COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
What vaccines are available?
COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States. It is important to understand what is known about each vaccine. The CDC provides vaccine information on who is and is not recommended to receive each vaccine and what to expect after vaccination, as well as ingredients, safety, and effectiveness.
Currently, three vaccines are authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is for ages 12 and older. Two doses are needed, 21 days apart.
- Moderna vaccine is for ages eighteen and older. Two doses are needed, 28 days apart.
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is for ages 18 and older. One dose is needed.
Why do we need a vaccine?
Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your community. A COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick and potentially prevent you from spreading the virus to others. It is important to note that a vaccine will not replace the need to continue other actions that stop the spread of COVID-19. The vaccine is not mandatory, yet highly encouraged by healthcare experts.
What if I lost my vaccination card or never received one?
Many people received a COVID-19 vaccine card when they received their vaccination. Some did not get a card and others have lost, misplaced, or forgotten to enter the information needed. Individuals who need complete and official proof of their COVID-19 vaccinations have a couple of options:
- If you received your vaccine at Horizon Public Health Services, you can call 800-450-4177 Option 3 and request your vaccination information. Please include your full name, date of birth and phone number to contact you.
- If you received your vaccine at a provider or pharmacy, contact the provider directly and ask to have a copy of your vaccine record emailed, mailed to you, or available for pick up from your provider.
- If you received your vaccine at any provider in Minnesota, use the link below to request a copy of your vaccine record from MIIC (Minnesota Immunization Information Connection). This may take 5-8 business days to process.
- MIIC Immunization Record Request
Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Can I travel safely if I’ve been vaccinated?
The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated because travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. However, fully vaccinated individuals can travel safely within the United States. Find more information about travel guidelines from the CDC.
After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
Pfizer-BioNTech requires two doses 3 weeks apart. Moderna vaccines require two doses 4 weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen requires only one shot.You will schedule an appointment to receive your second dose when you schedule your first.
On August 13, 2021, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) made an interim recommendation for use of an additional dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (for persons aged 12 years or older) or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (for persons aged 18 years of age or older) after an initial 2-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series for moderately to severely immunocompromised people. The additional dose should be administered at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
The currently FDA-emergency use authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not live vaccines are not live vaccines and therefore can be safely administered to immunocompromised people. Studies indicate some immunocompromised people have a reduced immune response following a primary COVID-19 vaccine series compared to vaccine recipients who are not immunocompromised.
How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
The federal government covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine; it will be provided to people at no cost. Providers will be able to charge an administration fee. This can be reimbursed through the patient’s insurance or the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. So, people getting the vaccine may be asked for insurance information.
Aren’t masking, physical distancing, and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?
Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., masking, physical distancing, and self-quarantining alone will not be enough to contain the pandemic. Developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.
Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped. Until then, COVID-19 spread can continue in the community from people who have or don’t have symptoms.
A person can be contagious for as many as 14 days without symptoms. A person can develop symptoms but be contagious before symptoms start. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others, beginning two days before symptoms develop and up to 10 days after becoming sick.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
About 15% of people develop symptoms, primarily headache, chills, fatigue, or muscle pain, or fever. These transient reactions, which indicate a person’s immune system is responding to the vaccine, resolved without complication or injury.
How long will a COVID-19 vaccination offer protection?
It is not yet known how long COVID-19 vaccination will offer protection. Periodic boosters, such as with the annual flu shot, may or may not be needed.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I got the flu vaccine?
Can those who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes. We recommend getting vaccinated for COVID-19, even for those who have had COVID-19 previously. People should wait until they are no longer infectious to get vaccinated.