FAQ Archive 


What are the risks to getting a COVID booster shot?

So far, reactions reported after getting a booster shot were like those of the two-shot or single-dose primary series. Fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-shot or single-dose primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.

Who needs an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

Receiving an additional primary dose only applies to moderately to severely immunocompromised people who have received an mRNA COVD-19 vaccine primary series (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna).

I’m worried the vaccine was rushed. Has a vaccine ever been created as quickly or distributed as widely as this one?

This is likely the most studied vaccine in history. Scientists have been working aggressively on developing MRNA vaccines for the past decade, and viral vector vaccines (such as the Janssen vaccine) since the 1970’s.  Their research studies support the safety of the technology. In developing the COVID-19 vaccines specifically, large trials in diverse groups of patients — more patients than any other vaccine trial, ever — proved their safety and efficacy. Now, we also have a great deal of real-world data backing up the conclusions of the clinical trials.

What’s the difference between “emergency use authorization” and full approval?

Emergency use authorization is granted by the FDA when a drug or vaccine would be lifesaving and is based on a shorter timeframe of data — in this case, two or three months, versus the usual six. Full approval for the COVID-19 vaccines should be coming very soon.

Should I be concerned about children contracting COVID-19?

Children are susceptible to COVID-19. While COVID-19 tends to be milder in children than adults, it can make children very sick, require hospitalization, and some children have even died. Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness compared to children without underlying medical conditions.

Is the vaccine safe for my child?

Vaccination is now recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available to children ages 5 years and older. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Scientists have conducted clinical trials with thousands of children, and the results show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective..

Are there travel restrictions?

Please visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date travel restrictions.
International https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html
Domestic https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html

Why are breakthrough cases occurring more frequently in fully vaccinated individuals?

We are currently seeing a rise in breakthrough cases because of the Delta variant, which is eight times more contagious than earlier strains. While the vaccine is still highly effective against the Delta variant — 95% in most people, 90% in people with compromised immune systems or the elderly — it is slightly less effective than we were seeing against previous strains of the virus.  The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19 disease) and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

After I’m vaccinated, can I be immune but still pass the virus to someone else?

The vaccines are highly effective at reducing illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 but nothing is 100%. Though rare, you can be an asymptomatic carrier of the virus and potentially pass it on to others.  Scientists are still learning how effective the vaccines are against the new variants.

If I have had a known reaction to other vaccines in the past, should I avoid taking the vaccine for COVID-19?

Tell your provider if you’ve  had a reaction to a vaccine. This is important information to have while assessing whether you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.


Vaccine Distribution

When will CHC/WSU have the COVID-19 vaccine to begin vaccinating the WSU community?

Campus Health Center (CHC) now has COVID-19 vaccine available to all WSU faculty, staff and students. Call CHC to find out which brand of vaccine is currently available.

What kind of vaccine is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
The J&J vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. This means a harmless virus (in this case, a human adenovirus, one culprit behind the common cold) has been deactivated to not be able to replicate in the human body and therefore cannot cause illness. As the virus enters your cell, it acts as a vehicle to produce the SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) spike protein in your cell. In this way, your body will already recognize the spike protein on SARS-CoV-2 and fight it off before you get sick if you are exposed.

Do the COVID-19 vaccines require two injections?

The Pfizer vaccine approved for use in the U.S. is a two-dose series, requiring a second dose 21 days after the first to complete the series. The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series as well, with the doses given 28 days apart. Both are about 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 illness once the series is completed. The J&J vaccine is one dose and is 66.3% effective after 14 days

How important is the second dose of vaccine?

The second dose is extremely important. Two doses of vaccine bring the efficacy rate up to 95% and receiving the second dose is the only proven way to get the efficacy rate up that high. 

Does the first dose provide any protection?

Although some protection appears to begin as early as 12 days after the first dose, two doses of the vaccine — separated by three weeks for Pfizer or four weeks for Moderna — is the only regimen that proved to be 95% effective in Phase 3 trials.

Will there be enough vaccine to ensure people will get the second dose? 

