Answered: 10 key questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Answered: 10 key questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

Man receiving a vaccine

Immunization is our best defense against COVID-19. With a vaccine for the virus now available to certain groups of people (and eventually to the entire nation), it’s natural to have questions about how vaccines work, the approval process, vaccine safety and more. Here are some answers to common questions about the vaccine:

1. When will the vaccine become available?

South Carolina has already started to receive a limited supply of vaccine. 

2. Who is eligible to receive a vaccine?

Because of limited supply, some priority groups – such as health care professionals and those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 – are eligible to receive the vaccine before others. The CDC believes all adults who want a vaccine should be able to receive one in 2021.

3. Why should I take the COVID-19 vaccine?

By receiving the vaccine when it’s available to you, you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19 and help our community, state and nation recover from the pandemic. 

4. Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective?

In clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccine has been found to be highly effective in protecting against the COVID-19 virus.

5. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. In clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be safe.

6. How can a safe vaccine be made so quickly?

Although vaccine development typically takes many years, scientists had already begun research for coronavirus vaccines during previous outbreaks caused by related coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). That earlier research provided a head start for rapid development of vaccines to protect against infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

7. Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is not a live virus. Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 use inactivated virus, small pieces of the virus or a gene from the virus. None of these fragments of RNA are capable of causing infection.

8. Will there by any symptoms?

It’s common to experience benign symptoms from a vaccine, such as soreness or fatigue, which indicate the body is responding the way it’s supposed to. Because of the rigorous vaccine safety measures in place, serious adverse reactions to vaccines are rare.

9. I already had COVID-19. Do I need to be vaccinated?

The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have had COVID-19. Because we don’t yet know how long people are protected after having the virus, vaccination could be beneficial.

10. Do we still need to wear masks and practice social distancing?

We need to follow precautionary measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, washing our hands and avoiding crowds until a large portion of the population is vaccinated.

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