• social information if applicable

We are committed to providing clear information to patients. Click the links below to learn more about frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the vaccines. 

Click the links below to navigate and learn more.

For general COVID-19 FAQ, please click the link below.

Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan talks about vaccines with Dr. Mehta.

Distribution

 

To find a location to receive the vaccine, go to vaccines.gov or call the Georgia Department of Public Health Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at (888) 457-0186.

Not everyone who had COVID-19 develops immunity, we don’t have a good way to measure the quality of the immune response, and we don’t know how long immunity lasts. There is also new data that the immunity from the vaccine may provide better protection against COVID variants than the immunity from infection, and that people who are vaccinated are less likely to get reinfected.  COVID-19 vaccination is therefore recommended regardless of whether you have had COVID-19.

  • Anyone age 12 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia.
  • Moderately to severely immunocompromised people, as defined by the CDC, are eligible for a third dose of either Moderna or Pfizer:
    • People who have received chemotherapy or radiation for treatment of cancer within the last year
    • People who have had a solid organ transplant and still take medication for immune suppression
    • People who have had a stem cell transplant in the last two years, or who have had a stem cell transplant >2 years ago but still need medication for immune suppression
    • People who have a history of a primary immunodeficiency, such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, or CVID
    • People who have HIV with a CD4 count <200 or are not on antiretroviral medications
    • People who take >=20 mg of prednisone per day, or the equivalent dose of another steroid
    • People who take another immune-suppressing medication for treatment of an autoimmune, rheumatologic, neurologic, or inflammatory disease.

The Pfizer vaccine was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA on December 11, 2020, and received full FDA approval on August 23, 2021.  The Moderna vaccine was issued an EUA on December 18, 2020, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was issued an EUA on February 27, 2021.

Patients do not have to pay for the vaccine. If you have insurance, we will bill your insurance company, but you will have no financial obligation. If you do not have insurance, the vaccine will be provided free of charge.

Yes – as long as you meet the eligibility criteria above, live or work in Georgia, and are an Emory patient, you may get vaccinated even if you do not have insurance.

Vaccine Basics

 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first to use messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA in the vaccine contains the genetic code to make one of the spike proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus particle. Your cells will use that genetic code to make spike proteins that your immune system learns to recognize so that if exposed to coronavirus in the future, your immune system will react to it as well. The mRNA code is translated to make the spike protein without entering the cell nucleus, which is where your DNA is protected, so the mRNA in the vaccine never interacts with your DNA.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both include a piece of mRNA that contains the instructions to make the spike protein, as well as lipids (fats) that help protect the mRNA to enter cells, and salts and sugar that keep the vaccine stable. The formulations are slightly different; the complete ingredient lists for both are below:

  • In addition to the messenger RNA, the ingredients of the Pfizer Vaccine are: 4 different lipids (fats) ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2[(polyethylene glycol [PEG])-2000]- N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol); potassium chloride; monobasic potassium phosphate; sodium chloride; dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate; and sucrose.
  • In addition to the messenger RNA, the ingredients of the Moderna Vaccine are 4 different lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses an adenovirus vector -- a virus that has been modified so that it cannot cause an infection in people – to deliver the instructions for making the COVID spike protein. It also contains the following sugars, alcohols, and salts: citric acid monohydrate; trisodium citrate dihydrate; ethanol; 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD); polysorbate-80; and sodium chloride.

If you have a history of a severe allergy to any of the listed ingredients for a vaccine, you should not receive that vaccine. 

Pfizer Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures below -94º Fahrenheit, or –70º Celsius
  • Once thawed, lasts for five days at average refrigerator temperatures

Moderna Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures below -4º Fahrenheit, or -20º Celsius
  • Once thawed, lasts for 14 days at average refrigerator temperatures

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures between 36° and 46° Fahrenheit, or 2° and 8° Celsius
  • Use by expiration date

No, none of the vaccines contain fetal tissue.  Some vaccines use fetal cells from remote abortions in the 1970s and 1980s in part of their testing or manufacturing process, but no fetal tissue is ever involved.  No fetal cells OR tissue are part of the vaccines themselves.   

The mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna do not contain any part of the virus that causes COVID, and so there is no need for fetal cell use in any part of the vaccine manufacturing.  There was some early testing of how well the vaccines worked that was done on fetal cells, but there are no fetal cells involved in the process of making the vaccine or contained within the vaccine.

