COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Last updated: 2/25/2022

A COVID-19 vaccine, designed to prevent the COVID-19 disease, is the best hope for ending the pandemic. We know there are still many questions and concerns about these vaccines. That’s why Mount Carmel is committed to keeping you and our communities informed and educated as major developments occur.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling

The COVID-19 vaccine is now available for Ohioans age 12 and older.

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We’ve heard you and put together a list of answers to the most asked questions.

 Getting Vaccinated (Who, What, Where, When, How)

Everyone ages 5 years and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Children ages 5 to 17 years are eligible only for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine currently. People 18 years and older are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines.

The CDC recommends that everyone 12 years and older should receive a COVID-19 booster dose when eligible. A booster dose provides additional protection against the virus. See the CDC’s website for detailed information on staying up to date with your vaccines: Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines | CDC.

COVID-19 booster doses should be given as follows:

  • Pfizer (12+): 5 months after the primary series
  • Moderna (18+): 5 months after the primary series
  • Johnson & Johnson (18+): 2 months after initial vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred in most situations.)
  • For moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals, please follow the latest CDC guidelines here: COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People | CDC

We are confident the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective with the FDA’s emergency use authorizations and now permanent approval of the Pfizer vaccine. The vaccines passed numerous, required safety checks and study of reported side effects or adverse events. Several months of data have shown us the vaccines are safe and effective.

Think of a vaccine as a way for your immune system to practice for an infection. Vaccines give the body a preview of a virus or bacteria before you get the real deal. The immune system then learns and remembers how to react. This helps the body stop the virus or bacteria from making you sick if you are exposed to it.

Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most variants. However, some variants might cause illness in some people after they are fully vaccinated.

At this time, only people who are 5 or older (Pfizer) and 18 or older (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

No. We are committed to vaccinating our communities. We will vaccinate everyone who is eligible to receive it.

You can schedule a vaccine appointment through our vaccine scheduling page.

The COVID-19 vaccine gives your immune system a preview of the coronavirus, so it learns how to stop it. It triggers antibodies in your blood to attack the virus’s unique spike protein. (Did you know, coronaviruses got their name because they have protein spikes that look like a crown?)

Your immune system learns from the vaccine how to quickly recognize the actual virus and stop it from multiplying. The idea is to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from getting into cells, replicating itself and making you sick.

Yes, the vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or may become pregnant in the future. Data from thousands of people who are pregnant, breast-feeding and those who became pregnant after vaccination confirms that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective before, during and after pregnancy.

In fact, the CDC has issued a health alert recommending those who are pregnant, recently gave birth, are breast-feeding, or trying to become pregnant receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

The CDC V-Safe data shows no increase in adverse outcomes in pregnant women who receive the COVID-19 vaccine. There is also no evidence linking vaccines to infertility. The risks of COVID-19 infection outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination while pregnant or trying to conceive.

Pregnant women are at a higher risk to get ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant women. A study was conducted before the Delta variant; results published by the Journal of the American Medicine Association showed pregnant women with COVID infection are 15 times more likely to die in hospital, 14 times more likely to require intubation and 22 times more likely to have a premature birth.

See the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding info page.

Having a weakened immune system can make you more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. The CDC recommends after completing the primary series, some moderately or severely immunocompromised people should get an additional primary shot, followed by a booster. See the CDC website for detailed information about what to receive and when: COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People | CDC.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to vaccines, talk with your doctor before receiving the vaccine.

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines are made with a live virus. They cannot give you COVID-19.

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, it is recommended everyone eligible get a COVID-19 vaccine-even if they have been sick with COVID-19 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. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose in a two-shot series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC recommends staying up to date on all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including any booster dose(s) when eligible, for optimal protection against the virus. People who are immunocompromised may need an additional dose as part of their primary vaccine series before the booster. See the CDC’s website for detailed information on staying up to date with your vaccines: Stay Up to Date with Your Vaccines | CDC

The available COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, getting hospitalized, and even dying, from the COVID-19 variants. As with vaccines for other diseases, people who are up to date with the vaccines, including booster doses, are optimally protected. CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older get their primary series of COVID-19 vaccines and receive a booster dose when eligible.

