Hear the Stories, Get the Facts

COVID-19 vaccines save lives. Get your COVID-19 vaccine and be a protector, too.

COVID-19 Vaccine Facts

Be Fact Smart

Frequently Asked Questions

There is a lot of information swirling around about the COVID-19 vaccines. Here you’ll find answers from healthcare providers at Beacon Health System and Saint Joseph Health System.

Don’t see your question here? Give us a call at (574) 647-1350 or fill out the form below! We’re here to listen to you and discuss your questions and concerns.

Currently the CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months or older. Boosters are recommended for everyone 5 years and older, if eligible. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have specific recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

There are vaccination clinics all around the Michiana region and COVID-19 vaccines are available at many retail pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens. To search for a vaccination clinic and schedule an appointment see our Clinic Calendar, visit vaccine.coronavirus.in.gov or call 211 (866-211-9966). Walk-ins are also accepted at most vaccination clinics.

Beacon Medical Group and Saint Joseph Health System primary care offices offer COVID-19 vaccines and boosters by appointment for their patients. Call your provider’s office to make an appointment.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages 5 years and older get a booster shot after they have completed their COVID-19 vaccine primary series.

Children ages 12 years and older with a weakened immune system should get a second booster when eligible.

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccines are safe. How do we know this? Scientists have been working for many years to develop vaccines against viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. Since scientists weren’t starting from the ground up, the current COVID-19 vaccines could be developed faster.

Additionally, all vaccines in the United States must go through three phases of clinical trials to make sure they are safe and effective. During the development of the COVID-19 vaccines, phases were overlapped for speed, but all phases were completed as required.

Finally, the safety monitoring around the COVID-19 vaccine has been the most intense and comprehensive in U.S. history. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines. Through several monitoring systems, the CDC and FDA continue to provide updated information on the safety of these vaccines.

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you’ve already had COVID-19. Why? Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from a COVID-19 infection provides added protection to your immune system.

There isn’t currently a test available that can reliably determine if a person is protected from COVID-19 infection after having had COVID-19. People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after recovery.

All vaccines have side effects. They are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include: fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site. All side effects should go away within a few days.

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or who might become pregnant in the future.

There is no current evidence that any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, cause problems trying to get pregnant in women or men.

While vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer, none of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys. The vaccines are also free from manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.

You can learn more about the ingredients of each specific COVID-19 vaccine at the CDC website.

COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for children ages 6 months and older. Getting your child vaccinated can help protect them from becoming infected with COVID-19, spreading the virus to family and friends, and can help prevent a serious reaction if infected. Getting vaccinated can also help protect them from short- and long-term complications of COVID-19. While COVID-19 tends to be milder in children than adults, it can make children very sick, possibly requiring  hospitalization. Some children have even died due to COVID-19 complications.

This is still unclear. Scientists continue to monitor how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. There are recent studies that show protection against the virus may decrease over time. It is this reduction in protection that has led the CDC to recommend everyone ages 12 years and older get a booster shot after their primary vaccination series.

The COVID-19 vaccines for children are made from the same ingredients as the adult version but children receive a smaller, age-appropriate dose.

These smaller doses were thoroughly tested and found to create the necessary immune response for each age group. Your child should receive the vaccine recommended for their age group.

People considered to be moderately to severely immunocompromised have weakened immune systems from several types of conditions and treatments. These include:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy or received a stem cell transplant (within the last 2 years)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response

Talk to your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination and your medical condition.

Yes, people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have specific recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters. This generally includes receiving 3 primary doses of vaccine and up to two boosters.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.

Individuals 18 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent, were made to better protect against the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. The boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition. This is done to help to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting the more transmissible and immune-evading variants.

As time passes, the effectiveness of a vaccine wanes. This is true of the COVID-19 booster update, which now includes Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components. The updated booster helps to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting disease variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)* and Centers for Disease Control (CDC)** approved and endorsed emergency use authorizations (EUAs) of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine bivalent formulations.

* On Aug. 31, 2022

** On Sept. 1, 2022

As time passes, the effectiveness of a vaccine wanes. This is true of the COVID-19 booster update, which now includes Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components. The updated booster helps to restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination by targeting disease variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.

To be fully protected against the newest coronavirus variant, the CDC recommends you get the bivalent vaccine.

For individuals 18 years of age or older, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is authorized as a single booster dose.

For individuals 12 years of age or older, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is authorized as a single booster dose. Note: for this age group, a booster dose of bivalent vaccine is given after the primary series, regardless of the number of previous monovalent booster doses.

COVID-19 vaccines may be administered on the same day as other vaccines, including influenza vaccine.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have conducted trials and shared that information. Find details on the Food and Drug Administration’s website and/or follow these direct links: Pfizer/BioNTech, COVID-19 Omicron-Modified Vaccine Options and Moderna COVID-19 Investigational Bivalent Vaccine.

No. New FDA guidelines discontinued the use the of monovalent booster formulations (Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine).

Just like all COVID-19 vaccines administered to date, the bivalent vaccine will be given to you as an injection into the muscle.

Yes. The CDC says that COVID-19 boosters are the same ingredients (formulation) as the current COVID-19 vaccines.

Tell the vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
  • have any allergies
  • have had myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart)
  • 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
  • have ever fainted in association with an injection

The definition of fully vaccinated does not include a booster. So, individuals, except those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine, per the CDC.

When you get your first COVID-19 vaccine, you will get a vaccination card. Remember to bring your card when you return.

If you have additional questions about things like combining the COVID-19 vaccine with the flu vaccine, whether you should get the booster if you had COVID-19 recently, or many other common questions, visit your state’s health department website or one of these other websites to learn more:

 

Sources:

Disclaimer: The resources shared here are for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. As with all pharmaceuticals, a patient’s response to a vaccine is unique to their own body and medical history. We encourage all patients to discuss the vaccine with their physician before administration if they have concerns.

Educational Materials

Want to learn more about a specific COVID-19 topic? Choose from our free informational downloads to get the important details you need. Don’t see a topic that you need? Please fill out the form below for additional information.

Have a Question? Ask a Healthcare Worker!

Still unsure about the COVID-19 vaccines? Start a conversation with our team. Submit your questions using the form below and a community health worker will respond within two business days.

Workplace Education Services

Want to share valuable COVID-19 vaccine information with your employees? Sign up for an educational session with our community health workers at your organization.