facts & information
COVID-19 Vaccine Facts & Information
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are many vaccines in development to protect us against COVID-19. Below are some common questions about vaccination and COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent disease. Vaccines save millions of lives each year. When we get vaccinated, we are not just protecting ourselves but also those around us.
When a person gets vaccinated, they are less likely to get a disease or pass the germ on to other people. When more people get vaccinated, there are fewer people left for a germ to infect, so it is harder for the germ to spread. This is called community immunity or herd immunity. Herd immunity is important because it protects people who cannot get the vaccine, for example, because they are too young or are very sick.
Vaccines work by preparing the body’s immune system to recognize and fight off germs. They reduce your risk of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds by:
- Detects the invading germ, such as a virus or bacteria.
- Makes antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by the immune system to fight
- Remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are exposed to the germ after getting the
vaccine, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become sick.
Our immune systems are designed to remember. After we get one or more doses of a vaccine, we are protected against the disease for a period of time. This is what makes vaccines so effective. Instead of treating a disease after it happens, vaccines can prevent us from getting sick in the first place.
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States have the virus that causes COVID-19 in them. Sometimes people get a fever or feel tired for a day or so after getting a vaccine. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. You can learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work at this CDC website.
It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. If a person got infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after they got a shot, they could still get COVID-19. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
No. Vaccines will not cause you to test positive on a viral test (like the swab test) that looks for current COVID-19 infection. You may test positive on some antibody tests. This is because one of the ways that vaccines work is to teach your body to make antibodies. See the public health testing webpage to learn more about COVID-19 tests.
Yes. You do need the vaccine even if you have had COVID-19. We do not yet know how long you are protected after you have had COVID-19, so it is important to have the vaccine to strengthen your immunity.
No. You cannot get the vaccine if you currently have COVID-19. If you do get COVID-19 between your first and second vaccine, your second shot may be delayed until you have completed your isolation period and symptoms have improved or resolved. Please speak to your provider if this happens to you. Once your symptoms have improved, you can get the vaccine.
In some cases, symptoms of COVID-19 can linger for months. If this applies to you, you should get the vaccine. You do not need to wait for these long-term symptoms to subside
If you have insurance, we will ask to see your insurance card at the front desk, and you will not have to pay. If you do not have insurance, please ask our staff for assistance.
We offer Moderna vaccines for anyone 6 months and older.
We currently offer COVID-19 vaccines at our DTLA and Sherman Oaks locations. More locations will be added in the future. Please click here to make an appointment.
Yes. If you have a cold, you should still get your COVID-19 vaccine. If you have a fever, please speak with your doctor first.
Yes. Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding you CAN receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding is safe, effective and recommended by Eisner Health. For more information click here.
Yes. You do not need a social security number or immigration status to get vaccinated for COVID-19. The vaccine is free for everyone, regardless of immigration status. For more information click here.
Yes, you may continue your series at Eisner Health. Please refer to question #9 for the vaccine types offered.
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should get an authorized third dose of a COVID19 vaccine. This includes people who have been receiving cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood, received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system, received a stem cell transplant within the last two years, have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome), or are receiving treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response.
These third doses for immunocompromised patients can be given to patients who received their second Pfizer or Moderna dose at least 28 days prior
Individuals 18 years of age and older who received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot six months or more after their initial series. Individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months prior. For additional information, click here.
After you receive each of your vaccines, you must wait in our waiting area for 15 minutes for observation to ensure you do not have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. It is very rare to have an allergic reaction. If you have had an allergic reaction to a different vaccine in the past, you can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but your observation time may be extended. Please speak to your provider if you have any concerns.
Please click here for the current recommendations from the California Health Department.
Yes. Continuing to wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands frequently is still recommended because experts don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people even if you don’t get sick yourself. Experts also need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions.
Yes. The Federal Drug Administration of the United States allows providers to boost eligible people with a different vaccine than the one they received initially.
Whether you received a Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer vaccine, you may receive a booster of any other vaccine if you meet the criteria listed in question #17.
Yes! You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including the flu vaccine, during the same visit.