The adenovirus vector that is ultimately used in the Johnson&Johnson vaccine does need to grow within living cells as part of the vaccine manufacturing process.  Fetal cells are used for this; the particular fetal cells that are being used have been replicated thousands of times following an abortion in 1985.  However, once the adenovirus vector is ready for use within the vaccine, it is no longer attached to any of these cells, and they are not part of the vaccine.

Vaccine Effectiveness

 

All three of the vaccines approached 100% efficacy in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID infection without significant safety concerns in clinical trials. They also all prevented a majority of symptomatic COVID infections, although it is difficult to compare that data because they weren’t studied head-to-head or in trials done at the same time.

After the vaccines became available in the community, they have continued to prevent >90% of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 infection.  They also prevent the majority of more mild symptomatic infections, although that efficacy appears slightly decreased against the delta variant.

Current data indicates that the vaccines are similar in how effective and safe they are. They all prevent hospitalization and death from COVID infection, which is critically important. Because they weren’t studied head-to-head with each other or in trials done at the time/location, it is harder to compare their efficacy at preventing mild to moderate COVID infection, although they all performed well in studies.  More data is coming in the next month about how all three are doing at preventing mild to moderate infections with the delta variant. 

Vaccine Dosing

 
  • Pfizer Vaccine: Requires two doses/person, 21 days apart
  • Moderna Vaccine: Requires two doses/person, 28 days apart
  • Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (Janssen): Requires a single dose
A third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna may be required in moderately to severely immunocompromised people (see below).  It should be given at least 28 days after the second dose.

If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose should be scheduled three weeks, or 21 days, after the first dose. If you receive the Moderna vaccine, your second dose should be scheduled four weeks, or 28 days, after the first dose.

You should try to get the second dose at the prescribed interval, as close to that date as possible.  If it is delayed, you do not need to start the series over.  You should not get your second dose sooner than recommended.

As of August 13, 2021, the CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including:  

  • People who have received chemotherapy or radiation for treatment of cancer within the last year
  • People who have had a solid organ transplant and still take medication for immune suppression
  • People who have had a stem cell transplant in the last two years, or who have had a stem cell transplant >2 years ago but still need medication for immune suppression
  • People who have a history of a primary immunodeficiency, such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, or CVID
  • People who have HIV with a CD4 count <200 or are not on antiretroviral medications
  • People who take >=20 mg of prednisone per day, or the equivalent dose of another steroid
  • People who take another immune-suppressing medication for treatment of an autoimmune, rheumatologic, neurologic, or inflammatory disease.

No.  Boosters are doses given to increase your immune response to a vaccine if it has declined over time (e.g. over months to years).  We will likely all need boosters for the COVID vaccine eventually, and Emory is awaiting official recommendations from CDC and the FDA. 

The third doses for immunocompromised patients are part of their initial vaccine series.  Researchers have learned that patients who are significantly immunocompromised may not respond well to the first two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, and so they may not have good protection to start with.  In studies, giving a third dose improved the immune response in some of these patients.  Third doses are therefore recommended in patients with conditions such as solid organ transplants, bone marrow transplants, or active treatment for cancer (see full list above). 

 

More information is coming from the CDC and the FDA about booster doses, and is expected in September.  We will update patients and staff when we know more. 

Vaccine Safety and Side Effects

 

The initial Moderna and Pfizer clinical trials included more than 35,000 people who received the vaccines and not placebo, and the Johnson&Johnson initial trial included almost 20,000 people who received the vaccine.  This means that we have safety data for more than 55,000 people from the clinical trials.  People included in the data reviewed for EUA approvals had to have been at least two months past their second dose, as typically delayed side effects will be seen within that time frame.  No serious safety concerns were reported in trial participants.

Additionally, we have now vaccinated more than 200 million people in the United States with at least one dose.  The CDC continues to track adverse event reporting via the v-safe and VAERS reporting systems without any signal of common serious adverse events in the general population. 

