COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
At this time, we are unable to schedule vaccine appointments as we await more doses. Please check back for updates. To find another vaccination site, please click here.
What are the vaccines?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued emergency use authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines to be distributed in the US: one developed by Pfizer andBioNTech, and another by maker Moderna. Both vaccines utilize the same technology, and neither contains live strains of the virus.
There are other vaccines still in clinical trials that may be released at later dates.
Are they effective?
Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are extremely effective, with more than 94% efficacy rates for protecting against COVID-19. The vaccines were both effective for different races and genders, as well as for people with underlying medical conditions.
Are they safe?
All vaccines must be rigorously tested before they can be released to the public. While these vaccines were approved for emergency use, they are still held to the same safety standards as other vaccines. Collectively, the vaccines have already been given to more than 1.1 million people worldwide as of December 18th. Some mild to moderate side effects are common for both vaccines including swelling, pain, redness at the injection site, fatigue, and rarely, a low-grade fever that resolves within about 24 hours.
How do the vaccines work?
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not contain a live virus. Instead, these vaccines use a technique (known as mRNA, or messenger RNA) that teach the cells in your body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response if the real virus – in this case COVID-19 – enters your body. You cannot become infected with COVID-19 by taking these vaccines. This does not mean, however, that you may not experience side-effects. However, these side-effects are actually a sign that the vaccine is doing its job. Side-effects such as fatigue, soreness, or even a low-grade fever are a normal response to show that your body’s defense mechanisms are in place.
Who should get the vaccine?
When it is available, everyone should consider getting the vaccine and the following groups should be prioritized:
- Health care workers
- Workers in other essential and critical industries
- People 65 years and older
- People at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions including:
- Chronic kidney disease
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
- Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
- Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
There is limited information concerning vaccination in certain circumstances such as pregnancy. In these instances, discuss options with your medical provider as it may vary on a case-by-case basis.
When can I get the vaccine?
*At this time, we are unable to schedule vaccine appointments as we await more doses. Please check back for updates. To find another vaccination site, please click here.*
At Callen-Lorde, we are currently able to offer the vaccine to our patients who are 65 and older at this time. If you fall under another eligibility category but are not 65+, please use this vaccination finder to schedule an appointment at another site.
I’m not high-risk, why do I need to get the vaccine?
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, most people will need to be vaccinated. When enough people are vaccinated, there is not enough virus circulating, so even unvaccinated people are protected. This is called “herd immunity.” For example, herd immunity against measles requires that 95% of the population be vaccinated, which protects the remaining 5%. When you get vaccinated, you are also protecting members of our community who are unable to get the vaccine.
If I already had COVID-19, or if I tested positive for antibodies, do I still need the vaccine?
Yes. The FDA has stated that everyone should get a vaccine regardless of antibody status. Early results show that even people with COVID-19 antibodies benefitted from the vaccine.
If I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?
Yes. While the vaccines are very effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 and severe complications (meaning getting sick enough to have symptoms and/or be hospitalized), we do not yet know whether it is possible to be asymptomatic (meaning to be infected with the virus, but show no symptoms) and spread it to others. This is why it is still important to wear masks and practice physical distancing even if you are vaccinated until “herd immunity” is achieved.
For further information, please see: