The COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful time for many of us, causing many changes in our everyday lives. The good news is there is now a vaccine (shot) that can help protect you and others from getting COVID-19. It is perfectly normal if you have some questions about this new vaccine, and we are here to help answer them! Use these FAQs to learn more about this vaccine and how it works. Talk with your CHN doctor if you have questions or concerns.
If you are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine, click here to find a vaccine site near you.
How The COVID-19 Vaccine Protects You:
Experts are learning new information every day about why it will be important to get the vaccine. From what we know so far:
- It will help keep you from getting COVID-19. Experts believe that getting this vaccine may help keep you from getting really sick even if you do get COVID-19. By getting the vaccine, you may also be protecting the people around you.
- It will offer you safer protection. Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural immunity (protection against disease), but experts don’t know how long that immunity lasts. The vaccine helps your body to create antibodies, which help fight off the virus and protect you from getting sick.
- It will be an important step to help stop the pandemic. The vaccine will work to help your body fight off COVID-19 if you are exposed. Getting the vaccine, social distancing, wearing masks and washing your hands often are all important actions to take to help end this pandemic.
How Does The Vaccine Work?
COVID-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines work by teaching our body how to make a protein that helps our body fight off disease. It does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
It tells our cells how to make a small, harmless protein called a “spike protein”. When our body sees that this spike protein doesn’t belong, it begins to form an immune response so that your body can learn how to protect itself from future COVID-19 infections.
Is The Vaccine Safe?
Safety is the number one priority when developing new vaccines. From what we know so far, studies are showing that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and works well.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews all safety information before allowing a vaccine to be given to patients. Experts will continue to study the vaccine, gather information about any possible long-term side effects, and take action to address any safety concerns.
Who Should Get The Vaccine?
Anyone can (and should) get the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available. The CDC now recommends that everyone ages 5 and up get a vaccine to help protect against COVID-19.
It is important for as many people as possible to get the vaccine in order to reach herd immunity. Herd immunity is when a large part of the community becomes immune (protected from) the disease. This means the disease is less likely to spread and the community as a whole is protected.
Can I Get The Vaccine If I Am Pregnant, Trying To Get Pregnant Or Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can get the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are now recommended for everyone ages 12 and up, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant. Talk with your CHN doctor if you have questions.
How Many Shots Will I Need To Get?
You will need to get 2 shots.
After you get your first shot, you will need to come back in:
- 21 days for your second shot if you received Pfizer.
- 28 days for your second shot if you received Moderna.
Can I Get The Vaccine If I Already Had COVID-19?
Yes, you can get the vaccine. Because it is possible that you can get COVID-19 more than once, it is important to the vaccine protect you, regardless of whether you already had it.
Can I Get Infected With COVID-19 In Between Doses?
There may be a chance you could get COVID-19 in between doses, but we don’t have enough information at this time to know how likely this is.
It is important for you to continue wearing masks and staying at least 6 feet apart from others to protect yourself.
Who Can Get A Booster Shot?
We are currently offering booster shots to:
- Patients ages 16 and up who got their Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago.
- Patients ages 18 and up who got their Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago.
- Patients ages 18 and up who got their Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago.
- To learn more about COVID-19 booster shots, visit the CDC’s website.
If I Want The Vaccine, When Can I Get It?
How Much Will The Vaccine Cost?
The vaccine will be free for anyone who wants it as it becomes available.
Common Myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine
There are many myths out there about the new COVID-19 vaccine. At CHN, we want to provide you with the facts about this vaccine so you can make important decisions about your health.
“I Heard That The COVID-19 Vaccine Will Give Me COVID-19. Is This True?”
The vaccine will not give you COVID-19. The vaccine does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine teaches your body how to know if its been infected and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19. You may get symptoms after you get the vaccine, such as a fever. This is a normal sign that your body is building up protection against COVID-19.
“Will The Vaccine Cause Me To Test Positive For COVID-19?”
No, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 test. A positive test means that you currently have COVID-19.
“I’ve Already Gotten Sick With COVID-19. Should I Still Get The Vaccine?”
If you were sick with COVID-19 before, experts may still recommend that you get the vaccine. After getting COVID-19, your body may build up some natural protection against the virus. Because we don’t know how this protection lasts and there is a chance you can get sick again, getting the vaccine will be an important step in offering you more protection.
“Can The MRNA COVID-19 Vaccine Change Your DNA?”
The vaccine does not change your DNA (genetic makeup) in any way. The mRNA helps our body make a protein to teach our body how to fight off and build protection against COVID-19. It does not enter the part of our cells that hold DNA.
“I Heard There Is A Microchip In The COVID-19 Vaccine. Is This True?”
This is not true. This is a false rumor that has been going around during the pandemic. It’s important to get your information from trusted sources, like the CDC. If you have a question about something you heard about this vaccine, you can also ask a CHN doctor or nurse.
Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine
Because the COVID-19 vaccine is new, you may have some questions about what to expect before, during, and after you get the vaccine (shot). Use these FAQs to learn more and talk with a CHN doctor or nurse if you have more questions.
What To Expect:
Before you get the vaccine:
- Talk with a CHN doctor or nurse to see if a COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for you right now.
- If you have questions about the vaccine, please ask us! We are here to help.
When you get the vaccine:
- A CHN doctor or nurse will give you a handout that explains which COVID-19 vaccine you are getting.
- You will have to fill out a consent form. The information that you provide on this form, such as your age and date of birth, will be reported to NYC Department of Health’s Citywide Immunization Registry.
- You will get the shot in your upper arm.
After you get the vaccine:
- You need to come back to the center in 28 days for your second shot. You will need both shots in order to be fully protected.
- As we learn more about how the vaccine works in the real world, it’s important that you continue to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by:
- Wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth when you are in public
- Staying at least 6 feet away from others.
- Washing your hands often.
- Staying away from crowds.
Are There Any Side Effects From The Vaccine?
You may have some side effects after you get the vaccine. These side effects are signs that your body is building up protection against COVID-19. You may feel like you have the flu, but the side effects should go away after just a few days.
Common side effects include:
- Pain or swelling where you got the shot
- Fever and chills
From what we know so far, some people reported having more side effects after getting the second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
When to call a doctor:
- If the redness and pain where you got the shot gets worse after 24 hours.
- If the side effects get worse or do not go away after a few days.
Who Should I Contact If I Have Side Effects?
Talk with your CHN doctor or nurse about any side effects you have after getting the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set up ways for you to report your side effects and other information about your experience after getting the vaccine. This is important information for them to have so they can continue to look at the safety of this vaccine in real-time.
V-safe is a tool you can use on your smartphone to receive health check-ins after getting the vaccine. V-safe will send you text messages and short survey to ask you about how you are doing after getting the vaccine. Go to www.cdc.gov/vsafe to learn more. With V-safe, you can also report any side effects to the CDC and get reminders about when you need to come in for your second shot. V-safe is a voluntary tool. It is your choice if you would like to sign up. If you decide not to use V-Safe, let a CHN doctor or nurse know right away if you have any serious side effects after getting the vaccine.
Patients and providers can also use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to report side effects. Learn more at vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html