There have been extremely rare cases of anaphylaxis reported with the mRNA vaccines (~2 to 5 cases per million doses) and extremely rare blood clotting events seen with Johnson&Johnson (~3 cases per million doses); see below for additional information.  There may be a slightly increased risk of myocarditis and pericarditis with the mRNA vaccines in young men (see below), and CDC is monitoring reports of Guillain-Barre syndrome after Johnson&Johnson.  None of these rare risks outweighs the benefits of vaccination, given the potential for life-threatening illness and long-term complications from COVID-19 infection. 

 

The vaccines were able to be developed so fast in part because of their use of mRNA and adenovirus vector technology.  mRNA vaccines have been in the research pipeline for decades, and adenovirus vectors have recently been used successfully in the development of an effective Ebola vaccine. The genetic code for the coronavirus has been available since early January of 2020, and so researchers were able to start work on a vaccine even before there were confirmed cases in the United States, incorporating the code for making the spike protein.

Side effects have typically been mild to moderate and include fevers, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and pain, swelling, and/or redness at the injection site shortly after receiving the vaccine. They usually do not last more than 24-48 hours and are not dangerous. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for symptoms as needed.

Many people have no side effects with the COVID vaccines, and not having any symptoms does not mean that the vaccine did not work. 

Rare cases of anaphylaxis have been reported with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, with no deaths reported.  CDC has found that the rate of severe allergic reactions has been 2-5 cases per million doses of the vaccine administered, so these are very uncommon.  If you have a history of an allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients, you should not receive that vaccine and should discuss the safety of a different COVID vaccine with your physician.  If you have a history of anaphylaxis to anything else, you will be monitored for 30 minutes after receiving your COVID vaccine out of an abundance of caution.     

Johnson&Johnson vaccination was briefly paused in April of 2021 after there were 6 reports of thrombocytopenia (low platelets) and cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (a blood clot in blood vessels within the brain).  An initial review was conducted that identified 15 total cases of patients presenting with low platelet counts and blood clots; ultimately 42 cases have been identified in 13 million doses given.  These cases have almost all occurred in women ages 18-59, with symptoms starting 6-15 days post-vaccination.  We don’t yet know what causes these very rare events, but there appear to be similarities to cases of HIT (heparin-induced thrombocytopenia).  It is therefore critical that healthcare providers be alert for these cases, as patients should be given a blood thinner other than heparin.

The ultimate conclusion of the CDC and FDA review was that the benefits of using the Johnson&Johnson vaccine far outweigh the risks, given the dangers of hospitalization, blood clots, and death from COVID infection itself.  If you develop vision changes, severe headaches, nausea/vomiting, abdominal or back pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling or pain, or easy bruising, bleeding, or petechiae (tiny brown, red, or purple dots under the skin that can look like a rash) following Johnson&Johnson vaccine administration, you should seek medical attention immediately. 

There are rare reports of myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart) and pericarditis (an inflammation of the lining around the heart) following vaccination with Pfizer or Moderna.  Research is ongoing to determine whether these cases are caused by the vaccines.

Almost all of these cases have been reported in males under age 30 following their second dose.  Some patients have required hospitalization, but most have had their symptoms resolve quickly, and there have not been associated deaths. 

Given that myocarditis and pericarditis are very uncommon after vaccination, that most cases have resolved quickly, and that COVID-19 itself can cause cardiac and other organ dysfunction with long-term sequelae, CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination in everyone 12 and older.   

 

The vaccines are contraindicated if you have a history of either a severe allergic reaction (e.g. anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to any of the vaccine components or to a previous dose of the vaccine. If you have a contraindication to receiving either Pfizer or Moderna, you should not receive the other mRNA vaccine. 

There are additional situations that are not absolute contraindications to receiving the vaccines, but in which precautions should be taken.  These include a history of an immediate allergic reaction to an injectable medication or another vaccine, and having a contraindication to receiving a different type of COVID-19 vaccination (e.g. if you have a contraindication to receiving Moderna, you have at least a precaution to receiving Johnson&Johnson).  Because the mRNA vaccines contain polyethylene glycol (PEG) and the Johnson&Johnson vaccine contains polysorbate, there is some potential for cross-reactivity given the similarity of these compounds, and so discussion with an allergist is recommended prior to proceeding with a different type of COVID vaccine after an allergic reaction.

Patients with a precaution to proceeding with COVID vaccination should discuss with their doctor, and should be vaccinated in a location with the ability to immediately provide medical care for anaphylaxis.  They should be monitored for 30 minutes following vaccination, as should anyone with a history of anaphylaxis of any cause.

