There is an overwhelming amount of information circulating about the COVID Vaccine. To help make things easier for our staff, Bader Reynolds, MS, RN answers the frequently asked questions below. Check back frequently – we will continue to update this page as questions come in and as new information is available. (updated 7/15/21)
Q. Where can I get the vaccine?
A. In NY & PA, everyone over 12 is now eligible for the vaccine. In many places, COVID vaccinations are by appointment only, but in NY you can go to any state-run vaccine clinic and get a shot without an appointment. Check with the provider you select to find out if you need an appointment. Vaccines are now widely available because a large portion of the population has already been vaccinated, so finding a vaccine should not be difficult for anyone that wants one.
Here are some places to check:
- New York State: For a list of NY state run vaccine sites, visit https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ or call 1-833-697-4829. Walk ins over the age of 12 are welcome at any NY state run vaccine clinic.
- Pennsylvania: Visit https://www.pa.gov/guides/get-vaccinated or call Pennsylvania Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Your local pharmacy. Pharmacies offering the vaccine are posting appointments on their websites as they receive vaccine shipments. Check regularly – some are only scheduling out a few days at a time to ensure they have enough vaccine for scheduled appointments. Walgreens, Rite Aid, Wegmans, Tops, Walmart, and CVS are just a few of the larger pharmacies offering COVID vaccines.
- Text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you.
Q. I hear the vaccine can make you sick – why would I want to put myself through that?
A. Potential side effects from the vaccine include chills, fever, head and body aches that last approximately 24-36 hours and then resolve. COVID symptoms can last weeks and have lasting effects: loss of taste and/or smell, fever, shortness of breath, strokes, possible hospitalization, heart damage that can appear weeks after infection. and more. We’re still learning about the lasting damage that COVID can cause, even for people that have mild infections.
Q. Why should I get the vaccine?
A. The most important answer is to help prevent you from becoming seriously ill or hospitalized from COVID. Another popular reason: The CDC has indicated that fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance (this does not apply to healthcare settings – masks are still required in these settings). Additional benefits of being vaccinated are being able to socialize (safely) with other fully vaccinated friends and family, and being able to attend sporting events without testing. If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. International travel requirements vary. This list of benefits is continuously evolving as we get more real time information about the vaccine, but the number one reason for getting the vaccine will always be to protect yourself from serious illness.
Q. Which vaccine should I get?
A. The vaccines that are currently being offered are all effective at preventing serious illness due to COVID. The advice being offered by the CDC is to take whichever vaccine you can get because being vaccinated is the most important part, but if you have concerns you should contact your health care provider.
Q. If a person finds out they are pregnant after they get the shot, what effects will it have on mom and fetus?
A. The CDC has a dedicated website for those concerned about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy. Data collected from over 35,000 pregnancies via the v-safe monitoring program indicate that the vaccines are safe in pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reminds women of the serious health risks to mother and baby during COVID-19 infection.
We urge anyone who is hesitant about getting the COVID vaccine because of pregnancy concerns to have a conversation with their healthcare provider to discuss their concerns.
Myths & Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines – provided by the CDC:
Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?
No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that can produce an electromagnetic field at the site of your injection. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals.
Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release any of their components?
No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.
Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
Yes. If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you may get a COVID-19 vaccine.
There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.
Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?
No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material
Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response to vaccination, which is the goal, you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.
Can a COVID vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
Can being near someone who received a COVID vaccine affect my menstrual cycle?
No. Your menstrual cycle cannot be affected by being near someone who received a COVID-19 vaccine.
Many things can affect menstrual cycles, including stress, changes in your schedule, problems with sleep, and changes in diet or exercise. Infections may also affect menstrual cycles.