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COVID-19 vaccine: It's safe and it works


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The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and it helps to slow the spread of the disease. All U.S. residents age 5 and older may get the vaccine. It's time to do our part. Get the vaccine, even if you've already had COVID-19. Together, we can move beyond the pandemic.


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Facts about COVID-19 variants

The virus that causes COVID-19 is constantly changing. New variants of the virus are expected to occur. Stay up to date on the variants.

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Frequently asked questions

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COVID-19 vaccine FAQ

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    • It will lower your chances of getting COVID-19 or becoming seriously sick. 
      The vaccine helps your body protect itself from COVID-19. It will also help keep you from spreading COVID-19 to others.  
    • It will help keep you, your family and your community safe. 
      You can spread COVID-19 without feeling sick.
    • It will help stop COVID-19.
      The more people who get the vaccine, the less chance COVID-19 has to spread. We need to use all the tools we have to stop it. 
  • Yes. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. 

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe. They work well at keeping people from getting COVID-19. You can read more about it on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

    The FDA follows a very strict system to make sure vaccines are safe. The FDA followed this system with all of the COVID-19 vaccines that it approved. 

    The FDA keeps collecting information about vaccines after they are approved. It watches for new information about side effects. You can find out more about COVID-19 vaccine safety on the CDC website. 

    COVID-19 vaccines are key to slowing the pandemic. Take care of yourself and others. Get the vaccine as soon as it’s offered to you.

  • You can find a vaccine near you here.

  • Testing is important to help keep COVID-19 from spreading. 

    COVID-19 tests can find: 

    • SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
    • Antibodies that your body makes after you get COVID-19
    • Antibodies that your body makes after you get a COVID-19 shot

    Learn more about COVID-19 tests from the CDC.

  • Masks should be worn:

    • By people 2 years of age and older
    • Any time you are in a public setting
    • Any time you are traveling on a plane, bus, train or other form of public transportation going into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. airports and bus and train stations.
    • When you are around people who don't live with you. This includes when you are inside your home or inside someone else’s home.
    • Inside your home if someone you live with is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Keep following any mask-wearing rules based on state, local or business guidance. For more information, visit the CDC website.
  • According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19. The vaccines that the FDA has approved:

    • Don’t have the COVID-19 virus 
    • Can’t make you sick with COVID-19 

    There are other COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States. None of those use the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

    The goal for each vaccine is to teach the body to find and fight the COVID-19 virus. Read more about these facts and others on the CDC website.

  • The COVID-19 vaccine has been tested in clinical trials. It was only approved because it can greatly lower the chances of getting COVID-19.

    Even if you catch COVID-19, this vaccine may help keep you from getting very ill. Your body will be ready to fight the virus.

  • COVID-19 vaccines work very well at keeping people from getting COVID-19. They are especially good at keeping people from getting very sick or dying. Plus, there are many ways to keep yourself safe from COVID-19.

  • "Close contact” means you were within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.

    The 15 minutes don’t need to be all at the same time. You could be near someone with COVID-19 three separate times for five minutes over the course of a day. That would total 15-minutes.

    To get the most up-to-date information about quarantine and testing, visit the CDC or your state website.

  • You’re at high risk for severe COVID-19 if you:

    • Are getting care for cancer
    • Are taking medicines for a transplant
    • Are taking immunosuppressant medicines (medicines for an overactive immune system)
    • Have long-term lung, kidney or liver disease
    • Have diabetes 
    • Have HIV 
    • Are very overweight
    • Are age 65 years or older

    The CDC has more information here.

  • If you have mild symptoms, stay home and isolate. Mild symptoms are:

    • A temperature below 100.4 degrees (for children older than 3 months, below 102.4 degrees)
    • Aches and pains
    • A mild cough

    If you have these symptoms, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Keep track of your symptoms. Hopefully, you’ll start feeling better in a few days. You don’t need to tell your doctor you have COVID-19.

    If you have moderate symptoms, call your doctor. Moderate symptoms are:

    • A temperature higher than 100.4 degrees
    • Significant coughing
    • Shortness of breath

    If you’re getting care for cancer, call your oncologist (cancer doctor).

