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COVID-19 Update

We are experiencing extremely high call volume related to COVID-19 vaccine interest. Please understand that our phone lines must be clear for urgent medical care needs. We are unable to accept phone calls to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations at this time. When this changes, we will update this web site. Please know that our vaccine supply is extremely small. Read all COVID-19 Vaccine Information.

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COVID-19 Vaccination Information for Patients and the Public A male patient receives a COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare professional.
 

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Vaccine Supply Update

Blue illustration of a needle and COVID-19 vaccine vial.

Posted Feb. 23, 2021

Johns Hopkins' Maryland hospitals received an extremely small number of vaccines this week from the State of Maryland to distribute to eligible patients and health care workers as outlined in Phases 1A-C, per Gov. Hogan.

We encourage those who are eligible to receive the vaccine to visit the state of Maryland’s vaccination website to learn where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also call the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Support Center at 1-855-MDGOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to schedule your vaccination at a mass vaccination site or to get information on vaccines and providers in the area.

 

While we are eager to be a vaccine resource for all of our patients and the public, per state and district authorization, we are only permitted to vaccinate very specific groups of individuals residing in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Florida.

The current vaccine supply provided to Johns Hopkins Medicine is extremely small. We are informed by state and district officials about anticipated vaccine delivery on a weekly basis. This limits our ability to schedule new, first-dose appointments for more than a week at a time.

Appointment Information

We are committed to offer as many vaccination appointments as supply allows. We will notify eligible patients and individuals by email and/or phone when the opportunity to schedule becomes available.

As supply is so small across Johns Hopkins Medicine, we encourage our patients and community members to take advantage of any opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment through other state and local health care organizations and agencies.

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability by Location

 

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Getting the Vaccine From Johns Hopkins Medicine

  • Get the latest information on our vaccine distribution effort in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Florida. You can also review this infographic to see learn how to get a vaccine from Johns Hopkins Medicine.

    Johns Hopkins Medicine is working with government officials and complying with jurisdictional directives in Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C., to vaccinate our eligible patients and others. The vaccine supply provided to us is extremely small. This will limit our ability to offer additional first dose appointments. Appointments are required for all vaccinations.

    • In Maryland, on Feb. 1, Phase 1C vaccine eligibility was expanded to include Maryland residents who are currently receiving hospital-based treatment, including in hospital outpatient centers, and diagnosed with specific, severely immunocompromising medical conditions. Vaccine supply continues to be extremely limited. As supply allows, we will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients who meet this criteria. We also continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients who live in the state and are 65 or older, as well as others outlined in Phases 1A-C, per Gov. Hogan. Please read more about our Maryland distribution for the COVID-19 vaccine.

      Individuals who are currently eligible for vaccination based on their occupation should first check with their employers to see if vaccination arrangements have already been made. If not, they should contact the local health department in the localities where they work.

    • In Washington, D.C., as supply allows, Sibley Memorial Hospital is administering the COVID-19 vaccine to patients who are age 65 and older and live in Washington, D.C. Please visit our Sibley COVID-19 Vaccine page for all important details.
    • In Florida: As supply allows, we are working to expand availability to Florida residents. Please read more about All Children’s Hospital and COVID-19.
    As supply is so small across Johns Hopkins Medicine, we encourage our patients and community members to take advantage of any opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment through other state and local health care organizations and agencies: Maryland | Washington, D.C. | Florida
  • The criteria for vaccine prioritization is determined by guidance from the CDC and from health departments where Johns Hopkins Medicine has care facilities (Maryland, Florida and Washington, D.C.).

    JHM identifies people who match the government and health department eligibility criteria for vaccination. If you match this criteria and have received care at a Johns Hopkins Medicine facility within the last two years, you are automatically on our list to be offered a COVID-19 vaccination. We randomly select individuals from a group of eligible people. The number of people selected is based on the limited supply of vaccine given to us.  We then notify selected individuals by phone, email or text messages to offer them an opportunity to schedule a vaccination appointment.

    Learn more about our vaccine distribution process.

    We are actively supporting our communities by ensuring that Black and Latinx patients have access to enroll in our vaccine programs, and by collaborating with Baltimore City and its health department to send teams into the community to administer COVID-19 vaccines to our most vulnerable eligible residents.

    For our vaccination plans for patients and the public, please go to our COVID-19 Vaccine Information page.

  • When you become eligible to receive the vaccine, we will offer whichever vaccines we receive from the federal government.

    Johns Hopkins Medicine will only distribute FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines that are deemed safe and effective by federal and state health departments and our own experts.

    Please remember that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two doses administered three to four weeks apart. Your second dose must be the same type of vaccine as the first one.
  • The CDC explains that vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccine providers can charge administration fees for giving the vaccine. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

  • Per Gov. Larry Hogan, on Feb. 1, 2021, the state of Maryland expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to allow hospitals to administer the vaccine to Maryland residents with who are currently receiving hospital-based treatment, including in hospital outpatient centers, and diagnosed with any of the following severe immunocompromising medical conditions:

    • Patients with cancer and in active treatment
    • Patients with end stage renal disease requiring hemodialysis
    • Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), especially those who are oxygen-dependent or are steroid-dependent
    • Recipients of solid organ transplant
    • Patients with sickle cell disease
    • Patients with diabetes (type 1 or type 2)

    As supply allows, we will administer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients who meet this criteria.

    Vaccine supply continues to be extremely limited.

    To the extent that we have supply, we continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients who live in the state and are 65 or older, as well as others outlined in Phases 1A-C, per Gov. Hogan. A patient is anyone who has received care from a Johns Hopkins Medicine provider within the last two years at any of our facilities, including outpatient clinics.

  • Individuals who are currently eligible for vaccination based on their occupations should first check with their employers to see if vaccination arrangements have already been made. If not, they should contact the local health department in the localities where they work.

  • Not at this time. We can only offer the vaccine to people who received a notification from Johns Hopkins Medicine to schedule their vaccination appointment. The number of people requesting vaccination from Johns Hopkins Medicine is more than the vaccines supplied by the state. Johns Hopkins Medicine conducts a daily, computer randomized lottery of eligible individuals to receive a vaccination appointment. The number of appointments is based on our available vaccine supply. We wish we had more vaccine to give.

    We encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to take advantage of any and all available vaccine options. Visit the state of Maryland’s vaccination website to identify other locations where you and your loved one may be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you or your family members are offered the COVID-19 vaccine at another vaccination site, please take it. You should not wait to get the vaccine from Johns Hopkins Medicine if you are offered an opportunity elsewhere.

 
 

Getting the Vaccine

    • The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given as two shots in the upper arm muscle, three or four weeks apart.* (*The number of times vaccines made by other companies are given and the way they are given vary.)
    • Typically, it takes about two weeks after the second shot for sufficient immunity to kick in.
    • Even after the vaccination, you might be able to transmit the coronavirus to others so infection prevention measures are still very important.
    • Based on clinical trials, the first two vaccines were shown to be extremely effective at preventing COVID-19: Pfizer (95%) and Moderna (94.1%).*
    • The trials so far show the vaccines are equally effective across age,** gender, race and ethnicity subgroups.
    • The clinical trials were conducted with a diverse group of participants, including people of Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latinx and Native American descent.***
    *As additional clinical trials are completed, we will know more about the efficacy of other vaccines. **The Pfizer vaccine was found to be over 94% effective in adults over the age of 65. ***Among the Pfizer participants, 5% were Asian, 10% were Black, 26% were Hispanic/Latinx and 1% were Native American. Among the Moderna participants, 4% were Asian, 10% were Black, 20% were Hispanic/Latinx and 3% were of other descent.
  • Some studies have suggested that taking medications such as Tylenol or Advil before getting a vaccination might reduce your body’s ability to mount an immune response to the vaccine. It’s unclear if these findings have any clinical significance, though, and other studies did not find any effect of anti-inflammatory medications on the immune reaction to vaccines. If you regularly take aspirin or other over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (e.g., Aleve) for other medical conditions, please continue to do so as directed by your physician or as needed. Otherwise, it’s probably best to not take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen that reduce fever or inflammation before receiving a vaccine. If you are uncomfortable or have symptoms after vaccination, that is the time to take an over-the-counter medication to help you feel better.

  • You alone make the decision about whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage you to talk to your primary care doctor and review our resources provided here, as well as resources from other health care organizations. At Johns Hopkins Medicine, we will continue to provide science-based, unbiased information so you can make an informed decision.

