COVID-19 Vaccine

Help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Find answers to commonly asked questions and prepare to get 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 may not be 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 you and your family by educating yourself and preparing for the vaccine. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in addition to resources from health and government officials.

Q: What COVID-19 vaccines are currently available?

A: The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines received emergency use authorization from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2020 as part of an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. On February 27, 2021, the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine also received emergency use authorization from FDA.

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

Q: How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

A: The COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna are a new type of vaccine, called a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which causes the body to make antibodies. CDC breaks down how mRNA 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.

Q: Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

A: Yes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.

Q: How many people have received a COVID-19 vaccine?

A: 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, an average of 3 million vaccines are administered daily in the US.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: 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.

Q: When and where can I get the vaccine?

A: CDC makes recommendations for who should receive the vaccination first; however, the rollout of the vaccines is determined by each state. Refer to your state’s health department or board of pharmacy website for updates. WebMD and GoodRx have also released state by state information.

Use the VaccineFinder tool to find COVID-19 vaccines near you. 

To join the standby list for a COVID-19 vaccine, register with Dr. B, a site that connects vaccine providers that have extra vaccines with people on the waitlist.

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.

Q: What can I expect when I get the vaccine?

A: CDC released a helpful step by step guide that outlines what you can expect at your vaccine appointment, including the process from before to after you get the vaccine. CDC also provides a compilation of information about getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

Following the latest CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated patients may be able to return to some everyday activities.

Q: Will there be any side effects from the vaccine?

A: 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 are 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.