Choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccines work to help your body fight off viruses and illness like COVID-19. When you get a vaccination, you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting and defending those around you. This information will help you understand the different types of vaccines available to fight COVID-19, and what you should do to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine.

Types of COVID-19 Vaccines

There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines available for administering in the United States. They were approved through an emergency use authorization by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). In August 2021, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became FDA approved. 

Pfizer-BioNTech

Type of Vaccine: mRNA

Effectiveness: 95%

Age Eligibility: For ages 12+

 

Moderna

Type of Vaccine: mRNA

Effectiveness: 94.1%

Age Eligibility: For ages 18+

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J)

Type of Vaccine: Viral Vector

Effectiveness: 66.3%

Age Eligibility: For ages 18+

 

black man getting vaccine covid-19 vaccine who should get it

How the COVID-19 vaccine is delivered

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines are given through an injection in your upper arm, similar to a flu shot.

Multiple Dose Vaccines: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine: given in three doses, with the first and second shots are 21 days apart, and the third dose given six months after.
  • Moderna vaccine: given in two doses, with the first and second shots 28 days apart

Single Dose Vaccine: 

  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

Possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

Here are some of the possible symptoms you might have after getting your COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness or malaise
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea

If you experience symptoms after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, it is your body’s immune system doing its job. The symptoms should go away after a couple of days.

You are considered “fully-vaccinated” two weeks after your second dose.

With both the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, you are more likely to have symptoms after your second dose. It takes time for your body to build up protection against viruses like COVID-19. You might have a day or two of symptoms as your immune system kicks into gear to start protecting you against COVID-19.

Should allergies stop you from taking the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated regardless of past history of allergic reactions to food, pets, venom, environmental or latex allergies.  

If you are someone who experiences or has experienced a severe allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable medications, speak with your doctor about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you experience a severe or immediate allergic reaction to the mRNA vaccines (Moderna or Pfizer) after the first dose, it is not recommended for you to get the second dose. It will be likely the viral vector vaccine (J&J) be recommended for you. 

older woman getting covid-19 vaccine elderly woman black nurse

Before you get your COVID-19 vaccine

The state of Kansas has opened up vaccinations for anyone 12 years old and older. You can sign-up to get your COVID-19 vaccine locally through Harvey County’s Vaccine Page, Sedgwick County’s Vaccine Page or nationally through the vaccine finder.

If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please speak with your healthcare provider or family doctor. You can also learn more about how the vaccine works and what cautions to take through the CDC’s Vaccine Resources Page.

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you will receive a card with the date of your shot. If you get the Pfizer-BioTech or Moderna vaccine, you will be told what day you need to return for your second dose. If you get the Johnson & Johnson Janssen shot, you will only need one dose.

After you get your shot, you will be asked to wait at the vaccine clinic for a short bit of time. This is to make sure if have any reactions to the vaccine that prompt medical care is provided.

Vaccine Card Information

You will be given a vaccine card to keep track of your shot dates, especially if you are getting a two-shot vaccine. Be sure to bring your vaccine card back with you for your second dose. Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to your vaccine card:

Dos

  • Take a photo of the front and back of your COVID-19 vaccine card
  • Print a photocopy of the card to keep in your wallet
  • Keep the original copy in a safe place, like with  your birth certificate or your social security card

Don'ts

  • Post photos of your vaccine card on social media because it includes personal health information (PHI) such as your name and your birthdate
  • Laminate the card in case there is a need for booster shots or more information to be added later
family walking through airport with masks on covid-19 vaccine travel after getting vaccine

What you can do after you've been fully vaccinated

Current guidance from the CDC: 

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic
  • To reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission
  • You might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if a member of your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States
  • If you’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive

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What questions about the vaccine are doctors at NMC Health asked the most?

We spoke to our medical experts about what they of the COVID-19 vaccines. If you have questions about getting the vaccine that we didn’t answer, please talk to your doctor. 

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Your Choice Matters

Still on the fence about getting your COVID-19 vaccine? Hear from more people who want you to know how important it is to be vaccinated, and why the cause is so near and dear to their hearts.