    Considering the impact on lives, the large number of hospitalizations and deaths, and high number of people with remaining long-term health issues after they recover from COVID-19, we believe the risks of vaccination are small compared with the large individual and societal benefit of getting the vaccination and preventing cases of COVID-19. 

  • If you have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that the second shot should take place three weeks after the first one.

    If your first coronavirus vaccine was from Moderna, the CDC says your second shot should be given to you four weeks after the first one.

    If something happens that prevents you from getting the second dose of either COVID-19 vaccine on time, you can still receive it up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. We are not advocating for people to delay getting their second dose, but the data from clinical trials support this range. There are currently limited data on the efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. According to the CDC, however, if the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.

  • You should not get the second vaccine dose earlier than the recommended times. But, if you’ve already received your second shot, and it was early by 4 days, or less than the recommended time window, your vaccinations are OK, and you do not need to repeat the vaccination series

  • The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable with each other or with other COVID-19 vaccine products. Each vaccine is manufactured differently — even those that use similar underlying technology, such as Pfizer and Moderna. Once you’re given one type of vaccine, the second vaccine dose should be the same type, from the same manufacturer as the first vaccine dose.

    Shortly after your first vaccination, your record will show which type you received, so you can schedule your second shot with the same brand and at the proper time interval between doses.

    These recommendations may change as further information becomes available or as other vaccine types are authorized for use. In rare cases, such as in the event of an allergic reaction, an exception may be made to allow for the second dose from a different manufacturer.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

  • The U.S. vaccine safety system works to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety has been a top priority as federal agencies work with vaccine manufacturers to develop and authorize a COVID-19 vaccine. Here are some key areas that are part of a COVID-19 vaccine development, review and authorization:

    • Careful testing. All vaccines go through clinical trials to test safety and effectiveness. For the COVID-19 vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set up rigorous standards for vaccine developers to meet. This infographic from the National Institutes of Health shows the four phases a vaccine must go through before it is released to the public.
    • Authorization for emergency use. Vaccines that meet FDA safety and effectiveness standards can be made available in the United States by approval or by emergency use authorization (EUA). An EUA provides temporary authorization of a vaccine or medication under emergency situations, such as the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Continuous monitoring for problems and side effects. Once a vaccine is authorized for use, monitoring continues, with systems in place to track problems or side effects that were not detected during the clinical trials. For the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are expanding their vaccine monitoring. If there are problems with the vaccine, they are most likely to emerge early in the testing process when they can be identified and addressed.

    You can learn more from the CDC about the safety steps in place for the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • So far, none of the vaccine trials have reported any serious safety concerns. Trials for the first two vaccines — from Pfizer and Moderna — have had fully independent safety monitoring boards, and safety data are continuously reviewed by the FDA and expert panels.

    Allergies: The CDC says people with allergies to certain foods, insects, latex and other common allergens can have the COVID-19 vaccine. Those with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectables or other vaccines should discuss the vaccination with their doctor, who can evaluate the person and assess their risk. According to the CDC, at this time, anyone who has a severe allergy (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ingredients should not receive this vaccine.

    Learn more about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

  • You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna do not have any virus or other infectious material in them. They are designed to cause your body to make copies of a harmless piece of the coronavirus, so you will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Side effects such as fever and soreness at the injection site have been reported, particularly after the second injection (both of these vaccines require a second injection three to four weeks later), but the reported COVID-19 vaccine side effects in the trials are not as severe or dangerous as having a bad case of COVID-19 illness.

  • Yes, based upon currently available information, we believe the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for the people covered under the initially limited FDA authorization. Here is why:

    Our experts have followed developments of the vaccines very closely and we believe that proper procedures are being followed. Review this infographic from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) about how a new vaccine is developed, approved and manufactured.

    We monitor those who are testing the vaccines and the regulatory agencies that will evaluate the vaccines for authorization or approval. Several points give us confidence that the proper procedures have been followed:

    • The FDA has been very clear about the conditions under which it would issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) or full approval for any COVID-19 vaccine candidate intended for public use. The FDA process is well established. Considerations are peer-reviewed by external expert panels. The FDA leadership has reaffirmed its commitment that scientific data drove and will continue to drive its deliberations and any decisions to grant emergency use authorization or approval.
    • Many manufacturers working on the vaccine have pledged to put public safety first and to be transparent in conveying their data to the public.
    • The National Academies of Sciences provided guidance on conditions required for appropriate vetting of vaccine candidates.
    Learn more general information by reading Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
 

COVID-19 Vaccines for Diverse Groups

What about safety of the COVID-19 vaccination for diverse groups of people?

