COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be available this year or early next year? 

There is limited information right now about the vaccines that are being developed. As soon as that information is received from the vaccine distributors and federal government, it will be provided to the public.

 

When might we get the vaccines? 

The Detroit Health Department has been advised that a limited amount of vaccines could be sent by the end of the year. The vaccine will be administered through the Detroit Health Department at no cost to residents, and it may also be available via pharmacies and hospitals.

 

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? 

Among the tens of thousands of people enrolled in the Phase III of the mRNA-Vaccine Clinical Trials, none have experienced severe adverse reactions. This is unheard of for vaccine clinical trials.

Vaccines are traditionally developed from one of several methods: (1) “live-attenuated” or weakened virus, made from virus that has been altered to decrease its harmful or infectious potential); (2) killed virus; (3) purified portions of virus, such as surface proteins. The mRNA vaccine contains none of those components, only the “message” used for our cells to produce a single protein to stimulate our immune system. These mRNA vaccines are the safest in vaccine history to date. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

 

Will the mRNA vaccine alter my DNA? 

No. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.

 

Will the vaccine be safe for people with pre-existing conditions? 

Unfortunately, there is very limited data on the vaccine at this point. The Detroit Health Department is awaiting that information and will provide it when it becomes available.

 

What type of effects have been noted for people on medications, such as blood thinners? Is there data to suggest that there will be an effect resulting from the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Unfortunately, there is very limited data on the vaccine at this point. The Detroit Health Department is awaiting that information and will provide it when it becomes available.

 

How many people are in a Phase III Trial getting tested? 

Thousands of people. Vaccines aren’t able to move to the next phase until they meet those specific numbers that include different age groups as well as people who fall in different races and ethnicities, so that they meet the demographics of what the United States looks like.

 

Can the vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection? 

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. The goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

 

Will I have a positive COVID-19 test after getting the vaccine? 

No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

 

Do I still need to wear a mask even after I get the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection provided by the CVOID-19 vaccines 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 changing recommendations on steps people need to take that slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Getting a COVID-19 vaccine together with following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

For more information, visit considerations for wearing masks.

 

Can the COVID-19 vaccine help me even if I’ve already been infected with COVID-19? 

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they had COVID-19 before.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity to COVID-19 may not last very long. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

 

WHAT IS COVID-19?

COVID-19 disease is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. This type of coronavirus has not been seen before. You can get COVID-19 through contact with another person who has the virus. It is mostly a respiratory illness that can affect other organs. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms may include: fever or chills; cough; shortness of breath; fatigue; muscle or body aches; headache; new loss of taste or smell; sore throat; congestion or runny nose; nausea or vomiting; diarrhea.

 

WHAT IS THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the first emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

 

IS THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 FOR EVERYONE?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may not protect everyone. The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU MENTION TO YOUR VACCINATION PROVIDER BEFORE YOU GET THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

Tell the vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have any allergies
  • have a fever
  • have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding
  • have received another COVID-19 vaccine

 

WHO SHOULD GET THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 16 years of age and older.

 

WHO SHOULD NOT GET THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

You should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine if you:

  • had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine
  • had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine

 

HOW IS THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE GIVEN?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine will be given to you as an injection into the muscle.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine vaccination series is 2 doses given 3 weeks apart.

If you receive one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, you should receive a second dose of this same vaccine 3 weeks later to complete the vaccination series.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

In an ongoing clinical trial, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following 2 doses given 3 weeks apart. The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown.

 

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF THE PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE?

Side effects that have been reported with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine include:

  • injection site pain
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever
  • injection site swelling
  • injection site redness
  • nausea
  • feeling unwell
  • swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

There is a remote chance that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

These may not be all the possible side effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials.

 

WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT SIDE EFFECTS?

If you experience a severe allergic reaction, call 9-1-1, or go to the nearest hospital.

Call the vaccination provider or your healthcare provider if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.