COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
How many vaccine doses will initially be distributed?
Most estimates expect the United States will have access to around 20 million vaccine doses by the end of 2020. Because each vaccine requires two doses, that would be around 10 million people vaccinated.
Virginia has said it expects to receive 70,000 doses initially. Maryland believes it will receive 155,000 initial doses. Georgia and South Carolina have yet to announce an expected number.
How are the vaccines administered?
Each of the three promising vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca) require that the patient receive two shots in the arm. It is expected that the second will need to be delivered 3-4 weeks after the first.
How long until the vaccines are effective?
A typical vaccine takes about two weeks to be fully effective in our bodies. That's why, for example, it's often recommended to wait until October to get a flu vaccine, so you have the most potent vaccine working during the most critical time.
How long will immunity last from the vaccines?
We don't know yet. That will take a long time to definitively figure out. All vaccine trials will continue to monitor their participants over the coming months and years to establish that.
What are the side effects of the vaccines?
None of the promising vaccines have indicated significant safety concerns to date.
For the Pfizer vaccine, side effects included low-grade fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pain.
For the Moderna vaccine, side effects were pain at the injection site, fatigue, aching muscles and joints, and short-lived headaches.
Side effects for the AstraZeneca vaccine have yet to be reported, although they did report "no serious safety events" in connection with the vaccine.
What is an mRNA vaccine?
Vaccines developed using messenger RNA technology differ from traditional vaccines. Traditional vaccines rely on the body's natural defense reactions when a small quantity of live or dead virus is introduced to the body. A vaccine made from mRNA uses a snippet of DNA from the virus to elicit a similar defense reaction in the body.
Where can I get more information about COVID-19 testing, office visits, and telehealth appointments at PartnerMD?
See our dedicated COVID-19 page for more detailed information on these areas and more.