There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. It is important to continue practicing social distancing and wearing a mask.
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.
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, vaccine should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first.
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Yes. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from getting sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.
Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications.
No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines—are the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
ACOG and SMFM Joint Statement on WHO Recommendations Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnant Individuals:
ACOG and SMFM continue to stress that both COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who choose to receive the vaccine.
Data have demonstrated that symptomatic pregnant individuals with COVID-19 are at increased risk of more severe illness and death compared with nonpregnant peers. Many pregnant individuals have medical conditions known to put them at further increased risk of severe illness and complications.
There is limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant.
Until findings are available from clinical trials and additional studies, only limited data are available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including mRNA vaccines, administered during pregnancy:
Limited data is currently available from animal developmental and reproductive toxicity studies. No safety concerns were demonstrated in rats that received Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before or during pregnancy; studies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are ongoing.
Studies in people who are pregnant are planned.
Both vaccine manufacturers are monitoring people in the clinical trials who became pregnant.
CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have safety monitoring systems in place to capture information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor reports.
mRNA vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 and, therefore, cannot give someone COVID-19. Additionally, mRNA vaccines do not interact with a person’s DNA because the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell. Cells break down the mRNA quickly. Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, the actual risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women.
Getting vaccinated is a personal choice for people who are pregnant.
People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. A conversation between pregnant patients and their clinicians may help them decide whether to get vaccinated with a vaccine that has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). While a conversation with a healthcare provider may be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination.
Key considerations pregnant patients can discuss with their healthcare provider include:
The likelihood of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
Risks of COVID-19 to them and potential risks to their fetuses
What is known about the vaccine: how well it works to develop protection in the body, known side effects of the vaccine, and lack of data during pregnancy
Pregnant patients who decide to get vaccinated should continue to follow the current guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after they are vaccinated. That means:
Wearing a mask
Staying at least six feet away from others
Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
The side effects to the second dose of the vaccine are individual and variable. For all of the folx that had side effects with the second dose, there are just as many people who have had no side effects. Every person is different!
Please check with your health care provider if over-the-counter pain medications are safe for you to take.
Women’s Health Forum on COVID-19 Vaccines
The Facebook Live session addresses questions about vaccines and fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding. It features Dr. Linda Clark, Chief Medical Officer at Common Ground Health; Phyllis Jackson, RN, Community Wellness Project Manager at Common Ground Health; Sherita Bullock of Healthy Baby Network; Dr. Lorelei Thornberg of UR Medicine Perinatal Associates; and Tracy Webber, DNP, MPA, of UR Medicine Midwifery.
Because the U.S. supply of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be limited at first, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on those from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.
The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:
Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.
Preserve functioning of society.
Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
While CDC makes recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first, each state has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they can receive vaccines. Please contact your local health department for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area.
Health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities should be offered the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines (1a) .
CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to health care personnel and long-term care facility residents. This is referred to as Phase 1a. Phases may overlap. CDC made this recommendation on December 3, 2020.
Frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.)
People aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 75 years and older who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
People aged 65—74 years because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19. People aged 65—74 years who are also residents of long-term care facilities should be offered vaccination in Phase 1a.
People aged 16—64 years with underlying medical conditions which increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19.
Other essential workers, such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.
As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more group.
The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large enough quantities of vaccine are available. As vaccine supply increases but remains limited, ACIP will expand the groups recommended for vaccination.