It is likely that the viruses that cause influenza (flu) and COVID-19 will both be spreading this winter. A flu shot only protects you from the flu, but at least it means you will not run the risk of getting flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
Getting a flu vaccine now is more important than ever.
Myths About COVID-19 Vaccines:
The Facts: These vaccines could be made fast and still be safe for three simple reasons.
- There was a lot of research done on the kind of virus that causes COVID-19 before this virus showed up. So scientists had a big head start about the kind of vaccine that would work best to fight this virus.
- A lot of government money was spent to get many companies to work on this vaccine and to put all of their scientists to work on it around the clock. That helped speed everything up.
- While every step to make a new vaccine and be sure it is safe was followed, some of the steps were done at the same time instead of one after another. It is like cooking several parts of a meal at once instead of cooking one course at a time. You get done sooner, but it’s just as good.
In fact, the two vaccines that have been approved to protect against COVID-19 were studied on more than 70,000 volunteers, including adults of all ages and different racial and ethnic groups, and were found to work very well and be equally safe for all.
The Facts: COVID-19 is a lethal disease. Seasonal flu can be very dangerous, but it kills about one person in every thousand infected, while COVID-19 kills one out of a hundred people who are infected. No one has died from the two approved vaccines.
- Some people wonder if that could be just because volunteers who took part in vaccine trials were not tracked for long enough for us to know if there will be deaths. It’s true that we only have 3 months of experience watching people who got these vaccines, but we do have experience with other vaccines and the vast majority of ill effects show up within hours or days. There is no basis for believing we will see something different here.
The current vaccines don’t include the virus in any form – no live virus, no weakened virus, no dead virus. You just cannot get the disease from the vaccine.
- Some other vaccines use the virus they are fighting in some form to charge up an immune response. The current COVID-19 vaccines do not work that way so there is no way that they could give you COVID-19.
- It is possible to catch the disease in the first few days after your vaccination before the vaccine has a chance to work, but that would not mean you got sick from the vaccine. For most people, the vaccine needs 7 days before it starts to work. And both these vaccines require a second dose before a person is fully protected from getting sick from the virus.
It is easy to be confused about this because you might feel some side effects for a while after getting the vaccine. In fact, about half of the volunteers who tested these vaccines experienced some side effects: Most of these effects were mild and did not require any treatment or change in daily activity and lasted for 1 to 2 days. What they were feeling was not COVID-19, however, not even a mild case of COVID-19. They were feeling the symptoms of an immune response, which means that the vaccine was at work developing antibodies to protect them from COVID-19.
The Facts: These vaccines do use genetic material, called mRNA (that stands for “messenger” RNA) to fight the virus, but it doesn’t do anything to your genes.
- Just as its name says, mRNA works like a messenger. In this case, the mRNA used in the vaccine tells your body to make a protein that kicks your immune system into action. The mRNA lets your body get a message from the virus without having to run into the virus directly.
- But it doesn’t affect your genes. Keep in mind that you encounter genetic material from other plants and animals all the time, when you eat them. Your body breaks them down into their basic chemicals, using the proteins and fats and carbohydrates they contain to give you energy and make your cells work.
Like the food you eat, the mRNA you get in a vaccine does have an affect on your health, but it doesn’t change your genes or your DNA.
The Facts: Not true on either count. Childhood vaccines are one of the best and safest protections against dangerous diseases that have been developed, and these vaccines have been carefully tested for safety as well.
- First about the autism scare – It was started by an English doctor who was later shown to be a fraud. The lie lived on because some celebrities bought into it and ran with it. The result? Millions of dollars wasted on proving the truth over and over (for example, one study looked at every single baby born in Denmark for 8 years and showed there was absolutely no link). Even so, some scared parents still avoid vaccines, and we see deadly outbreaks of diseases that could have been prevented.
- The list of ingredients in the COVID vaccines is pretty simple – mRNA, plus some fats (called “lipids,” which is another word for fats) plus some salt and sugar to stabilize the mix. You can actually find the ingredients on the Food and Drug Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine website. Nothing you’ll see is out of the ordinary.
The Facts: The vaccine does not contain any kind of tracking device whatsoever.
