Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccinations Availability How COVID-19 Vaccines Work Before and After Your Vaccination Trending Questions How will I know when it is my turn to get a vaccine? What kind of identification will be required to be vaccinated? Do I need to be registered before I can get vaccinated? Can you get a vaccine in a county you don't live in? View Printable Version Version en Espanol Find a Vaccine Location Availability Finding Your Spot for a Safe COVID-19 Vaccine How will I know when it is my turn to get a vaccine? As of April 7, 2021 anyone aged 16 and older may be vaccinated in North Carolina. The best way to fight COVID-19, slow the spread of the virus and save lives is to get vaccinated and encourage others to get vaccinated. For more information on the vaccines and North Carolina’s vaccination efforts, visit YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov. Where will I be able to get vaccinated? Find My Spot is an easy-to-use online tool to help people find their spot to get a vaccination in NC. It includes vaccine provider locations and contact information. Enter your ZIP code or current location to find nearby vaccine providers. Contact vaccine providers directly to see if they have vaccines and schedule appointments. If the appointment is for someone age 16 or 17, make sure that they will be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine. If you are getting a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, you can get the first dose anywhere. You should try to get your second shot from the same vaccine provider. The federal government automatically ships your second vaccine dose to the same provider who gave you your first dose. Be sure to schedule your vaccine appointment through a legitimate provider; most vaccine providers in North Carolina are listed on Find My Spot. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein offers tips on how to avoid vaccine scams. Additional information on where to take your shot against COVID-19 is available at YourSpotYourShot.nc.gov. Do I need to be registered before I can get vaccinated? Most people will be registered in North Carolina’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS). This allows vaccine providers to 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. 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 in-person, an email address is not required. Pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, doing vaccinations as part of the federal retail pharmacy program do not use CVMS to register patients before giving vaccines. These pharmacies will use their own systems. Vaccine Distribution Plan and Policies 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, diabetes type 1 or 2, 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), intellectual and developmental disabilities (including Down Syndrome), liver disease (including hepatitis), neurologic conditions (such as dementia and schizophrenia), 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? NCDHHS has a specific focus on earning trust with historically marginalized populations and ensuring equitable access to vaccines. Longstanding and continuing racial and ethnic injustices in our health care system contribute to lack of trust in vaccines and poorer access to health care in general. 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 means taking intentional actions to reach and engage historically marginalized communities, such as partnering with providers who serve these 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. Our biweekly report, Promoting COVID-19 Vaccine Equity in North Carolina, reports the share of vaccinations going to Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, and American Indian or Alaskan Native populations as well as key metrics for earning trust, embedding equity in vaccine operations, and promoting shared accountability through data transparency. The report also highlights best practices to promote equitable access to vaccinations. It is updated every two weeks. 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. Employers may ask if you have been vaccinated but cannot require that you share any other personal medical information. What kind of identification will be required to be vaccinated? North Carolina does not require that people have a government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license, to be vaccinated. Instead, vaccine providers are encouraged to use other ways to confirm that they are vaccinating the right person. Vaccine providers may ask people to pre-register, to fill out a form on-site with their name, address and date of birth, or ask for a bill or other document with your name and address on it. Vaccine providers may ask people for their insurance information, which may include asking for a photo ID, but vaccine providers should not withhold vaccinations or appointments for vaccinations because you cannot present identification. 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? Yes. To protect the health of North Carolinians and promote equity in vaccine distribution, people who spend significant time in North Carolina and are able to spread the virus in North Carolina should be vaccinated when and where they have access to a vaccine. Vaccine providers should vaccinate North Carolinians no matter what county they live in. 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 should be covered by all health insurance companies and will also be covered for those who are uninsured. 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. Special Populations Are children able to get the vaccine? The Pfizer vaccine can be given to teenagers aged 16 and up. Children below the age of 16 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccines as the FDA has not authorized their use in that age group. However, clinical trials are underway to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness in children. Updates on each of those clinical trials are below: On March 31st, 2021 Pfizer announced their clinical trial in adolescents, which included 2,260 children aged 12-15, showed very high levels of effectiveness. The FDA will need to include this age group in the vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization before it can be offered to children in this age group. Pfizer is now conducting a clinical trial in children ages 5-11. Moderna, whose vaccine is currently only approved for people 18 and older, started conducting clinical trials in adolescents ages 12-17 in December 2020. On March 17th, 2021 they began clinical trials in children from 6 months to 11 years old. Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine is also only approved for people 18 and older, is currently conducting a clinical trial in adolescents ages 12-17. Can people under the age of 18 get a COVID-19 vaccine without parental consent? North Carolina law gives people under the age of 18 the ability to make certain health decisions, including the choice to get a COVID-19 vaccine, if they show the decisional capacity to do so. Decisional capacity is a person’s ability to understand their health and health care needs and options, and to make decisions about them. As part of normal development most children are able to make these kinds of decisions like an adult at some point before the age of 18. There is no one age at which this always occurs; it varies from child to child. How will staff and residents in long-term care facilities be vaccinated? From December to April, the federal government managed 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, but this program has now finished. Facilities will be able to work with pharmacies and other providers to continue to vaccinate residents and staff. Can people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or want to become pregnant be vaccinated? Vaccines are a routine part of prenatal care and people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or want to become pregnant can be safely vaccinated against COVID-19. Pregnant people are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 and the vaccines are very effective in preventing COVID-19 illness. People who are pregnant, breastfeeding or want to become pregnant may choose to receive any currently recommended COVID-19 vaccine. The temporary reactions from COVID-19 vaccines are the same for both pregnant and non-pregnant people. Additional information. Pregnant people can talk with their doctors before making the choice. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before you get your vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to lactating people or their infants. It is possible that immunity from the vaccines can be passed to a baby through breastfeeding. There is no need to wait or avoid pregnancy after being vaccinated. The vaccines do not impact your ability to get pregnant. To learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in people who are pregnant, the CDC established the v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry. Learn more about this registry. 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 any of the authorized vaccines 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. Should I get vaccinated against COVID-19 if I am currently sick with COVID-19? No. People who are actively sick with COVID-19 should wait until they have recovered and can no longer spread the virus before getting their vaccine. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 between their first and second dose of a two-dose vaccine. For two-dose vaccines, the second dose can be given up to 6 weeks after the first dose and still be very effective, so do not worry if you have to reschedule your appointment for a later date. Once you have recovered, it is safe to get vaccinated with any COVID-19 vaccine if you have been infected in the past. How COVID-19 Vaccines Work Vaccine Safety Are there vaccines that are safe and work in preventing COVID-19? Yes. The currently recommended vaccines have proven to provide significant protection against COVID-19 and protect against virus-related hospitalization and death, with no serious safety concerns in the clinical trials. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. 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 (EUA). 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 app 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. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. 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, feeling tired and achy for a day or two or, in some cases, fever. These temporary reactions were more common after the second dose in a two-dose vaccine. Younger people are more likely to have reactions than older people. In most cases, these temporary reactions are good signs that your body is building protection. You can take medicines like Tylenol or ibuprofen after receiving your shot to help with these temporary reactions. 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. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. What do we know about the vaccine's long-term safety? Since most of the vaccine trials began in the summer of 2020, we have months, not years, of follow-up data. Fortunately, we have decades of vaccine safety data from other vaccines and we know that long-term side effects are quite rare. The CDC is actively collecting safety data via the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, which has been tracking safety on all vaccines since 1990. Learn more about all the ways that vaccine safety is being monitored here. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. 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, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson 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, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. 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? In most cases, temporary reactions are normal and good signs that your body is building protection. Taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, drinking lots of fluids, or placing a cool washcloth on your forehead can help with these temporary reactions. 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. Contact your doctor if any redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours, if your temporary reactions are worrying you, or if they do not seem to be going away after a few days. Contact your doctor if any redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours, if your temporary reactions are worrying you, or if they do not seem to be going away after a few days. While it is extremely rare that you would have a serious adverse reaction, if you develop severe headache, backache, severe abdominal pain, new neurologic symptoms (like changes in vision, changed mental status or numbness), leg pain or swelling, shortness of breath, tiny red spots on your skin (called petechiae), or new or easy bruising within three weeks after vaccination, contact your health care provider or seek medical care. Are there fetal cells or fetal tissues in the vaccine? None of the vaccines contain fetal cells or fetal tissues. Fetal cells were used in research to develop all three vaccines. Vaccines commonly use fetal cells in development. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not require the use of any fetal cells to produce the vaccines. In order to produce the vaccine, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses fetal cells that were isolated over 30 years ago. Does the vaccine affect fertility? No. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends vaccination for all eligible people, including those who may want to get pregnant. Women in the clinical trials successfully became pregnant following vaccination and there have been no safety data to suggest that the vaccines impact the ability of a woman to get pregnant. Similarly, the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology recommends that men who desire fertility should be encouraged to get vaccinated when they are eligible. Vaccine Protection For how long will the vaccine protect me against COVID-19? Since the clinical trials ended recently, we know that the vaccines can protect people from COVID-19 illness for at least two to six 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. Will people need to get a booster shot in the future? Since we don’t yet know how long immunity from the vaccines will last, there is currently no specific recommendation for booster doses. However, both Moderna and Pfizer are developing booster shots that may also offer more protection against new COVID-19 variants. With additional data, we will know if COVID-19 vaccines will need to be given yearly, like the flu shot. Will people who have been vaccinated still need to quarantine? 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 two-dose series or 2 weeks after a one-dose vaccine) Have had no symptoms from when they were exposed to someone with COVID-19 More information can be found from the CDC here. 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. When am I considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19? You are considered fully vaccinated if it has been at least two weeks after your single dose vaccine or at least two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Vaccine Development and Authorization 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 the following COVID-19 vaccines: AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine You cannot get COVID-19 from any of these vaccines in development. All of the above vaccines teach your body to make germ-fighting antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. These germ-fighting antibodies are then ready to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you. 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/. How COVID-19 Vaccines Work How do the vaccines work? You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. All of the currently authorized vaccines give your body temporary instructions to make a protein. The two-dose vaccines use mRNA technology, while the one-dose vaccine uses DNA technology to provide these instructions. This protein safely teaches your body to make germ-fighting antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. These germ-fighting antibodies are then ready to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you. Your body naturally breaks down everything in the vaccine. There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine, and none of the vaccines can change your DNA. Will the vaccines work against new variants of the COVID-19 virus? All viruses change over time, and these changes (or variants) are expected. Scientists are working to learn more about new COVID-19 variants and their effects on vaccines. Recent studies suggest that the germ-fighting cells created by vaccination are also able to fight against many of the variants. 