    For children ages 3 months and older who aren’t immunocompromised, a high fever is greater than 102.4 degrees.

    Call your child’s doctor if your child:

    • Is sleepier than usual
    • Has a fever, significant coughing or shortness of breath
    • Hasn’t gone to the bathroom in more than 10 hours (if 3 years or older) or more than eight hours (if younger than 3 years old)

    Your child’s doctor can suggest next steps.

    If you or someone you know has severe symptoms, it is an emergency.

    Go to the emergency room (ER) if you have severe symptoms:

    • Severe trouble breathing
    • Pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away
    • New confusion or dizziness
    • The person won’t wake up or stay awake
    • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds (the skin under the nails), depending on skin tone

    If you can’t get to the ER, call 911.

  • Call your primary care provider’s office. 

    You may be able to get a COVID-19 medicine, like monoclonal antibodies (mAB). You may qualify for this medicine if:

    • You’re at high risk for severe COVID-19, and 
    • Have a positive antigen test or PCR test, and 
    • It’s been 10 days or less since you started having symptoms

    You’re at high risk if you:

    • Are getting care for cancer
    • Are taking medicines for a transplant
    • Are taking immunosuppressant medicines (medicines for an overactive immune system)
    • Have long-term lung, kidney or liver disease
    • Have diabetes 
    • Have HIV 
    • Have obesity
    • Are age 65 years or older

    The CDC has more information here.

  • Yes, you should be vaccinated even if you already had COVID-19 because:

    • Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover from COVID-19.
    • Vaccination helps to protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

    If you were given monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma for COVID-19, wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you don’t know what you were given, talk to your doctor. For more details, visit the CDC website.

  • The short answer is "no." It won't change your genes. 

    The term, mRNA, stands for “messenger ribonucleic acid.” It’s basically directions for making a protein or a piece of a protein. 

    The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the part of the cell where our genes are kept. So the mRNA can’t change your genes. 

    Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses. It helps the body find and fight COVID-19. 

  • According to the CDC, experts are continuing to study the variants of the virus that cause COVID-19. Viruses constantly change through mutation (changes over time). New variants of a virus are expected to happen over time.

    There are multiple variants of the virus that cause COVID-19. The CDC has more information about current variants like Omicron and Delta.

    FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines help stop the virus from spreading. The vaccines also help lower the chances for virus variants to develop and spread. The CDC says that COVID-19 vaccines help keep you safe from variants. Scientists will keep studying variants to learn more.

  • The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people age 5 years and older. This includes people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.

    Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant.

    Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions, talk to your health care provider.

  • Vaccines are offered for everyone 5 years and older. The CDC has guidance for COVID-19 vaccines for specific groups of people.

    Children ages 5 to 11 years can now get Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

    Everyone ages 12 years and older who is fully vaccinated can get a booster shot.

    Moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 12 years and older who completed their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine primary series and ages 18 years or older who completed their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine primary series should plan to get another primary dose at least 28 days after their second dose.

  • The Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are preferred over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for primary and booster vaccination due to the risk of serious adverse events.  

    If there is a medical reason why you should get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, then you should get:

    • A primary series of 1 dose of Janssen COVID-19 vaccine
    • A booster dose at least 2 months later 

    Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping stop infection, serious illness and death. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. But since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. 

    An infection of a fully vaccinated person is referred to as a "breakthrough infection." You can learn more about breakthrough infections on the CDC website.

  • According to the CDC, while most people get over COVID-19 within weeks of illness, some people have post-COVID-19 conditions that go on four weeks or more after infection. 

    Studies show that between 27% to 33% of patients who get COVID-19 and were not hospitalized had some lasting symptoms. This happens no matter their age, prior health or severity of their infection.

    Much is still unknown. But the CDC reports these “long-haul” problems can happen in many different ways. This ranges from difficulty breathing, feeling very tired, joint pain or mood changes.

    Even more serious problems like multi-organ damage or autoimmune conditions can happen. You can find more information on the CDC website.

  • You quarantine when you might have been exposed to the virus and may or may not have been infected.

    You isolate when you are sick or when you have been infected with the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.



*As of January 2022