The FDA and other reviewers closely consider diverse populations included in the trials for safety purposes. The clinical trials for the first two COVID-19 vaccines included underrepresented minorities (about 25% of participants), older age groups (about 25%), and people with conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart and respiratory conditions.

Note: The trials did not include pregnant women or children under 12. Trials with these groups are in progress or are scheduled to begin soon.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects and Reactions

  • You may have pain in the arm where you got the shot, and you might run a fever and experience body aches, headaches and tiredness for a day or two. The chance of having noticeable side effects is higher after the second shot.

    Experiencing side effects does not mean that you have COVID-19, but signals that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. These side effects are considerably less severe or lasting than COVID-19, but if they persist, call your doctor and ask about taking over-the-counter pain and fever reducers to help you feel better.

    If you have allergies, especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor, who can assess your risk and provide more information on if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

    Learn more about what to expect when getting the COVID-19 vaccine,

  • While there have been reports of severe allergic-type reactions in a very small number of patients, the CDC says that people with allergies to certain foods, drugs, insects, latex and other common allergens can still get the COVID-19 vaccine.

    If you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectables or other vaccines, be sure to discuss the COVID-19 vaccination with your doctor, who can evaluate you and assess your risk. The vaccine provider should observe you for 30 minutes rather than the routine 15 minutes after vaccination, and if you have an allergic reaction to the first shot, you may not receive the second.

    The CDC says that at this time, anyone who has a severe allergy (such as anaphylaxis) to any of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ingredients should not get this vaccine.

    If you have allergies, especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor, who can assess your risk and provide more information on if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

How the Vaccines Work

    • There are three main types of COVID-19 vaccines: messenger RNA (mRNA), protein subunit and vector.
    • All three vaccine types either deliver, or cause our bodies to make, harmless proteins only found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus.
    • After we are vaccinated, our immune system recognizes these proteins as foreign, and it attacks and blocks the virus if we get exposed to it.

    Learn more from our COVID-19 Vaccines Infographic.

  • The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has spikes of protein on each viral particle. These spikes help the viruses attach to cells and cause disease. Some of the coronavirus vaccines in development are designed to help the body “recognize” these spike proteins and fight the coronavirus that has them.

    An effective vaccine will protect a person who receives it by lowering their chances of getting COVID-19 if they encounter the coronavirus. Widespread vaccination for the coronavirus means that the virus will not infect as many people. This will limit spread through communities.

    Both Pfizer and Moderna report that their vaccines show approximately 95% efficacy at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19. This level of efficacy appears to apply across age groups, racial and ethnic groups, and both sexes, as reported in the Pfizer trial.
  • In the past, vaccines have taken many years to develop. However, the relatively quick development of this vaccine does not mean safety measures were skipped. There are several reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines were developed faster than other vaccines:

    • The mRNA technology used to develop the COVID-19 vaccines has been years in development to prepare for outbreaks of infectious viruses. Thus, the manufacturing process was ready very early in the pandemic.
    • China shared genetic information about the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus when it was available, which gave vaccine developers an early start at finding a vaccine.
    • The testing processes for the vaccines didn’t skip any steps, but the vaccine developers conducted some stages of the process simultaneously to gather as much data as quickly as possible.
    • Governments gave money to vaccine developers in advance, so the companies had resources they needed.
    • Some types of COVID-19 vaccines were created using messenger RNA (mRNA), a new technology that allows a faster approach than the traditional way vaccines are made.
    • Social media enabled companies to reach out to and enroll study volunteers, and plenty of people wanted to help, so there were enough research participants to test the COVID-19 vaccines.
    • Because the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is so contagious and widespread, many volunteers who got the vaccine were exposed to the virus, and with so many exposures, the trials took a shorter time to see if the vaccine worked.
    Companies began manufacturing vaccines ahead of their authorization or approval so some supplies would be ready if authorization occurred.
  • The first two coronavirus vaccines authorized by the FDA come from two different companies: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The two vaccines are equivalent in protecting against COVID-19: Both Pfizer and Moderna report that their vaccines showed approximately 95% efficacy at preventing symptoms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including severe disease.

