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No. Neither the authorized vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials can cause you to test positive on viral tests.
If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination— you could test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
You may choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding and in a group eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccine safety data is limited. If you are pregnant and have COVID-19, you are at increased risk for severe illness. We recommend talking with your healthcare provider to make the decision.
Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials did not measure if the vaccines can prevent asymptomatic transmission. The clinical trials did show the vaccines are both over 94% effective at preventing you from getting the virus. The more people who are protected from the virus, the more challenging it is for the virus to transmit between people. In the meantime, keep wearing face coverings, maintain physical distance, and limit gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Yes, when they are eligible to receive vaccine. Get more information on your eligibility for vaccine from PhaseFinder and this DOH infographic.
Yes, even if you get vaccinated, we recommend you continue the other measures to prevent disease spread:
While experts continue to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, it will be important for everyone to keep using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following public health guidance will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors—including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities—will also affect this decision.
Coronaviruses cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), which are closely related to the virus that causes COVID-19. Researchers began working on developing vaccines for these diseases after their discovery in 2003 and 2012, respectively. None of the SARS vaccines ever made it past the first stages of development and testing, in large part because of lack of interest once the virus disappeared. One MERS vaccine (MVA-MERS-S) successfully completed a phase 1 clinical trial in 2019. Experts have used lessons learned from this earlier vaccine research to inform strategies to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes, studies show the vaccines are equally safe for all racial and ethnic groups. The clinical trials intentionally recruited participants reflective of the U.S. population to assess safety and effectiveness across age, gender, and racial/ethnic groups.
The protection someone gains from having an infection—called natural immunity—varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Since this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last. Some early evidence—based on some people—seems to suggest natural immunity may not last very long.We won’t know how long immunity lasts from vaccination until we have a more data on how well it works. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about. We will keep you informed as new evidence becomes available.
Washington State has launched two new tools for community members to assess their current eligibility for the COVID-19.The COVID 19 Check Up Tool and the PhaseFinder Tool. More information is on their website, including their phased approach to vaccine allocation.
Continue doing the things that’ll drive cases down and keep the disease from spreading:
Get more information about these and other steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Vaccines help our immune system fight future infections. COVID-19 vaccines train our bodies to develop defenses to the disease without having to get sick.
COVID-19 vaccines are meant to prevent you from getting COVID-19 and from spreading it to others. Both vaccines authorized by the FDA are shown to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 infection in clinical trials. The ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect us from spreading the virus to others is not yet known, but is being studied carefully.
Both vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA are two-dose vaccines, given either 21 days or 28 days apart. These vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which teach your cells to produce a harmless piece of the coronavirus that then triggers an immune response to build antibodies. In this way, you build immunity to COVID-19 without getting the illness.
It typically takes a few weeks after the second dose to become fully protected. Sometimes vaccination can cause mild fever or cold-like symptoms, but these are not harmful.
To learn more about the FDA-authorized vaccines, visit the Safety and Effectiveness page.
We don’t know yet. When a vaccine gets an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, it means we have enough information to know that the vaccine is safe and effective. However, the clinical trials for these vaccines will continue for years to come to determine how long immunity lasts.
All the normal steps in the vaccine development process are being followed for the COVID-19 vaccine. The main difference is that some of the steps are being done at the same time in order to produce a safe and effective vaccine faster. For example, during normal vaccine development the clinical safety trials are complete and then the vaccine is produced. For COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine is being produced while the clinical trials are happening. This is so the vaccine is ready and available as soon as we know that it is safe and effective. If any vaccines do not successfully complete their clinical trials, any vaccine that was already made will be destroyed.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will decide who should receive the vaccine. They will review all the data from the vaccines’ clinical trials to make these decisions. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine is available to people 16 years and older. The Moderna vaccine is available for people 18 and older.
One and you’re not done! If a vaccine requires two doses, you need both doses at the appropriate interval for the vaccine to be effective. For most vaccines requiring two doses, the interval is about a month apart. Whoever gives you the first dose will let you know when you should return to get the second one. You need to get the same brand of vaccine for both doses.
People with a history of past COVID-19 illness may get the vaccine. Not enough information is currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again—natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more research is necessary. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices makes recommendations on how to best use COVID-19 vaccines. People who were previously infected with COVID-19 were included in the clinical trials of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Studies showed strong safety and efficacy.
Viral mutations are very common. Both Pfizer and Moderna are running tests to determine if their vaccines are effective against these latest mutations. Although it might be more transmissible, it is not more severe or deadly. The most powerful tool we have against this virus is to get as many people vaccinated as fast as possible. In the meantime, until we know more about how effective these vaccines are at preventing transmission, keep wearing face coverings, maintain physical distance, and limit gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Initial supply of the vaccine is limited. Once enough vaccine is on the market, everyone will have access. We don’t know how long that will take, but we will monitor the supply and communicate when vaccine is available for different groups in the state’s phased distribution plan.
Side effects may include sore arm, tiredness, headache, and muscle pain. These symptoms are a sign that the vaccine is working. Side effects were more common after the second dose than the first dose. For most people, these side effects occurred within 2 days of getting the vaccine and lasted about a day.
Studies show side effects are more common among people 55 years or older.
If you have a severe allergic reaction to a COVID vaccine or are known to be allergic to any of its components, you should not receive the vaccine. People with a history of a severe allergic reaction (needing hospitalization) to any cause, should be monitored for 30 minutes after injection. Everyone else will be monitored for 15 minutes.
If you do not take the second shot, you will most likely not build enough immunity to fight the infection. In the studies for Pfizer’s vaccine, the first shot seemed to be about 52% effective in preventing COVID. The second shot increased that effectiveness to 95%.
COVID-19 is a new disease and we continue to learn more about it. Community immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. Scientists estimate that to control COVID-19, about 7 or 8 of every 10 people will need to be immune.
There is not enough information currently available to say if or when we will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection the COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
Vaccine rollout is happening in phases in the state’s plan. Use the state’s Phase Finder website to learn if you’re eligible in one of the current phases. You can find the location for Yakima County at the Yakima Health District COVID-19 Vaccine page.
The Washington State Board of Health decides what vaccines to require for schools. Initially, the COVID-19 vaccines will have Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) status. An EUA helps make things like vaccines available to address public health emergencies like pandemics. Vaccines cannot be made mandatory until they receive full licensure from the FDA. Once vaccines are fully licensed it will be up to the State Board of Health to decide if the vaccines will be required for school.