How the COVID-19 Vaccine Works
Frequently Asked Questions
Will the vaccine make me sick?
Because the vaccine does not contain the actual COVID-19 virus, the vaccine cannot cause infection. Some people experience side effects like sore arm, muscle soreness, or headache that can last up to 48 hours, but these effects are expected and are signs that the vaccine is working.
How do we know that the vaccine is safe?
The vaccines have been through careful testing and clinical trials to make sure that they’re safe and effective. Over 160 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated, and no major safety concerns or long-term side effects have been reported. The vaccine was not rushed; the quick timeline was a result of increased funding and years of research to develop these vaccine technologies.
Will there be long-term side effects?
Historically, with all other vaccines, any serious side effects have shown up within six weeks of vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine trials observed participants for much longer than that, and no serious side effects were identified. Studies have been done that show no evidence of fertility issues after vaccination, and there are many documented cases of women becoming pregnant after vaccination.
Can I still get COVID-19 even if I’m fully vaccinated?
The COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19, and vaccinated people are significantly less likely to get the disease than unvaccinated people. That being said, it is still possible to get infected even if you’re fully vaccinated. But vaccinated people tend to get a more mild case of COVID-19, and are less likely to spread it to others.
Do I need to get vaccinated if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes, it’s possible to be reinfected with COVID-19, and studies have shown that the vaccine provides better protection against infection than previously having COVID-19. You don’t have to wait to get vaccinated either—once you’re out of quarantine, you’re safe to get vaccinated (the one exception to this is if you’ve been treated with monoclonal antibodies, in which case, you should talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated).