-19 and could reduce the severity of the symptoms if you get COVID-19. The vaccine is one of the best tools to fight the pandemic. Read the list of benefits of receiving the vaccine. Stay in the know by learning the facts and myths about the COVID-19 vaccine from CDC.

Do I need a booster shot?

Studies show that after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against the variants. As of October 21, 2021, CDC and FDA recommendations now allow for consumers to mix and match dosing for booster shots

For more information about booster shots and eligibility, read CDC’s booster shot resources.  

Can my child get the vaccine?

FDA has authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages of 5 to 17. The vaccine is administered in two doses with three weeks between each dose. Children ages 5 to 11 receive a lower dose than children ages 12 and older receive. The vaccine has shown to be over 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children. Learn where your child can get a vaccine

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes, according to CDC, the vaccine is safe. The development of the COVID-19 vaccines follows routine processes to ensure the safety for all recipients. CDC has information about how the safety of these vaccines is maintained. Learn more from FDA about the process to create the COVID-19 vaccine

How many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine?

CDC released a COVID-19 data tracker, which includes statistics for the number of vaccines produced and administered including the rates by state. According to CDC, over 77% of the US population over the age of 12 has received at least one dose of the vaccine. 

What is a COVID-19 variant?

Viruses change through mutation, and new varieties of the virus emerge, such as the Omicron or Delta COVID-19 variant. According to CDC, the Delta Variant is two times more contagious than the previous variants; however, the COVID-19 vaccines can be highly effective in preventing severe disease or death caused by the both variants. 

Where can I get the vaccine?

Vaccines are free and readily available in all states. Use the VaccineFinder, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find COVID-19 vaccines near you.  

Be aware of fraudulent websites that claim to sell the vaccine online. You can protect yourself and your family by not buying the vaccine online. Read more about how illegal online pharmacies prey on consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Will there be any side effects from the vaccine?

You may experience some side effects after receiving the first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC describes some common side effects. Remember, these side effects may be signs that the vaccine is “doing its job,” and your body is building immunity. 

If you are concerned about side effects, consider using v-safe, a helpful tool that uses your smartphone to check-in with you through text messages and surveys following your vaccination appointment. You can easily keep in touch with CDC regarding any side effects you experience. The tool also reminds you about your second vaccination appointment. 

Additional Resources

For more current information about the COVID-19 vaccine, refer to the following sources.