Frequently asked questions: COVID vaccination

Thank you for trusting us with your care. We are grateful for the overwhelmingly positive community response to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Many of our Ascension locations are beginning to provide the COVID-19 vaccine and will notify eligible patients as appointment times are made available. View vaccination updates for your local area. Appointments for the vaccine must be scheduled in advance. Persons without an appointment will not be able to receive the vaccine and walk-ins will not be available. We are working with local and state government and health agencies to help distribute vaccinations as they become available in our communities

You may have some questions about COVID-19 vaccinations. Below are some answers to some commonly asked questions. We also encourage you to talk with your doctor or provider about your questions and concerns. If you don’t have a doctor or provider, visit https://healthcare.ascension.org/doctors.

Ascension’s Mission is a commitment to giving to “spiritually centered, holistic care” that “sustains and improves the health of individuals and communities.” Receiving a vaccine is not only a way to care for yourself, but also a way to care for your families and community. These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are part of our commitment to giving care, alleviating fears, and honoring each person with dignity and reverence.

  • How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is effective?

    Vaccination is a very important measure to reduce transmission between our associates and patients. Vaccination, although associated with very high efficacy, is still not 100%. We are unable to know each individual person's response to the vaccine, but from the studies the protection has been as high as 95%. This means that according to the studies, if 100 people take the vaccine, 95 people will benefit from taking it and will be protected from infection. This is an excellent response compared to other vaccines. The benefit of vaccination is providing protection to those that receive it, and to create a majority of the population that is immune so we can prevent transmission of infection between people.

    Pfizer reported an efficacy rate of 95% in Phase 3 of its BioNTech BNT162b2 trial. For more information on the Pfizer vaccine, visit the link below:
    Coronavirus COVID-19 Scientific Research and Resources

    Moderna reported an efficacy rate of 94.5% in Phase 3 its mRNA-1273 vaccine trial. For more information on the Moderna vaccine, visit the site below:
    Moderna's Work on a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

    Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) reported an efficacy rate of 66% in Phase 3 of its ENSEMBLE vaccine trial. For more information on the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, visit the site below:
    Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine

    How do I know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

    All vaccines require extensive research, documentation and closely monitored clinical trials to determine effectiveness and safety before being submitted by pharmaceutical companies for approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring the safety, effectiveness and availability of vaccines in the United States. The FDA requires extensive testing by manufacturers before making vaccines available to the public to protect safety and identify any potential side effects.

    If the FDA determines that a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the United States by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

    Can a vaccine that was created this quickly be safe?

    Given the widespread impact on health and safety, the global medical and research communities have placed unprecedented collaborative focus on developing a COVID-19 vaccine. While this vaccine is available to the public faster than is typical, the COVID-19 vaccine passed clinical trials and has undergone rigorous testing to help ensure it is both effective and safe.

    What's actually in the vaccine? What are the ingredients of the vaccine?

    Ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccines can be found on the EUA Fact Sheets for Recipients and Caregivers linked below:

    Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
    Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
    Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

    Pfizer or Moderna: Is one vaccine preferred (or safer) than the other? Does it matter which one I take?

    The two vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA (Pfizer and Moderna) use the same novel mRNA technology. Based on current information, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to have a similar efficacy (~95%) and similar side effects. The CDC does not recommend one product over another.

    Most importantly, the sooner a person  is vaccinated, the sooner they can develop immunity to the virus.

    Is one vaccine preferred (or safer) than the other? Does it matter which one I take?

    The two vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA that use mRNA technology (Pfizer and Moderna) appear to have a similar efficacy (~95%) and similar side effects. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine approved for EUA by the FDA is an adenovirus or viral vector vaccine with an efficacy rate of approximately 66%.

    The only way to accurately compare the effectiveness of medical products, such as vaccines or drugs, is by direct comparison in head-to-head clinical trials, which did not occur for these vaccines. Furthermore, the clinical trials for these vaccines occurred in different geographic regions and at different points in time with varying incidence of COVID-19. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for emergency use are at least 50% more effective than placebo in preventing COVID-19, consistent with FDA recommendations provided in our October 2020 guidance document, Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19. A vaccine with at least 50% efficacy would have a significant impact on disease, both at the individual and societal level. The CDC does not recommend one product over another.

