mobile menu button

Have questions about

the COVID-19 vaccine?

You have questions. That’s good. 

It’s normal to be cautious when something new comes along. Wanting to know more is a good thing – it means you want to be informed. And being informed about COVID-19 vaccines is an important step to help us stop this pandemic. 

  • How do they keep us safe?
  • Why is there more than one type of vaccine? 
  • How are they authorized and approved for use? 
  • Are they safe and effective?

Memorial Medical Center

has a mandatory vaccination policy.

Getting immunized against COVID-19 will keep most people from getting sick. Even in a rare case where one does catch the virus, the vaccine will likely prevent you from becoming seriously ill.

Protecting yourself also protects the people around you, like those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or those who can’t get vaccinated — like infants, or people with weakened immune systems from things like chemotherapy for cancer.

We are still learning how the vaccine affects whether people can still transmit COVID-19 to others. It may be possible that a vaccinated person can still carry the virus and infect others, even if that person does not appear to be sick.

That’s why, until enough Americans are vaccinated to fight off COVID-19, we will need to keep wearing masks, stay 6 feet apart from people we don’t live with, avoid crowds, and wash our hands frequently.

When we get a vaccine, it activates our immune response. This helps our bodies learn to fight off the virus without the danger of an actual infection. If we are exposed to the virus in the future, our immune system “remembers” how to fight it.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus — they give our bodies “instructions” for how to make and fight the harmless spike-shaped proteins that will protect against a COVID-19 infection. While these vaccines use new technology, researchers have been studying them for decades.

The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a viral vector vaccine and also does not contain a live virus. It uses a harmless adenovirus to create a spike protein that the immune system responds to, creating antibodies to protect against COVID-19.

There are several local sites in our communities that offer this free vaccine. Click HERE to view the Wisconsin Registry to see where it would be best to get the shot. There is also a dedicated vaccination clinic in Superior. Click HERE for more information on that site clinic.

Vaccine Finder is another up-to-date national database of locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines. When you use the tool, make sure to note:

  • You'll need to contact a location directly to book an appointment before going, either by phone or on their website (the Vaccine Finder tool does not allow for appointment booking, only finding locations where vaccines are being offered).
  • You'll also need to first confirm that you are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in your state. To see if you are eligible, consult your state's current guidelines. Most states have these posted online. There are also other resources such as Plan Your Vaccine to help you get started.
  • More data is being added every day about vaccination locations and availability. Since information might be limited in some states while more providers and pharmacies are being added, be sure to check Vaccine Finder regularly if you don't see available vaccines near you yet.

Yes. The two vaccines – one from Pfizer and another from Moderna – are the first of many in development that will be available. Both have been put through strong and robust testing, trials, and vaccine safety protocols. The vaccine results seen in trials have been consistent across the different manufacturers.

The effects most reported by participants are the expected immune responses after receiving a vaccination. These responses can include short-lived fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches, all of which are indications the body is producing the desired immune response. In most cases, these responses don’t last more than 24 hours.

The vaccine is a strand of genetic code from the virus – not the actual virus. Therefore, you will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination requires two doses. Shots will need to be administered within a specified number of days within each other. This can vary based on the type of vaccine you may receive, so you will receive specific instructions when you receive your first dose.

Researchers began developing vaccines for COVID-19 in January 2020, based on decades of understanding immune response and how vaccines work. Thousands of volunteers participated in clinical trials that started that spring, making sure we can trust the vaccines to be safe and effective.

Based on the results, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized multiple vaccines for public use Recommended vaccines have met the agency’s rigorous and science-based standards for quality, safety, and effectiveness.

COVID-19 is a new virus requiring new vaccines, but vaccines have been saving lives and protecting us for centuries. Now, medical experts believe COVID-19 vaccines can help us move forward in our everyday lives.

Every vaccine must go through rigorous testing and inspection to ensure it is safe.

Vaccines for COVID-19 followed a 3-phase process where there are several stages before FDA authorization:

Phase 1: The vaccine is tested in a small number of generally healthy adults, usually between 20 and 80 people. It’s evaluated for safety, dosage, and any side effects. Experts also look at what type of immune response is created.

Phase 2: If there are no safety concerns from Phase I studies, the vaccine is given in various dosages to hundreds of adults who may have a variety of health issues and come from different backgrounds to make sure it is safe. These studies provide additional safety information on common short-term side effects and risks, examine the relationship between the dose given and the immune response, and may provide initial information regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Phase 3: Experts broaden the study to include thousands of adults, from a variety of ages and backgrounds. They see how many people who got the vaccine were protected from the disease, compared to those who received a placebo.

After a vaccine is authorized by the FDA and made available to the public, experts continue to keep track of data to help ensure safety and help us learn more about questions like whether vaccinated people can still get infected without having symptoms.

No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed in the US don't use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Keep in mind that it will take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after getting a vaccination. As a result, it's possible that you could become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after being vaccinated.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus — they give our bodies “instructions” for how to make and fight the harmless spike-shaped proteins that will protect against a COVID-19 infection.

If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, talk to your doctor about when you should get vaccinated. People who have already had COVID-19 should still eventually get vaccinated to ensure they are protected.

Over the next few months, with more and more people getting vaccinated, we will find out more about how the vaccines protect people who have already had COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.

However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

At this time, the studies do not include pregnant women or young children, but testing with those groups will likely begin in the near future. Pregnant women who get infected with COVID-19 disease are more likely to have severe disease.

There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. There is also no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of any FDA-authorized vaccine.

People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. A conversation between pregnant patients and their clinicians may help them decide whether to get vaccinated.

A COVID-19 vaccine can cause mild side effects after the first or second dose, including:

  • Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain

You'll likely be monitored for 15 minutes after getting the vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically last only one to two days.

The COVID-19 vaccine may cause side effects similar to signs and symptoms of COVID-19. If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and you develop symptoms more than three days after getting vaccinated or the symptoms last more than two days, self-isolate and get tested.

Fully vaccinated people (full immunity takes ~2 weeks after your final shot) can now gather indoors, without physical distancing or wearing masks.

If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19 after you’ve been vaccinated, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

  • BUT, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Critical Access Award