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. Why are two vaccine shots necessary for some vaccinations? The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots—the Pfizer doses are given 3 weeks apart and the Moderna vaccine is 4 weeks between shots. 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. 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 for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Currently there are not enough data to suggest that one shot of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offers enough protection against COVID-19. Additional COVID-19 vaccines are in Phase 3 clinical trials. Learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines. What are the differences between the one-dose and two dose vaccines? The two-dose vaccines use mRNA to give your body temporary instructions to make a protein that teaches your body to make germ-fighting antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. Instead of mRNA, the one-dose vaccine (made by Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) uses DNA to give your body the same type of temporary instructions. The DNA is carried into the body on a harmless virus called adenovirus. Your body naturally breaks down everything in the vaccine. All of the vaccines are very effective in preventing COVID-19 illness as well as preventing hospitalization and death. None of the clinical trials showed serious safety concerns. There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine and none of the vaccines can change your DNA. People who receive the one-dose vaccine do not need to return for a second vaccination. The temporary reactions are similar among all vaccines, although people receiving the one-dose vaccine may only experience temporary reactions once. Temporary reactions may include a sore arm, headache, fever, or feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine. None of the vaccines can give you COVID-19. Additionally, the one-dose vaccine also can be stored in a regular refrigerator for up to three months. *April 23 Update: Our primary concern is the health and safety of all North Carolinians. After a brief pause and careful investigation, the CDC and FDA recommend resuming the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Following this guidance, NCDHHS has recommended that North Carolina vaccine providers resume the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccines now that their safety has been reaffirmed. The pause and investigation show that our safety system is working—and that people can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of the approved vaccines. Read more information. What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines? The COVID-19 vaccines 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 instructions and gets rid of them. None of the vaccine ingredients remain in your system, nor do they alter any DNA in your body. The three 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: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Vaccine Shipping and Storage How many vaccines will the state receive? The federal government decides how many COVID-19 vaccines each state gets based on the state’s population of people aged 18 and up. Vaccine providers can then request to receive vaccine doses each week. Some providers in North Carolina also receive vaccine doses directly from the federal government, such as partners in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program or the Health Center COVID-19 Vaccine Program. How will the vaccine be shipped? The federal government tells states how many vaccines they will get each week. Vaccine providers can then request to receive vaccine doses each week. The manufacturer then ships the vaccines and vaccination supply kits directly to the local vaccine providers in North Carolina. How will the vaccine be stored? North Carolina is working closely with providers to safely store vaccines, particularly those 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 state, the manufacturer and the CDC deliver training on COVID-19 vaccine storage, handling and administration. Vaccine Data How will the state know who has been vaccinated? North Carolina uses the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS). CVMS is 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, 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? 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, NC submits the following information to the CDC: 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 in 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? North Carolina has an online public dashboard to share data on vaccinations. The data in the dashboard is updated Monday through Friday. Before and After Your Vaccination Getting 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? Vaccines work to prepare your body to fight the virus if you are exposed to it. Other steps, like the 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. Will I be able to choose which vaccine I get? We strongly recommend people take the first vaccine that is available to them. All currently recommended are very effective in preventing hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people age 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 and older. 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. 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. If two shots are necessary for some vaccinations, how will people know when to get their second shot? North Carolina uses a secure data system called the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to make sure you get your second shot at the right time. When a person gets the first shot, they are asked to make a second appointment. People will also be given a vaccination 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. If you are getting a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, you can get the first dose anywhere. You will need to get your second shot from the same vaccine provider. The federal government automatically ships your second vaccine dose to the same provider who gave you your first dose. 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. Currently, there are not much data on if the vaccines work well if given after this window. The vaccine can be given up to 4 days early and still work. If you get the second dose too early, you should not get another dose. After Getting Vaccinated 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. Keep the card in a safe spot and take a picture of it just in case it gets misplaced. Some people with access to email will also receive an email with proof of vaccination. If people lose their vaccine card or have questions about accessing their vaccine records, they should contact their vaccine provider. 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, vaccines can affect the results of some COVID-19 antibody tests because of the immune response to the vaccine. More details can be found from the CDC here. What should you keep doing after you have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19? Continue practicing the 3 Ws – wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet apart, washing your hands – when in public, gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household or visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness Avoid medium and large-sized gatherings Delay international travel Receiving the COVID-19 shot and following the 3 Ws is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. For more information about what to do after being vaccinated, see NCDHHS’s guidance. What can you start doing differently after you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19? You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness. You do not need to quarantine or get tested if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 as long as you do not have any symptoms and do not live in a group setting. If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and isolate from other people.