Vaccine FAQs

Vaccine FAQs

Which COVID-19 vaccines are available and who is eligible?

Three vaccines have been approved under the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  

vaccine brand names

who can get this vaccine?

how many doses will you need?

when are you fully vaccinated?

Pfizer-BioNTech

People 5 years and older

2 Doses*

Given 3 weeks (21 days) apart

Fully vaccinated:

2 weeks after your second dose

MODERNA

People 18 years and older

2 Doses

Given 4 weeks (28 days) apart

Fully vaccinated:

2 weeks after your second dose

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

People 18 years and older

1 Dose

Fully vaccinated:

2 weeks after your dose

*The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart. It is a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine given to people 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms).

FAQs – Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA on October 29, 2021.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. In a study of over 3,000 children ages 5 to 11 years old, the vaccine has been found to be safe, with side effects similar to those seen in adults including sore arm, redness at injection, fatigue, fever, chills, and headache. No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study [1].

[1] https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-authorizes-pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-children-5-through-11-years-age

Is the vaccine effective?

Yes. The FDA and CDC have endorsed findings that the vaccine is over 90% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in this age group[1]. Studies show that the vaccine is safe and produces a strong immune response in ages 5 to11, generating antibody levels similar to those produced in adolescents aged 12 to 18[2].

[1] https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/10/26/1049372524/fda-panel-recommends-pfizer-vaccine-for-kids-ages-5-to-11

[2] https://www.wsj.com/articles/white-house-says-once-covid-19-vaccine-for-children-ages-5-11-is-approved-it-will-be-available-at-pediatric-offices-primary-care-sites-pharmacies-11634735235

When will the vaccine be available?

Very soon after the approval date (November 2, 2021). The federal government has purchased a steady supply to cover all children in the 5-11 age group and will be shipping these to states now that emergency use has been authorized.

Where can children over 5 years old get vaccinated?

Children can be vaccinated with parental consent at doctor’s offices, local pharmacies, mobile events, and school-based vaccination events.

Do those under 18 need consent to get the vaccine?

Yes. Consent from a parent or guardian is necessary for anyone under 18 who wants to get the vaccine.

What is the recommended dosage for children 5 to 11?

The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart. It is a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine given to people 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms).

How much does it cost?

Nothing. COVID-19 vaccines are free for all individuals regardless of health insurance coverage, citizenship, or immigration status. 

What are the side-effects?

Potential side-effects typically arise 1-2 days after a receiving either dose of the vaccine and are more likely to occur after the second dose. Side-effects are generally mild and can include: 

  • Sore muscles around injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache 
  • Mild fever

These side-effects mean that the vaccine is working and typically subside in a few days. 

Can my child still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

No vaccine is 100% effective, but the COVID-19 vaccines offer a very high level of protection against the disease once fully vaccinated. It is unlikely for a fully vaccinated person to become sick, but research is ongoing about breakthrough infections for fully vaccinated people caused by variants such as the Delta variant. According to the Washington State Department of Health, “vaccines provide strong protection against hospitalization and death for all known variants. Preliminary evidence suggests that vaccines are somewhat less effective at preventing mild illness from some variants. If you get a vaccine that requires a two-dose series, getting both doses has been shown to be especially important for being fully protected against variants [1].

[1]https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Variants#heading69869

Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. None of the vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so they cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

Will I get a positive COVID-19 test result because I’m vaccinated?

No. Nothing in a COVID-19 test is going to pick up the vaccine; it’s only going to pick up a natural infection.  The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. 

What is Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

An EUA is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives.[1]

The FDA decision to grant EUA for COVID-10 vaccines is based on the totality of scientific evidence available showing that the product may be effective to prevent COVID-19 during the COVID-19 pandemic and that the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product. All of these criteria must be met to allow for the product to be used in the treatment of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.[2]

Learn more about the rigorous testing and manufacturing criteria necessary for EUA on the FDA’s website.

 

[1] https://www.fda.gov/vaccines-blood-biologics/vaccines/emergency-use-authorization-vaccines-explained

[2] https://www.fda.gov/media/153716/download

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks discuss the FDA’s decision to grant EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11.

FAQs – Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and up

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved for Emergency Use Authorization for children 12 to 15 on May 10, 2021 and fully approved for ages 16 and up on August 23, 2021.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization.

As millions of Americans have become vaccinated, the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines have been exhibited in a real-world scenario. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. The CDC recommends that all eligible individuals become fully vaccinated as soon as they can.

Is the vaccine effective.

Yes. 

  • Results from the Pfizer study for this age group reviewed by the FDA suggest that the vaccine is 100% effective at preventing COVID-19 in this children aged 12-15.[1]
  • COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19 and might also help protect people around them.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19 as seen in clinical trial settings. Research provides growing evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) offer similar protection in real world conditions.
  • COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help stop the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • To receive the most protection, people should receive all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may still get sick because no vaccine is 100% effective. Experts continue to monitor and evaluate how often this occurs, how severe their illness is, and how likely a vaccinated person is to spread COVID-19 to others.
  • CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as one is available to you. 

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/covid-19-vaccines-for-kids/art-20513332#how-fda-determine

Is the dosing schedule for the Pfizer vaccine the same for kids and adults?

  • All ages 12 and up receive two doses of the vaccine 21 days apart. Individuals are fully protected 2 weeks after the second shot. 
  • The vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart. It is a lower dose (10 micrograms) compared to the Pfizer vaccine given to people 12 and older (which is 30 micrograms).

Do those under 18 need consent to get the vaccine?

Yes. Consent from a parent or guardian is necessary for anyone under 18 who wants to get the vaccine.

How much does it cost?

Nothing. COVID-19 vaccines are free for all individuals regardless of health insurance coverage, citizenship, or immigration status. 

What are the side-effects?

Potential side-effects typically arise 1-2 days after a receiving either dose of the vaccine and are more likely to occur after the second dose. Side-effects are generally mild and can include: 

  • Sore muscles around injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache 
  • Mild fever

These side-effects mean that the vaccine is working and typically subside in a few days. 

Can I still get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?

No vaccine is 100% effective, but the COVID-19 vaccines offer a very high level of protection against the disease once fully vaccinated. It is unlikely for a fully vaccinated person to become sick, but research is ongoing about breakthrough infections for fully vaccinated people caused by variants such as the Delta variant. According to the Washington State Department of Health, “vaccines provide strong protection against hospitalization and death for all known variants. Preliminary evidence suggests that vaccines are somewhat less effective at preventing mild illness from some variants. If you get a vaccine that requires a two-dose series, getting both doses has been shown to be especially important for being fully protected against variants [1].

[1]https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/Variants#heading69869

Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. None of the vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so they cannot make you sick with COVID-19. 

Will I get a positive COVID-19 test result because I’m vaccinated?

No. Nothing in a COVID-19 test is going to pick up the vaccine; it’s only going to pick up a natural infection.  The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. . 

Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock and FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Dr. Peter Marks discuss the FDA’s decision to grant EUA for the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12-17.

Getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do as an individual to help safeguard yourself and your community against COVID-19.

Participation in a school-based testing program is something we can do together to prevent transmission and outbreaks during the upcoming school year.

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