When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Other COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers are in earlier stages of development and testing.
The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases to different groups of people. In the first phase, phase 1A, the vaccine will be given to people who work in health care settings and people who live or work in long-term care facilities. As vaccine supply increases in the months to come, more people will have the chance to get vaccinated. Ultimately, all Minnesotans will have an opportunity to get vaccinated.
How will 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.
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.
Are people who have recovered from a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 required to wait to be vaccinated?
If you have had COVID-19, you should get vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19 disease. We are not sure how long a person is protected after they have had COVID-19 disease. Some people have reported a second infection after 90 days. If your illness was confirmed by a PCR test in the past 90 days, it is okay to wait to get vaccinated. In order to conserve doses when they are limited, you may be asked to wait for the 90-day period.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?
No one will be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine . However, 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.
I’ve heard that there is pork and gelatin in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?
No. There is no pork, gelatin, or other animal products in the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.
I've heard that there are tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. Is this true?
No. There are no tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect your DNA?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 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). Learn more about mRNA vaccines at CDC: Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect your fertility?
A disinformation campaign has been circulating online, claiming that antibodies to the spike protein of COVID-19 produced from the COVID-19 vaccines will bind to placental proteins and prevent pregnancy.
While there are no formal studies, the best evidence comes from women who got sick with COVID-19 while pregnant. While data clearly indicate pregnant women are at higher risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, there is no evidence of increased miscarriage rates.
During natural infection, the immune system generates the same antibodies to the spike protein that COVID-19 vaccines would. Thus, if COVID-19 affected fertility, there already would be an increase in miscarriage rates in women infected with COVID-19. This has not happened.
Learn more: COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked - Mayo Clinic Health System
Are there any side effects from getting the vaccine?
The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are 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.
Can I get vaccinated if I’m pregnant, breastfeeding, and/or immunocompromised?
It is important to know that for some populations -- like people who are pregnant, breastfeeding and/or immunocompromised — we don’t have much information about safety or how well the vaccine works, or it hasn’t been studied yet. In these circumstances, people may be vaccinated but should speak with their health care provider so they understand what is known about their situation and vaccination.
Do I have to get two doses of vaccine?
Two doses are needed for the two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The time between the doses depends on the vaccine you are getting. The Pfizer vaccine (ultra-cold vaccine) should be given 21 days (3 weeks) apart and the Moderna vaccine (frozen vaccine) should be given 28 days apart (1 month/4 weeks).
It is okay if you get the vaccine within four days of the 21 or 28 day mark (depending on which vaccine you get). If you are unable to get your second dose within the appropriate interval, get the second dose as soon as you can.
It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, and the same product for each dose. The vaccine is only fully effective with both doses of vaccine. If someone only gets one dose, they may not be protected (immune) against COVID-19.
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, by getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself from getting a severe case of COVID-19.
Will the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations protect me from the new strain of COVID-19?
Pfizer and Moderna are running tests but both manufacturers believe that their vaccines are effective against the new strain 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 primary health care provider. By law, healthcare systems and clinics are allowed to charge vaccine administration fees and/or clinic visit fees. These fees will likely be covered by your insurance. If you do not have insurance or cannot afford these fees, other opportunities for fully free COVID-19 vaccination (e.g., community vaccination events) will become available later in 2021.
I want to get vaccinated but I’m undocumented. Could my immigration status become public?
Your status will never be made public. You are not required to provide immigration documentation to receive the vaccine and you will not be asked for them.
Will I still have to wear a mask and physically distance from others once I’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, we will all need to continue to wear masks and practice other prevention steps for some time -- even after receiving the vaccine. This is because, at this time, scientists are not yet certain that the vaccines prevents asymptomatic virus spread (i.e., you could get the vaccine but still get infected and spread the virus with mild to no symptoms). When public health experts know more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide, they will update the prevention recommendations.
For now, steps everyone should take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 include physically distancing (6 feet or 2 meters), wearing face masks, staying home when sick, covering your coughs and sneezes, and washing your hands frequently.
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
Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?