How does COVID vaccine work?

Vaccines work by triggering an individual’s immune system to progressively develop protection against disease. The COVID-19 vaccine will help our bodies develop immunity to the virus without us having to get infected with COVID-19.

Currently, there are two vaccines that have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization to date are messenger RNA vaccines, which when injected instruct our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. This immune response, in turn, will produce antibodies that will protect us from getting the real virus if it enters our body. Both vaccines when given are injected into the muscle in two shots. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is two doses given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine is two doses given 28 days apart.

This is the first time that mRNA vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization or been distributed to the public, but researchers have been working with mRNA vaccines for decades. The public has grown increasingly interested in mRNA vaccines since they can be developed in laboratories using available materials, which can be standardized and scaled up. This then means that making the development and production of the COVID-19 vaccine can be faster than other traditional methods of making vaccines. For more information about mRNA vaccines, check out this CDC page. Additional information on other COVID-19 vaccines that are or soon will be undergoing large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials in the United States can be found here.

Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccinations

  • 1) COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19

    2) COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection

    3) COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic

Who is eligible for vaccination
in New Jersey

New Jersey is rolling out COVID-19 vaccines step-by-step to serve all adults who live, work, or are being educated in the state. NJ’s goal is to vaccinate 4.7 million adults within six months. The state’s current plan will be highlighted down below however, the plan will continually be updated to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.

To determine which vaccination phase you are in and be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine, pre-register for the vaccine.

  • Licensed healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists)
  • Staff like receptionists, janitors, mortuary services, laboratory technicians
  • Consultants, per diem, and contractors who are not directly employed by the facility
  • Unpaid workers like health professional students, trainees, volunteers, and essential caregivers
  • Community health workers, doulas, and public health professionals like Medical Reserve Corps
  • Personnel with variable venues like EMS, paramedics, funeral staff, and autopsy workers
  • All workers in acute, pediatric, and behavioral health hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers
  • All workers in health facilities like psychiatric facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and rehabs
  • All workers in clinic-based settings like urgent care clinics, dialysis centers, and family planning sites
  • All workers in long-term care settings like nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and others
  • All workers in occupational-based healthcare settings like health clinics within workplaces, shelters, jails, colleges and universities, and K-12 schools
  • All workers in community-based healthcare settings like PACE and Adult Living Community Nursing
  • All workers in home-based settings like hospice, home care, and visiting nurse services
  • All workers in office-based healthcare settings like physician and dental offices
  • All workers in public health settings like local health departments, LINCS agencies, harm reduction centers, and medicinal marijuana programs
  • All workers in retail, independent, and institutional pharmacies
  • Other paid or unpaid people who work in a healthcare setting, who may have direct or indirect contact with infectious persons or materials, and who cannot work from home.
  • Skilled nursing facilities and veterans homes
  • Assisted living facilities, continuing care retirement communities, and personal care homes
  • Group homes like residential care homes, adult family homes, adult foster homes, and intellectual and developmental disabilities group homes
  • HUD 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program residences
  • Institutional settings like psychiatric hospitals, correctional institutions, county jails, and juvenile detention facilities (for eligible minors, e.g. 16+ years of age may be eligible for Pfizer vaccine under the emergency use authorization)
  • Other vulnerable, congregate, long-term settings
  • New Jersey State Police troopers, Municipal and county police officers, and Campus police officers
  • Detectives in prosecutors’ offices and state agencies
  • State agency/authority law enforcement officers (e.g. State Park Police and Conservation Officers, Palisades Interstate Parkway Officers, Human Services police, and NJTransit police)
  • Investigator, Parole and Secured Facilities Officers and Aeronautical Operations Specialists
  • Sworn Federal Law Enforcement Officers and Special Agents
  • Bi-State law enforcement officers (e.g. Port Authority) and Court Security Officers
  • Paid and unpaid members of firefighting services (structural and wildland)
  • Paid and unpaid members of Search and Rescue Units including technical rescue units and HAZMAT teams
  • Paid and unpaid firefighters who provide emergency medical services
  • Paid and unpaid members of Industrial units that perform Fire, Rescue and HAZMAT services
  • Members of State Fire Marshal’s Offices and Bi-State Fire Service Personnel (e.g. Port Authority)
  • Cancer and Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome 
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Sickle cell disease, Smoking, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Individuals who are pregnant and with weakened immune systems from solid organ transplant are also eligible (should follow CDC guidance and first discuss vaccination with their medical provider before receiving the vaccine).
  • Asthma
  • Cerebrovascular disease (affects blood vessels and blood supply to the brain)
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypertension or high blood pressure
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, or use of other immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions, such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis (having damaged or scarred lung tissues)
  • Thalassemia (a type of blood disorder)

