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COVID-19 VACCINE: What you Need to Know

Friday, February 5, 2021 - by Giovana

The COVID-19 vaccine is an important step to prevent getting sick with COVID-19. Many countries around the world have already started their vaccination process, including the U.S. The decision to get vaccinated protects more than just an individual’s health, it can also help protect friends, families, and communities. Vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic.



How it works:

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a piece of a protein to trigger an immune response and build immunity to the virus that causes COVID19. mRNA does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA and the cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA as soon as it is finished using the instructions.

The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. All the COVID-19 vaccines that are being used have gone through the same safety tests and meet the same standards as any other vaccines produced through the years.

Vaccination in the United States:

Currently, there are two COVID-19 vaccines that have been tested, authorized, and are recommended for use in the United States. Another three other vaccines are currently in large-scale clinical trials.

​​​Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Number of shots: 2 shots, 21 days apart

o  How given: Shot in the muscle of the upper arm

o 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

o   Number of shots: 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart

o   How given: Shot in the muscle of the upper arm

o 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19


What to expect after getting the COVID19 Vaccine

You may have symptoms like a fever after you get a vaccine. This is normal and a sign that your immune system is learning how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Common side effects may include

On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Chills
  • Headache

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot.

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.


*Having these types of side effects does NOT mean that you have COVID-19.

With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.


It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.


For more information go to CDC.GOV/coronavirus  and your local government website. 


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