As the number of adults in this country who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine continues to climb, concerns about its safety and effectiveness linger. From cost to side effects, people still have many questions.

To help you and a senior loved one make an informed decision about getting vaccinated, we pulled together some commonly asked questions. We share answers from public health experts.

5 Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines

  1. Since the vaccines were approved so quickly, are they safe?

The first two vaccines, developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, were indeed rolled out quickly. But both met the criteria for receiving an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Simply put, that means each vaccine went through a three-phase clinical trial and at least half of the phase three participants were followed for two months or more after the trial’s completion. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has more information on their website. Visit Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained to learn more.

  1. How much will I have to pay for the vaccine?

Unlike other recommended vaccines, this one is available at no cost. According to the CDC, that’s because the COVID-19 vaccine doses were purchased using taxpayer money.

Vaccine providers, however, may charge an administration fee for giving a patient the shot. According to the CDC, a vaccine clinic host organization “can be reimbursed for this by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay the vaccine administration fee.”

  1. Does the vaccine use a live virus to build immunity?

This is a myth that keeps people from getting vaccines. No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a live virus. While you may experience minor side effects for a day or two after being vaccinated, it is usually means the body is building immunity.

The most common side effects include some swelling and redness at the injection site, fever and chills, or fatigue. These symptoms last for a few hours or up to a few days. Some people have experienced severe allergic reactions.

  1. Do you need the vaccine if you had the coronavirus?

Because the science isn’t clear yet on how long natural immunity lasts after a person has had the coronavirus, the general recommendation is yes. You should still be vaccinated unless your primary care physician advises against it.

Researchers seem to believe the body’s natural immunity varies from person to person and may not last more than a few months. As we learn more about COVID-19, this recommendation may change.

  1. Do you still need to wear a mask after being vaccinated?

Yes, you will still need to wear a mask. While the vaccine offers you protection, experts don’t know if you can still transmit it to others if you are exposed. This is another area of ongoing research and recommendations from the CDC may change as scientists learn more.

Learn More about COVID-19

The CDC has a dedicated COVID-19 resource center on their website. You will find guidelines on topics ranging from whether you need to quarantine to where to find vaccine clinics in your area.

Residents and staff at Heritage Senior Communities were fortunate to begin receiving their vaccines in January and February. Visit our Facebook page to see how excited our residents were to be vaccinated and why. From wanting to see a new great-grandchild to being able to volunteer at the community again, you’ll see a lot of smiling faces as vaccines are administered!