To view the TN Department of Health mRNA FAQ Sheet, click here.
COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Murfreesboro Medical Clinic is working tirelessly to stay current with updates from the CDC regarding COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus). This site is being continually updated to reflect recent recommendations.
Last updated: 3/2/2021
What are COVID-19 Vaccines?
There are many COVID-19 vaccines in development. Currently, there are two mRNA vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States. Both of these vaccines have shown that they can reduce the chance of getting COVID-19 by 95%. The two vaccines in use in the United States are the Moderna Vaccine and the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine. Both mRNA vaccines require two doses to provide protection against the virus.
Early data show the vaccines are effective across all ages, races, and health conditions.
How do mRNA vaccines work?
mRNA vaccines provide the body with a genetic “recipe” so the body can produce the “spike protein” that is found on the surface of the virus. The body sees the protein as foreign and makes antibodies to destroy it. If the body is later infected with the virus, the antibodies recognize the spike protein and destroy the virus before it can cause illness. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are given in the upper arm muscle.
When will I be able to get a vaccine?
While vaccine supply is limited, first priority will be to vaccinate hospital staff who have direct contact with patients or materials that are potential infectious as well as first responders with direct contact to the public (e.g., EMS and law enforcement). Eventually, anyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get a vaccine unless there is a medical contraindication. For more information regarding the phases of vaccine distribution in Tennessee, please visithttps://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/vaccine-phases/.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes! Vaccine safety is the first priority!
While the possibility of a rare but serious adverse event cannot be ruled out, rare events could occur in <0.01% of people who receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The case fatality rate of COVID-19in Tennessee is currently >1%, or approximately 100 times greater than the chance of the vaccine causing a serious event.
How do we know that these vaccines are safe when they are so new? Couldn’t they cause problems that we don’t know about yet? What about long-term problems?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19 vaccine for use. Learn how ACIP makes vaccine recommendations.
FDA and CDC will continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, to make sure even very rare side effects are identified.
Why do we need 2 shots?
Two shots are needed to provide the best protection against COVID-19 and that the shots are given several weeks apart. The first shot primes the immune system, helping it recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response.
What happens if I don’t get the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
You likely won’t be protected against COVID-19. The first dose “primes” the immune system. The second dose creates the lasting protection.
What happens if I don’t get the second dose of vaccine on time?
You need to go get it as soon as possible, even if you are late.
Will mRNA vaccines affect my DNA?
No, they do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women?
American College of Gynecology recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups.
Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19.mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
Reach out to your primary care physician to discuss if receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for your individual circumstance.
What is recommended for those concerned about allergic reactions?
If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose.
CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.
Reach out to your primary care physician and/or your allergy specialist to provide more care or advice.
What should I expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Common side effects include pain and swelling in the arm where you receive the shot.
How much will the shot hurt? Can it cause you to get very sick?
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. However, your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection to disease.
I didn’t feel well after the first dose. Will I feel bad after the second?
Just as with the first dose, it is not uncommon to experience low-grade fever, fatigue, or headache after you receive the vaccine. These symptoms usually go away after a day or two. The symptoms of COVID-19 are often much worse and can be life-threatening. It’s important to get the second dose to protect yourself, your family and your community.
Where can I get the second dose?
The facility that gave you the first dose should give you your second dose. Contact them or your local health department.
Do I have to get the same vaccine as last time?
YES! There are currently TWO different vaccines available (Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech). You MUST get the same brand you received the first time. If you do not know which one you received, the facility where you received your first dose can help you or you can contact your local health department.
How do the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines work? Why do people sometimes feel unwell after getting their vaccines? How were the vaccines created? Were the studies rushed?
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe? In this video, MMC Pediatrician and COVID-19 Committee Chair Amanda Gammel, D.O. addresses some common concerns from patients about the COVID-19 vaccine.