    Most importantly, the sooner a person is vaccinated, the sooner they can develop immunity to the virus.

    What are the risks of contracting COVID-19? What are the risks of not vaccinating?

    COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory virus that has infected millions of people and caused millions of deaths according to the World Health Organization and United States-specific information, according to the CDC.

    Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.  Severe illness from COVID-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death. There have also been increasing reports of long-term complications of COVID-19 including brain fog, difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue and depression.

    The sooner one is vaccinated, the sooner one can develop immunity to the virus. Safety measures you can practice to slow the spread of COVID-19 include wearing a mask, social distancing, diligent handwashing and receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.

    How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

    According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies produce antibodies and develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Additionally, the vaccine causes the body to produce “memory” lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.

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

    Two of the vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA that use the same novel mRNA technology (Pfizer and Moderna), inject small pieces of genetic material that the body's cells use to produce a protein similar to the coronavirus. In response to this protein, the body then creates antibodies that are primed to fight off the virus.

    The vaccine developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) that was approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a viral vector vaccine that uses a weakened version of a different virus to teach our cells to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. The vaccine will not cause an infection of either COVID-19 or the virus that is used as the vector. Vaccines of this type have been well-studied in clinical trials and have been used to respond to recent Ebola outbreaks.

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

    Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

    I read that the vaccines are mRNA vaccines. What is mRNA and what role does it play with the vaccine?

    According to the CDC,  mRNA (or messenger RNA) vaccines “teach” our cells how to make a protein, or even just a piece of a protein, that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. More information on mRNA vaccines can be found at the link below:

    Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

    What types of vaccines are being developed for COVID-19?

    According to the CDC, there are currently three main types of COVID-19 vaccines that are or soon will be undergoing large-scale (Phase 3) clinical trials in the United States. Below is a description of how each type of vaccine prompts our bodies to recognize and protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19. None of these vaccines can give you COVID-19.

    • mRNA vaccines (messenger RNA) contain genetic material that gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and create antibodies against the protein. The antibodies will then neutralize the virus if you become infected. Additionally, the body will build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if you are infected in the future. The two vaccines up for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) approval by the FDA (Pfizer and Moderna) use the same novel mRNA technology, injecting small pieces of genetic material that the body's immune cells use to produce a protein similar to the coronavirus. In response to this protein, the body then creates antibodies that are primed to fight off the virus.
    • Protein subunit vaccines include harmless pieces (proteins) of the virus that cause COVID-19 instead of the entire virus. Once vaccinated, our immune system recognizes that the proteins don’t belong in the body and begin making T-lymphocytes and antibodies. If you are ever infected in the future, memory cells will recognize and fight the virus.
    • Vector vaccines contain a weakened version of a live virus—a different virus than the one that causes COVID-19—that has genetic material from the virus that causes COVID-19 inserted in it (this is called a viral vector). Once the viral vector is inside our cells, the genetic material gives cells instructions to make a protein that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. Using these instructions, our cells make copies of the protein. This prompts our bodies to build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will build antibodies and remember how to fight that virus if we are infected in the future. The vaccine developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) is an adenovirus or viral vector vaccine.

    Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

    How many vaccines are under development?

    According to the CDC, multiple COVID-19 vaccines are under development. Different COVID-19 Vaccines

    For more information on the Pfizer vaccine visit the link below:
    Coronavirus COVID-19 Scientific Research and Resources

    For more information on the Moderna vaccine visit the site below:
    Moderna's Work on a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

    For more information on the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine visit the link below:
    Jansen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine

    How many subjects were enrolled in the clinical trials for the vaccine?

