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Vaccine FAQs: feel confident about getting your shot

This page is reviewed regularly. Last updated on December 17 2021.

If you haven’t had your shot yet, now is the time. It takes a few weeks after your first dose for your system to build up enough antibodies to help protect you from serious disease.

Even with high case numbers, some people are still not sure they want to get vaccinated. Here are some answers to common questions about vaccine safety that may help you or someone you care about take this important step.

1. The vaccine was made so fast. Do we know it’s safe? Yes.

When the pandemic started, there was no vaccine for the particular virus that causes COVID-19, but scientists have been working on vaccines for similar viruses for some time. This sped up the process of developing specific vaccines quickly.

Social media helped find volunteers to participate in studies when a vaccine was ready, and the numbers of people in vaccine studies was much larger than usual. Adults 18 and older can receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine and those 12 and older can receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The CDC now recommends that 5 to 11 year old children receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 Vaccine.1

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna shots are highly effective, and their studies show no serious or life-threatening side effects.2 The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also effective, but carries two FDA warnings for rare occurrences of the neurological disorder Guillain-Barré syndrome and a blood clotting disorder in a small number of recipients.2

The CDC has expressed their preference for people to get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) over the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine at this time. But those who are unable or unwilling to get an mRNA vaccine will still have access to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.3

2. Does getting the COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19? No.

    The vaccine teaches your cells how to make a protein that is part of the coronavirus. That makes it easier for your immune system to fight off the virus if it enters your body. The vaccine does not contain the coronavirus itself. The protein that gives your cells “instructions” on how to fight the virus does not cause any infection. You may have some side effects after getting your shot but they are temporary. Any side effects from the shot are not the same thing as having COVID-19.

    3. Are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine dangerous? No.

      You may feel: soreness or pain where the shot was injected, body aches, fatigue, headaches, or fever. These symptoms generally last 1-2 days. It is extremely unlikely that side effects will last longer than a few days, but if they do, make an appointment with your Babylon doctor. If you have allergies, especially serious allergies that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the vaccine with a Babylon doctor before getting your first shot.

      4. Is it safe for breastfeeding or pregnant parents to get vaccinated? Yes.

        Vaccination is recommended for children 5 years and older and all adults.That includes those who are breastfeeding, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or may become pregnant in the future. Pregnant or recently pregnant people have a higher risk of becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. Evidence is continuing to grow that the vaccines are effective during pregnancy, and recent studies have shown the mRNA-based vaccines may help protect newborns from the COVID-19 virus as well.4

        5. Can the vaccine affect a woman’s fertility? No.

          There is no evidence that any vaccines, including those for COVID-19, cause fertility problems for women or men. The COVID-19 vaccines do encourage your body to produce antibodies necessary to fight the virus. A false report on social media claimed that the protein on this coronavirus was the same as another protein involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy, and the vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight against this important protein. The fact is the two proteins are completely different.5

          Where to read more on the topic of vaccine safety

          You can also visit to find an FAQ written with the help of the CDC.


          1. FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine
          2. Yale Medicine: Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines
          3. CDC Endorses ACIP’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations
          4. CDC Recommendations for People who are Breastfeeding
          5. American Society for Reproductive Medicine: New Study Reveals Covid Vaccine Does Not Cause Female Sterility

          The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of a doctor with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never delay seeking or disregard professional medical advice because of something you have read here.