COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

You can always call us if you do not see answers to your questions: (978) 744-8388.

Has the vaccine been tested on people like me?

Yes. The Moderna vaccine study included 30,000 people. The Pfizer vaccine study included 42,000. And, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine study included 45,000 people. The studies were roughly evenly split between men and women. There were about 6,000 people in the Pfizer and Moderna studies who were Black, and about 8,500 in the Johnson & Johnson study. Approximately 16,000 were Latinx in the Pfizer and Moderna studies, and approximately 20,000 were Latinx in the Johnson & Johnson study. Almost half of the people in the Pfizer trial had a condition such as obesity, diabetes, or heart disease.

Can getting the COVID-19 vaccine affect my immigration status in any way?

Getting the vaccine will not change whether you are able to stay in the US, get a green card, or get public benefits like housing or SNAP.
No matter what your immigration status, it is important for you and your family to be safe from COVID-19. You can get a vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license, or a Social Security number.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for people with health conditions or who take medicine?

The vaccine is safe for people with health conditions or who take medicine. It may not work as well if you have immune-system or neurological problems. It also may not work as well if you take steroids or other drugs for inflammation.

Can the vaccine give me or my family COVID-19?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the United States have live viruses, so they can’t give you the disease. And because you won’t have the live virus, you can’t give it to your family.

I don’t trust the government to give me health information.

Talk with your healthcare provider about your concerns and ask them for other trusted sources. Social media is not a good place to get health information.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It may hurt a little where you got the shot. You may also be tired, get a fever, and have head or body aches. These side effects are good! They mean your body is getting immune. Very rarely, a person has an allergic reaction to the vaccine right after getting it. That is why patients must wait 15-30 minutes after getting the vaccine before going home.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

Right now, there are three approved vaccines, from the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson companies. All three work very similarly. The vaccine does not contain the coronavirus itself and does not change your DNA. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines contain mRNA and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine contains a harmless and safe adenovirus. Both the mRNA and adenovirus contain instructions for your body to make a spike protein which enables your body to produce antibodies that will protect you if you come in contact with the coronavirus.

How can a safe vaccine be ready so quickly?

There are two mains reasons: 1) The mRNA technology was discovered 30 years ago and then further developed in 2003 with the SARS outbreak and has been studied since then. 2) There was unprecedented funding, resource allotment and cooperation globally amongst scientists to develop these vaccines.

If I get the vaccine, will I be part of an experiment without my consent?

No. By law, no one can do research on you unless they tell you what they are doing and you sign a form saying you agree to be in the experiment. 

Does the vaccine have something in it to track or control people?

The vaccine does not stay in your body, so there is nothing in it that can track or control you. Getting the vaccine trains your body to recognize the virus and kill it. In that process, everything from the vaccine is destroyed. To keep people healthy, Massachusetts does keep track of everyone who gets a vaccine. By law, only healthcare providers and health officials can see this.

I don’t need a vaccine. My immunity is already strong, or I use natural remedies.

It’s great that you are already healthy. But COVID-19 is a new virus that your body hasn’t met before. Getting the vaccine will train your body to recognize and kill the virus.

I don’t need a vaccine because, for most young/healthy people, COVID-19 isn’t very serious.

Some young and healthy people get very sick with COVID-19 and even die from it. Others don’t know they have it. These people are the ones who spread COVID-19 the most. Scientists think many cases are caught from someone without symptoms. So even if you are young and/or healthy, getting the vaccine is important. It will keep the virus from getting other people sick, especially older people and those with health conditions.

Does the vaccine stay in my body?

No. Getting the vaccine trains your body to recognize the virus and kill it. In that process, everything from the vaccine is destroyed.

How long will immunity last?

Scientists don’t know yet. It may be a couple of years. If this is the case, people may need to get the vaccine every year, as is done with influenza.

Has anyone died from the COVID-19 vaccine?

No one has died from the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. But if you are over 80 years old, high risk, or very ill, talk with your healthcare provider about what to do.

I always get sick from the flu shot, so vaccines are not good for me.

Vaccine side effects are signs that your body is getting immune. Isn’t it better to feel a little sick from the flu shot than to be one of the thousands of people who die from influenza every year? And isn’t it better to feel a little sick from the COVID-19 vaccine than to be one of the almost half-million Americans who have died in the pandemic?

I’m trying to have a baby, pregnant, or nursing. Should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Getting the vaccine has not made women infertile. However, pregnant women and breastfeeding women can get very sick with COVID-19. If you are pregnant or nursing, talk with your healthcare provider about what’s best for you and your baby.

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need the vaccine?

Yes. You can get COVID-19 a second time. If you were treated with antibodies or plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting the vaccine.  

Who pays for the COVID-19 vaccine? What if I am uninsured?

No one has to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s free whether you have private insurance, Medicaid, or no insurance.

My risk from the vaccine is greater than my risk of getting very sick or dying from COVID.

The facts don’t agree. Millions of people in the United States have already gotten the vaccine. A very, very, very small number have had allergic reactions. None have died from it. Compare that to the almost half-million Americans who’ve already died from COVID-19.

The vaccine is just another way for drug companies to make money.

The United States government has already paid the pharmaceutical companies so that everyone can get the COVID-19 vaccine for free.

 How quickly does the two-dose vaccine protect you from COVID-19?

Two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and both doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, most people are protected from becoming ill with the COVID-19 virus. But scientists aren’t sure if you can still pass COVID-19 to others—even if you don’t get sick. Therefore, you should still follow the rules about how to be safe during the pandemic, including wearing a mask in public places. The Center for Disease Control has advised that it is safe to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

Does the vaccine have any non-halal or non-kosher ingredients?

The vaccines do not include any pork.

North Shore Community Health

HEALTHY PEOPLE. VIBRANT COMMUNITIES.

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