COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s

Q: What do the COVID-19 vaccines do?

A: The COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA) to encourage your cells to initiate an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. Our bodies use mRNA to tell our cells which proteins to make, which are antibodies in this case. Vaccines that use mRNA are typically quicker and easier to produce, which has helped accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine process.

Q: Why is a vaccine necessary?

A: Vaccines boost your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

Q: Why do I need a vaccine?

A: COVID-19 is a deadly disease that causes severe illness – and in some cases, long term symptoms that we have yet to fully understand. The COVID-19 vaccines have been created to decrease death and severe illness.

Q: When will Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare get doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: GVMH has received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and anticipates receiving additional shipments in the future.

Q: Who will get the vaccine first?

Per guidelines from the State of Missouri, citizens will receive the vaccine by priority phases. These phases include:

Phase 1A
  • Healthcare workers
  • Long-term care facility staff and residents
  • Home health
  • Urgent care
  • Vaccination staff
  • Congregate community
  • School nurses
  • Dental office staff
  • Mental/behavior health providers
  • EMS/EMT/paramedics
Phase 1B – Tier 1
  • Public health administrators and staff
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire services
  • Corrections
  • Emergency management
  • Public works
  • Emergency services
  • Morticians, embalmers, etc.
Phase 1B – Tier 2
  • Anyone aged 65 and older
  • Adults with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity (BMI >40), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus or individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as down syndrome
Phase 1B – Tier 3
  • Education (K-12)
  • Childcare
  • Communications infrastructure
  • Dams sector
  • Energy sector
  • Food and agriculture sector 1
  • Government
  • Information technology
Phase 2
  • Commercial facilities sector
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Defense industrial base
  • Financial services
  • Food and agriculture sector 2
  • Government
  • Disproportionately affected populations
  • Homeless
Q: How is the vaccine administered?

A: The COVID-19 vaccine is a multi-dose vaccine administered through a shot. The second dose is given 21 to 28 days later, depending on which vaccine brand you receive. (The second dose should be administered within about a two-day window of the specified timeframe.)

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

A: A safe vaccine is determined through administration to a large number of people of different ages, sexes and underlying conditions. The approved vaccines that GVMH is administering have undergone rigorous studies and have achieved 95 percent effectiveness.

Q: Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

A: Yes. COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19.

Being protected from getting sick 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 do not have an increased risk of developing severe complications. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

Q: Does the vaccine have side effects?

A: After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. The side effects may include mild symptoms like soreness at injection site, muscle aches and fatigue.

Q: Does the vaccine contain a live virus?

A: No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain a live virus.

Q: Will I be contagious to others after I receive the vaccine? Should I quarantine?

A: No. You will not be contagious and do not need to quarantine. The vaccine does not contain a live virus. It is designed to trigger an immune response in your body to help prevent you from getting the virus.

Q: If I have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, or think I already had it, should I still get the vaccine?

A: Yes. Re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, and there are severe health risks for some people, so it is advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you have been sick with it 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. However, since re-infection is highly unlikely in the first 90-days, waiting for the vaccine during this initial period of time when there are not enough for everyone is a reasonable consideration and will allow those with no immunity to receive the vaccine quicker.

Q: Do I need to continue wearing a mask and social distancing once I receive the vaccine?

A: Yes. It will be crucial to continue to observe the current safety measures. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask, washing hands often and staying at least six feet away from others.

Q: How long does it take to have immunity after receiving the vaccine?

A: In general, it takes 14 days past your second dose to build up immunity.

Q. How long does the vaccine provide protection?

A. Early vaccine study data suggests the vaccine offers at least four months of protection. However, the full extent of prolonged immune protection is still being evaluated.

Q: After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test?

A: No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can 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—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.

Q: Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?

A: If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get that specific vaccine. 

  • View list of ingredients for the Pfizer vaccine here.  
  • View a list of ingredients for the Moderna vaccine here.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, you should ask your provider if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your provider will help you decide if it is safe for you to be vaccinated.

The CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental or latex—may still be vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have a milder allergy to vaccines (no anaphylaxis)—may also still get vaccinated.

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Q: If I am pregnant or lactating, should I get the vaccine?

A. Please talk with your OB/GYN about getting the vaccine if you are pregnant or lactating.

Q: Will this be a yearly vaccine, like the flu shot?

A: We do not know yet, since there is not enough data. We will have this question answered eventually, but it will take time to see how long antibodies last following vaccine. 

Q: Should I avoid other vaccinations (i.e. pneumonia) while waiting for the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: Right now, we recommend making sure you have a 14-day window between the COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccinations.

Q: What will the vaccine cost?

A: The federal government is covering the costs of the vaccine. There could be an administrative fee patients pay, depending on where they get their vaccine. The vaccine will be free at GVMH.

Q: What should I expect when I get vaccinated?

A: You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it.

You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.

All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored on-site. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions. ​

Q: What should I expect after vaccination?

A: With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot, even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

Ask your healthcare provider about getting started with v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose. Learn more at

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. In general, it takes 14 days past your second dose to build up immunity.

Learn more about the vaccines

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