Updated February 26, 2021
Vaccines help protect us, our children, and our
communities against preventable diseases. They are tested to ensure
safety and prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. Since
vaccines were introduced, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that
used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very
rarely. Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by
up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced.
The U.S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) issued emergency use authorizations (EUA)
for two vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19. The vaccines were
Pfizer-BioNTech (ages 16 and older) and
Moderna (ages 18 and older). Other vaccines are in large-scale clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective.
Why vaccinate? | Department of Health and Human Services
FACTS About COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
The COVID-19 vaccine is a set of two shots 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.
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC
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 AstraZeneca.
1. COVID Vaccine | NC DHHS2. Moderna
Provides Updates on the Clinical Development and Production of Its COVID-19
Vaccine Candidate | Moderna, Inc.3. Pfizer
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 | Astrazeneca
COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Toolkit | CDC
For now, yes. The three leading vaccines are
Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca. All require a second dose 21-28 days after the
Pfizer: 21 daysModerna: 28 daysAstraZeneca: 28 daysACIP
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 | CDC
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:
of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC
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
Vaccination FAQ | CDC
Pfizer and Moderna Vaccine
For individuals who currently have COVID-19:
For individuals who have 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.
FAQ COVID-19 Vaccination | 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 15 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.
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.
Polysorbate is not an ingredient in either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine but is
closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines. People who are
allergic to PEG or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
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
The supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine are limited and prioritized for groups at highest risk, including healthcare workers, people in long-term care facilities, and older adults.
As supplies increase, all
adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. A COVID-19
vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are
completed. North Carolina’s prioritization plan was created
based on recommendations from the CDC. The Advisory Committee on Immunization
Practices (ACIP) set goals and identified ethical principles to guide this
decision making. To learn more, visit the link below.
Vaccine recommendations | CDC
N.C. Vaccination Distribution Plan
Learn more about North Carolina’s plan for vaccine prioritization and distribution at
NC DHHS COVID-19: Vaccines
or view this
Infographic of Vaccine Phases.
Visit these pages for additional information:
COVID-19 Vaccine | MeckNC.gov
Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC
How COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC
Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC
Children Healthy During the COVID-19 Pandemic | CDC
the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States | CDC
Download ourFrequently Asked Questions.
County services are operating at a limited capacity. Questions about COVID-19? Call Public Health Hotline: 980-314-9400