Additional essential workers (Phases 1B and/or 1C), additional individuals at high risk (Phases 1B and or 1C), and the general public (Phase 2).

How to get vaccinated
if you are eligible IN NJ

Currently, the CDC says vaccines are available to paid and unpaid healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term and congregate-care facilities, first responders including sworn law enforcement and fire professionals, individuals over 65, and individuals 16-64 with certain medical conditions that increase the risk of severe illness from the virus.

If you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, there are multiple ways to get vaccinated:

    1. Pre-register and make an appointment through the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System. Register here.
    2. Make an appointment directly with a vaccination location. View locations here.
    3. If you work or volunteer at a select healthcare facility, make an appointment through your place of work.
    4. Veterans who receive care from VA health facilities or live in VA long-term care facilities may be eligible for vaccines through the VA. Learn more here.

* Even if you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, an appointment may not be available to you due to the limited vaccine availability. New Jersey has created and still continues to develop vaccination sites to serve those who are eligible for vaccination but the vaccine supply itself is still limited.

Who is eligible for vaccination
in New YORK

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being distributed to individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness and exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Despite the vaccine being allocated, it is expected to be widely distributed to all New Yorkers by mid-2021.

Reminder: New York State determines when new groups become eligible for the vaccine, and their schedule may change. If you are interested in learning more about New York’s State Phase Distribution of the vaccine, check out this page

To determine which vaccination phase you are in and be notified when you are eligible for a vaccine, pre-register for the vaccine.

Those who are eligible for the current COVID-19 vaccine in the New York state are considered to be in phases 1a and 1b. The following groups are considered to be categorized as phases 1a and 1b.

  • Current or in-remission Cancer patients or survivors (including 9/11-related cancers)

  • Cerebrovascular disease 

  • Chronic kidney disease

  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, or hypertension 

  • Weakened immune system, including solid organ transplant or from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, HIV, use of corticosteroids, use of other immune weakening medicines or other causes

  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as Down syndrome

  • Liver disease

  • Neurologic conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia

  • Pulmonary disease, COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, and 9/11-related pulmonary diseases

  • Pregnancy

  • Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 kg/m2 or higher), obesity (body mass index of between 30 kg/m2 and 40 kg/m2)

  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia

  • Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellitus

  • New York residents ages 65 and older

  • Nursing homes and other congregate care facilities

  • NYS Office of Mental Health, Office People with Developmental Disabilities, and Office of Addiction Services and Supports facilities

  • People living in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing, or eating accommodations must be shared with people who are not part of their household

  • Paid or unpaid employees working in a homeless shelter where sleeping, bathing, or eating accommodations must be shared by people who are not part of the same household

  • Staff and residents of residential programs for victims of domestic violence and family type home for adults

  • Staff and residents of unlicensed congregate supportive housing

  • State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Personnel, including correction and parole officers

  • Local Correctional Facilities, including correction officers

  • Local Probation Departments, including probation officers

  • State and Local Juvenile Detention and Rehabilitation Facilities

  • Professional and volunteers of the State Fire Service, including firefighters and investigators

  • Professional and volunteers of the Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators 

  • State Police, including Troopers

  • State Park Police, DEC Police, and Forest Rangers

  • SUNY Police and Sheriffs’ Offices

  • County Police Departments and Police Districts

  • City, Town, and Village Police Departments

  • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments

  • State Field Investigations, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority

  • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians

  • Court Officers, Other Police, or Peace Officers

  • Support of Civilian Staff for any of the above services, agencies, or facilities

    • High-risk hospital workers (emergency room workers, ICU staff, and Pulmonary Department staff)

    • Federally Qualified Health Center employees

    • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) workers

    • Coroners, medical examiners, and certain funeral workers

    • Urgent Care providers

    • People administering COVID-19 vaccines, including local health department staff

    • All Outpatient/Ambulatory frontline

    • All staff who are in direct contact with patients (such as reception staff)

    • All frontline, high-risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients, including those conducting COVID-19 tests, handling COVID-19 specimens and COVID-19 vaccinations

    • Professional and volunteers of the Local Fire Services, including firefighters and investigators 

    • State Police, including Troopers

    • State Park Police, DEC Police, and Forest Rangers

    • SUNY Police and Sheriffs’ Offices

    • County Police Departments and Police Districts

    • City, Town, and Village Police Departments

    • Transit of other Public Authority Police Departments

    • State Field Investigations, including Department of Motor Vehicles, State Commission of Correction, Justice Center, Department of Financial Services, Inspector General, Department of Tax and Finance, Office of Children and Family Services, and State Liquor Authority

    • Emergency Communication and Public Safety Answering Point Personnel, including dispatchers and technicians

    • Court Officers, Other Police, or Peace Officers

    • Support of Civilian Staff for any of the above services, agencies, or facilities

      This includes, but is not limited to:

      • Doctors who work in private medical practices and their staff

      • Doctors who work in hospital-affiliated medical practices and their staff

      • Doctors who work in public health clinics and their staff

      • Registered Nurses

      • Specialty medical practices of all types

      • Dentists and Orthodontists and their staff

      • Psychiatrists and Psychologists and their staff

      • Physical Therapists and their staff

      • Optometrists and their staff

      • Pharmacists and Pharmacy Aides

      • Home care workers and aides

      • Hospice workers

      • Personal care aides

      • Consumer-directed personal care workers

  • Airline and airport employees

  • Passenger railroad employees

  • Subway and mass transit employees (MTA, LIRR, Metro-North, NYC Transit, Upstate Transit)

  • Ferry employees, Port Authority employees, and Public bus employees

  • NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) licensed drivers

    • P-12 school or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff including bus drivers)

    • Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers)

    • In-person college instructors

    • Licensed, registered, approved, or legally exempt group child care

    • Licensed, registered, approved, or legally exempt group child care providers

    • Employees or support staff of licensed or registered child care setting

    • Licensed, registered, approved, or legally exempt child care providers

    • Early Intervention therapists and teachers with active service authorizations (as of January 13)

    • State Office of Children and Family Services state-operated staff and Licensed or certified residential programs staff and eligible residents

    • Grocery store workers

    • Convenience store workers

    • Bodega workers

    • Restaurant workers and delivery workers

    • Permitted soup kitchen paid or unpaid workers

    • Congregate meal program paid or unpaid workers

    • Paid or unpaid Regional food bank workers

    • Paid or unpaid Food pantry workers

    • Paid or unpaid permitted home-delivered meal program workers

    • Hotel workers 

    •  
    • March to April 2021: Other at-risk groups (to be determined by New York State) and other essential workers (to be determined by New York State)

    • Summer 2021: All others

HOW TO GET VACCINATED IF YOOU ARE ELIGIBLE IN NEW YORK

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to certain groups in NYC, including people ages 65 and older, health care personnel, and other essential workers. People with certain underlying health conditions and people who are pregnant are now also eligible. 

If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, then there are a few things you must consider in order to get vaccinated in the state of New York:

    1. You must complete the online form from the New York online screener, which will determine if your age, employment, or health qualifies you for the shot. 

