COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions:
Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated 11/29/2021
What is the advantage of getting a COVID vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination is the most effective way to protect yourself against COVID-19 illness. Until enough people get the vaccination, experts recommend continued mask wearing and practicing physical distancing. Even after receiving the vaccine, physical distancing and mask wearing are currently recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What are the vaccines that are currently available and how many doses will I need?
Currently, in the United States, the FDA has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (Comirnaty) for individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also has Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA for individuals 5-15 years of age. The FDA has created a vaccination fact sheet on Comirnaty for recipients and caregivers. For more information on this vaccine, please visit the FDA website and this FAQ resource.
The FDA has also issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna (18 years of age and older) and Johnson & Johnson (18 years of age and older) vaccines. The CDC has developed resources with more information on the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The Comirnaty and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the two doses are given about 21 days apart. For the Moderna vaccine, the two doses are given about 28 days apart. Second vaccine doses can be delayed if necessary. Current recommendations are to take 2 doses of the same vaccine.
There are other vaccines that are approved for use in other countries. Please be sure to check with your local health authorities to understand which vaccines are approved and available in your area.
Do I need to get a booster shot and when can I get it?
Booster doses are given to extend protection against Covid-19 infections. The CDC is recommending that individuals ages 18+ who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine get a booster shot at least 2 months after the initial dose. View the CDC resource for more information about booster shots for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and which booster shots are authorized.
Immunocompromised individuals may mount a lower response to the Comirnaty and the Moderna vaccines. These vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization for a third dose is 28 days after the 2nd dose for immunocompromised individuals and other specific groups. View the CDC resource describing more about third doses for immunocompromised individuals and other specific groups. The CDC recommends that individuals who are 50 years or older should get, a booster shot 6 months after receiving the second dose of Comirnaty or the Moderna vaccine. Individuals may receive any approved vaccine for the booster.
The CDC also recommends that adults 18 or older who live in long term settings, who have underlying medical conditions, or who work or live in high-risk setting should get a booster shot. Please see link here if it is recommended for you. You may receive any approved vaccine for the booster.
The CDC says that individuals 18 years of age or older may get a booster shot 6 months after receiving the second dose of Comirnaty or the Moderna vaccine. For more details, please visit this resource.
Should patients with thyroid disease get the vaccine?
People with thyroid conditions, including autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid cancer, should receive the COVID vaccine if they are medically stable. If you have a history of allergic reactions, you should be aware of special precautions that might be needed. The CDC has additional resources for patients.
Is it safe for me to have the vaccine with a thyroid condition?
The vaccines in current use have been tested and the FDA approved Comirnaty and issued Emergency Use Authorizations for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in the USA. Clinical trials have included thousands of patients, some of whom have had thyroid conditions. Currently, vaccine related events are being monitored nationally. There is no evidence at this time that having thyroid disease makes you at higher risk for vaccine-related problems.
Should I delay treatment for my thyroid disease until both doses of the vaccine are completed?
No. Even though the vaccines are currently available it is unknown when any particular individual will be getting the vaccine. Therefore, at this time it is not recommended that you delay care until you have been fully vaccinated, but you should discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider.
Will I develop a thyroid disorder if I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
There are rare reports of people developing thyroid disorders after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. There are also reports of individuals developing thyroid disorders after being infected with Covid-19. Reports of thyroid conditions developing after vaccination or infection are being monitored, and over time research will determine if they are related to the COVID-19 infection or vaccine. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have created the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System to track and learn about reports of potential side effects post COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines in current use have been tested and the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization in the USA based on the efficacy and safety data of clinical trials, which included thousands of patients. At this time, the CDC recommends that all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
If I had COVID and have antibodies should I still be vaccinated?
Yes, public health officials suggest that even those who have contracted COVID-19 should be vaccinated. If you have had COVID-19 illness, talk to your healthcare provider about the timing of your vaccination.
Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding and have thyroid disease?
- The CDC states that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. To view the CDC’s recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women, please visit this web page.
- Getting vaccinated while pregnant is a personal choice based on your risks and should be discussed with your providers. You may wish to refer to recommendations from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
- The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created a resource to help pregnant women determine if they should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more.
Where can I get the vaccine?
In the US, go to https://www.vaccines.gov/ to find a local vaccination clinic. Vaccines are free in the US. If you are outside the US, please contact your local health authority to learn more.
Will I get side effects from the vaccine?
- Side effects are uncommon but can occur. The CDC has provided information about these for you to review, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html
- Reactions to the vaccines approved in the US are mild and include pain or redness at the injection site and fatigue. Fever and flu-like symptoms are less common. Side effects are more likely to occur after the second dose. These reactions usually resolve within a few days. Symptoms are caused by the body’s immune system reaction to the vaccine and are not a sign of COVID illness.
- Serious reactions are rare.
Can you get COVID from the vaccine?
It is not possible to get COVID from the vaccines currently approved for use. Neither of these vaccines contain the virus that causes the disease. Also, these vaccines will not cause you to test positive for COVID-19 by PCR or antigen tests.
Please refer to these websites for additional information:
- World Health Organization
- European Medicines Agency
- National Health Service (UK)
- Health Canada
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vaccine Resources
- US Food & Drug Administration Vaccine Resources
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist
- American Academy of Pediatrics
Can children get any of the COVID-19 vaccines?
Please see this FAQ
The ideas and opinions expressed in this Q&A are not intended as medical, legal, or business advice, or advice about reimbursement for health care services. The mention of any product, service, company, therapy or physician practice does not constitute an endorsement of any kind by ATA. ATA assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of the material contained in, posted on, or linked to this FAQ, or any errors or omissions.