Skip to navigation Skip to Content
Join a world-class health system. Find jobs

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Get answers to all of your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Skip to a section

Click a link below to skip to a specific section in the video.
0:11: What makes you the expert when it comes to COVID-19?
3:03: Can you tell us about the mRNA vaccines?
6:54: Can you tell us about the side effects and safety of the mRNA vaccines?
12:28: What is an immediate allergic reaction?
14:28: Should pregnant women get the vaccine?
16:20: What are the differences between the vaccines?
19:51: Will the vaccines offer protection from variant strains?
23:46: Are the symptoms of the variant strains different?
25:26: Which vaccine should I get?
26:39: Should people with chronic diseases get the vaccine?
27:43: Should people who have had a previous COVID-19 infection get the vaccine?

Safety

Image of Vaccine Safety Graphic

• No safety concerns were found for up to 8 weeks following vaccination of more than 15,000 people during each clinical trial.

• More than 200 million doses have been administered as of April 27, 2021.

• No serious problems have been linked to the vaccines except rare cases of immediate allergic reaction and rare cases of blood clots in women after receiving the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine.

What are the short-term side effects of the vaccine?

• Pain at the injection site is common. Many people also develop symptoms such as fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches. These side effects are expected and due to your immune system responding normally to the vaccine. Most side effects are mild to moderate and resolve after 1–2 days. For second dose vaccines, these side effects are most common after the second dose. In rare cases, serious allergic reactions can occur after receiving the vaccine. If you have a history of allergic reaction after vaccination or injectable medication, talk to your provider.

What are the long-term health risks of the vaccine?

• The vaccine has been tested on tens of thousands of people in initial clinical trials. No serious safety concerns were reported in these trials. However, more monitoring is needed to better understand if there are any long term side effects beyond the timeframe of the clinical trials. Ongoing safety monitoring through existing programs will continue to address safety concerns with the vaccine in real-time. The programs include the Vaccine Safety Datalink, Clinical Safety Assessment project, Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting Systems and new monitoring systems such as the V-SAFE program and the National Healthcare Safety Network.

How was the vaccine developed so quickly?

• Basic science research over two decades led to breakthroughs and proof that mRNA and viral vector vaccines can generate immunity. Clinical trials were overlapped to shorten the timeline, cutting out much of the red tape in the process. Production of the vaccine also occurred before clinical trials were completed. The federal government provided financial support to speed up vaccine development. The FDA was then able to give the vaccine emergency use authorization based on strong evidence that vaccine benefits outweigh risks.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine alter your DNA?

• No, mRNA vaccines do not alter DNA. The biochemistry of DNA and RNA is well-understood, and mRNA vaccines never enter the part of your cell that house the DNA. There are only a few copies of the vaccine mRNA in the cell, and the mRNA is broken down quickly to harmless molecules. Learn more about mRNA vaccines here.

How likely are long-term side effects to happen with the COVID-19 vaccine?

• Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following COVID-19 vaccination. Long-term side effects following any vaccination are extremely rare. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that if side effects are going to happen, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.

How long have we been vaccinating individuals?

• The COVID-19 vaccines were provided to the first recipients during phase 1 clinical trials in early 2020. This means some individuals have had their vaccine for more than a year. We are verging on six months since we started to vaccinate Americans outside of clinical trials, the first of which being health care professionals. At Marshfield Clinic Health System, 99.2% of our doctors have already been vaccinated.

Does the vaccine give you COVID-19?

• No. The vaccine cannot cause COVID-19. The vaccine is manufactured without live viruses, and the mRNA vaccine generates a single protein that triggers the immune response.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain a microchip that can track you?

• No. There is no microchip or tracking device in the vaccine.

Effectiveness

• The COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective against symptomatic COVID-19.

• Protection continues at a high level for at least 3–4 months. We do not know how long the vaccine will prevent COVID-19.

• This vaccine is highly effective in older adults, in people with chronic disease and in people at high risk for severe COVID-19. It has not been studied in pregnant women or individuals that are immunocompromised.


Image of COVID Vaccine Effectiveness Graphic

Will the protection the vaccine offers last?

• At this time, we don’t know how long the protection from the vaccine will last. The initial studies have shown the vaccine to provide protection from COVID-19 infection for the duration of the trials. There will be ongoing monitoring of the vaccination.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine provide protection from the new COVID-19 variant from the UK?