    2. Upon completion of the form, find a vaccination site and make an appointment. Find more locations on this NYC COVID-19 Vaccine finder. You could also use this NYC Health COVID-19 Appointment Scheduler to schedule your first dose, second dose, reschedule an appointment, or cancel an appointment. If you are a NYC employee, you can schedule your appointments here

    3. Make sure to fill out this COVID-19 Immunization Screening and Consent form before your scheduled appointment. 

    4. Once determined as eligible for the vaccine, you will have to complete this form after scheduling your appointment and will be given a submission ID, which you will need to bring to your appointment. Residents of NY must also bring proof of eligibility to your appointment. 

Proof of Eligibility

Underlying conditions: You do not need documentation from your personal health care provider or any other proof of your condition to get a vaccine in NYC. It is only necessary for you to self-certify you have an underlying condition that makes you eligible. You will be asked to self-certify as part of the appointment scheduling process, or a vaccine provider will ask you to complete the below certification document before or at the time of your appointment. Here is the NYC Certification of Eligibility for the COVID-19 Vaccine due to a Medical Condition

You may not be required to certify your condition if you are vaccinated by your usual health care provider. You must also bring proof that you live in New York. 

Employment:  Those who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine based on their employment status must state that their job requires them to have contact with co-workers and the general public, or that they are unable to remotely work from home. To do this effectively, one must have proof that they live in New York and also proof of work including: 

    • An employee ID card or badge

    • A letter from an employer or affiliated organization

    • A pay stub, depending on specific priority status

    • Proof of work through an application, such as Uber, Lyft or DoorDash

Some vaccination sites also may require proof of NYC residency or within certain residency zip codes. These documents will not be used as legal proof of employment status, but only to confirm eligibility for the vaccination. 

Age and Residency:

If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to age, you must show proof of your age as well as your New York residency status. Proof of age may include:

    • Driver’s license or non-driver ID

    • IDNYC

    • Birth certificate issued by a state or local government

    • Current U.S passport or valid foreign passport

    • Permanent resident card

    • Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship

    • Life insurance policy and or Marriage certificate with birth date

Proof of residency may include either one of the following: 

    • State or government-issued ID

    • Statement from landlord

    • Current rent receipt or lease

    • Mortgage records

Or two of the following: 

    • Statement from another person 

    • Current mail

    • School records

After COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment

After receiving the first dose of the vaccine, please keep the card given to you that has your name, birth date, the vaccine you received, and the place and date you received the vaccine. You must bring this card to your second appointment. 

VACCINATION LOCATIONS

vaccine costs and insurance

The COVID-19 vaccine is available without cost sharing barriers, meaning no one will have to pay for the actual vaccine itself.  Based on the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement, all providers must vaccinate individuals regardless of whether they have health insurance coverage or what type of coverage they have, and are prohibited from balance billing or otherwise charging vaccine recipients.

Insurance coverage on the COVID-19 vaccine:

    • Covered by a private health plan through employment or individual market: All group or individual health insurance plans must provide coverage for the COVID-19 immunization and its effective administration. Due to the current health emergency, these health plans must provide coverage without cost sharing, even if it is or is not in network. For more information, please contact your insurance provider and visit this New Jersey bulletin
    • Covered by Medicare Part B: The vaccine and its administration will be covered without coinsurance or deductible. 
    • Covered by Medicare Advantage Plan: The beneficiary co-payment, coinsurance, and deductible are waived for the vaccine and its administration in 2020 and 2021.
    • Covered by SHBP or SEHBP: The vaccine and its administration will be covered without coinsurance or deductible for in or out of network coverage.
    • Covered by NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid or CHIP): The vaccine and its administration will be covered without copays for in or out of network providers.
    • If you are uninsured: Health care providers that participate in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program must agree to administer the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of an individual’s ability to pay or health insurance status and may not see reimbursement from the recipient. 

Despite the vaccine and its current limited supply, the federal government is working on making COVID-19 vaccinations available to everyone at no cost. Of course, the federal government is providing the vaccine to everyone free of charge if they live in the United States. However, your vaccination provider may bill your insurance company (Medicaid or Medicare) for an administration fee. 

Vaccination providers can be reimbursed for this insurance bill by the patient’s insurance (public or private) or for uninsured patients by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. Meaning, that no one can be denied the COVID-19 vaccine if they are unable to pay administration fee for the vaccine. 

