Will the vaccine prevent COVID-19?

The CDC-approved COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have each reported strong efficacy in the prevention of COVID-19. Researchers compared how many in the vaccinated group and the placebo group went on to develop the disease. The vaccinated group had a much lower rate of infection than the placebo group. The companies will continue to test people in the clinical trials for antibodies to the COVID-19 virus, which would include people who did not show any symptoms of infection.

  • 97% of people recently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. (Source: Whitehouse.gov)
  • 99% of recent COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinated. (Source: NBCnews.com)
  • The technology behind COVID-19 vaccines has been 20 year in development. (Source: NYTimes.com)
  • Full Vaccination Offers Better Protection than Natural Immunity. (Source: USAToday.com)

How long will it take for the vaccine to begin protecting recipients?

It normally takes about two to three weeks for cellular immunity to develop and several weeks for a full antibody response.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination safe and effective?

The CDC approved COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, have been tested on thousands of volunteers. Effectiveness rates of about 95 percent are being reported, with minimal side effects. The Food and Drug Administration has given the vaccines an Emergency Use Authorization and enhanced safety monitoring has been put in place.

Can recipients get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The available vaccines contain only a gene from the virus and not an infectious COVID-19 virus. None of these vaccines can cause COVID-19.

Do COVID-19 vaccines make recipients test positive for COVID-19?

No. The vaccines will not cause people to test positive for the disease. If the body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, it is possible the person may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate someone had a previous infection or vaccination and that they may have some level of protection against the virus.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a live virus?

No, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a non-pathogenic adenovirus vector to deliver a piece of genetic code, which helps the body make a protein that triggers the immune system to produce an antibody against the COVID-19 virus.

Will getting the flu vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

No. The flu vaccine does not provide protection from COVID-19. However, getting the flu shot is important because it can prevent you from getting COVID-19 and influenza at the same time. Please encourage your friends and family to get their flu shot this year to help prevent the spread of flu in our communities.

What are the main side effects of receiving the vaccine? 

Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose.

  • Less than 1% of vaccinated people have a serious side effect. (Source: CDC.gov)
  • COVID-19 vaccine symptoms usually resolve 1-3 days. (Source: MayoClinic.org)