There are adequate vaccine supplies to handle second doses.


Vaccine Background

How do  vaccines work?

COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.

Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

Can you explain how mRNA vaccines differ from other existing vaccines? 

mRNA vaccines contain a short sequence of genetic material from the virus. This material instructs our cells to make only one protein part of the virus, called spike protein. As the protein is made, the mRNA is used up and naturally degrades and is destroyed over several days.

Our immune system is doing 24/7 surveillance, and when it detects this new spike protein on the surface of the muscle cells, our body’s T-cells and B-cells begin communicating with each other. In this process, our B-cells will first make IgM antibodies and later IgG antibodies after the first dose of vaccine.

It is the IgG antibody that is most important because it can strongly neutralize the virus if you become exposed and infected in the future. We call IgG the neutralizing antibody.

With the second dose of vaccine, your body makes even higher levels of IgG antibodies, which makes it more likely that you will maintain protective levels of antibodies for several months after completing the two-dose vaccine series.

In the future, if you should be exposed to the virus, your body will recognize the spike protein on that virus and immediately react to stop the invading virus.

The vaccine also causes our immune system to create a population of T-cells that help B cells remember the virus. This means that several months down the road, your body will be able to react much faster, and the memory cells will help your body make more neutralizing IgG antibodies.


Vaccine Safety and Efficacy

It is a new vaccine. Is it really safe?

The COVID-19 vaccines are held to the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards as all other types of vaccines in the U.S.  All types of the vaccine, either mRNA or viral vector, have been around for several years.  The difference is the COVID-19 development time was concurrent, rather than one after the other. For example, Phase 1 and 2 trials have been conducted concurrent to Phase 3 trials, expediting the process. This was possible because of an abundance of financial resources allocated to the COVID-19 vaccine development process. 

How effective are the vaccines?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% efficacious, J&J is 72% efficacious in the United States. Efficacy is a term referring to how many cases of infections of a disease are prevented during the clinical trial. Scientists believe that, although rare, fully vaccinated people are able to be asymptomatic carriers who can transmit the virus to others.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, nor will it make you test positive on a COVID-19 viral test. However, because the goal of the vaccine is to help your body develop antibodies against the virus, you may test positive for antibodies on certain tests after you receive the vaccine. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development contain complete SARS-CoV-2 virus, so it is impossible for the vaccine to cause COVID-19.

Is there a difference in safety and efficacy between the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

No. Both vaccines have an efficacy in the mid- to high-90s percent range, and what side effects we’ve seen so far have been mild.

Should I avoid taking the vaccine if I am taking other daily medications for other issues, such as blood pressure? 

No. The vaccine won’t interfere with other medications. You should discuss any concerns you have with your primary care provider.

Can the vaccine alter or interfere with my DNA?

The vaccine cannot alter or interfere with your DNA.

After I’m vaccinated, can I still catch the virus?

The vaccine is very effective, however nothing is 100%.  We do know that the vaccine does prevent you from becoming seriously ill if you are infected.

How can I help influence others to get the vaccine?

Be honest and talk about how this will help everyone return to their normal lives. Provide easy-to-understand answers on how the vaccine works, what to expect when you are vaccinated, and how the vaccine will help the person vaccinated as well as their family and people in their community.

Be careful of the sources you use or recommend for vaccine information. Trusted sites are listed at the top of this page. Take great care when considering information found on social media that may come from unknown sources or non-verified sources.

If I had confirmed COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine? 

Those who have had COVID disease are still recommended to receive the vaccine, because scientists are still studying how long immunity from the disease actually lasts. Your best form of protection is to receive the vaccine because on average, antibodies from the disease are only lasting about six months and scientists don’t know how robust of an immune response you actually get from the disease.



When does WSU anticipate welcoming staff, students and faculty back in person? Will it be safe to return?

We hope to welcome everyone back to campus by the fall 2021 semester.  Visit WSU’s fall planning page at https://wayne.edu/coronavirus/fall-2021-plan to learn more about how WSU plans to keep the campus community safe as we return.