Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccinations

Tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us get back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love.

Scientists had a head start. The vaccines were built upon years of work to develop vaccines for similar viruses.

Tested, safe and effective. More than 70,000 people volunteered in clinical trials for two vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) to see if they are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness. Volunteers included Black/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinx, Asians and others. To date, the vaccines are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no serious safety concerns noted in the clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure the vaccines are safe and can prevent people from getting COVID-19. Like all drugs, vaccine safety continues to be monitored after they are in use.

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. You may have temporary reactions like a sore arm, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine.

Supplies are very limited. Right now, very few vaccine doses are available.

Take your shot at no cost. The COVID-19 vaccine is available for free, whether or not you have insurance.

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Vaccine Safety

Are there vaccines that are safe and work in preventing COVID-19?

Are there vaccines that are safe and work in preventing COVID-19?

Yes. Two vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have proven to prevent COVID-19 illness with no safety concerns in the clinical trials. They are 95% effective.

 

Who makes sure the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19?

Who makes sure the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure all food and drugs are safe. The COVID-19 vaccines must pass clinical trials like other drugs and vaccines. The FDA checks the work and authorizes vaccines only if they are safe and effective. Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people to prevent serious diseases, they’re held to very high safety standards.

The FDA can get vaccines to people faster through an Emergency Use Authorization. After the FDA has authorized a vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) independent advisory committee reviews the data before advising the CDC on recommending a vaccine for use among the general public. Like all vaccines, the FDA keeps checking safety through the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Health care providers are required to report serious side effects, or if someone gets seriously ill with COVID-19. There is also a smartphone-based health checker called V-SAFE that uses text messaging and web surveys to do health check-ins after people receive a COVID-19 vaccination. People can report any problems they may have with a vaccine through V-SAFE.

Vaccine Development and Authorization

What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allows the FDA to get a safe COVID-19 vaccine to you quickly during a public health emergency. An independent advisory committee makes sure the vaccines are safe and work before issuing an EUA.

  • Pfizer applied for an EUA on November 20, 2020, the advisory committee recommended authorization on December 10, 2020 and the EUA was approved on December 11, 2020.
  • Moderna applied for an EUA on November 30, 2020, the advisory committee recommended authorization on December 17, 2020 and the EUA was approved on December 18, 2020.
What happens after an EUA is issued?

What happens after an EUA is issued?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) decides who should be vaccinated to make sure the vaccine is safe and works for those who get it.

How do the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work?

How do the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work?

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA to give your body temporary instructions to make a protein. This protein safely teaches your body to make antibodies (germ-fighting cells) against the COVID-19 virus. These germ-fighting cells are then ready to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you. Your body naturally breaks down the mRNA and protein from the vaccine. There is no virus in the vaccine.

What are the differences between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

What are the differences between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work the same way to prevent people from getting COVID-19. Both vaccines require two doses and both are very effective in preventing someone from getting COVID-19. The clinical trial showed no serious safety concerns.

The vaccines are stored differently. The Moderna vaccine does not need to be stored as cold as the Pfizer vaccine, so more providers will be able to easily use it. While both vaccines require two doses, the time between doses is different. The Moderna vaccine doses are given 4 weeks apart. The Pfizer vaccine doses are given 3 weeks apart. Who can get the vaccine is also different. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for adults aged 18 and older and the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people aged 16 and older.

The temporary reactions are similar for both vaccines. Temporary reactions may include a sore arm, headache and feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine. More people who were in the Moderna clinical trials experienced these temporary reactions. The reactions are more common after the second dose than the first dose.  Younger people are more likely to have reactions than older people. Neither vaccine can give you COVID-19.

What other COVID-19 vaccines are being developed and considered?

What other COVID-19 vaccines are being developed and considered?

It is difficult to say when other vaccines will be available. As of February 2021, Phase 3 clinical trials (the last phase) are in progress, being planned, or completed in the United States for three COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen’s) COVID-19 vaccine.  Johnson & Johnson applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration on February 4, 2021. A hearing is scheduled for February 26.
  • AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine
  • Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine

You cannot get COVID-19 from any of these vaccines in development.  All three vaccines teach your body to make antibodies (germ-fighting cells) against the COVID-19 virus. These germ-fighting cells are then ready to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you.