If you have had COVID recently, in most cases you can get vaccinated at any time after you have been cleared to stop isolating at home (usually 10 days from the start of your symptoms, and at least 24 hours with no fever off medications, and improvement in other symptoms).  This is to prevent infecting other patients or staff at the site where you are vaccinated. 

If you received a monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma, the CDC recommends waiting 90 days to receive COVID vaccination, as it is unknown if those treatments impact your immune response to the vaccine.

If you were diagnosed with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children or adults (MIS-C or MIS-A) following COVID-19 infection, it is recommended to wait at least 90 days from that diagnosis prior to vaccination.  Discussion with your healthcare provider is also recommended, to make sure your heart function has gone back to normal and to assess your risk of reinfection.  If your MIS-C or MIS-A occurred after COVID vaccination, discuss additional vaccine doses with your healthcare provider. 

Patients receiving the vaccine may experience side effects, including fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain. These side effects can appear similar to the symptoms of COVID, but do not mean that the patient has COVID or is contagious. These symptoms are from the recipient's immune system responding and not from any infection from the vaccine.  None of the vaccines contain any killed or modified COVID virus, and so you cannot get COVID from the vaccines. 

I am immunocompromised? Yes. Patients who are immunocompromised are at risk for severe complications of COVID infection, and so we recommend that they get vaccinated.  It is possible that the vaccines aren’t as effective in some people who are immunocompromised, and so a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna may be recommended in some situations as discussed above.

If you are a transplant patient:

  • Emory Transplant Center recommends that our kidney, liver and pancreas transplant patients receive a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to contact our office to verify safety.
  • Emory Transplant Center also recommends our heart and lung transplant patients receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, heart and lung transplant patients should contact their transplant team BEFORE receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you are a cancer patient:

  • We encourage you to pursue the COVID-19 vaccine. It is not necessary to contact the office to verify safety.

I am pregnant?   Yes, the CDC and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) both recommend vaccination in pregnant women.  This recommendation was made based on the risks of COVID-19 infection during pregnancy, and evidence of a good safety profile of the vaccine in pregnant women.

Contracting COVID-19 while pregnant puts women at increased risk of severe illness, preterm delivery, and pregnancy complications.  The vaccine is very effective in pregnant women at preventing disease, and it appears that some protection may transfer to the baby, as antibodies have been found in umbilical cord blood following vaccination.  Initial safety data found no evidence of significant adverse effects from the vaccine for women or their babies, and no increased risk of miscarriage. 

CDC does note that pregnant, postpartum, and lactating women should be aware of the very rare risk of blood clots caused by TTS (thrombocytopenic thrombotic syndrome) with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine and should seek immediate medical care with any symptoms.  It is also important for pregnant women who get vaccinated to take acetaminophen for any post-vaccine fevers, as per usual guidance about fever in pregnancy.

I am trying to become pregnant?  Yes, you should get vaccinated. Since pregnancy increases the risk for severe disease from COVID-19, it is optimal that women be vaccinated prior to pregnancy. It is not necessary to delay pregnancy after completing both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.  There is no evidence of an impact of the vaccines on menstrual cycles or fertility. 

I am breastfeeding?  Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended in breastfeeding women.  While there is limited data, there is no evidence of any significant safety risk.  Antibodies against COVID have also been found in breastmilk, so it is possible that vaccination may lead to some protection for the baby, although more research is ongoing.

As above, women in this age group should be aware of the rare blood clotting risk with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine and should seek medical attention immediately with any symptoms. 

I have a history of severe allergic reactions?   With these vaccines, we’re most worried about people who have a history of anaphylaxis. Anaphylactic reactions are severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reactions that involve symptoms like widespread hives, swelling of your lips/tongue/throat, trouble breathing, and/or low blood pressure.

CDC recommends talking to your physician about the risks of vaccination if you have a history of anaphylaxis to another vaccine or an injectable medication (given IV, intramuscularly, or subcutaneously). If you decide to get vaccinated, notify the vaccine clinic of your anaphylaxis history, and your monitoring period post-vaccination will be extended to at least 30 minutes, out of an abundance of caution.  

If you have a history of anaphylaxis to something else (e.g. food, insect stings, etc.), you can proceed with vaccination per CDC guidance; however you should also notify the clinic and be monitored for 30 minutes after vaccination.

