Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The COVID-19 vaccines being offered to the public meet the US Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) standards for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). All COVID-19 vaccines were rigorously tested in thousands of people to make sure that they are safe and that they work.
When vaccine is granted EUQ by the FDA, it means the benefits of this vaccine outweigh the harms of becoming infected with COVID-19. It also means that even after the initial studies, safety is continuously checked. There are many safety monitoring systems that watch for adverse effects and possible side effects that were not seen in clinical trials. If an unexpected adverse event is seen, experts quickly study it further to assess whether it is a true safety concern. Experts then decide whether changes are needed in the vaccine recommendations.
HDOH is also monitoring for possible adverse events and for any announcements from FDA and CDC. This monitoring is critical to help ensure that the benefits continue to outweigh the risks for people who receive vaccines.
Is it safe for children?
What are the risks of the vaccine?
Side effects that have been reported with the Pfizer vaccine include:
- Injection Site Pain
- Muscle Pain
- Joint Pain
- Injection Site Swelling
- Injection Site Redness
- Feeling Unwell
- Swollen Lymph Nodes (lymphadenopathy)
There is a remote chance that the Pfizer 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 vaccine. For this reason, your vaccine provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- Difficulty Breathing
- Swelling of your Face and Throat
- A Faster Heartbeat
- A Bad Rash all over your Body
- Dizziness and Weaknss
Can the vaccine cause you to get sick?
Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines have found that in general, most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated.
At this time, the side effect that some people have had is a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. If you know you are allergic to any ingredient in one of the vaccines, you should not get that vaccine. If you know you have allergies, but don’t know if you are allergic to an ingredient in the vaccines talk to your provider offering you the vaccine before getting vaccinated.
Some common but temporary side effects may be soreness, redness, or warmth in the arm where they got the shot. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever after receiving a vaccine.
These side effects are a sign effects are signs that your immune system is working as it should, to build protection against the disease for which you’re being vaccinated. Because each vaccine will have different side effects, it is important that you learn about the specific vaccine you are offered when it’s your turn. Talk to your provide or the provide offering you the vaccine and ask questions before getting vaccinated.
Is it safe for pregnant women?
Those At this time, HDOH is following CDC guidance on vaccinating those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The vaccine has not been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding women and their infants, but mRNA vaccines (including the COVID-19 vaccine) are not thought to pose a risk to these groups.
On the other hand, getting COVID-19 is known to put a woman at higher risk of serious illness. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and you are part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, you may choose to be vaccinated.
Other things to consider:
- COVID-19 risk of severe illness or adverse outcomes are known to be higher for pregnant women and their fetuses.
- You should talk to your healthcare provider you are seeing for your pregnancy care to discuss whether or not to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
- Getting the vaccine is a personal decisionwww.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/index.html
You can learn more about vaccines for pregnant women at this CDC site: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pregnancy/index.html
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus called SARS-CoV-2. Most people with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, but some people can become severely ill. Although most people with COVID-19 get better within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID conditions. Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience more than four weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Older people and those who have certain underlying medical conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Vaccines against COVID-19 are safe and effective.
COVID-19 spreads when an infected person breathes out droplets and very small particles that contain the virus. These droplets and particles can be breathed in by other people or land on their eyes, noses, or mouth. In some circumstances, they may contaminate surfaces they touch. People who are closer than 6 feet from the infected person are most likely to get infected.
COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:
- Breathing in air when close to an infected person who is exhaling small droplets and particles that contain the virus.
- Having these small droplets and particles that contain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, especially through splashes and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
- Touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.
For more information about how COVID-19 spreads, visit the How COVID-19 Spreads page to learn how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself.
Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. Each health department determines community spread differently based on local conditions. For information on community spread in your area, please visit your local health department’s website.
Visit the How to Protect Yourself & Others page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19.
Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
If You or Someone You Know is Sick or Had Contact with Someone who Has COVID-19
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months or who are fully vaccinated
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not have to quarantine or get tested again as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
- People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
- People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated against the disease and show no symptoms.
For more information, see COVID-19: When to Quarantine and What to Do If You Are Sick.
If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have COVID-19, follow the steps below to care for yourself and to help protect other people in your home and community.
- Stay at home (except to get medical care).
- Separate yourself from others.
- Monitor your symptoms.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when around others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- Wash your hands often.
- Clean high-touch surfaces every day.
- Avoid sharing personal household items.
For more information, see What to Do If You Are Sick.
Children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and can get sick with COVID-19. Most children with COVID-19 have mild symptoms or they may have no symptoms at all (“asymptomatic”). Fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults. Babies younger than 1 and children with certain underlying medical conditions may be more likely to have serious illness from COVID-19. Some children have developed a rare but serious disease that is linked to COVID-19 called multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C).
For more information about how people get sick with the virus that causes COVID-19, see How COVID-19 Spreads.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition associated with COVID-19 where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. For information, see MIS-C.
Symptoms & Emergency Warning Signs
People with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. If you have fever, cough, or other symptoms, you might have COVID-19.
Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion
- Inability to wake or stay awake
- Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone
*This list is not all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Yes. At-home testing and collection allow you to collect a specimen at home and either send it to a testing facility or preform the test at home.
You and your healthcare provider might consider either an at-home collection kit or an at-home test if you have signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or if you can’t get testing at a local healthcare facility.
For more information, see At-Home Testing.
The following should be tested for current infection
- People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Most people who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
- Fully vaccinated people with no COVID-19 symptoms do not need to be tested following an exposure to someone with COVID-19.
- People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure as long as they do not develop new symptoms.
- People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed to avoid exposure such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings.
- People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or state, tribal, localexternal icon, or territorial health department.
For more information on testing, see
Yes, it is possible. You may test negative if the sample was collected early in your infection and test positive later during this illness. You could also be exposed to COVID-19 after the test and get infected then. Even if you test negative, you still should take steps to protect yourself and others. See Testing for Current Infection for more information.
Contact tracing has been used for decades by state and local health departments to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by
- Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
- Helping people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 get tested
- Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
During contact tracing, the health department staff will not ask you for
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
- Salary information
- Credit card numbers
Discussions with health department staff are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your health care provider.
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. The health department will only notify people you were in close contact with that they might have been exposed to COVID-19. Each state and jurisdiction use their own method for collecting and protecting health information. To learn more, contact your state or local health department.
For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, if they are asymptomatic, 2 days before their specimen that tested positive was collected), until they meet the criteria for discontinuing home isolation.
If you have COVID-19, tell your close contacts pdf icon[93 KB, 2 Pages] you have COVID-19 so that they can quarantine at home and get tested. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and others within your community.
You can call, text, or email your contacts. If you would like to stay anonymous, there is also an online tool that allows you to tell your contacts by sending out emails or text notifications anonymously (www.tellyourcontacts.orgexternal icon).
A person is still considered a close contact even if one or both people wore a mask when they were together.
If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should be tested, even if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. The health department may be able to provide resources for testing in your area.
For more information, see COVID-19 Contact Tracing.
Watch for or monitor your symptoms of COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek medical care.
Does the vaccine prevent me from getting COVID-19?
Understanding how the COVID-19 vaccine works
How many shots is the vaccine? 2
Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine
How much will it cost? The vaccine is a national public health priority, and will therefore be paid for by U.S. taxpayers dollars.
Learn more about CARES Act Provider Relief Fund
Can the vaccine give you COVID-19? No
CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
Is it safe to take the vaccine? Yes. The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible and has even taken additional layers of safety monitoring.
Ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines
- COVID-19 Return to Work Guidance
- Uninsured Patient COVID-19 Service
- Instructions for close contacts of person with COVID-19
- What to do if you test POSITIVE for COVID-19
- Caring for someone with COVID-19 at home
- What to do if you have been TESTED for COVID-19
- COVID-19 Home Care Guide
- COVID-19: What You Need To Know
- COVID-19 Information in Multiple Languages
- A Little Book About Coronavirus
- Stopping COVID-19: Terms to Know
- Home Isolation and Quarantine Guidance