Susan Koletar, MD
- Director, Division of Infectious Diseases
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center has been selected as a COVID-19 vaccine distribution site. This is an exciting step in eliminating this pandemic.
It is important to understand the facts behind the vaccine and its distribution. This FAQ provides the latest information and will be updated as information becomes available.
The order in which individuals are able to receive the vaccine is guided by federal and state government guidelines. The speed at which Ohioans receive the vaccine is dependent upon the number of vaccine doses available. We are currently in Phase 1 of Ohio's Vaccination Plan.
Individuals who are ages 80 and up are now able to schedule appointments to receive their first dose at the Schottenstein Center. We will make efforts to notify our existing patients that qualify by telephone, email and/or mail. We anticipate that vaccination opportunities will be opened to more individuals each week based on the Ohio Department of Health’s recommendations for age and medical conditions.
This FAQ page is updated frequently as more information is released. You can also visit our COVID-19 vaccine page for videos, fact sheets and vaccine information.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices develops the national recommendations on the use of vaccines. As this is a new vaccine and production will need to ramp up to meet demand, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Equitable Allocation of Vaccine created the suggested framework for distribution. This work was sponsored (funded) by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The manufacturers that are testing the vaccines in clinical trials have so far not included pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding, so there are currently no data available to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy, on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion. However...
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant and lactating individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups, such as health care personnel.
A conversation with your health care provider based on your personal situation and COVID-19 risk factors may assist with decisions, but is not required.
Pregnancy testing is available free of charge for people who are considering the vaccine and are capable of becoming pregnant.
The major vaccine clinical trials focused on adults first, and we don't yet have enough data to determine the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines for children. The FDA's emergency use authorization (EUA) specified that the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older, and the Moderna vaccine is authorized for ages 18 and older. Because of this, children are not yet included in vaccine allocation plans.
The government is providing the vaccine free of charge, and health plans are required to cover the cost of administration.
Currently, two doses of COVID-19 vaccine are required, separated by 21 or 28 days are required (as specified by the manufacturer).
The COVID-19 vaccines aren’t interchangeable; recipients must receive the vaccine made by the same manufacturer for each dose. In the future, it’s expected that additional manufacturers and guidelines will be available, including the potential for single-dose vaccines.
We're still learning about the duration of protection, and it is too early to tell how long protection will last. Researchers will continue to follow the participants in the phase 3 clinical trials to determine the length of protection.
The world is still learning how long immunity to the coronavirus lasts after a vaccination. Intensive monitoring and evaluation will continue after the vaccines are in use to determine if repeat immunizations will be needed.
If you’re not feeling well, it’s recommended that you wait until you’re feeling better to get the vaccine.
No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The vaccines use only parts of the virus, the spike protein, which cannot cause COVID-19. Learn more from our experts about how these vaccines work in the body.
Because the COVID-19 vaccines do not give recipients the actual COVID-19 virus, it does not cause recipients to shed or spread the virus. However, if you have been vaccinated, you may still be able to be a carrier of COVID-19 if you pick it up later. This is why we recommend you still follow guidelines for social distancing and mask-wearing even after you’ve been vaccinated — vaccination should give your body the antibodies to fight off the virus, but you could potentially spread it to others if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
If you have received another vaccine (flu, tetanus, HPV, etc.) you need to wait at least 14 days between shots.
It’s natural, and expected, for the body to have an immune response to a vaccine. Some people in the clinical trial have experienced side effects, including injection site pain or redness, fatigue, muscle/joint pain and headache.
Side effects were more frequently reported after the second dose.
Just as you would with other vaccines, those who are immunized will be provided information about the vaccine’s risks and benefits, what to do in the case of an adverse reaction and where to find additional information.
A copy of the emergency use authorization will be provided at the appointment, as well as a vaccine information sheet (VIS), as soon as it’s available.
If you experience common side effects from the vaccine, it’s still necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective.
If you have severe allergies and/or have experienced an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, talk with your doctor about the ingredients of this vaccine and whether the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for you.
At their appointment, vaccine recipients will be provided information on what to do in case of an adverse reaction.
The CDC is expanding its safety surveillance through the launch of a smartphone-based tool called v-safe that regularly collects text and email feedback.
For those who don’t opt in to v-safe, adverse events can be reported in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). VAERS is co-managed by the CDC and the FDA and serves as a national system for collecting and analyzing possible vaccine side effects.
If you have questions about symptoms, talk with your doctor or schedule a Telehealth Immediate Care appointment.
In the unlikely event of a serious or life-threatening concern, go to the Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.
The FDA has approved emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTEch and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. There are additional vaccine candidates currently undergoing clinical trials.
An EUA is a legal mechanism that allows the FDA to authorize the use of a medical product to address public health emergencies if certain statutory criteria and scientific evidence are met. This video provides a brief overview: https://youtu.be/iGkwaESsGBQ
The FDA will make publicly available all of the data and information regarding emergency use authorization granted to COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.
The vaccine is not a cure; it's a preventive measure.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have manufactured a vaccine using messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). mRNA is naturally found in humans; its role is to deliver instructions from DNA to cells about which proteins the cells needs to create.
The coronavirus contains spike proteins that penetrate and infect healthy cells in the body. The vaccines use mRNA that mirrors the genetic code of coronavirus spike proteins to convince the recipient’s immune system to develop antibodies to the coronavirus protein. Those antibodies are then able to recognize the coronavirus if the recipient comes into contact with the virus and can more effectively clear the virus from the body and prevent severe infection.
Yes. Operation Warp Speed is an effort to develop vaccines and therapeutics quicker than would normally be possible by running the three phases of these clinical trials in an accelerated time frame. They also start manufacturing on a large scale before the studies are done, so that vaccines will be ready to be administered as soon as possible once they're approved, having been declared effective and safe. All of the vaccines go through the standard steps, but in a much faster process made possible, in part, by the large number of patients available to participate in each trial.
This six-minute video (https://youtu.be/Z06JQhyZLUI) and the illustration below further explain these points.
The Pfizer vaccine study enrolled 43,538 participants. The Moderna vaccine study enrolled 30,000 participants.
The vaccine is deemed to be safe based upon a rigorous evaluation of currently available scientific evidence. If the available scientific evidence changes or if new information becomes available, the authorization for its use can be adapted.
The Pfizer vaccine study enrolled 43,538 participants, with 42% having diverse ethnic backgrounds. No serious safety concerns were observed. The only Grade 3 (severe) adverse events greater than or equal to 2% in frequency were fatigue (3.8%) and headache (2%).
The Moderna vaccine study enrolled 30,000 participants, with 37% having diverse backgrounds. No serious safety concerns were observed. The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity. Grade 3 (severe) events included injection site pain (2.7%), fatigue (9.7%), muscle pain or soreness (8.9%), joint pain (5.2%), headache (4.5%), pain (4.1%) and redness at the injection site (2%).
All vaccine trials have scheduled monitoring reviews, typically by an independent group known as a Data and Safety Monitoring Board, which routinely assesses safety or can be convened quickly to review any unanticipated adverse events.
Pfizer vaccine effectiveness analysis has demonstrated that vaccine (BNT162b2) to be 95% effective against COVID-19, beginning 28 days after the first dose.
Moderna vaccine effectiveness analysis has demonstrated that vaccine (mRNA-1273) to be 94.5% effective against COVID-19.
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. Under the EUA process, in emergency situations when there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives, the FDA has the authority to authorize medical products for use under specified conditions before all the evidence that would be needed for full FDA approval is available.
Yes. Receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine will not change any requirements around masking and physical distancing at this time. Although you may not get sick from COVID-19 after vaccination, it still may be possible for you to be infected and shed virus, thus infecting others.
Together, vaccination and following CDC recommendations will help stop the pandemic.
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