Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will I be able to get the vaccine?

A: The vaccine is being distributed in phases. 

  • Phase 1a: frontline healthcare personnel and long-term care residents
  • Phase 1b: other essential workers (education, food and agriculture, utilities, police, firefighters, corrections officers, transportation
  • Phase 1c: Adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults 65+
Illustration of vaccine phases

Image source: Minnesota Department of Health

Right now, we are still in phase 1a. Unfortunately, we do not know yet when the vaccine will be available to all or exactly how each person will be notified of when it becomes available to them. Some officials estimate that the general public could have vaccine access as early as May 2021 or as late as September 2021. Currently, vaccines are only approved for use on people of 16 years or older. A children’s vaccine will come at a later time.

Q: What should I expect from the vaccine?

A: The vaccine is given in 2 doses, 3 or 4 weeks apart. Protection kicks in about 2 weeks after the second dose. Even after getting vaccinated, it is recommended that you wear a mask and continue to social distance until the vaccine has been widely distributed.

Some people experience side effects for a few days after the vaccine, including soreness in the arm where the vaccine was injected, muscle aches, headaches, and occasionally fever. 

For a walkthrough of what it is like to get the vaccine, check out Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s livestream of her experience here.

Q: How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

A: COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to everyone at no cost.

Q: What is in the vaccine?

A: There is no live virus in the vaccine. Instead, it uses messenger RNA to teach our cells how to fight off the virus. The RNA in the vaccine cannot change your DNA in any way. For more detail on how mRNA vaccines work, visit the CDC website.

There are no eggs, preservatives, latex, or pork products in the vaccine. It is halal. For a complete list of ingredients, see the fact sheets for the two vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA so far: 

Q: Will the vaccine be mandatory?

A: The vaccine will not be mandatory, it is your choice whether or not to take it.

Q: How did the vaccine get developed so quickly?

A: This vaccine was developed much more quickly than many others mostly because it was the top priority for scientists around the world - a lot of money, resources, and labor have gone into creating a safe vaccine. The requirements for this vaccine were the same as all other vaccines and no stages were skipped in the development process. Instead, some of the clinical trials were done at the same time rather than one after the other. In addition, scientists were able to build on years of research about other coronaviruses and mRNA vaccines. The vaccines that have been authorized for use have been tested on tens of thousands of people and reviewed by many scientists. For more details on how the vaccine was made, see this short document from the MN Department of Health.

Q: Do I need to be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?

A: it is recommended that all adults get the vaccine even if they have already had the disease. Although getting the virus can give you a certain amount of immunity, we don’t know for sure how long it lasts and the vaccine will offer better protection against becoming re-infected.