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Vaccine FAQs

Updated: 3/26/2021

Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

At this time, there are three vaccines for COVID-19 in the United States. One is manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech; and another is manufactured by Moderna. Each need two doses from the same manufacturer. The most newly authorized vaccine is manufactured by Johnson & Johnson and requires just one dose. The vaccine provider will give individuals information at the time of immunization.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved?

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have all been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an emergency use authorization (EUA) after multiple levels of studies showing its safety and effectiveness; and continues to undergo research. This EUA ensures the vaccine can get to the American people as quickly as possible.

What is the vaccine plan for the residents of Sedgwick County?

The County has been planning for a COVID-19 vaccine since May. Plans include a providing vaccine at a special county-run site, as well as smaller pop-up mobile clinics. Additionally, other clinics and businesses such as doctors’ offices and pharmacies will be able to provide the vaccine.

How much does a COVID-19 vaccination cost?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers can choose to charge an administration fee for giving a shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by your insurance company or, if you are uninsured, through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

I’ve received the first dose of the vaccine, but have since contracted the virus, when can I receive the second dose?

Follow normal positive testing quarantine guidelines and isolate for the required days. If your second dose date occurs after your isolation period, go to your normally scheduled second appointment. If your second dose date occurs during your isolation period, wait to receive the second dose until your isolation period has ended.

What if I come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 after receiving Dose 1?

You will still need to follow all local/state/federal guidance on quarantine and isolation.

How many doses are needed and why?

Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines being studied in the United States require two shots. The first shot primes the immune system, helping it recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. Two shots will provide the best protection against COVID-19. Studies show more than 94% effectiveness of the vaccine.

Am I guaranteed a second dose?

Yes, you are guaranteed the second dose.

What if I don’t want to get my second dose?

There is little research on the level of protection after one dose. You are not considered fully vaccinated until you have received both doses, which offers over a 94 percent effective rate.

How many days, weeks, or months between vaccine doses?

There must be at least 21 days in between dose one and two for Pfizer and at least 28 days for Moderna. Second doses should be administered as close to the recommended date as possible, however if your miss your dose date, please schedule as soon as possible.

Do I need to schedule an appointment for Dose 2?

Yes, you will need to make another appointment for dose two. The date on your immunization record card is a reminder for when you are able to receive dose two. IT is not a scheduled appointment.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine has not been extensively studied in children. Because of this, it is not recommended that anyone under 16 receive the vaccine at this time. Trials are currently underway to test vaccine safety and efficacy in children.

Can pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The manufacturer recommends that anyone who is pregnant, or thinks they may be pregnant, consult their medical provider before taking the vaccine.

Can older adults get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, older adults can receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The side effects are very similar to other commonly received vaccines, including redness, swelling and pain at the injection site; tiredness; headache; joint and muscle pain; fever; swollen lymph nodes; feeling unwell; and nausea (feeling like you are going to throw up).

Due to the nature of the vaccine the manufacturer also advises that there may be other side effects that may not be listed.

Could the vaccine cause an allergic reaction?

There is a small chance that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. In the case of these symptoms seek medical attention immediately by either contacting 911 or going to an emergency department. Side effects of a severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing; swelling of your face and throat; a fast heartbeat; a bad rash all over your body; or dizziness and weakness.

What should I do if I have a vaccine side effect?

If you experience a side effect or allergic reaction let your medical provider and your vaccine provider know. If severe, seek medical attention by either contacting 911 or going to an emergency department.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

There is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility. People who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant should consult their medical provider before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

If I get vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance?

Yes. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is still the best way to reduce your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. It is a tool in our toolkit to reduce the spread of the virus. Until enough people in the U.S. get the vaccine, we will have to use these tools.

If I get vaccinated, can I still get COVID and infect others?

Possibly. The vaccines are new and studies so far show 94-95% effectiveness. There is a chance that some vaccinated people may still get infected, and be able to spread, the virus. Wearing a mask and practicing social distancing is still the best way to reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. It a tool in our toolkit to reduce the spread of the virus.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

If I have previously had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can get infected again. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, experts don’t know how long this protection will last.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 (by getting sick and getting better) or getting my immunity from the vaccine?

We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. However, we do know that COVID-19 can cause very serious illness for many people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the safer choice.

I heard that some COVID-19 vaccines alter your DNA. Is this true?

No. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a new and well-researched technology called mRNA. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid. The mRNA in the vaccines teach the body’s cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The immune response produces antibodies which is what protects us from getting infected. mRNA does not alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA).

Do I have to miss work after getting the vaccine?

No. At this time, there is no recommendation on missing work after a vaccine.

Can my employer mandate that  I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, your employer can require that you receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to remain working.

Can my child’s school mandate that my child receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time, no federal or state recommendations have been issued on whether or not COVID-19 vaccine should be required for children to attend school.

What percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?

Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19, as the percentage varies by disease. Which is why it is essential to continue wearing a mask and socially distancing.

I don’t live in Sedgwick County, can I be vaccinated here?

The Sedgwick County Health Department is focusing on vaccinating our residents. Please watch your local health department’s websites for information on vaccines in your county.

My medical facility is interested in becoming a provider of COVID-19 vaccine. Where can I sign up or find more information?

For more information about becoming a COVID-19 vaccination provider, please email

I am a medical professional able to give an intramuscular injection. Where can I sign up to volunteer?

SCHD houses a volunteer organization called Sedgwick County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC). For more information and to apply, please visit:

Can I still volunteer with the Health Department even if I am not a medical professional?

Yes. Sedgwick County MRC accepts both medical and non-medical volunteers. Please visit :

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine here:

Sedgwick County Health Department’s Vaccine Page

Kansas Department of Health and Environment 

CDC’s FAQ about COVID-19 Vaccination

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