SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccine FAQs

Is COVID different than the flu (influenza)?

Yes, COVID-19 is caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus while the flu is caused by Influenza A and B viruses. Both are contagious and typically cause respiratory symptoms, but are completely different viruses.

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How effective is the vaccine and what are the potential side effects?

The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently approved under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization program have efficacy of 95% (Pfizer-BioNTech) and 94% (Moderna) after the 2nd dose. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a single dose and has a 74.4% efficacy. Typical side-effects are mild and most commonly include injection site pain, swelling, and redness. Other general side-effects include fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle pain, and joint pain. Symptoms typically occur within 3 days of being vaccinated and usually last for 1-2 days.

How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?

Of the vaccines currently approved under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization program, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna require two shots in order to achieve full effectiveness. Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) requires one shot.

If I get the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?

Yes, the CDC currently recommends wearing a mask after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine.

Will the COVID (mRNA) vaccine alter my DNA?

No, the COVID vaccine does not alter your DNA. The new COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna use what is called mRNA technology which our body uses to produce proteins which then cause our immune system cells (T- and B-cells) to produce antibodies against COVID-19.

The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) is a viral vector vaccine that uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to your cells. The vector is a harmless piece of a virus that enters a cell in your body. It then uses the cell’s machinery to manufacture the spike protein of the COVID-19 virus. This triggers the immune system to produce antibodies against COVID-19.

Should I get the COVID and flu vaccine?

Yes, it is perfectly safe to get both vaccines. Please consult your primary care provider on your specific situation.

What can I do to protect myself, my family, and my employees from getting COVID-19 while waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and after receiving the vaccine?

The CDC recommends covering your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often.