This information is taken from a presentation for Healthcare workers from the CDC COVID-19 Response Vaccine Task Force. See the full CDC FAQs.
1. How will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from COVID-19?
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine…
- Will help create an immune response in your body against the virus.
- May help keep you from getting severely ill, even if you do get COVID-19.
- Can protect your family, your coworkers, and patients
For more information, watch this video titled “Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?” from AHCA and NCAL.
2. I already had COVID-19. Do I still need a vaccine?
- Getting the virus that causes COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts.
- The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity.
- COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without the risk of severe illness.
3. Will I still need to wear PPE after I receive the vaccine?
While COVID-19 vaccines appear to be highly effective, additional preventive tools remain important to limit the spread of COVID-19. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others offers the best protection from COVID-19.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a mask.
- Avoid close contact.
- Maintain social distancing.
- Clean and disinfect.
- Wash your hands.
4. Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me an active dose of the virus?
- None of the COVID-19 vaccines in use or under development use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
- People can experience normal side effects, such as fever, after vaccination. These side effects are signs that the body is building immunity.
- It takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. A person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
5. Will COVID-19 vaccination cause me to test positive on a COVID-19 viral test?
- Vaccines currently authorized for use or in development won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
- There is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests, which show previous infection. This would indicate that the vaccine likely triggered an immune response in your body and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.
6. The COVID-19 vaccine has been developed so quickly. Is it safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same safety standards as all vaccines.
- Before authorization: the FDA carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and ACIP reviews all safety data before recommending use.
- After authorization: the FDA and CDC closely monitor vaccine safety and side effects.
- Two vaccines expected to receive Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) from the FDA: Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2): 2 doses given at least 21 days apart Moderna (mRNA-1273): 2 doses given at least 28 days apart
- Both vaccines were tested in tens of thousands of adults from diverse backgrounds, including older adults and communities of color.
- Clinical trial data show that both vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19.
- It is unknown how long protection from vaccines might last.
7. How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
- These COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” for SARS-CoV-2. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions (the mRNA) and gets rid of them.
- Cells display this piece of spike protein on their surface, and an immune response is triggered inside our bodies. This produces antibodies to protect us from getting infected if the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters our bodies.
- mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
- They CANNOT give someone COVID-19. mRNA vaccines DO NOT affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
8. What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
These mRNA vaccines are expected to produce side effects after vaccination, especially after the 2nd dose. Side effects may include:
- Muscle aches
No significant safety concerns were identified in the clinical trials. At least 8 weeks of safety data were gathered in the trials. It is unusual for side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.
For more information, watch these videos from AHCA and NCAL:
9. How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed so quickly?
- Researchers used existing networks to conduct COVID-19 vaccine trials.
- Manufacturing began while clinical trials are still underway. Normally, manufacturing doesn’t begin until after completion of the trials.
- mRNA vaccines are faster to produce than traditional vaccines.
- FDA and CDC are prioritizing review and authorization of COVID-19 vaccines.
For more information, please view this video titled “How Was the COVID-19 Vaccine Developed So Quickly?” from the AHCA and NCAL.
10. How will the COVID-19 vaccine be monitored for safety?
Existing systems and data sources are used to monitor safety of vaccines after they are authorized or licensed, such as:
- Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
- Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD)
- Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA)
- Biologics Effectiveness and Safety System (BEST)
New systems are being developed to monitor vaccine safety, such as v-safe:
- Active surveillance that uses text messaging to initiate web-based survey monitoring
- Any clinically important events reported by a participant would be sent to VAERS for follow-up
11. What is Senior Services of America’s COVID-19 vaccination policy?
We understand that the choice to get vaccinated is deeply personal, so we are not mandating it at this time. But, please be aware, healthcare workers and seniors in congregate living are first in line for COVID-19 vaccine because of their higher risk of exposure and transmission. We hope that our employees and residents lead the way and follow the below steps:
- Choose to get vaccinated yourself when it is available to you.
- Participate in v-safe and help CDC monitor for any health effects after vaccination.
- Share your experience with coworkers, friends, and family. Know the basics about the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Help answer questions from your family and friends.
- Visibly show you received a vaccine, such as by wearing a sticker or button.
For more information, watch this video titled “Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine Now When I Can Wait to See What Happens?” from AHCA and NCAL.
12. What can I expect before, during and after COVID-19 vaccination?
- Learn about COVID-19 vaccines
- See if COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you.
- Read the fact sheet that tells you about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you receive.
- Receive a vaccination record card.
- With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots.
- Expect some side effects.
- Enroll in v-safe.
- Continue using all the measures to protect yourself.