 

Will I be able to choose which vaccine I get?

Will I be able to choose which vaccine I get?

Due to the very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, we strongly recommend people take the vaccine that is offered to them. The two available vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna, both use mRNA technology and are both 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for adults over the age of 16, while the Moderna vaccine is approved for adults 18 and older.

Will the vaccine work against new variants of the COVID-19 virus?

Will the vaccine work against new variants of the COVID-19 virus?

All viruses change over time and these changes (or variants) are expected. Scientists are currently working to learn more about new COVID-19 variants and their effects on vaccines.

We do know that some of the new variants spread more easily, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to keep practicing the 3Ws: washing your hands, waiting six feet apart and wearing a mask around people you don’t live with. More information can be found on the CDC website.

 

How can someone enroll in a clinical trial for a vaccine?

How can someone enroll in a clinical trial for a vaccine?

Over 100 vaccines for COVID-19 are under development and many are in clinical trials that are recruiting participants. People interested in enrolling in a COVID-19 vaccine trial may visit the following website: https://www.coronaviruspreventionnetwork.org/clinical-study-locations/.

What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines?

What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines?

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use mRNA to give the cells in your body the instructions to make a protein that safely teaches your body how to make antibodies (germ-fighting cells) to fight the real COVID-19. Your body naturally destroys the mRNA and gets rid of it. It doesn’t stay nor does it alter any DNA in your body. The only other ingredients in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are salt, sugar and fat. The two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States do not contain eggs, preservatives, fetal tissue, stem cells, mercury or latex. For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:

Vaccine Shipping and Storage

How many vaccines will the state receive?

How many vaccines will the state receive?

States are receiving very limited supplies. The federal government decides how many COVID-19 vaccines each state gets based on the state’s population of people aged 18 and up. 

How will the vaccine be shipped?

How will the vaccine be shipped?

The federal government tells states how many vaccines they will get each week. NC DHHS then determines which vaccine providers will receive vaccine doses based on their ability to reach prioritized populations. The manufacturer (Pfizer or Moderna) ships the vaccines and vaccination supply kits directly to the local vaccine providers in North Carolina. 

How will the vaccine be stored?

How will the vaccine be stored?

North Carolina is working closely with providers to safely store vaccines that need ultra-cold storage or frozen storage. Vaccines that need ultra-cold storage will come with packaging and cooling material for places that do not have permanent ultra-cold storage. The Moderna vaccine does not need ultra-cold storage. The state, the manufacturer and the CDC will deliver training on COVID-19 vaccine storage, handling and administration. 

Getting Vaccinated

Who is being vaccinated first?

Who is being vaccinated first?

To save lives and slow the spread of COVID-19, independent state and federal public health advisory committees recommend first protecting health care workers, people who are at the highest risk of being hospitalized or dying and those at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. We are currently vaccinating people in Group 1 and Group 2 as defined below:

Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff and residents

  • Health care workers with in-person patient contact
  • Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and continuing care retirement communities

Any health care worker with in-person patient contact may now be vaccinated. Hospitals will give vaccines to staff on different days in case they have temporary reactions that may prevent them from working for a day or two. Long-term care staff and residents are also one of the first groups who will receive a vaccine. Most vaccinations at nursing homes, adult care homes and other long-term care settings are being managed by the federal government. However, the vaccines used in long-term care will come from North Carolina’s supply.

Group 2: Older adults

  • Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation

COVID-19 vaccinations are now available to people 65 and older. All people age 65 and older will be eligible to be vaccinated in this group. People 75 and older are prioritized to be vaccinated first, when possible. There is no requirement to have certain qualifying chronic conditions.
Because vaccine supplies are still limited, anyone eligible for vaccination may have to wait.
As more vaccines become available, vaccinations will be offered to everyone who wants one, including in clinics and drug stores, as well as at vaccination evens in communities.

Group 3: Frontline Essential Workers

  • Frontline essential workers are people who must be in-person at their place of work and work in one of these eight essential sectors: critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food and agriculture, government and community services, health care and public health, public safety and transportation.