• Yes, researchers expect the COVID-19 vaccine will protect people against the new strain, and studies are underway to confirm this. The new strain, known as B.1.1.7 (B-117), was first discovered circulating widely in England during November and December of 2020. It has now been confirmed in Wisconsin and other states. Epidemiologic and modeling studies indicate that the B-117 strain spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19). The new strain does not cause more severe illness or increased risk of death. However, it could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths by infecting more people. Mask use, social distancing and other public health measures are very important to control the spread of the B-117 strain.

Is natural infection from COVID-19 better than an actual vaccine?

• No. Natural infection leads to death in about 1% of infected people, and it has caused more than 300,000 deaths in the U.S. during 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine provides almost full protection against illness without any serious safety concerns. The strength and duration of protection after natural infection is not known, and you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine even if you had a prior infection.

Women & Children

COVID 19 Pregnancy Graphic

• There is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine causes increased risk to mothers or babies.

• There is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility.

• No safety concerns were found for up to eight weeks following vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in more than 1,100 adolescents (12-15 years of age) during the phase 3 clinical trial.

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

• We now have real-world data on more than 100,000 women who received the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant, including published results from nearly 4,000 pregnant women who chose to be vaccinated showing there is no evidence for increased risk to mothers or babies. Even still, CDC continues to monitor COVID-19 vaccine safety in pregnant women and vaccine manufacturers are currently conducting clinical trials to assess safety and vaccine immune response in pregnant women. This information is added to the fact that many other vaccines are safely given to pregnant women every day.

Can the protection the COVID-19 vaccine provides be passed onto an unborn or breastfed child?

• Antibodies formed after vaccination have been found in the umbilical cord blood and in breastmilk. Pregnant and breastfeeding women may be sharing their COVID-19 immunity with their child.

Does the vaccine cause infertility?

• There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility. Researchers studied fertility in animals for each of the COVID-19 vaccines. The research found that the COVID-19 vaccines did not affect fertility in the animals. The research also found that the COVID-19 vaccines did not cause any issues with the development of the babies while in the womb. A letter by two anti-vaccination bloggers fueled the rumors about infertility..

Were there any safety concerns with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents 12-15 years of age in clinical trials?

• No safety concerns were found for up to eight weeks following vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in more than 1,100 adolescents (12-15 years of age) during the phase 3 clinical trial. These results are comparable to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial results for older populations. More than 130 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine have now been administered safely in the U.S. Adolescents that received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had similar side effects to other age groups. Pain at the injection site is common. Many adolescents also developed symptoms such as fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches.

How effective is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in adolescents 12-15 years of age?

• The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine generated a strong antibody response and was 100% effective against symptomatic COVID-19 during the phase 3 clinical trial where 1,100 adolescents (12-15 years of age) received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Will adolescents receive the same dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as adults?

• Adolescents will receive the same amount of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as other age groups. Like adults, they should also receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in two doses, three weeks apart.

If adolescents and teens receive the COVID-19 vaccine, can they stop wearing masks and being quarantined?

• There are many life changes that can be made if adolescents and teens receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes:   

  • No more missing school or extracurricular activities for a COVID-19 exposure, as long as they have no symptoms. If symptoms develop, they would need to get tested.   
  • When in a private indoor setting, a vaccinated adolescent or teen can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household that are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease without wearing masks or physical distancing.   
  • When in a private setting, a vaccinated adolescent or teen can gather with their friends and family that are fully vaccinated without wearing a mask or social distancing.

  • Availability, Cost & Administration

    • The Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines are available at several locations throughout the Health System.

    • There is no supply issues with any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

    • All individuals 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

    • The COVID-19 vaccine is free, but your insurance will be billed for a vaccine administration fee. If you do not have insurance, the administration fee will be covered by a federal grant.

    Image of COVID Vaccine graphic 'Availabilty and cost'

    How do I get the COVID-19 vaccine through Marshfield Clinic Health System?

    • You can get the vaccine several ways through the Health System. Learn more about each option and how these options differ here. The options include:   

  • Self-scheduling online   
  • Walk-in clinics   
  • Completing a form to request an appointment   
  • Calling to request an appointment

  • Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • All individuals age 12 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals age 12-17 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

    Does supply of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to be an issue?

    • No. We have an ample supply of the COVID-19 vaccine available at many of our vaccination clinics.

    Will there be enough vaccine for individuals when they need their second dose?

    • Yes.

    What is the cost of the vaccine?

    • Vaccines will be provided to patients at no cost. Your insurance will be billed for a vaccine administration fee, but all private/public insurance will cover this cost. If you are uninsured, the cost will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

    What does the expiration date mean on the vaccination record card I received after the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • This date refers to the expiration of the vial of vaccine. It is not when the protection the vaccine provides ends. We do not yet know how long the vaccine protection lasts.

