Know the Facts

COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus, protecting you from getting sick.

Being protected from the virus is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don’t have an increased risk of developing severe complications.

  1. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or those currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with the virus.

    These vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever.

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

  2. Just like all new vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines have been tested for safety and effectiveness as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are reviewed by a panel of experts in vaccine safety. Researchers are continuing to study the vaccines in large clinical trials with people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, and people who have different health conditions.

  3. The COVID-19 vaccine will not cause infertility. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. 

  4. Experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. The COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully now and will continue to be studied for many years, similar to other vaccines.

    After getting the vaccine, you may experience some side effects. The most common are pain and swelling in your arm where you received the shot. Most side effects are mild and could include headache, fever, chills, and tiredness. If you have side effects that last longer than a few days, call your doctor.

    The CDC closely monitors adverse reactions to vaccinations. If you have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, contact your healthcare provider first.  Your healthcare provider or you can report an adverse reaction at

  5. IDPH encourages all eligible individuals to receive the vaccine. Individuals with chronic health issues should check with their health care provider if they have questions about their personal health situation.

  6. There are currently three vaccines authorized for use in the United States: Pfizer, Moderna  Johnson & Johnson. Both the Pfizer, Moderna
    vaccines require two shots for full protection. Pfizer vaccine has an interval of 21 days between the doses and Moderna vaccine has an interval of 28 days between the doses.

    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one shot. 

  7. You can’t get the vaccine if you have COVID-19 at the time of vaccination. You must be recovered from the illness and done with quarantine before being vaccinated.

  8. You do NOT have to get the vaccine in the county you live in. Any participating health care provider or public health agency can administer the vaccine regardless of your home address.

  9. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. If the second dose is administered later, there is no need to restart the series.

  10. While we remain in the pandemic, the federal government plans to ensure vaccines are made available to those in need without cost to the individual. If you have health insurance, vaccine providers may charge an administration fee to your insurance, but the vaccine will always be provided at no cost. Your ability to pay for the vaccine will not be a barrier to receiving the vaccine once available.

  11. All Iowans age 5 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Iowans age 5-17 can only recieve the Pfizer vaccine at this time.