Because vaccine supply is still very limited and the population of frontline essential workers is so large, North Carolina will begin with anyone working in child care or in PreK-12 schools starting on Feb. 24, 2021. North Carolina will open vaccinations to other frontline essential workers in Group 3 starting on March 10, 2021. Staff who are 65 and older will continue to be eligible to receive vaccine.

Learn more about who is in Group 1, Group 2, Group 3 and Group 4.

Which chronic conditions put someone at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, making them a higher priority for vaccination?

Which chronic conditions put someone at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, making them a higher priority for vaccination?

The CDC defines the chronic medical conditions that put someone at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Currently, the list includes asthma (moderate to severe), cancer, cerebrovascular disease or history of stroke, chronic kidney disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, dementia or other neurologic condition, diabetes type 1 or 2, Down Syndrome, serious heart condition (e.g., heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy), hypertension or high blood pressure, immunocompromised state (e.g., weakened immune system from immune deficiencies, HIV, taking chronic steroids or other immune weakening medicines, history of solid organ blood or bone marrow transplant), liver disease (including hepatitis), pulmonary fibrosis, overweight or obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease (not including sickle cell trait) or thalassemia, and smoking (current or former). This list of conditions may be updated by the CDC.

How is North Carolina promoting equity in its vaccination plan?

How is North Carolina promoting equity in its vaccination plan?

NCDHHS has a specific focus on earning trust with historically marginalized populations. Longstanding and continuing racial and ethnic injustices in our health care system contribute to lack of trust in vaccines. The department is partnering with trusted leaders and organizations to provide accurate information about COVID-19 vaccines to all North Carolinians and ensure equitable access to vaccines.

It is the responsibility of all vaccine providers to ensure equitable access to vaccines. This will mean taking intentional actions to reach and engage historically marginalized communities, such as partnering with providers who serve such communities to make the vaccine more accessible. 

NCDHHS is embedding racial, ethnic and geographic equity into all aspects of vaccine operations and holding itself and vaccine providers accountable.

How will I know when it’s my turn to get a vaccine?

How will I know when it’s my turn to get a vaccine?

The best way to fight COVID-19 is to start first with vaccines aimed at helping to slow the spread and save lives.

  • YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov is updated regularly with information about who can currently get vaccinated.
  • Find My Vaccine Group, is an online tool to help people know when they will be eligible to get their vaccine. By answering a few simple questions, Find My Vaccine Group helps you determine which vaccine group you are in and lets you sign up for an email notification when your group is open.

Talk with your health care provider or employer about where your spot is based on your health and job status. How quickly North Carolina moves through each group will depend on the available vaccine supply. Currently, supplies are very limited. We find out the week before how many doses of each vaccine we will receive from the federal government for the following week. This makes it difficult to know when we will move to the next group. 

Where will I be able to get vaccinated?

Where will I be able to get vaccinated?

Right now, very few vaccine doses are available. Information on where to take your shot against COVID-19 is available at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov. If it is your turn, your local health department or hospital can help you get your shot. Vaccination events are also available in some communities.

Find My Spot is an easy-to-use online tool to help individuals find their spot to get a vaccination in NC, including vaccine provider locations and contact information. North Carolinians enter their ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers. The Find a Vaccine Location tool will be updated regularly. Users should contact vaccine providers directly to see if they have vaccines and schedule appointments.

Be sure to schedule your vaccine appointment through a legitimate provider. You can find local vaccine providers through the NCDHHS Find My Spot tool. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein offers tips on how to avoid vaccine scams.

Because supplies are very limited, you may have to wait even if your group is eligible. Most doctors cannot provide vaccinations in their offices.  

As vaccines become more widely available, vaccinations will be offered to everyone who wants one in clinics and pharmacies, as well as vaccination events in communities. We will continue to expand the available sites so that people have a spot where they can easily get their vaccine.

When it’s your turn, you can get your shot from any local health department in the state, no matter where you live.

 

Do I need to be registered before I can get vaccinated?

Do I need to be registered before I can get vaccinated?

