COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

What COVID-19 vaccines are available?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. People age 12 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. People age 18 and older can receive the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. 

Other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are in earlier stages of testing and approval.

How will I know when I, a family member, or employees at my business can get their COVID-19 vaccine?

The Minnesota Vaccine Connector and Vaccine Locator can help you connect to vaccine in your area.

How do we know that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective?

COVID-19 vaccine development requirements are the same as for all other vaccines. Experts from federal agencies, including the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), review the information collected during the vaccine manufacturers’ testing process to determine whether a vaccine is safe and effective.

Experts continue tracking vaccine safety information once vaccines are given in real-life conditions to make sure they are working as expected.

Will the vaccine change my DNA?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were made using mRNA technology. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). 

What ingredients are included in the vaccine?

The ingredients in the vaccines can be found on the Emergency Use Authorization Face Sheets for each vaccine: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson

The vaccines do not include any of the following: fetal material, DNA, antibiotics, blood products, preservatives like thimerosal, gluten, egg proteins, pork products, or microchips. 

For more information about ingredients found in vaccines, check out the FDA website.

I have recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19. Should I still get vaccinated?

Yes, people who had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated. This is because COVID-19 is a new disease, so:
  • We do not know if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again (how long they are immune).
  • We do not know if being previously infected will make the next infection better or worse.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?

The government cannot mandate you to get the vaccine. Employers may require it IF they can prove that the vaccination is essential to their employees’ job duties and it does not violate the ADA.

Vaccination is highly encouraged because we know that these vaccines are very effective in preventing severe COVID-19 disease. Getting the vaccine will protect your health and help reduce the strain on the health care system. 

Are there any side effects from getting the vaccine?

The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are pain and swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. These side effects are most likely to occur one or two days after getting the vaccine. Although most people will not have significant side effects, some people may wish to schedule their vaccination to allow for a day or two of rest afterward. Side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are a sign that your immune system is working well.

Will I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, there are no live viruses in the COVID-19 vaccines. Therefore, it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccines. However, the vaccines can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.

How much does a COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine itself is free. (The federal government has pre-paid for doses for all Americans.) When it’s their turn, most people will get the vaccine through their health care provider. By law, healthcare systems and clinics are allowed to charge vaccine administration fees and/or clinic visit fees. These fees will be covered by your insurance, if you have insurance.

Will I still need to get my flu shot if I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, the viruses that cause COVID-19 and flu are different. Benefits of flu vaccine include:
  • Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year
  • Flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year
  • Getting a flu vaccine may also protect people around you who are at higher risk for serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain health conditions

When should I get my second dose? (Wright County Public Health and Moderna specific)

You should receive the same brand for your second dose as you did for your first dose. For Moderna, your second dose is recommended at least 28 days after your first dose. According to the CDC, you can receive your second dose up to six weeks after your first dose. We cannot give second doses earlier than the recommended timeline. 

There are currently limited data on how effective the vaccine is if given beyond the six-week window. If the second dose is administered beyond the six-week window, there is no need to restart the series.  

How do I schedule my second dose? (Wright County Public Health and Moderna specific)

Wright County Public Health will contact you a few days before we have a clinic at which you can receive your second dose. This will likely be more than 28 days after you receive your first dose. 

If you included an email address on your registration for your first dose, we will email you at that address with directions on scheduling your appointment. if you do not have an email address, we will call you with directions on scheduling your appointment. 

If you cannot make the first clinic date offered to you, we will continue to contact you to schedule your second dose. 

Why should I get a second dose? (Moderna specific)

Two shots are needed to provide the best protection against COVID-19. After the second dose, the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness. Getting your second dose greatly improves your body's ability to fight a SARS-CoV-2 infection; vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness. 

It takes time for your body to build protection after vaccination. It takes two weeks after your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to achieve greatest immunity. 

Will I need a booster dose? 

The need for and timing of booster doses for COVID-19 vaccines has not been established. No additional doses beyond the one-dose or two-dose primary series are recommended at this time. 

It is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Continue to wear a mask, practice social-distancing, avoid crowds and wash your hands often. 

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?