For instance, providers who participate in Medicare will receive an administrative fee for giving COVID-19 vaccine shots to patients. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has established a fee schedule for two doses of the vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The providers will charge about $16.94 for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while the second COVID vaccine dose is $28.39. If any single dose vaccines are authorized, Medicare will pay providers $28.39 for each vaccine. 

If you are interested in payment allowances for the COVID-19 vaccine, its administration, and their effective dates, look at this CMS page.

If you are under Medicare or Medicaid, your vaccine will be paid for Medicare’s trust fund as stated in NPR. CMS plans to spend nearly $3 billion to vaccinate about 130 million Americans on Medicare and Medicaid and for Medicare beneficiaries, the vaccine is covered under Part B.

If you have commercial insurance and have to go to an out-of-network providers, you can go to a pharmacy or doctor’s office and will not worry about out-of-pocket costs. And if you do not have insurance, your vaccine is still covered and healthcare providers can get reimbursed through the Provider Relief Fund, where the government distributes monetary support to healthcare workers and hospitals on the frontlines of the pandemic. If you do get a bill, contact your health insurer or your health care provider and explain the issue. COVID-19 vaccines are supposed to be free under the CARES Act, but some individuals mistakenly receive bills that need to be corrected. 

As stated above, the federal government will pay for the cost of the vaccine and already have invested 10 billion dollars into research and development of COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines are free to the public under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was signed into law in March 2020. 

 

If you are under Medicare or Medicaid, your vaccine will be paid for Medicare’s trust fund as stated in NPR. CMS plans to spend nearly $3 billion to vaccinate about 130 million Americans on Medicare and Medicaid and for Medicare beneficiaries, the vaccine is covered under Part B.

 

If you have commercial insurance and have to go to an out-of-network providers, you can go to a pharmacy or doctor’s office and will not worry about out-of-pocket costs. And if you do not have insurance, your vaccine is still covered and healthcare providers can get reimbursed through the Provider Relief Fund, where the government distributes monetary support to healthcare workers and hospitals on the frontlines of the pandemic. If you do get a bill, contact your health insurer or your health care provider and explain the issue. COVID-19 vaccines are supposed to be free under the CARES Act, but some individuals mistakenly receive bills that need to be corrected. 

The COVID-19 Vaccine will remain free for 2021 since it is a part of the current public health emergency. Once the pandemic subsides and the COVID-19 vaccine becomes fully licensed and is a part of regular preventive care, it will fall under the same reimbursement rules as other vaccines. 

Under the Affordable Care Act (2010), routine immunizations must be covered in all health plans that comply as a preventive service, with no out-of-pocket costs. However, short-term health plans do not have to comply with ACA standards and may require you to pay a share of the cost for the COVID-19 vaccine or may not cover it at all, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

COVID-19 VACCINE FAQ
Myths and facts

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and authorized since they have gone through clinical trials with tens of thousands of participants to determine their safety and efficiency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for two COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from clinical trials.

 

Clinical Trials of COVID-19 Vaccine: Clinical trials are research studies performed in people that are aimed at evaluating a medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention. They are the primary way that researchers find out if a new treatment, like a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective in people. These COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials are being conducted according to rigorous safety standards. For detailed information, visit this CDC page.

Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine: After receiving an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be observed for 15 minutes by healthcare staff to monitor any side effects. Observation may be longer (30 minutes) if you have a history of anaphylaxis. The COVID-19 vaccine may cause some temporary discomfort, such as a sore arm, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes.

There is a small chance that vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour, which is why all individuals should be observed for at least 15 minutes after vaccination and 30 minutes if they have a history of a severe allergic reaction due to any cause.