I have a history of an allergic reaction to other vaccines or to eggs?  An egg allergy is not a contraindication to the COVID vaccines; there are no eggs used in producing any of the vaccines.

 If you have a history of an anaphylactic reaction to another vaccine, CDC is currently recommending that you discuss vaccination with your physician and have a longer monitoring period after any vaccination as discussed above. If you have a history of a less severe allergic reaction to another vaccine, that is not an absolute contraindication; you should discuss any questions or concerns with your physician.

I have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or Bell’s palsy?  There is no signal of an increased risk of Guillain-Barre syndrome with either Pfizer or Moderna vaccination.  Recently, a possible increased risk of Guillain-Barre has been identified in the 42 days following administration of Johnson&Johnson; additional data analysis is ongoing.  Per CDC guidance, patients with a history of Guillain-Barre can receive any of the three COVID vaccines, although patients may consider choosing Pfizer or Moderna rather than Johnson&Johnson in discussion with their doctor while more information is gathered.   

 There were some cases of Bell’s palsy reported in the COVID vaccine trials, although it was unclear whether they were secondary to vaccination.  Further data collection is ongoing, but given the absence of a clear significant risk, CDC recommends that people with a history of Bell’s palsy can receive any available vaccine.

I have a history of blood clots, or know that I’m at increased risk for blood clots?  The decision about vaccination with a history of blood clots depends on what caused them.  Given the similarities between the TTS (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome) seen with the Johnson&Johnson vaccine and HIT (heparin-induced thrombocytopenia), CDC recommends that people who have a history of HIT or another immune-mediated thrombosis/thrombocytopenia syndrome (e.g. ITP) within the last 90 days should avoid the Johnson&Johnson vaccine but can receive Pfizer or Moderna. 

 A history of other types of blood clots (e.g. PE, DVT) and/or associated risk factors (e.g. Factor V Leiden, antiphospholipid syndrome, protein C or S deficiency) is not a contraindication to receiving any of the current COVID vaccinations.  Additionally, while women who are on hormonal contraception or are pregnant have an increased risk of thrombosis, those are not thought to be risk factors for TTS and so any of the current COVID vaccines can be administered. 

I have a history of myocarditis or pericarditis? If you have had myocarditis or pericarditis unrelated to COVID vaccination, you can receive any of the COVID-19 vaccines, as long as your symptoms have resolved and your healthcare provider has said that your heart function is back to normal. 

If you developed myocarditis or pericarditis after a dose of the COVID vaccine, it is currently recommended to defer additional doses.  Per CDC guidance, there may be rare situations in which someone might choose to continue with their vaccine series, but that should only be done in consultation with your medical team. 

I have dermal fillers?  Swelling at the site of the prior filler injection has been rarely reported with Pfizer and Moderna, although not with Johnson&Johnson.  In reports thus far, this swelling has been temporary and has responded to treatment such as steroids.  Therefore, you can get any of the current COVID vaccinations if you have dermal fillers; you should report any swelling post-vaccination to your doctor.

I got another vaccine recently, or I need another vaccine like my flu shot?  It was initially recommended to wait 14 days before or after COVID vaccination to get other vaccines, but more recent data has shown that this is unnecessary.  You can get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines, or within 14 days of other vaccines.  If you are getting multiple vaccines on the same day, they should be given at different injection sites.

It is possible that getting a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines might increase your risk of side effects (e.g. sore arm, fevers/chills), because your immune system is responding to multiple vaccines.  However, the most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to get fully-vaccinated against COVID as soon as possible, so CDC recommends proceeding if you need multiple vaccines at the same time for safety (for example, if you are starting a job as a healthcare worker, moving into a long term care facility, etc. where your risk may be higher). 

I'm on anticoagulants/blood thinners?  Yes, patients receiving an anticoagulant (e.g., warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban, dabigatran, etc.) can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

If you are taking warfarin (coumadin), be sure that you are up-to-date on your INR monitoring and that your latest INR level is not above the therapeutic range before getting vaccinated. Contact your physician if you have any questions.

All patients on anticoagulants should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for approximately 5 minutes after getting the vaccine.

