Vaccine FAQs

Updated: 1/13/22, 8 p.m.

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Is there a vaccine for COVID-19?

At this time, there are three approved vaccines for COVID-19 in the United States. Pfizer and BioNTech manufacture one, and Moderna manufactures another. Each needs two doses from the same manufacturer. The third approved vaccine, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson (J&J), requires just one dose.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved?

On August 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted full approval for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine will be marketed as Comirnaty, with the full authorization applying to vaccine recipients aged 16 and older.

The Pfizer, Moderna and J&J vaccines received FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) after multiple levels of studies showing their safety and effectiveness. EUAs facilitate the use of medical countermeasures during public health emergencies.

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 charge an administration fee for giving a shot to someone. This fee is reimbursed by medical insurance or, if uninsured, through federal funding.

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

Follow isolation guidelines and stay at home for the required time period. 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 still need to follow quarantine guidance.

How many doses are needed and why?

The J&J primary vaccine series is one shot. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have a two-shot primary series. Two shots of these vaccines provide the best protection against COVID-19. 

Am I guaranteed a second dose?

Yes, you are guaranteed the second dose.

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

Multiple studies have shown that only one dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines is less effective in preventing infection than two doses.

How much time do I wait between vaccine doses?

There must be at least 21 days between doses 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, please get the second dose as soon as possible if you miss your dose date.

Do I need to schedule an appointment for Dose 2?

No appointments are necessary to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the SCHD Community Vaccine Clinic or Mobile Vaccine Clinics.

Who can get a Third Dose of vaccine?

The FDA approved a third primary dose of Pfizer and Moderna for people with certain conditions and treatments. The complete list can be found here. The third dose must be administered at least 28 days after the second dose.

Who can get a Vaccine Booster?

CDC recommends a booster for everyone eligible. A Pfizer booster dose is available to anyone 12 years and older, Moderna and J&J boosters are available to anyone 18 years and older.

To stay up to date on vaccines, people should get a booster five months after completing the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna primary series or two months after the single J&J shot.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, children 5+ years old can receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I get the vaccine if I have a weakened immune system or autoimmune disease?

Yes, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but we recommend you further discuss with your healthcare provider.

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant people, people thinking about becoming pregnant, and those breastfeeding should get the vaccine to protect themselves from COVID-19.

 Visit with your healthcare provider for more information.

How long will the vaccine protect me?

Scientists are studying how long COVID-19 vaccines are protective and how well they protect against emerging variants of the virus. Current data suggests that immunity from full vaccination prevents serious illness, hospitalization and death. However, public health experts have observed waning protection against mild and moderate disease, especially among higher risk populations. For this reason, CDC now recommends boosters for all adults.

What should I tell my vaccination provider before I get the vaccine?

Tell the vaccination provider about medical conditions, including if you have allergies or fever, bleeding disorder or if taking blood thinner medication, have weakened immune system, are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have received another COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I mix the different vaccines?

On October 20, 2021, the CDC updated their recommendations for mixing different vaccines. CDC’s recommendations now allow mix and match dosing for booster shots only.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Mild side effects, similar to other commonly received vaccines, may occur. These may include 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 will throw up). The vaccine manufacturers also advise some people may experience unlisted side effects.

Could the vaccine cause an allergic reaction?

There is a slight chance that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of your face or throat, a rapid heartbeat, a bad rash all over your body, or dizziness and weakness. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately by contacting 911 or going to an emergency department.

Can I get the vaccine if I have had a previous allergic reaction?

You should not get a COVID vaccine if you had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients or to a previous dose.

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

Let your medical provider and your vaccine provider know if you experience a side effect or allergic reaction. If severe, seek medical attention by 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.

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

The CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public areas of high transmission, even for people who are fully vaccinated and up-to-date with boosters. Masks may still be required in healthcare settings, at businesses that require them, and on public transportation.

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

Yes, breakthrough infections occasionally occur and may occur more frequently with new coronavirus variants. However, getting vaccinated reduces your chances of becoming severely ill, requiring hospitalization or even death by more than 99%. Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and frequent handwashing effectively reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

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 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 getting vaccinated.

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 to get my immunity from the vaccine?

Many studies have demonstrated that your immunity against COVID-19 will remain stronger, longer through vaccination than through getting the disease. In lab studies, boosters show exponentially better immunity protection than natural immunity against the new Omicron variant.

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.

Should I take ivermectin to treat COVID-19?

No. The FDA has not approved ivermectin to treat or prevent COVID-19 in humans. Ivermectin tablets are approved at precise doses for some parasitic worms. Ivermectin is not an anti-viral drug, it does not cure COVID-19, and taking large doses of this drug is dangerous and can cause serious harm. 

Is there a treatment for COVID-19?

The FDA has authorized several treatments to prevent COVID-19 from causing severe disease, hospitalization or death.  These treatments currently include monoclonal antibodies, which are given by infusion and act as substitutes for natural antibodies to restore or enhance the immune system’s ability to fight disease.

In December 2021, the FDA authorized two orally administered antiviral pills.  Currently, these pills are for use only in individuals at high risk of severe illness.

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, there are no federal or state recommendations on whether the 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 need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19, as the rate varies by disease.

Can I get vaccinated at a SCHD vaccine clinic if I don’t reside in Sedgwick County?

Any Kansas resident of Kansas can get vaccinated in Sedgwick 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 kdhe.COVIDenrollment@ks.gov.

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 https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/health/medical-reserve-corps/

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine here:

Sedgwick County Health Department’s Vaccine Page 
https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/vaccine/

Kansas Department of Health and Environment  
https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/284/COVID-19-Vaccine 

CDC’s FAQ about COVID-19 Vaccination
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html

References and Definitions                                                                                                                                                                      https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/references-for-vaccine-comparison-information/