    There are differences in how the two vaccines are handled:

    • The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored and shipped at -94° F while the Moderna vaccine can be kept at -4° F.
    • Both COVID-19 vaccines require two separate shots: a priming shot followed by a booster. The booster vaccine in the Pfizer version is given three weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, the booster is given four weeks after the first.
  • The first two COVID-19 vaccines were created using a new technique called messenger RNA, or mRNA. The method has been in development for years before the pandemic, and the arrival of the new coronavirus provided vaccine manufacturers a chance to use it.

    Vaccines against viruses work by sending a message to the body to be on the lookout for a certain virus, such as SARS-CoV-2. Traditional approaches have used dead or weakened versions of the virus itself, which the body learns to identify and develop immunity to. Making new vaccines this way can take years.

    The mRNA approach works differently. When a virus such as SARS-CoV-2 enters the body, it sets in motion a means of producing copies of itself like a photocopy machine. The copies of the virus invade other cells. The mRNA coronavirus vaccines cause the body to produce copies of just one part of the coronavirus: the spike proteins on its surface that give the virus its telltale appearance. The spike protein helps the virus attach to cells and make people sick, but by itself, cannot cause COVID-19.

    The new mRNA vaccines for the coronavirus contain “instructions” for how to make copies of the spike protein. The mRNA is synthetically made in a lab (meaning it is not taken from the virus directly). It is manufactured to be injected and to find its way into cells. In the cell, mRNA instructs the cell to make copies of the coronavirus’s spike proteins. When the cell releases these proteins, the immune system identifies them as foreign and destroys them, but not before making antibodies to detect and react to the protein and the virus that causes COVID-19. Then, later, if a live, complete coronavirus enters the person’s body, the immune system “remembers” the spike protein and attacks the coronavirus so it cannot reproduce and make someone sick with COVID-19.

    Vaccines created with mRNA may be even better at protecting people from disease than those made with dead or weakened viruses.

Protection and Immunity

  • The vaccine doesn’t work right away. You are not considered appropriately protected after the first shot. It takes up to two weeks after the second shot for your immune system to fully respond to a vaccine and provide protection against an infectious disease.

  • This is a question researchers are eager to answer. People who are infected with the coronavirus show a decline in antibodies within a few months, but their immunity may last significantly longer than that. (A few people appear to have caught COVID-19 twice, but this is unusual). Data from the vaccine trials indicate strong immunity at least months after vaccination, indicating possible long-term immunity.

    As the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has begun to change (mutate), studies are exploring how these changes affect the virus’s characteristics, including its ability to spread between people. A substantial mutation might have an impact on the effectiveness of the vaccines, and vaccine manufacturers are preparing to make adjustments where necessary.

  • People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. 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 have been sick with COVID-19 before.

    There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.
  • A few people who have had COVID-19 have apparently had a second, often milder case of the disease, and researchers are exploring what this means in terms of how long immunity from the coronavirus lasts. Vaccine developers are looking at ways to boost the effectiveness of a vaccine so that it provides longer immune protection than a natural infection with the coronavirus.

  • There is new evidence from laboratory studies that some immune responses driven by current vaccines could be less effective against some of the new strains.

    Whether that means that people who have gotten the COVID-19 vaccines could get sick with the new variants is not yet known. The immune response involves many components, and a reduction in one does not mean that the vaccines will not offer protection.

    People who have received the vaccines should watch for changes in guidance from the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], and continue with coronavirus safety precautions to reduce the risk of infection, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

    We deal with mutations every year for flu virus, and will keep an eye on this coronavirus and track. If there would ever be a major mutation, the vaccine development process can accommodate changes, if necessary, but we’re not yet at the point when we need to consider that.

    Find out more about new variants of coronavirus.

Masking and COVID-19 Precautions

Masking and COVID-19 Precautions

Yes. It may take time for everyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccination to get one. A vaccine that is 95% effective means that a small number of people who get one of the vaccines will not become immune.

Also, while the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others. That is why, until more is understood about how well the vaccine works, continuing with precautions such as mask-wearing and physical distancing will be important.

Vaccine and Kids

  • Not yet, for children younger than 16 years of age. Testing for the first FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines — one from Pfizer/BioNTech and the other from Moderna — has not yet included participants younger than 16, so there are not enough data to establish efficacy for children and teens in this group.

    At present, the Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for those 16 years old and up. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older, and the company is recruiting for clinical trials to test its vaccine in children ages 12 through 17. Pfizer is enrolling participants ages 12–15 in their trials as well.

    Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine and children.

  • This may take time to happen. First, the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must determine that testing results show the vaccines are safe and effective in children. Some of the vaccine manufacturers have already begun recruiting for clinical trials and testing children 12 and older. Later, the manufacturers will evaluate safety and efficacy in younger age groups, and data from those studies will direct experts’ recommendations on COVID-19 vaccine use in younger children.

  • The answer to this question is unknown: Scientists are working hard to determine if getting vaccinated for the coronavirus keeps you from spreading COVID-19 to others, including children. For now, experts recommend you should assume you can spread the coronavirus to other people, even after you have been vaccinated. The CDC recommends that people who get the COVID-19 vaccine continue to wear masks and practice physical distancing when around people from outside their own household until more research is complete.

  • Yes, it is possible for a child infected with the coronavirus to transmit COVID-19 to another person. Data from some studies suggest that young children may be less likely than older children and adults to spread the coronavirus to others, but it can still happen.

  • According to a report published by the CDC, going back to in-person school is not a major COVID-19 risk factor for children if they maintain prevention measures such as wearing masks and physical distancing. Attending parties, playdates and in-person family gatherings such as weddings and funerals is associated with a higher risk of children testing positive for the coronavirus.

  • There’s a very good chance it will. The COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer each provide about a 95% chance of protecting you from developing symptoms from COVID-19 after completion of the two-dose series. The vaccine appears to be very effective in preventing severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more about the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines.

  • After so many months with children’s education and normal life interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an important question. It will take time to answer, since children are not expected to be given COVID-19 vaccinations for many months.

    It is expected that when enough people are protected from the coronavirus, the risk of infection for your child — and the population in general — will begin to decline, even before vaccines are available for children. Vaccines, along with mask-wearing, physical distancing and other precautions will help ensure your child’s gradual return to school, sports and other group activities in the future.

Vaccine and Pregnancy

  • No, getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect your fertility. Women actively trying to conceive may be vaccinated with the current COVID-19 vaccines — there is no reason to delay pregnancy after completing the vaccine series.

    Confusion around this issue arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one in the trial who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.

  • Yes, COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who choose to receive the vaccine. We strongly recommend that women talk with their doctor to discuss all factors about the vaccine and their pregnancy.

    • Symptomatic pregnant individuals who contract COVID-19 are at more risk of severe illness, complications and death than non-pregnant women. Many pregnant women have medical conditions that put them at further increased risk.
    • Another factor to consider is the level of activity of the pandemic in your community.
    • It is important to know that no study to date has specifically evaluated the coronavirus vaccine in pregnant and lactating women, though there have been a few pregnant women who were inadvertently enrolled in the vaccine trials. Preliminary developmental and reproductive toxicity studies do not indicate any adverse effects on reproduction or fetal development.
    • Thus, there are not any known safety concerns, but more data will be available in the weeks and months ahead from additional studies.

    While there are many unanswered questions about the vaccines for pregnant women, Johns Hopkins Medicine agrees with and supports the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM). As national recommendations evolve, we will continue to update what you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy.

  • Based upon available data, it appears safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are nursing a baby. Although the vaccines have not been studied in nursing mothers, lactating women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines do not contain live virus, so being vaccinated does not pose a risk to the baby. If you are vaccinated for the coronavirus, there is no need to delay or discontinue breastfeeding.

Myth Busters

  • FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility. The truth is that the COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein found on the coronavirus’s surface. This “teaches” the body’s immune system to fight the virus that has that specific spike protein on it.

    Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncitin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.

    Getting COVID-19, on the other hand, can have potentially serious impact on pregnancy and the mother’s health. Learn more about coronavirus and pregnancy. Johns Hopkins Medicine encourages women to reach out to their medical providers to discuss other questions they have about COVID-19 as it relates to fertility or pregnancy.
  • FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. 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 have been sick with COVID-19 before.