    Do I need my ID to get the vaccine?

    • You do not need an ID to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, nor can you be turned away for not having an ID. However, you may be asked to provide an ID to confirm your appointment. If you are an undocumented immigrant, you can get vaccinated.

    Do I need to get the same vaccine for my second dose as I did for my first dose?

    • Yes. Both mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two doses to be complete. These mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable with each other or with other COVID-19 vaccine products. The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series has not been evaluated. Both doses of the series should be completed with the same product. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is a single dose product.

    How long do I have to stay after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    CDC currently recommends the following:   

  • Persons with a history of anaphylaxis due to any cause or history of immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a vaccine or injectable therapy: 30 minutes   
  • All other persons: 15 minutes

  • Is there anything I need to know about getting my second dose of the vaccine?

    • When you come in for your second COVID-19 vaccine appointment, make sure to bring your COVID-19 vaccination card. You should also make sure you are receiving the same vaccine you received during the first appointment. Some people experience more severe side effects following the second dose of the vaccine.

    Medication & Health Conditions

    Graphic of 'Medication and Health Conditions' Vaccine graphic

    • Everyone should get the COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your provider if you have any concerns.

    • Only those that have received a previous allergic reaction to a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    • You do not need to stop or begin taking any medicine when you receive your COVID-19 vaccine.

    If I’ve had COVID-19 already, do I still need the vaccine?

    • Yes, the vaccine is recommended for everyone 12 and older even if they have previously had COVID-19. Infection provides at least some protection for several months, but it is unknown how long that protection lasts. Before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you must have recovered from the illness and passed the isolation period.

    If I’ve received passive antibody therapy, do I need to wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • If you have received passive antibody therapy, you should wait 90 days since your last treatment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Are we conducting antibody testing after COVID-19 vaccination?

    • At this time, antibody testing is not currently recommended to assess for immunity to COVID-19 following COVID-19 vaccination or to assess the need for vaccination in an unvaccinated person. Based on clinician assessment, if evidence of immunity is needed for medical reasons, a provider may decide to request antibody testing to determine if natural immunity or vaccine-induced antibodies are present.

    Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I recently received a different vaccine?

    • COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered simultaneously, on the same day or within 14 days of each other.

    If I have underlying health issues (co-morbidities), can I still get the vaccine?

    • Clinical trials demonstrated similar safety and efficacy profiles in persons with some underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, compared to persons without comorbidities. However, you should talk to your provider before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine because there are special precautions for certain individuals.

    Should I still get the vaccine if I had a positive antibody test for the virus?

    • Yes. A positive antibody test means you were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19), but it does not mean you are protected from getting reinfected. Vaccination is safe and recommended for people with and without prior infection with SARS-CoV-2.

    How does COVID-19 vaccination affect COVID-19 testing?

    • If you previously received a COVID-19 vaccination, it will not affect the results of COVID-19 viral tests including nucleic acid amplification or antigen tests.

    Will I need to stop any medications prior to vaccination?

    • No. There are currently no medications that have been listed as being contraindicated in individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccines.

    Should I take an antihistamine medication like Benadryl or Claritin prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent an allergic reaction from happening?

    • No. According to the CDC, taking an antihistamine prior to receiving the vaccine could mask the signs of a reaction and delay treatment. Antihistamines are not recommended prior to getting the vaccine. Antihistamines can be taken after onset of an allergic reaction to relieve symptoms of itching.

    Should I take medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen before my COVID-19 vaccine?

    • Medicating before vaccination with pain relievers or fever reducers is usually not needed for any vaccine. With the COVID-19 vaccine, there have been some reports that taking NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen before vaccination will interfere with immune response. This has not been confirmed with studies. However, because of the lack of studies, the recommendation at this time is avoid NSAIDS (such as ibuprofen or naproxen) immediately before COVID-19 vaccination unless instructed otherwise by your provider. You may take medications such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs after your vaccination for symptom relief if needed. If you develop side effects like muscle aches, headache or fever, you can self-medicate like you normally would after a vaccination. If you have questions about a NSAID that you were prescribed or recommended to take regularly such as aspirin, please talk with your provider for guidance.

    About Each Vaccine

    Our nationally-recognized infectious disease providers and epidemiologists agree with other experts that the vaccine:

    • Does not cause serious side effects,

    • Has not resulted in long-term health concerns to this point and

    • Are effective at preventing COVID-19.


    Below are answers to common questions.


    Image of COVID-19 'About the Vaccine' Graphic

    About the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

    Is the vaccine effective?

    • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is 95% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. Protection is high even in older adults and people with chronic diseases. There is some evidence the vaccine also protects against severe COVID-19. Protection continues at a high level for at least 6 months. We do not yet know if protection will decline over time or if a booster dose will be needed.

    What do we know about long-term safety after vaccination?

    • Safety was carefully assessed in the clinical trial that vaccinated more than 20,000 people. No safety concerns were found during 8 weeks after completing vaccination, providing a high level of confidence in vaccine safety. It is possible that a rare vaccine-related problem could occur with longer follow-up in larger groups, and there are several monitoring systems in place to make sure any safety issues are quickly found and investigated.

    Can the vaccine cause serious allergic reactions?

    • There have been reports of rare, but serious allergic reactions occurring immediately after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. These are currently being investigated. CDC currently recommends that people with a past history of severe allergic reaction after vaccination or injectable medication should talk to their provider before getting vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate. If you have allergies you are concerned about, talk to your provider.

    What are the ingredients in the vaccine?

    • The vaccine is manufactured without any human or animal cells, including embryonic stem cells. No live virus is used for vaccine production.

    • Ingredients include: mRNA, lipids, cholesterol, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate and sucrose.

    Should I expect any side effects after vaccination?

    • Yes. Pain at the injection site is common and many people develop symptoms such as fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches. These are mild to moderate in most people and typically resolve after 1-2 days. Lymph nodes may also become swollen and tender on the same side as the injection. These side effects occur because the immune system is responding normally to the vaccine. In general, these side effects are more severe after the second dose, and they may be less severe in older adults.

    How long should I wait between receiving dose one and two of my Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?

    • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine should be given three weeks (21 days) apart. The second dose should be administered as close to three weeks as possible, but it can be given up to six weeks apart if needed. At Marshfield Clinic Health System, we are scheduling second dose appointments as we are scheduling first dose appointments with the correct time in between doses.

    Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a gene from the virus. These vaccines cannot cause COVID-19.

    How does the vaccine work?

    • The COVID-19 vaccine uses mRNA as assembly instructions to tell your cells how to make a part of the virus, triggering an immune response. The mRNA provides instructions to make a single protein, thus it cannot create a living virus or cause COVID-19. The mRNA never enters the part of your cell that houses DNA, so it also cannot alter your DNA. mRNA vaccines have been studied for the past two decades and have undergone clinical trials for other infectious diseases including zika, influenza and rabies. Over that time, this process has been proven to be safe in these other clinical trials. Learn more about mRNA vaccines here.

    How is the vaccine given?

    • The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is given in 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. The vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle.


    About the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

    Is the vaccine effective?

    • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. Protection is high even in older adults and people with chronic diseases. There is some evidence the vaccine also protects against severe COVID-19. Protection continues at a high level for at least 3-4 months. We do not yet know if protection will decline over time or if a booster dose will be needed.

    What do we know about long-term safety after vaccination?

    • Safety was carefully assessed in the clinical trial that vaccinated more than 15,000 people. No safety concerns were found during 8 weeks after completing vaccination, providing a high level of confidence in vaccine safety. It is possible that a rare vaccine-related problem could occur with longer follow-up in larger groups, and there are several monitoring systems in place to make sure any safety issues are quickly found and investigated.

    Can the vaccine cause serious allergic reactions?

    • There have been reports of rare, but serious allergic reactions occurring immediately after receiving the vaccine. These are currently being investigated. CDC currently recommends that people with a past history of severe allergic reaction after vaccination or injectable medication should talk to their provider before getting vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. This includes allergic reactions to polyethylene glycol or polysorbate. If you have allergies you are concerned about, talk to your provider. During the Dec. 16, 2020 System Leaders’ Meeting, Dr. Edward Belongia provided an answer to this question. Watch the video clip. Additional guidance can be found here.

    Should I expect any side effects after vaccination?

    • Yes. Pain at the injection site is common and many people develop symptoms such as fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches. These are mild to moderate in most people and typically resolve after 1-2 days. Lymph nodes may also become swollen and tender on the same side as the injection. These side effects occur because the immune system is responding normally to the vaccine. In general, these side effects are more severe after the second dose, and they may be less severe in older adults.

    How long should I wait between receiving dose one and two of my Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

    • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be given four weeks (28 days) apart. The second dose should be administered as close to four weeks as possible, but it can be given up to six weeks apart if needed. At Marshfield Clinic Health System, we are scheduling second dose appointments as we are scheduling first dose appointments with the correct time in between doses. Please make sure you are scheduled at 28 days from your first dose if you received the Moderna vaccine.

    What are the ingredients in the vaccine?

