Last updated: January 13, 2021
|Immunizations Outreach Worker Maria Grande gets the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.||Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman receives the COVID-19 vaccine to show it is safe to do.|
COVID-19 Vaccine Facts
Why is a COVID-19 vaccine necessary?
Vaccination is a prevention measure to reduce the number of people getting a disease. While masks, distancing and hand washing are slowing the spread of COVID-19, a vaccine can help STOP the Spread! Getting the COVID-19 vaccine to the most people possible will help to reach “herd” or population immunity. Vaccinated people become more immune and are much less likely to catch the disease.
How do the vaccines work?
COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach our body cells to make a harmless protein that is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The protein triggers an immune response which produces antibodies that protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccines cannot infect you with COVID-19 disease. The vaccines currently from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are mRNA vaccines, which do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
Which vaccine is being used in the county?
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are being used in the county based on what vaccine is available at that time.
What are the differences between the available vaccines?
|Type of Vaccine||mRNA||mRNA|
|Administration Route||Intramuscular injection in the upper arm||Intramuscular injection in the upper arm|
|Number of doses||2||2|
|Days between doses||28 days||21 days|
|Age groups||18 years of age and older||16 years of age and older|
|Does not contain||● Eggs|
|Clinical Trials Demographics Breakdown||Clinical trials for the Moderna vaccine included people from the following racial and ethnic categories:|
● 79.4% White
● 20% Hispanic/Latino
● 9.7% African American
● 4.7% Asian
● <3% other races/ethnicities
Age and sex breakdown:
● 52.6% male
● 47.4% female
● 25.3% 65 years and older
Most people who participated in the trials (82%) were considered to have an occupational risk of exposure, with 25.4% of them being healthcare workers.
Among people who participated in the clinical trials, 22.3% had at least one high-risk condition, which included lung disease, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, liver disease, or HIV infection. Four percent (4%) of participants had two or more high-risk conditions.
|Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine included people from the following racial and ethnic categories:|
● 81.9% White
● 26.2% Hispanic/Latino
● 9.8% African American
● 4.4% Asian
● <3% other races/ethnicities
Age and sex breakdown:
● 50.6% male
● 49.4% female
● 21.4% 65 years and older
The most frequent underlying medical conditions were obesity (35.1%), diabetes (8.4%), and pulmonary disease (7.8%).
|Side Effects||Throughout the body:|
In the arm where you got the shot:
|Throughout the body:|
In the arm where you got the shot:
What about children 15 and younger?
Neither one of the approved vaccines has been approved for children 15 and younger. Vaccine trials are underway and further guidance will be available when a vaccine is available for this age group.
How do we know the vaccines are safe and effective?
Vaccines in the United States are thoroughly tested before being licensed or approved for the public. All clinical trials follow scientific and ethical standards that go through three phases.
Phase 1 studies dosage, efficacy and possible side effects.
Phase 2 focuses on common short-term side effects and how dosage size relates to immune response.
Phase 3 compares the vaccine with a placebo for safety and effectiveness, identifying any common side effects.
All results are carefully evaluated, including the physical, chemical and biological properties and how vaccines are manufactured.
How can we be sure the vaccine is safe?
The national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) collects information from individuals and providers on any adverse reactions after vaccination with any vaccine including the COVID-19 vaccine. For the COVID-19 vaccine specifically, there’s an additional program called V-safe where you’ll be asked questions via mobile phone about any symptoms you’re having after vaccination.
With the rapid development and licensing of two COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine safety monitoring has been a high priority for the establishment of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continuously monitor for vaccine safety.
Why are two doses of COVID-19 vaccine needed?
For most COVID-19 vaccine products, two doses of vaccine, separated by 21 or 28 days, will be needed. Because different COVID-19 vaccine products ARE NOT interchangeable, a vaccine recipient’s second dose must be from the same manufacturer as the first dose. Second-dose reminders for vaccine recipients will be critical to ensure compliance with vaccine dosing intervals and achieve optimal vaccine effectiveness. Some COVID-19 vaccine products may have a short window in which to receive the second dose to prevent the possibility of having to restart the vaccination series. Further research may show that annual booster shots may be necessary also.
Information about Vaccinations
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be easy to get? Will I be required to get vaccinated? Why should I want it for myself and my family?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine will eventually be available to everyone at no cost. While it may not be required, for the general public, it is highly recommended for most people in order to stop the spread of COVID-19, prevent illness and save lives.
I’m pregnant. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
At this time, the CDC and the independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommend that certain groups (e.g., healthcare personnel, followed by other frontline essential workers) are offered vaccination during the first months of the COVID-19 vaccination program. People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. If they have questions about getting vaccinated, a discussion with a healthcare provider might help them make an informed decision. For more information, please click here.
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.
I have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.
How will I know how much vaccine is being given out?
The Department of Health will be adding information to our data dashboard on the number of county residents who are vaccinated.
Do you ever throw away vaccine?
Never. We are dedicated to getting this vaccine into everyone’s arm. Vaccines come in vials that have either five doses (Pfizer) or 10 doses (Moderna). On rare occasions, there might be a dose or two left at the end of a session that needs to be administered to avoid throwing it out. In those instances the Department of Health will do its best to identify alternative individuals within that priority group to get the vaccine. If we cannot do so in a timely manner, we may need to vaccinate a very small number of people out of order to prevent wasting the vaccine. This is why it is critical that everybody who signs up for a vaccine comes to their appointment.
I’m in health care. How can I help?
Please sign up with Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps. We periodically use this list to contact volunteers to help meet vaccination staffing needs.
As more people get vaccinated, how can we keep slowing the spread of COVID-19?
Wearing a mask is the best way to slow the spread when around others outside your household. The two biggest risks are social gatherings and public dining, which bring people together who are not usually together. Keep your bubble of contacts as small as possible and do not let your guard down.
Show your respect and consideration for others by wearing a mask. Remember:
- Watch your distance.
- Wash your hands.
- Limit your activity.
- Don’t ignore cold, flu or COVID-19 symptoms. Get tested and quarantine until you get your results.
Also get a seasonal flu vaccine. Be kind to yourself and others. We’re all in this together.
Is there a question that we didn’t answer?
Tell us what you would like to know at email@example.com.
- Maryland COVID-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (MDH)
- Maryland COVID Vaccine Link (MDH)
- Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccines (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination (CDC)
- Vaccine Safety Monitoring (CDC)
- Vaccines and FDA Updates
Want to get updates about Vaccination Rollouts and Priority Groups?
The Community Health Email Alerts provides subscribers with timely notices about COVID-19 vaccination rollout updates, new Department of Health services, community health issues and emergencies. Sign up here.