Everyone who is vaccinated will be registered so that vaccine providers know who has been vaccinated and with which vaccine to make sure people get the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. Most people vaccinated in North Carolina will be registered in COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS). Vaccine providers can register people in CVMS before their appointment. This pre-registration will send an email to the individual with online questions to complete before their vaccine appointment. Vaccine providers can also register people by phone or when they arrive in-person for their vaccine appointment. If the vaccine provider registers the individual, an email address is not required. Pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens doing vaccinations in long-term care facilities do not use CVMS to register patients before giving vaccines. These pharmacies will use their own systems for long-term care facilities.

Will I need to sign a consent form to get vaccinated?

Will I need to sign a consent form to get vaccinated?

You can provide verbal consent. Written consent is not generally required, but some providers may require or request written consent.

Does the state require or mandate vaccination?

Does the state require or mandate vaccination?

No. North Carolina has no plan to require people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. It is possible that some employers or schools will require vaccines for their employees or students.

What kind of identification will be required to be vaccinated?

What kind of identification will be required to be vaccinated?

North Carolina does not require a government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, to be vaccinated. Some vaccine providers may ask for a way to confirm your identity (name, date of birth) to make sure they are vaccinating the right person, so it is important to bring an item with your name on it (utility bill, faith ID, passport, matrícula consular, credit union member card, etc.). Vaccine providers should not withhold vaccinations or appointments for vaccinations because you cannot present identification.

Can Non-US Citizens get the vaccine?

Can Non-US Citizens get the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not they have health insurance and regardless of their immigration status. Information is kept confidential and won’t be shared with ICE for immigration enforcement. Getting the vaccine does not have a negative impact on people’s chances of adjusting their immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security released a statement on equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites.

Can you get a vaccine in a county you don't live in?

Can you get a vaccine in a county you don't live in?

Yes. The CDC has instructed states that this is a federal vaccine bought with federal funding. Thus, jurisdictions may not put restrictions on administering vaccinations to non-residents, as long as those persons meet the current eligibility criteria. This applies to both county and state residency.

How much will the vaccines cost?

How much will the vaccines cost?

There is no cost. They are free to everyone, even if you don’t have health insurance. The federal government is covering the cost. Administration fees will also be covered for those who are uninsured and should be covered by all health insurance companies. No vaccine provider should be charging anyone to receive the vaccine. Patients who get the vaccine while having an appointment for another reason, such as a medical check-up, may be charged for the check-up depending on their insurance. Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund, see https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim.

Are there side effects from the vaccines?

Are there side effects from the vaccines?

No serious side effects were reported in clinical trials. Temporary reactions after receiving the vaccine may include a sore arm, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two. These temporary reactions were more common after the second vaccine dose. In most cases, these temporary reactions are normal, which are good signs that your body is building protection. You can take medicines like Tylenol or ibuprofen to help with these temporary reactions after receiving your shot. While extremely rare, there have been a few cases of severe allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine outside of the clinical trials, and vaccine providers are prepared with medicines if they need to treat these rare allergic reactions.

What is the risk of an allergic reaction from the vaccine?

What is the risk of an allergic reaction from the vaccine?

People who have had severe allergic reactions, also called anaphylaxis, to any ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines should not receive that vaccine. People who have had this type of severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or treatment that is injected should talk with their health care provider about the risks and benefits of vaccination. People with allergies to foods, animals, environmental triggers (such as pollen), latex, or medications taken by mouth or who have family members with past severe allergic reactions, can be vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Severe allergic reactions to the vaccines have been very rare and mostly occurred in people who have had previous severe allergic reactions.

Vaccine providers will watch patients for 15-30 minutes after vaccination to ensure the patient’s safety. Additional information can be found here for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

How do I report an adverse reaction caused by the COVID-19 vaccine?

How do I report an adverse reaction caused by the COVID-19 vaccine?

CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns of occurrence. Reports to VAERS help the CDC monitor the safety of vaccines. Safety is a top priority.
 
The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

What temporary reactions from the vaccine should be reported to a doctor?

What temporary reactions from the vaccine should be reported to a doctor?

In most cases, temporary reactions are normal and good signs that your body is building protection. You can talk to your health care provider about ways to help with these temporary reactions, such as drinking lots of fluids, placing a cool washcloth on your forehead or taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol.

If you have a history of allergic reactions to any vaccine or treatment that is injected, you should talk with your health care provider about the risks and benefits of vaccination before getting the shot. Although very rare, if you experience a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include difficulty breathing, swelling of your face and throat, a fast heartbeat, a bad rash all over your body and dizziness and weakness. 

Also contact your doctor if any redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours or if your temporary reactions are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I just got another vaccine for something else?

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I just got another vaccine for something else?

Wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your COVID-19 vaccine first. If you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

Why are two vaccine shots necessary?

Why are two vaccine shots necessary?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots a set number of days apart. You need two doses to build up strong immunity against COVID-19. The goal of the first vaccine dose is to “prime” the immune response, which means that it gets your body ready to have the best protection. The second dose “boosts” the immune response to be fully protected. The second shot will come about 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.

While other countries may take a different approach to vaccinations, the FDA and CDC continue to recommend that everyone get two-shots. Currently there is not enough data to suggest that one shot offers enough protection against COVID-19. With two shots, both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Additional COVID-19 vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines.

If two shots are necessary, how will people know when to get their second shot?

If two shots are necessary, how will people know when to get their second shot?

North Carolina will use a secure data system called the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to make sure you are safe and get your second shot at the right time. When a person gets the first shot, they get information on when to come back for the second and they are asked to make a second appointment. People will also be given a card with information about which vaccine they got for their first dose and the date of that shot. Keep the card in a safe spot and take a picture of it just in case it gets misplaced. People will receive an email notification with a reminder for the second shot. Individuals who choose to use v-safe, a CDC tool to provide personalized health check-ins after their shot, will receive text reminders for their second dose. The provider who gave the vaccine may also help with reminders for the second shot. State and federal privacy laws make sure none of your private information will be shared. The shot you take and when you need the second is confidential health information that is carefully managed to protect your privacy.

What happens if you don’t get your second dose on the right day?

What happens if you don’t get your second dose on the right day?

You should get the second vaccine dose as close to the recommended time as possible—3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech or 4 weeks for Moderna. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. If you do not get your second dose within 6 weeks, you do not need to start again at the first dose. If you do not get your second dose at the recommended time, you should still get it. The vaccine can be given up to four days early and still work. If you get the second dose too early, you should not get another dose.  

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while I am waiting to be vaccinated?

What can I do to protect myself from COVID-19 while I am waiting to be vaccinated?

North Carolinians should continue to practice the 3Ws - wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands - while they wait to get vaccinated and after they have been vaccinated to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Why do I need to get a vaccine if I can practice other things like social distancing to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading?

Why do I need to get a vaccine if I can practice other things like social distancing to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading?

Vaccines work to prepare your body to fight the virus if you are exposedto it. Other steps, likethe 3Ws-wear a mask, wait 6 feet apart and wash your hands -help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and following the 3Ws is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

After Getting Vaccinated

Will people be provided with documentation that they have had the vaccine?

Will people be provided with documentation that they have had the vaccine?

Yes. You should receive a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. People with access to email will also receive an email with proof of vaccination.

How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

The vaccines provide their full protection from COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the second dose.

Will the vaccine affect testing for possible COVID-19 infection?

Will the vaccine affect testing for possible COVID-19 infection?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the most common tests used to test for the COVID-19 virus, which are called PCR or antigen tests. The vaccines do not affect these test results because there is no virus in the vaccines.  However, you may test positive for the antibody test because of the immune response to the vaccine.

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others?

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others?

Yes. The CDC says everyone should keep wearing a mask, waiting apart and washing hands often, until the country begins to get ahead of the pandemic. Receiving the COVID-19 shot and following the 3 Ws is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to be quarantined?

Will people who have been vaccinated still need to be quarantined?

People who are vaccinated do not have to quarantine after an exposure to someone with COVID-19 if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., at least 2 weeks after getting their second dose in a 2-dose series)
  • Are within 3 months after getting their second dose of the vaccine
  • Have had no symptoms from when they were exposed to someone with COVID-19

More information can be found from the CDC. Scientists are still learning how long people are protected after vaccination. The CDC guidance states that people do not need to quarantine if exposed within 3 months after vaccination, but this timeframe is likely to change as we learn more.

What should you do after you have been vaccinated?

What should you do after you have been vaccinated?

