COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccines & Boosters

If you are not vaccinated, please visit this section of the CDC website.

For more information about COVID-19 boosters, please visit this section of the CDC website.

COVID-19 Vaccine Approval Process

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines.

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two administrations approximately 21 days apart between doses.
  • The Moderna vaccine requires two administrations approximately 28 days apart between doses.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine requires one administration.

Common Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccines

The most commonly reported side effects for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccines include the following:

In the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Benefits of the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
  • Experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
  • The combination of getting vaccinated, boosted and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Source: CDC

COVID-19 Vaccine Terminology

  • ACIP – The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
  • CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person (much like the flu or common cold) through the air by coughing or sneezing; through close personal contact, like touching or shaking hands; by touching an objector surface with the viruses on it; and occasionally, through fecal contamination.
  • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for a vaccine is based on the need to use a vaccine quickly to save lives during a public health emergency
    • EUA is a shorter process, but no steps are skipped in the safety evaluation process
    • An EUA does NOT imply that the authorization was done too quickly or that the vaccine is not safe
  • FDA – Food and Drug Administration
  • Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. These vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. This immune response, which includes making antibodies, protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
  • Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The cell displays the spike protein on its surface, and our immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.
  • VRBPAC – The Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee