How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

The COVID-19 vaccines have all met rigorous safety standards and completed intensive safety monitoring that is greater or equal to any other vaccine on the market. The vaccines have also been extensively tested in large clinical trials where each met rigorous safety criteria. The vaccines have been reviewed and authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and have also been approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a CDC advisory committee.

As vaccines are made available to the public, the CDC will continue to monitor their safety.

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, healthiest way to protect yourself and your community from the COVID-19 virus. By taking the vaccine, you can do your part in ending the pandemic and restoring normalcy to our state.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

The COVID-19 vaccination teaches your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, a process also known as building immunity. Once you have built immunity against COVID-19, your body will be able to fight it off if you come in contact with it.

Health & Safety

The COVID-19 vaccines have all met rigorous safety standards and completed intensive safety monitoring that is greater or equal to any other vaccine on the market. The vaccines have also been extensively tested in large clinical trials where each met rigorous safety criteria. The vaccines have been reviewed and authorized for emergency use by the FDA, and have also been approved by the ACIP, a CDC advisory committee.

As vaccines are made available to the public, the CDC will continue to monitor their safety, and will immediately pause and re-evaluate vaccines if any concerns are found.

Out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA recommended a pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. This pause was advised after just six serious events were reported out of nearly 7 million doses that had been given. The CDC and FDA lifted the vaccine pause on April 23 after an extensive safety review. The CDC and FDA officials said the benefits of the single-shot vaccine far outweigh the risks from a rare and severe type of blood clot. The FDA and Johnson & Johnson updated the vaccine’s label to carry a warning about a rare risk of blood clots paired with low counts of platelets, blood cells involved in clotting.

According to the CDC:

  • Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.
  • Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.
  • However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.• However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.
  • CDC and FDA will continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Seek medical care right away if you develop any of the symptoms listed after receiving the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • If you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic.

The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, healthiest way to protect yourself and your community from the COVID-19 virus. By taking the vaccine, you can do your part in ending the pandemic and restoring normalcy to our state.

None of the necessary steps in the vaccine-creation process were skipped in making the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was made available to the public quickly thanks to expedited approvals and government funding that allowed pharmaceutical companies to create and scale the vaccines quicker than possible within a normal budget.

Even with the meticulous creation process of each vaccine, the CDC is continually monitoring the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine as it is made available to the public. If any incidents of concern are found, the CDC will officially pause the use of the vaccine for re-evaluation, as in the case of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, which is now available after an extensive safety review by the CDC and FDA.

After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and muscle aches. You may also have some soreness or redness in the arm that took the vaccine. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection, and all side effects should subside within a few days.

You can find a full list of vaccine ingredients for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

No. None of COVID-19 vaccines can change your DNA. In fact, it is scientifically impossible for either mRNA vaccines or viral vector vaccines to alter DNA.

Though it is possible to have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, these instances are rare. According to the CDC, there have been reports of severe allergic reactions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In the case of a reaction, the person can be treated with epinephrine, or an EpiPen©, or go to the hospital.

Most people with underlying conditions are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill, and the vaccine provides critical protection. Always discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider.

As of now, the Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine is available for children ages 12 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine are not available for those younger than age 18.

No negative outcomes have been observed in pregnant women who receive the vaccine. If you’re pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider before receiving the vaccine to make sure it’s the right decision for you. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, be sure to enroll in V-safe, a program created by the CDC to monitor your health after receiving your vaccine.

While there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for lactating women and breastfed infants yet, getting the vaccine is not thought to be a risk for mothers or their babies. If you are able to get the vaccine, discuss any questions or concerns you have with your healthcare provider.

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines – or any vaccine – will have any adverse effects on fertility or future efforts to conceive.

You should wait 14 days after receiving any other vaccine before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and you should not receive any other vaccine within 14 days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you do receive your COVID-19 vaccine too close to another vaccine, simply complete your COVID-19 vaccine series on schedule.

Effectiveness

The COVID-19 vaccination teaches your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, a process also known as building immunity. Once you have built immunity against COVID-19, your body will be able to fight it off if you come in contact with it.

No. There are no live COVID-19 viruses within the vaccines, making it impossible for you to contract COVID-19 from the vaccine

Yes. COVID-19 can cause serious complications, and in some cases, death. The minor side effects associated with the vaccine are miniscule compared to getting the virus.

Yes. Though you may have some immunity after contracting and beating COVID-19, this immunity is likely temporary and reinfection is possible.

In some scenarios, yes. Until the majority of our population is vaccinated, you still need to continue to wear a mask in public, stay at least 6 feet from others in public and avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings. However, after receiving your vaccine you can:

  • Spend time with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart
  • Spend time with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease
  • Unmask at small outdoor gatherings, or when dining outside with friends from multiple households. The CDC advises unvaccinated people that they still need to wear a mask at such gatherings.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing after being exposed COVID-19 if you don’t experience any symptoms

After receiving the vaccine, your body needs a few weeks to build up immunity against COVID-19 to effectively protect you from getting sick.

  • There are currently three vaccines available, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
  • Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old.
  • Women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen.
  • If you have questions about which vaccine you should take, please talk to your healthcare provider.

Learn more about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine or the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Availability and Logistics

No. Getting vaccinated comes at no cost to you, whether you have insurance or not.

There is no federal mandate, state mandate or CDC recommendation for the COVID-19 vaccine to be required. State agencies, local government agencies or employers may require workers to get the vaccine.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and Moderna vaccines are both mRNA vaccines, which are administered in two doses.

The second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be given 3 weeks (21 days) after the first.

The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be given 1 month (28 days) after the first.

While there is no maximum interval between doses, you should try to get your second dose as close to your vaccine’s recommended interval as possible. You should not get your second dose any earlier than your 3-week or 1-month interval though.

You can get a vaccine by contacting a healthcare provider or pharmacy to let them know you need a vaccine. In most cases, you will be asked to make an appointment, although some clinics/pharmacies do allow walk ups. Find vaccine locations or a vaccine clinic near you today.

All Arkansans age 12 and up are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.