Continue practicing the 3 Ws - wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, washing your hands - as well as limiting gatherings. The vaccine does not provide full protection until two weeks after the second dose. The vaccine is very effective to prevent becoming ill from COVID-19, though scientists are still studying how often vaccinated individuals can become infected with the COVID-19 virus or pass the virus to others. Vaccinated people need to still think of themselves as potential virus spreaders.

Share your positive vaccine experience with others! Show people that you trust the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. This tip sheet can help you create and share your own video to promote vaccination.

 

For how long will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

For how long will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

Since the Pfizer and Moderna trials just ended, we know that the vaccines can protect people from COVID-19 illness for at least two months. We’ll know even more about how long the immunity from the vaccines lasts as people have been vaccinated for a longer period of time. With additional data, we will know if COVID-19 vaccines will need to be given yearly, like the flu shot. 

What percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to have herd immunity?

What percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to have herd immunity?

Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease, or they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity for COVID-19 and will provide more information as it is available.

Special Populations

Are children able to get the vaccine?

Are children able to get the vaccine?

Children will not receive vaccines until clinical trials are completed to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness in children. The Pfizer vaccine can be given to teenagers aged 16 and up, and they are doing additional studies with children aged 12 and over. 

How will staff and residents in long-term care facilities be vaccinated?

How will staff and residents in long-term care facilities be vaccinated?

The federal government manages most vaccinations for staff and residents of long-term care facilities. Long-term care facilities include skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes, and continuing care retirement communities. The federal government has created the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens to work with long-term care facilities to give vaccinations. They are currently vaccinating staff and residents.

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may choose to receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Pregnant women can talk with their doctors before making the choice. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before you get your vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding may also choose to get vaccinated. The vaccine is not thought to be a risk to a baby who is breastfeeding. Read additional information about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Do people who have had COVID-19 still need to be vaccinated?

Do people who have had COVID-19 still need to be vaccinated?

Yes. The vaccine works to protect you against a future infection. You don’t need a COVID-19 test before vaccination. It is safe to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if you have been infected in the past. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Read additional information about the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Should someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after getting the first dose still get the second scheduled dose?

Should someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19 after getting the first dose still get the second scheduled dose?

Yes. The vaccine works to protect you against a future infection. It is safe to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if you have been infected in the past. People who are currently sick with COVID-19 should wait until they have recovered and can safely come out of isolation before getting their second dose.

Vaccine Data

How will the state know who has been vaccinated?

How will the state know who has been vaccinated?

North Carolina will use the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), a free, secure, web-based system accessible to all providers who give COVID-19 vaccinations. It helps vaccine providers know who has been vaccinated and with which vaccine to make sure people get the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. It also allows the state to manage vaccine supply. Pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens doing vaccinations in long-term care facilities, will not use CVMS to give and manage vaccines. These pharmacies will use their own systems.

What data is the state collecting and how will it be shared?

What data is the state collecting and how will it be shared?

Information about your COVID-19 vaccination is carefully managed to protect your privacy. Your immunization information will not be shared except in accordance with state and federal law. NC CVMS is a system that enables the collection of immunization information for health and safety reasons. The immunization information collected for NC CVMS is similar to the information that is required when you go to the doctor’s office or a pharmacy for a vaccination, including your name, address, date of birth, location where vaccine was given, when the vaccine was given, person who administered the vaccine, information about the specific vaccine vial (expiration date, vaccine identifier number, etc.) and how the vaccine was given (e.g., in the muscle of the right arm). NC CVMS also collects information about race and ethnicity, which is necessary to support efforts for equitable vaccine distribution in NC.  To meet federal requirements established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and in accordance with NC state law, NC does not submit any identifiable information to CDC. Instead of the CDC requested identifying information, NC is currently submitting the vaccine recipient’s year of birth (not date of birth), the first 3 digits of the vaccine recipient’s zip code of residence (if the underlying population is that zip code includes more than 20,000 people) and the date of submission of the vaccination record. More information about federal CDC data requirements is available at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/reporting/requirements/index.html.

What data about vaccinations will be available to the public?

What data about vaccinations will be available to the public?

North Carolina has an online public dashboard to share data on vaccinations. The data in the dashboard is updated Monday through Friday.