Vaccine Q&A

What can I do to prevent getting COVID-19 until I can get the vaccine?

Practice social distancing, wear a mask when around others, wash your hands, avoid being around others who are sick, avoid large gatherings. For more information about protecting yourself visit the CDC’s website.

If I tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days may choose to delay getting the vaccine because getting sick with COVID-19 again is unlikely during that time. However, there is no harm in getting the vaccine if you have already had COVID-19. You may also choose to wait to get vaccine in order to allow those who are at a higher risk to be vaccinated first.

If the vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, how will I know when to get the second dose?

At the time of your injection you will receive a card with the date of your first dose, the name/manufacturer of the vaccine you just received, and the date on which you should receive your second dose. Your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine must be from the same product name/manufacturer as your first dose. We recommend when you receive your card, take a picture as a back-up, and add the date to your calendar.

If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine but my family has not, should I still wear a mask and practice social distancing to prevent bringing the virus home to my family?

Yes. Within households, use the same precautions you have always practiced to prevent COVID-19—wash your hands, self-isolate and get tested if you are sick, limit your interactions with those outside of your household, and wear a mask when with those outside of your household if social distancing cannot be maintained. When you are in public, be sure to continue to protect yourself by wearing a face covering, watching your distance, and avoiding crowds.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes! These vaccines have already been given to tens of thousands of volunteers and have been shown to be safe and very good at stopping them from getting sick with COVID-19. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. Phase 3 clinical trials involve tens of thousands of volunteers who were divided into two groups to get the vaccine or a placebo shot. They were then watched very closely for side effects and illness from COVID-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines demonstrated safety in their Phase 3 clinical trials, with no serious adverse events reported among the tens of thousands who received the vaccines. The vaccine will also continue to be monitored to make sure that any rare problems are found as soon as possible and evaluated to see if they were caused by the vaccine. There have been two individuals vaccinated with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the UK who had history of severe allergic reactions to a vaccine in the past and had severe allergic reactions after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. It is advised that people with severe allergic reactions to injected or infused medications or vaccines be observed for a minimum of 30 minutes after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine infect me with the virus?

No. None of the vaccines currently being developed in the United States contain the virus, so there is no possibility of the vaccine infecting someone with the COVID-19 virus.

Will the vaccine make me sick?

No. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus and cannot cause infection or COVID-19. Some people who receive the vaccine will develop arm soreness or redness, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue. These symptoms typically go away after a day or two.

Is it safe for me to get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or will become pregnant in the future?

Based on new evidence about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, CDC is strengthening its recommendation for COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy. A new analysis of current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry assessed vaccination early in pregnancy and did not find an increased risk for miscarriage among people who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were similar to the expected rate of miscarriage. Additionally, previous findings from three safety monitoring systems did not find any safety concerns for pregnant people who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.

I have heard the vaccine is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Will children under the age of 12 have the option to be vaccinated?

To date the FDA has issued emergency use authorization for only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 12 years of age and older. There are other COVID-19 vaccines in development and pending authorization. Tennessee’s Vaccination Plan is subject to change based on availability of COVID-19 vaccines and recommendations for their use.