COVID-19 Vaccines

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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters protect us against COVID-19, including all the variants seen so far.. And emerging evidence indicates that people can get added protection by getting vaccinated after having been infected with COVID-19. Stay up to date on your vaccines . Get the facts, then get the vaccine.  Your questions answered:

Do I need a booster shot? How many boosters do I need?

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Boosters are an important part of protecting yourself from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. They are recommended for most people. Use this tool from the CDC to determine when or if you (or your child) can get one or more COVID-19 boosters: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html

What does it mean to be “up to date” on your vaccines? When I am I “fully vaccinated”?

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You are up to date on your vaccines when you have received all doses in your first series, plus boosters when you are eligible. Recommendations for staying “up to date” are different depending on your age, health, the vaccine you received, and when you first got vaccinated. Learn more.

For those who have a normal immune system, you are fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine or a single dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine. If your immune system is moderately to severely compromised, your being fully vaccinated also includes receiving an additional mRNA vaccine dose. Learn more. Anyone who is eligible for a booster dose should receive that dose to remain “up to date” as this will provide greater protection against COVID-19 than someone who only is “fully vaccinated.”

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children ages 5 to 11?

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Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending the COVID-19 vaccine for children 5 to 11 only after thoroughly testing its safety in thousands of kids. Children ages 5 to 11 receive a kid-sized dose of the vaccine that’s one-third the amount given to those 12 and older. And it works: Vaccinated 5- to 11-year-olds produce levels of antibodies that are similar to those of adults who received the higher dose. In Northern Virginia, thousands of children ages 5-11 have been safely vaccinated and across the U.S., over 8 million children in this aga group have been safely vaccinated.
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children.

Can I still get sick with COVID-19 if I’m fully vaccinated?

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People who are fully vaccinated have come down with COVID-19 — though the chance is much less than for people who have not been vaccinated. In addition, most of these breakthrough infections have been mild, with symptoms more like that of the common cold. Also, vaccinated people who do get COVID-19 also generally are contagious for less time than are unvaccinated people. Being up-to-date on boosters also decreases the chance of severe COVID-19, hospitalization and death. While COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective, no vaccine prevents illness 100% of the time.

Vaccinated or not, you should get tested if you notice any symptoms of COVID-19. Find a COVID-19 testing site near you.

Could I end up with ‘long COVID’ even if I am vaccinated?

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Researchers are working to understand which people or groups of people are more likely to “long COVID.” People who did not get a COVID-19 vaccine might be more at risk for developing post-COVID conditions. If you have symptoms that might be “long COVID,” you are encouraged to report them to your health care provider and consider participating in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on COVID-19 symptoms.

For more information on Long COVID

How was the COVID-19 vaccine developed so quickly?

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COVID-19 vaccines are based on many years of research into vaccine technologies such as mRNA vaccines, further supported by unprecedented levels of collaboration and funding. Testing was thorough and comprehensive; no corners were cut.

If I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

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Yes, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommends that all pregnant people get the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC analyzed new data from pregnant people who have been vaccinated and found no increased risk of miscarriage or harm to the baby. In fact, reports show that the mRNA vaccines might also help protect breastfeeding babies. Furthermore, pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 and, if they are infected, for their babies to be born prematurely — so getting vaccinated can protect both you and your baby.If you are pregnant and have questions, talk with your health care provider.

If you are pregnant and have questions, talk with your health care provider.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe during puberty?

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Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine has been well-studied among those ages 12 to 15. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics have long recommended that adolescents and teens receive other vaccines, too, like influenza and meningitis.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for me if I’m taking medications?

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Yes. Vaccines work by stimulating an immune response. Other medications work using an entirely different mechanism — so there is no interaction between the vaccine and any medications you might take. If you are taking medicines that weaken your immune system, you should talk to your health care provider.

Can the vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

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No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. It’s normal to experience pain or redness on your arm where the shot was given, or sometimes tiredness, fever, or a headache for a day or two. This means your body is building protection against the virus.

How long after recovering from COVID-10 can I be vaccinated?

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People who have COVID-19 should wait to receive any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine, until after they recover and complete their isolation period. Additionally, people who recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying their next booster by up to 3 months from when their symptoms started or, if they had no symptoms, when they first received a positive test. Reinfection is less likely in the weeks to months after infection. However, certain factors, such as personal risk of severe disease, local COVID-19 community level, and the dominant COVID-19 variant could be reasons to get a vaccine sooner rather than later. Learn more.

Can I be treated for COVID-19?

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COVID-19 treatments can help prevent severe illness in high-risk patients to help keep them out of the hospital. Learn about your medication options if you are at high risk.

Health, Safety, and How to Stay Well

Do I need to wear a mask?

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Currently, wearing a mask is optional in northern Virginia. Choosing to wear a well-fitting mask, especially one that is more effective at keeping particles out (such as an N-95, a KN-95 or a KF-94), can protect against COVID-19. CDC recommends that people in communities with a level of “Medium” who are at higher risk for severe COVID-19 talk with their healthcare provider about masking, and in communities with a level of “High” that everyone wears a well-fitting mask indoors in public regardless of vaccination status.  Masks also should be worn by those who have symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had a positive COVID-19 test or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the past 10 days. Learn more details.

When should I get tested for COVID-19?

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If you have symptoms or an exposure, you should get a test. Look for a testing location near you.

Is it safe to travel?

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Anyone who plans domestic or international travel should check out the CDC website for important updates. Depending on your vaccination status and whether you have had a recent documented COVID-19 infection and the travel destination, there might be safety precautions or testing requirements. See CDC travel guidance.

For more information, watch the #FFXHealthFacts playlist or check out the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccination FAQ.

We can all move forward by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Parents and guardians: The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children 5 and older. Please accompany anyone under 18 to get vaccinated.
If you’re unable to sign up online or if you need language assistance, call to register for an appointment.
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