 I have a bleeding disorder?  Yes, patients with bleeding disorders can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they follow the guidance below:

  • If you have hemophilia or severe von Willebrand disease where your factor activity levels are less than 10%, treatment to raise your factor activity to greater than 10% prior to your vaccination is recommended.
  • If you receive Hemlibra (emicizumab) for prevention of bleeding, no additional treatment is needed.
  • After your injection, you should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for approximately 10 minutes. Talk to your hematologist if you need additional guidance.
  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a pegylated factor product, discuss the reaction with your hematologist prior to getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is an ingredient in both of these vaccines.

I have low platelets or a history of immune thrombocytopenia? A current diagnosis or history of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is not a contraindication to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, if your platelet count is stable, above 20,000 (see below), and you do not have other bleeding risks. Talk with your ITP doctor about receiving your COVID-19 vaccination, particularly if your ITP is new, your platelet counts are going up and down, or you have other bleeding risk factors. Your doctor may monitor your platelet count before and after your first and/or second vaccination. 

Patients with ITP are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have active ITP within the past 90 days, you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna Vaccine and not the Johnson and Johnson product.

If you’ve received treatments like rituximab or steroids, your immune response to the vaccine may be reduced. However, it is still recommended that you proceed with a vaccine when available to you, rather than waiting a specified time after your last treatment. A reduced response to the vaccine is much better than no protection. 

A platelet count greater than 20,000 is adequate for an intramuscular injection. If your count is above 20,000 but still less than 50,000, you should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for 5 minutes after vaccination. 

If your platelets are less than 20,000, talk to your doctor about ways to increase your platelet count prior to receiving your vaccination.

You should continue your medications without interruption while receiving the vaccination.

After you receive the vaccination, hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for 2-5 minutes. 

After the Shots

 

The vaccines will cause the COVID-19 antibody test to become positive. The vaccines do not cause the COVID PCR or rapid antigen tests that look for active COVID infection to become positive.

Yes, the vaccines are highly effective, but not 100% effective. They also don't work immediately, and we now know that some immunocompromised people do not have a good immune response to the vaccine.  Additionally, with the delta variant, while the vaccines continue to work extremely well at preventing severe illness, we are seeing more breakthrough infections that are asymptomatic or mild.  Therefore, we need to continue practicing the 3Ws -- wear a mask in indoor public places, wash your hands, and watch your distance, regardless of whether you've had the vaccine.  

Yes, particularly with the delta variant.  There are documented cases of people who are fully-vaccinated who have breakthrough infections and have infected others.  However, because you are less likely to get infected if you are vaccinated and you may be contagious for a shorter time period, being vaccinated still decreases COVID transmission. 

Because it is likely possible to spread COVID with an asymptomatic or mild infection after vaccination, it remains recommended to follow the 3Ws – wear a mask in indoor public places, wash your hands, and watch your distance. 

You are considered fully vaccinated once you are two weeks beyond your final dose of COVID vaccine.  For the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), you are likely to have some benefit earlier than that – infection rates start to look lower in those who are vaccinated within 2 weeks of their first dose – but maximal benefit comes after the second dose. 

We don't know yet—research is ongoing to determine when booster vaccines will be needed, and more information is expected in the next month.  Thus far the vaccines remain highly effective at preventing severe illness and death out to 8-9 months, but more mild breakthrough infections have been seen especially with the delta variant.  

This will depend on how well we can distribute vaccines to everyone in the country and how many people get the vaccine. Right now, states with high vaccination rates have much more normal economies and daily life than states with low vaccination rates, where healthcare facilities are being overwhelmed by cases of the delta variant.  Getting vaccinated and continuing to practice the 3Ws -- wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance – are both very important right now. 

V-Safe After the Vaccine Health Checker

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you received your COVID-19 vaccine from Emory Healthcare, you can request a record of your vaccine by submitting a request here. If you had a COVID-19 vaccine from another provider, you may contact that provider or request a copy through the State’s vaccine registry program, GRITS. GRITS will also include vaccines administered through Emory Healthcare.

If you received your vaccine from Emory Healthcare and it doesn’t show up in your patient portal, your provider can import it at your next visit.  If you received your vaccine from a provider other than Emory Healthcare, please share a copy of your vaccine card with your provider so they can update your Emory Healthcare record. If you do not have your vaccine card, you may request a copy through the State’s vaccine registry program, GRITS