    • The vaccine is manufactured without any human or animal cells, including embryonic stem cells. No live virus is used for vaccine production.

    • Ingredients include: mRNA, lipids (including polyethylene glycol), cholesterol, potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate and sucrose.

    Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a gene from the virus. These vaccines cannot cause COVID-19.

    How does the vaccine work?

    • The COVID-19 vaccine uses mRNA as assembly instructions to tell your cells how to make a part of the virus, triggering an immune response. The mRNA provides instructions to make a single protein, thus it cannot create a living virus or cause COVID-19. The mRNA never enters the part of your cell that houses DNA, so it also cannot alter your DNA. mRNA vaccines have been studied for the past two decades and have undergone clinical trials for other infectious diseases including zika, influenza and rabies. Over that time, this process has been proven to be safe in these other clinical trials. Learn more about mRNA vaccines here.

    How is the vaccine given?

    • The Moderna vaccine is given in 2 doses, 4 weeks apart. The vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle.


    About the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine

    Why did the CDC and FDA pause the use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine?

    • The CDC and FDA recommended the U.S. pause the use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reported U.S. cases of rare and severe blood clots called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). The Janssen vaccine has since resumed use after a careful safety review. These women experienced symptoms 6-15 days after receiving the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. These women experienced a rare combination of a blood clot with low platelet counts. Some of these women had headaches, abdominal pain or fever, while others had more serious health concerns such as a stroke. The typical treatment for blood clots is heparin, which helps the body prevent blood clots and helps the body break down existing clots. However, for patients with low platelet counts, use of heparin can cause serious health issues. The CDC and FDA paused the use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine to help providers identify these specific cases so they can treat these patients correctly. The chance of an individual getting a blood clot after receiving the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is very rare - less than three people in a million. Individuals should continue to monitor for any post-vaccination symptoms. If they have shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain, severe headaches, blurred vision, easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin within three weeks of vaccination, they should contact our 24/7 Nurse Line at 1-844-342-6276 or their health care provider. Individuals should continue to use the V-safe program to report side effects. Health care providers should report moderate to severe side effects to VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System).

    Is the vaccine effective?

    • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is 66% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. Protection is high even in older adults and people with chronic diseases. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe COVID-19. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 provides a strong antibody response.We do not yet know if protection will decline over time or if a booster dose will be needed.

    How many doses do I need for the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine?

    • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is a single dose vaccine.

    What do we know about long-term safety after vaccination?

    • Safety was carefully assessed in the clinical trial that enrolled more than 20,000 people. No safety concerns were found during 8 weeks after completing vaccination, providing a high level of confidence in vaccine safety. In rare cases, women between the ages of 18–59 have experienced cases of severe blood clots with low platelets counts 6–15 days after receiving the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine.

    Can the vaccine cause serious allergic reactions?

    • Rare allergic reactions are possible with any vaccine. If you have allergies you are concerned about, talk to your provider.

    Should I expect any side effects after vaccination?

    • Yes. Pain at the injection site is common and many people develop symptoms such as fatigue, headache, chills and muscle aches. These are mild to moderate in most people and typically resolve after 1-2 days. Lymph nodes may also become swollen and tender on the same side as the injection. These side effects occur because the immune system is responding normally to the vaccine.

    Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vectors cannot cause COVID-19 infection because it uses a modified version of a different, harmless virus to provide the protection.

    How does the vaccine work?

    • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses a modified version of a different virus to deliver instructions using genetic material to the cells. This modified version is called a vector. Viral vector vaccines have been studied since the 1970s and have undergone clinical trials for other infectious diseases including Ebola. The viral vector never enters the part of your cell that houses DNA, so it also cannot alter your DNA.

    Does the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine contain cells from aborted fetuses?

    • The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any cells from aborted fetuses. However, Janssen did use fetal cell lines in the development and production of their COVID-19 vaccine. These specific fetal cell lines were reproduced from retinal cells that were taken from an aborted fetus in 1985. The Catholic Church, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops believe it is morally acceptable to receive a COVID-19 vaccine that requires fetal cell lines for production or manufacture. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has stated, “Given the urgency of this crisis, the lack of available alternative vaccines, and the fact that the connection between an abortion that occurred decades ago and receiving a vaccine produced today is remote, inoculation with the new COVID-19 vaccines in these circumstances can be morally justified.” Individuals are encouraged to discuss this issue with their faith leader or an expert of bioethics. For more information on this topic, go here.

    What are the ingredients in the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine?

    • The ingredients include recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80 and sodium chloride.

    How is the vaccine given?

    • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is given in a single dose. The vaccine is given as an injection into the muscle.