COVID-19: Masking policy, vaccinations, testing and general information. Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Preguntas y respuestas (en español)

Who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for most people aged six months or older. 

Does it work?

The Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine is based upon large clinical trials in which persons who received vaccine were much less likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19.

The vaccine performance exceeded expectations and protects against COVID-19 illness 95% of the time.  

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes! Most of the reaction to the vaccine is mild — like some soreness where the vaccine was injected, a low-grade fever or achiness.

This really means your body is doing what it should as a result of the vaccine. Individuals who have had previous severe reactions (anaphylaxis) and pregnant women should discuss their specific situation with their doctor prior to receiving the vaccine.

When a vaccine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, regulators and drug companies continue to monitor its safety and effectiveness as more people take it. 

The COVID-19 vaccine met high safety standards. During the trials, serious adverse events were very infrequent and were the same for those who received placebo or the vaccine. 

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? What is in the vaccine product?

No. It is NOT biologically possible. The vaccine isn’t living virus, dead virus or chopped-up virus. It is merely a very small piece of biologically inactive genetic material and is not contagious.

The vaccine formulation does not include preservatives, thimerosal or mercury. It is cell-free.

What side effects can I expect?

Pain at the site of injection is common. Typically, this is mild. No severe reactions at the site of injection were detected in clinical trial.

Fatigue, headache and fever occur less commonly. These are signs that your immune system is doing what it should in reaction to the vaccine.

I already had COVID-19. Do I need the COVID-19 vaccine?

Like the flu, there are new strains of COVID-19 virus that require new vaccines.

I think I may have already had COVID-19. Should I be tested prior to receiving the vaccine?

No testing for prior infection is necessary. The vaccine is offered regardless of history of COVID-19 disease, either suspected or confirmed.  

I have just been diagnosed with COVID-19 or in the middle of my illness. Should I receive the vaccine?

No. Wait to get the vaccine until you have recovered and have completed isolation.  

I am pregnant. Should I be vaccinated?

We encourage you to speak with your obstetric provider at your next visit to ask questions and discuss the COVID-19 vaccination if you are not sure about whether to be vaccinated. 

  • Pregnant individuals who get COVID-19 are at high risk. They are more likely to be hospitalized, admitted into ICU and connected to a ventilator. They are also more likely to die from the disease and have a higher chance of preterm birth. 
  • People of color, those who are older or obese, and those with medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes have higher COVID risks while pregnant. 
  • If you are breastfeeding or pumping breast milk to feed your baby, vaccination is still recommended. 

There are some people, pregnant or not, who should not take the COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who have had severe allergic reactions in the past.

I am breastfeeding. Should I receive the vaccine?

If you are breastfeeding or pumping breast milk to feed your baby, vaccination is still recommended. 

There are some people, pregnant or not, who should not take the COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who have had severe allergic reactions in the past.

I had pain and low-grade fever after the first dose. Should I take Tylenol prior to my next dose?

No, routine premedication is not recommended due to lack of information on the impact on the individual’s immune response to the vaccine.

Who should not receive COVID-19 vaccine?

A history of severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis to any component or previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is a valid reason to avoid vaccination.

Due to reports of severe allergic reactions which occurred outside of the clinical trial, persons who have had a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable therapy should not receive the vaccine at this time.

I am immunocompromised due to cancer, chemotherapy, HIV infection or other condition. Should I receive the vaccine?

You should discuss this with your doctor. Immunocompromised patients are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. 

There are some people who should not take the COVID-19 vaccines. This includes people who have had severe allergic reactions in the past.

As part of routine wellness, I just received other vaccine(s). Should I wait prior to accepting COVID-19 vaccine?

You should discuss this with your doctor or pharmacist.