    There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long people are protected from getting COVID-19 after they have had it (natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Several subjects in the Pfizer trial who were previously infected got vaccinated without ill effects. Some scientists believe the vaccine offers better protection for coronavirus than natural infection.
  • FACT: Studies found that the two initial vaccines are both about 95% effective — and reported no serious or life-threatening side effects. There are many reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines could be developed so quickly. Here are just a few:

    • The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were created with a method that has been in development for years, so the companies could start the vaccine development process early in the pandemic.
    • China isolated and shared genetic information about COVID-19 promptly, so scientists could start working on vaccines.
    • The vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster.
    • Vaccine projects had plenty of resources, as governments invested in research and/or paid for vaccines in advance.
    • Some types of COVID-19 vaccines were created using messenger RNA (mRNA), which allows a faster approach than the traditional way that vaccines are made.
    • Social media helped companies find and engage study volunteers, and many were willing to help with COVID-19 vaccine research.
    • Because COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread, it did not take long to see if the vaccine worked for the study volunteers who were vaccinated.
    Companies began making vaccines early in the process — even before FDA authorization — so some supplies were ready when authorization occurred.
  • FACT: Individuals who get the COVID-19 vaccination still need to practice infection prevention precautions. Keep your mask on, and continue staying at least 6 feet from people outside your household, until further notice. Vaccines do not stop the coronavirus from entering your body; they only prevent you from developing moderate to severe COVID-19. It’s not yet clear if people vaccinated for COVID-19 can still carry and transmit the virus, even when they themselves don’t get sick.
  • FACT: The vaccine for COVID-19 cannot and will not give you COVID-19. The two authorized mRNA vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus, if it comes along. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-Co-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort.
  • FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine can have side effects, but the vast majority are very short term —not serious or dangerous. The vaccine developers report that some people experience pain where they were injected; body aches; headaches or fever, lasting for a day or two. These are signs that the vaccine is working to stimulate your immune system. If symptoms persist beyond two days, you should call your doctor.

    If you have allergies — especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen — discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor, who can assess your risk and provide more information about if and how you can get vaccinated safely.
  • FACT: The two COVID-19 vaccines available to us are designed to help your body’s immune system fight the coronavirus. The messenger RNA from two of the first types of COVID-19 vaccines does enter cells, but not the nucleus of the cells where DNA resides. The mRNA does its job to cause the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down — without affecting your DNA.
  • FACT: The mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine makers created the technology to help them respond quickly to a new pandemic illness, such as COVID-19.
  • FACT: The first two COVID-19 vaccines to be authorized by the FDA contain mRNA and other, normal vaccine ingredients, such as fats (which protect the mRNA), salts, as well as a small amount of sugar. These COVID-19 vaccines were not developed using fetal tissue, and they do not contain any material, such as implants, microchips or tracking devices.
  • FACT: The thousands of viruses that cause various diseases are very different. Many change (mutate) year by year, making it difficult to develop one vaccine that works for a long period of time.

    Developing vaccines for some disease-causing viruses is tough. For example, the virus that causes HIV can hide and make itself undetectable by the human immune system, which makes creating a vaccine for it extremely difficult.

    The common cold can be caused by any one of hundreds of different viruses, so a vaccine for just one of them would not be very effective.

Specific Conditions

  • Yes, based on information currently available, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for people with epilepsy, says neurologist Khalil Husari. Although the data are limited, he explains, so far there is no evidence that patients with epilepsy are at a higher risk of adverse complications after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Read more about coronavirus, the COVID-19 vaccine and epilepsy.

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for all solid organ transplant candidates and recipients provided they do not have a severe allergy to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Likewise, families and household members of those having a transplant should get vaccinated against the coronavirus as soon as CDC and local guidelines, as well as vaccine quantity, allow.

    Because transplantation involves immunosuppression, which can make the vaccine ineffective, those awaiting transplants should, ideally, get a complete COVID-19 vaccination regimen before their transplant. However, the vaccine series should be completed two weeks before the transplant is scheduled. If a patient does not get vaccinated before the procedure, the vaccine should be delayed for one to six months after surgery or for as long as his or her doctor recommends.

  • People living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can get the COVID-19 vaccine once you are eligible to do so, as long as you do not have a severe allergy to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. It is OK to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while you are taking immunosuppressant medications to treat IBD. Available data suggest that the timing of when you take your IBD medication does not affect when you can receive your COVID-19 vaccination.

    Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine in immunocompromised patients. Therefore, you should continue to keep yourself protected by following CDC COVID-19 prevention guidelines, such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and hand hygiene.

  • Those with autoimmune conditions can receive the COVID-19 vaccine once they are eligible to do so unless they have a severe allergy to any of the vaccine’s ingredients.

   
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