Updated May 13, 2021
It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.
Over the years, vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives. Diseases that used to be common in this country and around the world, including polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, rotavirus and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) can now be prevented by vaccination.
Getting a vaccine also benefits your loved ones and people in your community by creating “herd immunity.” If enough people are vaccinated, the disease cannot spread as quickly.
Stopping a pandemic requires all the tools we have available.
Vaccines and Immunizations | CDC
The COVID-19 vaccine is provided to a person to give them protection from the coronavirus. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as soreness where you received the injection or fatigue. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC
Multiple vaccines to protect people from COVID-19 are in specific phases of development or approval. The chart below summarizes key facts for three companies that are developing the vaccines:
Pfizer, Moderna, and
Johnson & Johnson.
COVID Vaccine | NC DHHS2.
Moderna Provides Updates on the Clinical Development and Production of Its COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate |
BioNTech Conclude Phase 3 Study of COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate, Meeting All Primary Efficacy Endpoints | Pfizer4.
AZD1222 vaccine met primary efficacy endpoint in preventing COVID-19 | Astrazeneca5.
Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee February 26, 2021 Meeting Briefing Document- Sponsor | FDA
COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Toolkit | CDC
This vaccine mechanism is used by the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine (still undergoing clinical trials process).
Understanding Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require a second dose 21-28 days after the first shot. Johnson & Johnson is the only vaccination that requires a single dose.
Pfizer: 21 daysModerna: 28 daysJohnson and Johnson: 1 dose
ACIP COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC
Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as some pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness or feeling off for a day or two.
These mRNA vaccines are expected to produce side effects after vaccination, especially after the 2nd dose.
Side effects may include:
No significant safety concerns were identified in the clinical trials. At least 8 weeks of safety data were gathered in the trials. It is unusual for side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.1.
COVID-19 Vaccines | NC DHHS2.
Pfizer Vaccination EUA Fact Sheet for Recipients3.
What Clinicians Should Know | CDC4.
Johnson & Johnson FDA Briefing
Scientists had a head start. Although the vaccines were developed quickly, they were built upon years of work in developing vaccines for similar viruses.
Testing was thorough and successful. More than 70,000 people participated in clinical trials for two vaccines to see if they are safe and effective. To date, the vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no safety concerns.
There are no safety concerns for senior citizens. Clinical trials ensured the vaccines meet safety standards and protect adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages, including adults over the age of 65, who mounted a strong immune response.
There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our bodies think a germ like the virus is attacking. This creates the antibody defenses we need to fight off COVID-19 if and when the real germ attacks.
Ensuring vaccine safety in the United States:
Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC
Unfortunately, we won’t know how long immunity lasts until we have a vaccine that is released and observed long-term. We will continue to update our information as new data is released.
COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ | CDC
If you currently have COVID-19:
If you've recovered from COVID-19:
Mrna Vaccine Clinical Considerations | CDC
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC's recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are NOT required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
Fully vaccinated people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience any symptoms, they should:
Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis)
to any component of the specific vaccine the individual is receiving (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine) is a contraindication to vaccination
A severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or injectable therapy is a
precaution to vaccination at this time.
Children ages 11 and under should not receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Individuals ages 17 and under should not receive the Moderna vaccine at this time.
More information to come as additional vaccines are approved.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Recipiets and Caregivers | FDAModerna COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers | FDA
Most people with allergies can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidelines that people who have ever had a severe allergic reaction, known as anaphylaxis,
to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine should not get it, and to consult their doctor about getting the vaccine. This includes allergic reactions to PEG and polysorbate, which are closely related to each other. PEG is an
ingredient in the mRNA vaccines, and polysorbate is an ingredient in the
If you are allergic to PEG, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. Ask your doctor if you can get the J&J/Janssen vaccine.
If you are allergic to polysorbate, you should not get the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Ask your doctor if you can get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
Individuals with severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) to another vaccine or injectable medication may wish to consult with their medical provider; this is not an absolute contraindication to get the vaccine. In other words, most people with allergies can still get the vaccine.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Severe Allergic Reactions | CDC
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented globally during this pandemic. The variants are given letter and number combinations that indicate their genetic lineage and differences in the physical characteristics of the virus. They are more commonly named after the countries in which they were first discovered in.
These three variants, described by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as “variants of concern,” have spread globally and have all been reported in the US. Currently, there are fewer than 100 cases belonging to these variants in North Carolina.
These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.
So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination for COVID-19 recognize these variants and are effective against them. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway.
About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 | CDC
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Issues Policies to Guide Medical Product Developers Addressing Virus Variants | FDA
COVID-19 Vaccine | MeckNC.gov
Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC
Keep Children Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic | CDC
Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States | CDC
County services have returned to their normal schedule unless noted otherwise. Read the latest service availability update.