A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are frustrated, anxious, and depressed – but also hopeful, as vaccines start rolling out to millions of people across the country.
But, as COVID-19 vaccines arrive, many questions have cropped up as well: What’s in the vaccine? Are the vaccines safe? Who should and should not get it? Why do some vaccines require two doses? Are there any side effects?
What’s the Latest News on Coronavirus
In this Latest News on Coronavirus article, we provide you with FAQ on COVID-19, the vaccine, and what we can expect. We also answer questions about its risks, effectives, and more.
FAQ on COVID-19, The Vaccine, and What We Can Expect
One year after SARS-CoV-2 first appeared, the United States has begun a national vaccination program. The following information addresses frequently asked questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 vaccines.
Which COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use in the US?
Currently, three vaccines are authorized for use in the US – and another two are coming soon.
Three vaccines have received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use in the US for the prevention of COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for use in people aged 16 years old and above. The Janssen and Moderna vaccines are recommended for people aged 18 years old and above.
Working in collaboration with Oxford University, AstraZeneca is expected to request authorization from the FDA for their vaccine within a few weeks. Also, Novavax is expected to follow with its application later in April or May.
You may receive any age-appropriate COVID-19 vaccine – it is encouraged that you receive the earliest vaccine available to you.
Note: Since COVID-19 vaccines are limited in the US, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed recommendations about who should be vaccinated first.
What do the vaccines have in common?
Although there are differences between the vaccines that are currently authorized for use in the US, all 3 vaccines have some things in common:
- All are almost 100% effective in preventing hospitalization and death
- All are currently not approved for use in children; however, studies are ongoing
- Vaccinated people may still be able to transmit the virus to other people, which is why it’s important to continue wearing a face mask and practice social distancing, even after you have been vaccinated
How do I get a vaccine?
There are different places you can look for a vaccination provider. You can visit VaccineFinder.org or check your state health department. You can also check your local pharmacy’s website.
You can also visit CDC’s How Do I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine to learn more.
What are the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines?
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients can vary from one manufacturer to another. To learn more about the ingredients in authorized COVID-19 vaccines, we encourage you to visit the following pages:
- Information about Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- Information about Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
- Information about Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to me?
Since COVID-19 vaccines are limited in the US, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed recommendations about who should be vaccinated first.
CDC’s recommendations are based on those of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts. Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will first be vaccinated. You can contact your state health department for more details on its plan for COVID-19 vaccination.
Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines?
The federal government is providing COVID-19 vaccines FREE of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their health insurance or immigration status.
COVID-19 vaccination providers CAN’T:
- Charge you for the vaccine
- Deny vaccination to anyone who doesn’t have health insurance, is underinsured, or is out of network
- Charge an office visit (or any other fee) if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination
- Charge you directly for copays, coinsurance, or any administration fees
- Require additional services in order for you to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as required
COVID-19 vaccination providers CAN:
- Seek reimbursement for uninsured vaccine recipients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program
- Seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient’s program or plan (i.e. Medicaid, Medicare, private health insurance) for a vaccine administration fee; however, providers can’t charge the vaccine recipient the balance of the bill
Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I will get?
In the Latest News on Coronavirus, As much as possible, you should get any COVID-19 vaccine that is available when you are eligible. Avoid waiting for a specific brand. All currently recommended and authorized COVID-19 vaccines are effective and safe, and the CDC does NOT recommend one vaccine over another.
How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are necessary?
To get the most protection, both COVID-19 mRNA vaccines necessitate two shots. The timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you got.
- If you received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get your second shot one month – or 28 days – after your first vaccination.
- If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, you should get your second shot three weeks – or 21 days – after your first vaccination.
Will the COVID-19 vaccines work against new mutations of the virus?
Viruses mutate constantly, and public health experts expect new variants of a virus to occur. Several variants of SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – have already been documented in the United States and globally, including 501Y.V2, which emerged in South Africa, and B117, which first emerged in the United Kingdom.
Scientists are monitoring these changes in the virus closely, and information about these variants are emerging rapidly. The new variants seem to spread more quickly and easily, but at this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the variants cause more severe illness, increase risk of death, or that they make existing COVID-19 vaccines less effective.
Existing COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be effective against these variants and others that may emerge in the short term.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Again, based on the Latest News on Coronavirus; All vaccines used in the United States have gone through extensive safety testing before they have been licensed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for widespread use.
Furthermore, the new COVID-19 vaccines have been studied in several clinical trials, each of which has included thousands of people who were followed for a minimum of 2 months. Decades of experience with other vaccines indicate that the majority of adverse reactions occur within the first 2 months of vaccination.
Can COVID-19 vaccines cause you to get very sick?
Most people do not experience any serious problems after being vaccinated. Also, the vaccines themselves will NOT give you COVID-19.
However, vaccinated people do experience some side effects, including fatigue, headache, chills, a sore arm (or swelling on the arm where you got the shot), and even a low-grade fever that lasts one or two days. These side effects are to be expected – it’s a sign that your immune system is doing its job and is working to build up your protection to disease.
Can pregnant or breastfeeding women get a COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the Latest News on Coronavirus, Yes, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you can choose to be vaccinated. Based on how COVID-19 vaccines work, experts believe that they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for pregnant women.
However, note that there are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women because these vaccines have not been widely studied in pregnant women. Currently, systems are in place to continue monitoring vaccine safety. So far, experts have not identified any specific safety concerns for pregnant women. Clinical trials to evaluate the efficacy and safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women are currently underway or planned.
You might want to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether or not to get vaccinated. However, while having a conversation with your healthcare provider might be helpful, it is not strictly necessary.
If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC encourages you to enroll in V-Safe – the CDC’s smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A V-Safe Pregnancy Registry has been developed to gather specific information on the health of pregnant women who have received a vaccine
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with allergies?
People who have had severe allergic reactions to other vaccines or injectable therapies should not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
People who have other allergies (i.e. allergies to latex, food, animals, venom, or environmental) may still be vaccinated, but should remain at the vaccination site for at least 15 to 30 minutes for observation. People who use an epinephrine (EpiPen©) should bring it with them as an extra precaution.
What should I do if I’m not yet eligible to get vaccinated?
If you are not eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine yet, you can still learn more and share your knowledge about the vaccines to help ensure other people in your community are vaccinated. Here are some things that you can do now:
- Learn more about the new COVID-19 vaccines and the benefits of getting vaccinated
- Learn about the COVID-19 vaccination plans in your area. Then, create a plan for yourself or your family members to get vaccinated when a vaccine is available to you
- Share your knowledge about the vaccines to other people in your community
- Continue to take the recommended actions (wearing a face mask, social distancing, etc.) to protect yourself and others form COVID-19
The Bottom Line of the Latest News on Coronavirus
We hope that this Latest News on Coronavirus FAQ on COVID-19, the vaccine, and what we can expect, has provided you with the information that you need. Stay safe and remember – get the vaccine as soon as it is available to you!