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Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is the best way protect yourself and others from getting sick. However, it is normal to have questions about the vaccine so that you feel informed and confident in your decision to get vaccinated. Together, we can stop this pandemic.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? How is it authorized for use?
After many clinical trials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two vaccines for public use in 2020 and a third in 2021. The COVID-19 vaccines were tested on thousands of people from different age groups and backgrounds, including people of color, for safety and ability to protect against COVID-19. To date, millions of people in the United States have been safely vaccinated for COVID-19.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work to keep us safe?
Vaccines protect us from diseases by teaching our bodies how to fight viruses and infections so that we don’t get sick. Messenger RNA or mRNA vaccines, like the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, teach your body how to recognize the virus to trigger an immune response, and they do not alter DNA in any way. Viral vector vaccines, like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, use a harmless version of the virus to help our bodies build up protection against COVID-19.
What are the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccines are one of the best ways to prevent sickness and protect yourself and those around you. The COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective at preventing you from getting seriously ill from the virus, and is a key step in being able to get back to the things we love.
How do I get vaccinated?
In California, vaccination is free and available to all regardless of immigration status. Vaccination is now open statewide for all Californians aged 16 and up. To make a vaccination appointment, visit myturn.ca.gov or call the statewide COVID-19 Hotline at 1-833-422-4255 (M-F 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sa-Sun 8 a.m.-5 p.m.).
What should I expect at my vaccine appointment?
During the appointment, you will get a shot in your upper arm, and then be monitored on-site for at least 15 minutes to make sure you don’t have a reaction to the vaccine. Once vaccinated, you will receive a card that states what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you got it and where you got it.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
After getting a vaccine, it is normal to experience minor side effects, such as arm pain. Like other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine may cause some mild side effects, including tiredness, headache, fever and chills. If these side effects last more than 2-3 days, or worsen, call your doctor, nurse or clinic. A very small number of other side effects, including allergic reactions, have been reported, however studies show the vaccine is very safe for people with common food and environmental allergies.
I’ve already had COVID. Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. We do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
After I’m vaccinated, what should I do to stay safe?
After getting vaccinated, everyone should continue to wear a mask, hand wash often, avoid crowds and practice social distancing in public in order to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from COVID-19. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit www.cdc.gov or www.fda.gov.