- This story seems to have spread on the Internet based on a Facebook post that said Bill Gates was planning to use a microchip to identify people who have been tested for COVID-19. In fact, Mr. Gates had commented on a research study that had nothing to do with COVID-19 and nothing to do with anything being implanted. The study was about a method to be sure who has gotten vaccinated in countries that have high death rates from vaccine preventable diseases and poor health data systems. Like the story about autism, this is a story that is hard to stop even after it has been debunked over and over.
The Facts: Getting the vaccine is totally voluntary. Doctors and public health officials are trying to provide people with good information on the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines so that they can make an informed decision when it is their turn to be offered the vaccine. No one is required to get vaccinated.
The Facts: While there are terrible examples of drug companies putting profit before safety (for example, by aggressively promoting highly addictive opioid painkillers), the process for developing these vaccines and the makeup of the products themselves has been transparent, with more information available to independent scientists than ever before.
- The development of these vaccines has been carried out in the public eye. In fact, reviews of vaccine safety and efficacy (a term used to mean that the vaccines work) have been published for anyone to read. That means you or your doctor can read the reviews and decide whether the research seems solid and the findings are believable.
- The people reviewing the research include medical leaders from diverse settings all over the country and observers (non-voting members) representing a wide range of medical groups, including some that have fought hard against medical racism. They have not been paid for this work – they have been involved to verify the quality of the research and to assure that equity is protected throughout the process. For a list of names of the reviewers and the places they work, visit the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) website. You can learn more about these people by looking them up online.
- Doctors do not make extra money for giving vaccines. They are paid for a medical visit, same as any other primary care visit.
The Facts: There are certainly historical reasons for Black and Latinx communities to fear being singled out. The concern is justified because people of color and marginalized groups have, in the past, been coerced and subjugated to participating in drug trials and medical procedures without informed consent, patient protections, or ethical practices. That is not the case here, however. Black and Latinx communities have not been singled out to get the vaccine. But groups are being offered the vaccine based on the risks faced by the people in the group. So, the answer is NO to singling anyone out, but YES, Black and Latinx communities could be offered the vaccines earlier than other communities where infection, hospitalization and death rates have not been as high. Consider the following:
- The two vaccines now available were tested on diverse populations. In fact, efforts were made to assure inclusion of Black and Latinx volunteers in proportions equal to their proportion in the population just to make sure there weren’t factors that would make a vaccine less effective or less safe in either of those groups. A big effort was made to include members of those groups, to assure that they would not be victims of medical neglect, which is the other side of the coin in regard to medical racism.
- The very top priority for getting vaccinated now that the vaccines are available are frontline workers in healthcare. This includes clinical staff such as doctors, nurses, and therapists as well as people who work in other areas like laboratories and hospital environmental services. They are prioritized because they are at higher risk of being exposed to the virus and they are critical to keeping other people alive. These same criteria are being used to decide who is next in line, as we need to prioritize vaccinating some people before others while there is limited supply of the vaccine. Once there is plenty of vaccine available, everyone who wants to get vaccinated should have easy access to the vaccine.
- There is good reason for Black and Latinx communities to demand equal and early access to vaccination. Black and Latinx residents, along with Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, have been most likely to be infected (often as a result of poor working or living conditions), most likely to require hospitalization if infected, and most likely to die from COVID-19. They‘re also the communities that suffer most severe consequences if illness excludes them from the workforce. If you see billboards or hear advertising encouraging Black and Latinx residents of LA to opt for vaccination, it reflects these concerns. LA wants those who have been hardest hit to have the opportunity to be vaccinated as soon as possible.
The stakes for Black and Latinx residents of LA are high. Please read what you can about the vaccines from reliable sources and talk to well-informed people you trust – your doctor, a science teacher you know, a pharmacist – and ask them to respond to your questions and concerns. Your questions are important and deserve to be answered by knowledgeable and trusted individuals.
The Facts: We don’t know how long natural immunity – the immunity you get from having been sick – lasts. We also don’t know if it is complete. There have been a few well-documented cases of people being infected twice. So even if you have had COVID-19 and recovered, you will benefit from the vaccine.