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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

How do I get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on several factors, and supplies will be limited initially. Maryland will distribute the vaccine to priority groups in order of risk:

For more information, see the Maryland COVID-19 Vaccination Plan fact sheet.

Will I have to pay for covid-19 vaccination?

According to the CDC, vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge a fee for giving the shot to someone. This fee may be paid by the public or private insurance or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. The health department will work with local partners to make sure people who may have trouble accessing the vaccine can be vaccinated.

What if I am a healthcare provider and want to be vaccinated?

Healthcare providers can visit our provider web page at and complete a survey about vaccination needs for themselves and/or their practices. The Health Department will contact providers when vaccinations are available. We encourage any providers who are able to consider providing COVID-19 vaccination for their patients when possible.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Mild side effects are normal and mean that the vaccine is working. The new COVID-19 vaccines are more “reactogenic” than the flu vaccine, meaning you may have symptoms that are signs of the body’s immune response to the vaccine.
  • The most common side effect is soreness in the arm where you received the shot. Other side effects may include fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, and fever.
  • It may be hard to tell if it you are having side effects from the vaccine or if you are sick. However, the vaccine will NOT cause you to have a cough, runny nose, sore throat, or shortness of breath. If you develop any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Side effects are more common after the second dose.
  • In vaccine trials, side effects were milder in people over 55.
  • The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.

For more information, visit and

Should I get the vaccine if I have allergic reactions to some vaccines?

  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The CDC recommends that people with a history of other severe allergic reactions get vaccinated.

For more information, visit

What if I have a medical condition? Can I be vaccinated?

The Carroll County Health Department (CCHD) cannot provide any medical advice regarding whether or not you should receive the vaccine. You should talk to your healthcare provider before signing up to receive the vaccine.  The CCHD reserves the right to decline to vaccinate any individual we do not feel safe vaccinating as we have limited medical support services on site. For CDC information on underlying health conditions and COVID-19 vaccination:

I am in quarantine. Can I be vaccinated?

According to the CDC:
Persons in the community or outpatient setting who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and other persons to SARS-CoV-2 during the vaccination visit.  

Will the vaccines work against the COVID-19 variant?

  • It is common for viruses to mutate (change) to create new variants. Scientists are monitoring new variants to understand how they spread and the severity of infection they cause.
  • Many COVID-19 variants have been found in the US and other countries. At least one new variant seems to spread more easily. Currently, there is no evidence that it causes more severe illness or death, or that it will change the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

For more information, visit

How were the vaccines created so quickly? Have they been tested enough? Are they safe?

What is an mRNA vaccine? Will it change my body’s DNA? What other ingredients are in the vaccine?

  • Both Pfizer and Modera vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
  • There is no live COVID-19 virus in the vaccine.
  • The mRNA in COVID-19 vaccines gives our cells instructions to make a harmless piece of the spike protein that’s on the coronavirus. This will teach our bodies to recognize and fight COVID-19.
  • Our bodies make mRNA all the time and it breaks down soon after we are finished with the “instructions”.
  • mRNA vaccines will not change our DNA in any way.
  • The other ingredients in these vaccines are fats (to protect the mRNA), sugar (to keep the fats from sticking together when frozen), and salts (to buffer the acidity). (

For more information on mRNA vaccines:

If you had COVID-19, do you still need to be vaccinated? Can you be vaccinated?

We do not know how long antibodies last after infection or whether they will protect against reinfection. So, scientists continue to learn about whether people who got sick with COVID-19 can be re-infected.

Anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until they are recovered and released from isolation. Because current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after infection, people who have had COVID-19 may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.

After people get vaccinated, do they still need to wear a mask and keep their distance from others outside their household?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue covering their mouth and nose with a mask, washing their hands often and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.


For more information on the types of vaccines and vaccine development, visit:

Maryland Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information

8 Things to Know about COVID Vaccines

Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Understanding mRNA COVID Vaccines

Medline Plus COVID-19 Vaccines page.

Maryland Department of Health Vaccination and Vaccination Plan FAQs

CDC Vaccine FAQs