COVID-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions
Now that the first FDA-approved vaccinations for COVID-19 are being dispensed nationwide, people have lots of questions about getting the vaccine and their activities after they get the vaccine. Here are some Q&As directly from the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can find these and other Q&As here.
How many shots of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, the first two to be authorized in the U.S., require two shots. Others that are currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. also need two shots to be effective; one vaccine still in trials uses one shot.
Do I need to wear a mask when I receive my vaccination?
Yes. CDC recommends that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask.
Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received two doses of the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.
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.
When can I stop wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others after I have been vaccinated?
There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC 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 that 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.
What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?
Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd 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. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention