WHAT IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
In late 2020 and early 2021, the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations to Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for emergency use of vaccines for the prevention of the Coronavirus Disease 2019. The FDA has since granted full approval to Pfizer for use of its vaccine in individuals over the age of 16, with an EUA covering individuals aged 12 to 15, and an additional EUA for individuals aged 5-11. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are both covered by EUA for individuals aged 18 and older.
How can a safe vaccine be made so quickly?
Vaccine development typically takes many years. However, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with COVID-19. Learn more.
Will more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine be required?
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be effective. It is very important that you get both doses within the manufacturers’ required time frame to ensure the best protection from COVID-19. Learn more. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. In addition, booster doses have also been approved for all three vaccines for certain segments of the population. Learn more.
Does the vaccine have any side effects?
As with all vaccines, most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated, but scientists and doctors will continue to issue COVID-19 vaccine recommendations as necessary. Some studies have begun to show that COVID-19 vaccines may give a person a stronger immune response than other vaccines that people are familiar with. Your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. You may experience a low-grade fever, headache and just a general feeling of “not yourself.” These are signs that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to, which is produce an immune response for you to have protection against disease. This is a normal response in the process of your body building immunity. Learn more.