BHealthy Blog

Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccines

Get the answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccine safety, who should get the vaccine, when the vaccine will be available, and more.

Getting Vaccinated

Why should I get the vaccine?

All COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19, hospitalizations, and death. By getting vaccinated, you are reducing your risk of disease, hospitalization, severe complications, and even death. Reducing the risk of disease also prevents the health care system from being overwhelmed. 

What does it cost to get the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost to individuals.

Do I have to be a patient of Baptist Health to receive the vaccine?

You are not required to be a Baptist Health patient to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a Baptist Health location.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

A state-issued driver’s license or valid photo ID card.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The most common adverse reactions reported have been fatigue, headache, fever/chills and joint pain. This means your body is working to build the necessary immunity against the virus.

Should I get the vaccine if I’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine previously?

We know that the great majority of people, even those with severe allergies, have tolerated the COVID vaccine. People with allergies to environmental allergens (such as pollen), foods, latex, oral medications, and stinging insects can receive the COVID vaccine. The vaccine does not contain egg, gelatin, or latex.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.  If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you not get the second dose.

If you have questions about if you should receive the vaccine, please talk to your health care provider.

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant?

If you are planning to become pregnant, you can receive the vaccine. The FDA also allows pregnant women to receive the vaccine. However, pregnant women were not studied in the vaccine trials, so there is not much information about the use of the vaccine among this group. If you are pregnant, we recommend that you discuss getting the vaccines with your provider. If you are breastfeeding, you can still get the vaccine and do not need to stop breastfeeding.

Do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance if I have the vaccine?

It depends, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For now, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks with: 

  • Other people who are fully vaccinated 
  • Unvaccinated people from one other household, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households. 

COVID-Vaccine Development 

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA), which is a set of instructions that tells a cell to make a specific protein. This protein lets the virus attach to cells in our body. When we get the vaccine, we develop antibodies to the spike protein. This stops the virus from attaching to cells when exposed to the virus. Other parts of the body that prevent infection are made active by the vaccines to protect against future COVID-19 infection.

What are the differences between the vaccines authorized by the FDA?

The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines that have a piece of mRNA specific for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. They have similar efficacy and safety profiles. None of the vaccines use live viruses so there is no risk of infection. The main differences between the vaccines include the ages of individuals eligible to get the vaccines, the length of time between doses, and the required number of doses. 

How many doses are needed?

Both mRNA vaccines require two doses; the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine doses should be spaced 28 days apart to achieve an effective immune response. Recipients should get the second dose from the same manufacturer as their first dose. However, if they get a dose of a different vaccine, no additional doses are needed, and the series is considered complete. 


COVID-19 Vaccine Prevention and Safety

Can the vaccines cause COVID-19?

It is impossible for the vaccines to give you COVID-19. An mRNA vaccine is not a virus and can’t cause disease. The vector vaccine uses a modified virus that can’t replicate and does not cause any disease, including COVID-19. However, the vaccines can cause mild symptoms (such as fatigue, achiness, and fever) in some people because it activates the immune system.