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Published on Thursday, January 28, 2021

7 Things to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

    Unlike other kinds of vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the actual virus (living or dead), so it is impossible for them to infect you with COVID. Learn more about how the COVID-19 vaccines work.

  2. Even if you have already been sick with COVID, you should still get the vaccine.

    It is possible to get COVID-19 more than once, and we still do not know how long a person is protected by natural immunity after they have recovered from COVID-19.

  3. You need two doses of the current vaccine.

    With the current Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, two shots are needed to ensure the best immune system response. One shot probably offers some level of protection, but the research shows that immunity significantly develops after the second dose. You’ll generally get the shots three to four weeks apart. Your vaccine provider will schedule the second shot at your first appointment (Please note - once the Johnson & Johnson vaccine begins being distributed, individuals who receive this vaccine will only need a single shot).

  4. The vaccine will not make you test positive on COVID-19 tests.

    Tests to diagnose COVID-19, such as PCR or antigen tests done by nasal swabs or saliva samples, are checking for the presence of the virus, not immunity. Because the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus, they will not affect those tests.

    Tests to see if you have had COVID-19 at some point in the past, such as antibody tests, are done through blood samples. Because vaccines are designed to stimulate your body’s immune system, there is a possibility you may test positive on an antibody test. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

  5. The vaccine is free.

    The COVID-19 vaccines are free. No one must pay for a vaccination, and no one can be denied a vaccination, regardless of ability to pay. Vaccination providers may charge an administration fee for giving someone the shot, but the fee will be reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company. Uninsured patients do not have to pay any fee. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee. If an individual believes they are the victim of an unlawful activity, such incurring financial costs when assessing a COVID vaccine, they can report it to the NYS Attorney General.

    Also, beware of vaccine scams and fraud. If anyone is promising you the vaccine in exchange for money, you should NOT pay them. If you suspect fraud, you can contact New York state authorities by calling 1-833-VAX-SCAM (1-833-829-7226) or emailing STOPVAXFRAUD@health.ny.gov.

  6. Temporary side effects are normal after you get your vaccine.

    They are a sign that the vaccine is doing its job: training your body to build immunity against the COVID-19 virus. These side effects can include fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle and joint pain, or chills, lasting about 12 to 24 hours. They are more common after the second dose of the vaccine. Having these side effects does not mean you are sick with COVID-19. The vaccines do not contain any part of the COVID-19 virus and cannot cause that infection. Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your shots.

  7. You need to keep wearing a mask and social distancing after you have had your vaccine.

    It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. Masking and social distancing will also continue to be important for months until everyone who wants a vaccination is able to get it, and the spread of the virus has been stopped. Continued masking is also important because researchers don’t know yet whether a vaccinated person can spread coronavirus.

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