Under the Affordable Care Act (2010), routine immunizations must be covered in all health plans that comply as a preventive service, with no out-of-pocket costs. However, short-term health plans do not have to comply with ACA standards and may require you to pay a share of the cost for the COVID-19 vaccine or may not cover it at all, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The ingredients in currently available COVID-19 vaccines include mRNA, lipids, salts, sugars, and buffers. Buffers help maintain the stability of the pH solution and vaccine ingredients can vary by manufacturer. To learn more about the ingredients in authorized COVID-19 vaccines, see Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and Information about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

No, this will put health care workers, immunocompromised individuals, and others in danger of getting infected. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation. In a similar manner, those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

Executive Order No. 207 allows individuals who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 do not have to first opt-in to the system to make sure that their two-dose regimen is properly tracked and managed. 30 days after the current public health emergency ends, individuals who enrolled due to the COVID-19 vaccine will be afforded the opportunity to withdraw from the system. The Executive Order does not force anyone to receive the vaccine.

 

NJIIS will securely store the vaccine recipient’s name, address, date of birth, race, ethnicity, and gender when the vaccine is administered in New Jersey and will be requested during pre-registration and/or on-site. There is other data that New Jerseyans may be asked and that will not be stored in NJIIS, such as additional demographic and occupational data to ensure equitable and efficient scheduling of vaccinations.

All medical screening questions will be asked to assess eligibility under the EUA and ACIP recommendations specific to the vaccine product offered at the point of dispensing. And all data collected can only be used for public health purposes, like ensuring that the same person returns for a second dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine at the right time interval. Data cannot be used for civil or criminal enforcement and cannot be used for immigration enforcement. For more information on NJIIS, refer to this NJDOH document.

The currently authorized vaccines to prevent COVID-19 in the United States require 2 shots to get the most protection: Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart and Moderna doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart. 

 

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. 

People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. 

No, none of the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized within the United States contain the live virus that can make you sick with COVID-19. If you check out this CDC Vaccine page, it explains how vaccines are created and recommended to ensure safety to those who take the vaccine. Hopefully, this information will ease your mind when you think about getting the COVID-19 vaccination since the vaccine itself cannot make you sick with COVID-19 upon administration. 

 

As we know, there are several COVID-19 vaccines in development that teach our immune systems how to recognize and ultimately fight against the COVID-19 virus. Even if it does cause some symptoms to show after its administration, such as fever, it is completely normal. Having some symptoms after COVID-19 vaccine administration is a way of your body building protection against the COVID-19 virus. 

 

It does take a few weeks for the body to build immunity or protection against the virus after vaccination, meaning that it is possible an individual could be infected just before or after the vaccination. Why? It is because the recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine might not have had enough time to provide protection to your body since it takes weeks to build immunity. That is why it is important to self-isolate when possible, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay six feet apart from others.

No. Neither authorized or recommended vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials within the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which only show if you have a current infection. 

If your body does develop an immune response, you may develop a positive test on some antibody tests, which indicates if you had a previous infection and may have some protection against the virus.  

Yes, it is essential that you should get vaccinated against COVID-19 even though you already had it. Experts recommend getting vaccinated since they do not know how long one is protected from getting the virus after COVID-19 recovery. It is possible that you may get infected with COVID-19 again, even though it is rare.

 

If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine and talk to your doctor if you are unsure about the treatments you received or have questions about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine intends to protect and teach your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID. Meaning, this vaccine will protect you from getting sick with COVID-19. 

 

Being protected from getting sick with COVID-19 is essential to keeping as many people safe as possible. Even though some individuals may only get mildly sick with COVID-19, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. Since there is no way to predict how COVID-19 will affect you or others around you, it is essential to think about getting the vaccine and taking precautions to protect yourself from spreading the virus. 

No, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will not alter or interfere with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines or mRNA vaccines are the first COVID-19 vaccines to be authorized in the United States. These mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. 

 

Meaning, the mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is kept and will not affect our DNA in any way. The COVID-19 vaccine will help with the body’s natural defences to build immunity to disease and protect us from future infections. By the end of the process, our bodies after the COVID-19 vaccine will make antibodies that will protect us from the COVID-19 virus if it enters our body. 

Yes, it is safe for people who would like to start a family to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts believe that the COVID-19 vaccine is unlikely to pose a risk to those who are trying to become pregnant in the short term or long term. 

 

The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus to prevent future illness. There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from the COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. There is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

Vaccination resources

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