Children and the Vaccine (Information for Parents)

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States are safe. The vaccines go through the same testing and clinical trials as all vaccines and no serious safety concerns have been identified.

While most children are at lower risk for severe illness from COVID-19, there are still many unknown long-term effects. While uncommon, it is also possible for children infected with COVID-19 to become seriously ill or worse. Vaccination also allows for safe return to activities and normal life. Vaccination will:

  • Help prevent the risk of serious illness including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
  • Help prevent long-term effects of COVID-19
  • Reduce the risk of passing COVID-19 infection to family members and others at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19

Clinical trials show COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in children ages 12-15. In fact, data shows the immune response for children was better than trial participants ages 16-25, with no COVID-19 cases in the vaccinated group.

Clinical trials show COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in children ages 5-11, preventing 90.7% of symptomatic infections. In fact, data shows the immune response for children was very similar to that of trial participants ages 16-25, even with the lower dosage administered to children.

Side effects in children ages 5-15 were similar to those in older children and adults ages 16-25. The most common side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Headache

Side effects are generally mild and resolve quickly. Long-term side effects are unlikely, as clinical studies demonstrated safety for multiple months past the typical timeframe for vaccine reactions.

For the Pfizer vaccine, 5- to 11-year-olds will receive one-third the dosage of adults. Clinical trials showed that this dose, delivered in a two-dose regimen, was safe and generated similar antibody levels as the full dose did for adults.

For the Pfizer vaccine, 12- to 15-year-olds will receive the same dosing as adults. Clinical trials tested the adult dose and two smaller doses to determine safety and efficacy. This dose was proven safe and shown to be most effective for this age group.

Authorized For



J&J / Janssen

4 years and under




5–11 years old




12–17 years old




18 years and older




There is no clinical evidence to suggest COVID-19 vaccines have effects on puberty or fertility.

It will be up to each state's government to decide whether a COVID-19 vaccine is required for school entry. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. have announced they will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In extremely rare cases, recipients of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have developed myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart. This reaction was not observed in Pfizer’s clinical trial for children aged 5-11. While the remote possibility of myocarditis cannot be ruled out, the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks. COVID-19 infection is far more likely to cause myocarditis than the vaccine, and infection can lead to other serious complications.

The clinical trials for children include a follow-up period of at least two months. The vaccine manufacturers analyze the clinical trial data to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine in conjunction with the FDA. The FDA also ensures that the vaccine meets regulatory standards. After a full evaluation, manufacturers request an emergency use authorization (EUA) or submit for permanent approved through a biologics license application (BLA). The FDA evaluates the data in an independent review evaluating the benefits and risks and then approves or denies the EUA or BLA based on its findings.

Data from the full clinical trials are reviewed by multi-disciplinary experts following submission by vaccine manufacturers. The FDA expects this review will take place in weeks instead of months due to added funding to dedicate time and additional resources to a quick, but thorough review.

The best way is for all adults around them to get vaccinated. Children should also wear masks as recommended and follow other precautions until they can receive vaccination.

After Vaccination

The vaccine requires two doses three or four weeks apart, depending upon vaccine. Immunity takes some time to develop - at least two weeks after last the last injection. For example, someone vaccinated in late December won’t be fully protected until late January or early February.

Side effects are like other vaccines. The most common side effects are pain/redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle/joint aches and low-grade fever. The side effects respond well to Tylenol and ibuprofen. Most side effects last less than 24 hours and those ages 55 and older reporter fewer side effects.

For the latest updates, visit the CDC website.

For the latest updates, visit the CDC website.

Safety and Development

For information about the safety and development of the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

I Still Have Questions. Where Can I Get More Information?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website has trusted, up-to-date information on COVID-19.