COVID-19 can be a minor illness in some or lead to severe disease or even death in previously healthy people. Everyone should take the virus seriously — not just for themselves but also for the people around them. Many treatments and medications are being studied, but there is no cure. Prevention is key.
All vaccines must meet a certain level of protection before they are approved for use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expects that any approved COVID-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50 percent of people who are vaccinated; some of the approved vaccines have efficacy rates above 90 percent. They also may offer varying levels of protection against new strains of coronavirus. In some cases, COVID-19 vaccines may protect against severe infection, but not necessarily prevent mild or asymptomatic infection. If this is the case, an infected person could still spread the virus. It will be very important that people continue to use masks and practice social distancing for some time after the vaccine becomes available.
With pandemic cases and deaths increasing all across our country, bringing a safe and effective vaccine to the public as soon as possible was a priority. However, there were no shortcuts taken in the approval process, especially in assessing safety and efficiency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a strong regulatory review process led by physicians and scientists to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines. Under that strict process, experts may approve vaccines for “emergency use authorization” to be administered quickly to help curb this global pandemic. After the FDA approves a vaccine, it is also reviewed by clinical experts at the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
There are hundreds of vaccination sites across New Jersey – in hospitals, pharmacies and in a number of places in your community. The State of New Jersey’s COVID-19 Information Hub provides information on vaccination sites, scheduling and other information. The site is available in Spanish as well as English. You also can go to Vaccines.gov for more information on getting vaccinated.
The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot:

  • Charge you for the vaccine
  • Charge you directly for any administration fees, copays or coinsurance
  • Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network
  • Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate
The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses, while the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose. If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, it’s very important to get both shots to provide maximum protection against the virus.
It usually takes about one to two weeks for immunity to develop following vaccination, but the specific timeline for any coronavirus vaccine will depend to some extent on which type of vaccine it is.
Each vaccine may have its own side effects, and the drug companies are required to provide that information as part of the approval process. In general, reported side effects of the first vaccines include soreness and redness at the injection site, headache, fever, fatigue and muscle aches. The side effects are expected to be worse after the second injection, but the second shot is very important to provide protection against contracting the virus.
Yes, if you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider might help, but is not required for vaccination.
Yes. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Like adults, children may have some side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. These side effects may affect their ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Children 12 years and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children 12 years and older. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from any COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected and get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 12 years and older.
It depends. Fully vaccinated people can go without a mask in most outdoor and indoor settings. There are still some situations where masking is required, such as in hospitals or other healthcare facilities, during air travel and in some businesses. Fully vaccinated people can go without a mask in many situations, but for now it’s best to keep a mask handy.
We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity, including whether booster shots will be needed in the future to provide continued protection.
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.
The FDA has recommended that use of the Janssen/J&J vaccine is limited to individuals 18 years of age and older for whom other approved COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate, and to individuals 18 years of age and older who receive the Janssen vaccine because they would otherwise not be vaccinated against COVID.

Disclaimer: These resources represent the best information at this time, and will continue to be updated as the science and facts surrounding the vaccines grow.