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There are three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines available in the Unites States. They are:
Tens of thousands of volunteers were involved in clinical trials for the vaccines. The clinical trials showed that the COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably safe and effective before they got FDA emergency use authorization. Clinical trials are now underway to study whether children as young as six months old could receive COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
Nearly half of all kids 12- to 17 years old in the U.S. have been fully vaccinated! That's more than 11 million kids who have had both of their doses of COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines continue to be monitored very closely. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that COVID-19 vaccines will have "the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history."
Is there any research showing long-term effects?
Your child may experience some mild or moderate short-term side effects (similar to adults), but there has been no indication that there are any long-term effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, including impacts on fertility.
Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
If you have questions specific to your child, reach out to your medical provider.
Most cases of COVID-19 in children are not severe, but on occasion, COVID-19 can cause serious infections that require hospitalization. In rare instances, it can be life-threatening.
Children can also spread it to others if they get infected. That’s particularly a worry when they are around people in the higher risk groups, including other family members like grandparents, or caregivers who may have medical conditions. Children can also have long-term effects from the virus, known as long-COVID.
The more viruses spread, the more chance they have to mutate into more dangerous strains. As a community, the more people that are vaccinated, the safer we will all be and the less chance that new variants of the virus will emerge.
New COVID-19 variants are more dangerous and infectious to children than the original strains. The percentage of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased 240% in the U.S. in the last few months.
While COVID-19 may often be milder in children than adults, children can still get very sick and spread it to friends and family, some who are immune-compromised or vulnerable in other ways. Vaccination is the best way to keep kids healthy and safe.
Children who are infected with COVID-19 can develop “Long COVID-19” or persistent symptoms that often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath.
Children who get infected with COVID-19 are at greater risk for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
At this time, COVID-19 vaccines are not authorized for children younger than 5 years old. Clinical trials are in process for younger children. Unvaccinated children ages 2 years and older should continue to wear a mask in public spaces and around people they don’t live with.
Here’s information for protecting unvaccinated family members, until they are eligible or able to receive the vaccine.
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 because, even though you will have some immunity after you have recovered, it estimated that it only lasts a few months. Also the COVID-19 virus mutates constantly creating new variants, like the Delta variant. That means that the COVID-19 you have recovered from may not be the variant that is circulating in your community currently.
A new CDC study published recently found that unvaccinated people who’d recovered from Covid were five times as likely to catch it again, compared to people who got two doses of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.
According to the study vaccine-induced immunity against Covid is more protective, robust and consistent than natural immunity. In other words, a vaccine will protect you significantly more against getting Covid again, a particular concern as new mutations develop.
The CDC currently recommends that people get vaccinated against COVID-19, even if they've had the virus. There are some things to keep in mind though:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended booster vaccine shots for ages 12 and up to help strengthen and extend protections against COVID-19. Teens who received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can now get their booster 5 months after their second shot. Ages 12 - 17 can only receive the Pfizer COVID-19 booster, and parental consent is required. Adults 18 and older can receive any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. The CDC recommends a third dose of Pfizer for children 5 to 11 who have immunocompromised immune systems.
Anyone over 50 or at high risk, as well as those 18 or older who were vaccinated more than two months ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should get a booster dose now. Additionally, fully vaccinated people who received their first COVID-19 vaccine outside of the U.S. or in clinical trials with a brand not currently authorized can now receive a Pfizer booster shot when they are eligible.
Which booster shot do I get?
Individuals 18 and older can receive any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. Kids 12 to 18 can only receive the Pfizer COVID-19 booster, and parental consent is required Limited preliminary evidence suggests that booster doses of one of the two mRNA vaccines—Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech—more effectively raise antibody levels than a booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Scheduling Your Booster Shot
Booster doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines are free and widely available at a variety of locations. Community members should visit vaccines.gov or call (919) 913-8088 to find and schedule an appointment.
A small percentage of community members need an additional dose of their primary series in order to reach full immunity.
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies and other infection-fighting cells that protect you in case you are infected with the virus.
Watch a short video to learn how vaccines fight COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects.
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS:
PDF from CDC: What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 vaccine
Usually, vaccine testing and production are done in multiple, time-consuming, separate steps over several years. Because of the pandemic, the federal government provided special funding to vaccine researchers and manufacturers to allow development, testing and production to happen at the same time. No steps are skipped but the timeline for development can go faster.
Vaccines that have been authorized from Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied and worked with for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, a technology first created in the 1970s. For decades, hundreds of scientific studies of viral vector vaccines have been done around the world. They have been used against other infectious diseases like Ebola, Zika, flu and HIV.
When a vaccine is authorized by EUA, volunteers who get the COVID-19 vaccine are monitored for a shorter time than with the traditional vaccine approval process. Testing for any COVID-19 vaccine involves thousands of volunteers, and at least half of the volunteers are followed for at least 2 months after their last vaccine dose (rather than the 6 or more months in a traditional process). However, by two months, most side effects from vaccines are expected to surface.
It is possible that rare side effects may only be seen when millions of people are vaccinated. For this reason, the safety of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be monitored after they are given.
No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines 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 signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.
Learn more about the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccinations authorized for use in the United States.
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Vaccines work by stimulating your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first.
Learn more about how mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work.
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.
Learn more about mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines.
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 5 years of age or older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.
Currently no evidence shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems (problems trying to get pregnant) in women or men. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and people who would like to have a baby.
"Unfounded claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility have been scientifically disproven," the American Academy of Pediatrics -- which represents doctors who specialize in treating children -- says in a statement on its website.
"There is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to loss of fertility. While fertility was not specifically studied in the clinical trials of the vaccine, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions who have received the vaccines since their authorization, and no signs of infertility appeared in animal studies," it adds.
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines 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 to vaccination, which is the goal, 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.
Learn more about the possibility of COVID-19 illness after vaccination
COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can do things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: ±
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
The first does of an mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) only partially protects you. The second dose is needed to get the maximum immunity to protect yourself from severe illness. It is never too late to get the second shot! You are more than welcome to visit one of our walk-in clinics or pop-up clinics to complete your series. It will be helpful to bring the CDC vaccine card you received at your first shot so the vaccine provider will know which vaccine to administer and to make sure you have a record of it. If you have questions, call 919-913-8088.
Our mobile vaccination team can help! Fill out this form:
or call 919-245-6127 to leave a message. The mobile vaccine team will get right back to you to schedule a visit.
You may either call 919-913-8088 or visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/covid-19-vaccine-portal-residents to get a new copy. PDF: Accessing Your COVID-19 Vaccine Record, English, Spanish
Please fill out the Orange County Vaccination Event Request form: https://www.orangecountync.gov/FormCenter/Health-6-6/Orange-County-Vaccination-Event-Request-272-272