    As of September 30, 2020, the Pfizer BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine study had enrolled 43,538 participants. For more information on the Pfizer vaccine visit the link below:
    Coronavirus COVID-19 Scientific Research and Resources

    As of September 30, 2020, the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine vaccine study had enrolled 30,000 participants. For more information on the Moderna vaccine visit the site below:
    Moderna's Work on a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

    As of March 1, 2021 the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine study had enrolled 45,000 participants. For more information on the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)vaccine visit the site below:
    Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine

    When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available for children?

    According to the CDC, at this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is not approved for young children and may not be available for young children until more studies are completed. Speak to your child’s pediatrician to confirm when your child could receive a vaccine.

    To learn more about Operation Warp Speed, visit the link below:
    Fact Sheet: Explaining Operation Warp Speed

    Do patients have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

    According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines will be given at no cost to patients. However, vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for administering the vaccine.  This fee is reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, it is paid by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. There is no out of pocket cost for vaccine recipients.

    What are some tips that will help the general public decide if the vaccine is the best choice for them?

    The best way to decide if the vaccine is the best choice for you is to educate yourself on the COVID-19 virus and the vaccine. Some ways to do that are by speaking to your healthcare provider and reviewing resources like the ones listed below:

    Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect against the newly identified coronavirus variants, including the variants of the virus from the UK, South Africa, and Brazil?

    Studies to-date suggest that antibodies produced through vaccination with currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines protect against these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway. Scientists and public health officials are actively working to better understand these new variants to determine how they were caused, how widely they have spread, how they may affect existing therapies, whether they cause milder or more severe disease in individuals, and whether they impact the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.

    In the meantime, carefully observing strategies such as vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, frequent hand washing or use of hand sanitizer, and avoiding crowds, remain essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and protect public health.

    More information on the new variants can be found at the link below:

    New Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19

  • What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination?

    According to the CDC:

    • Vaccination will make it less likely for you to get COVID-19
    • Vaccination will be a safer way to help build protection through community immunity
    • Vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic

    For more benefits visit the link below:
    Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

    When can individuals get the vaccine? What are the phases and which groups are in which phase? What steps can I take to schedule?

    We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services, which has carefully identified higher-risk populations. Many health care workers and first responders will receive the earliest wave of vaccines that are available, as these professions are exposed at higher rates to COVID-19. Under the proposal, older residents of nursing homes and those with high-risk health conditions would receive the next round of vaccinations. You can find more information at the link below:

    How CDC Is Making COVID-19 Vaccine Recommendations

    Health care providers are also required to follow the guidance of their state and local authorities regarding vaccine distribution.

    Patients under the care of an Ascension Medical Group (AMG) provider will receive communication from their markets regarding when and how they can schedule an appointment.

    Why do I have to wait to receive a vaccine? Can I get higher on the list to receive a vaccine?

    We are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Catholic Health Association, and the Department of Health and Human Services, which has carefully identified higher-risk populations. Many health care workers and first responders will receive the earliest wave of vaccines that are available, as these professions are exposed to COVID-19 at at higher rates to COVID-19. Under the proposal, older residents of nursing homes and those with high-risk health conditions would receive the next round of vaccinations. You can find more information at www.cdc.gov.

    How many doses of the vaccine will I need, and do my two doses of the vaccine need to be from the same manufacturer?

    According to the CDC, all but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States need two shots to be effective. For vaccines that require two doses, both doses must be from the same manufacturer.

    The Pfizer BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine requires 2 doses, 21 days apart. Doses administered at or after day 17 are considered valid.  For more information on the Pfizer vaccine, visit the link below:
    Coronavirus COVID-19 Scientific Research and Resources

    The Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine requires 2 doses, 28 days apart. Doses administered at or after day 24 are considered.  For more information on the Moderna vaccine, visit the site below:
    Moderna's Work on a COVID-19 Vaccine Candidate

    The Janssen (Johnson and Johnson)vaccine requires 1 dose. For more information on the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine, visit the site below:
    Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine

    Both doses of the vaccine need to be from the same manufacturer. You will receive patient fact sheets that will note which vaccine you received. We encourage you to communicate with your provider about the vaccine you received both when you schedule and when you receive your second dose. When you receive your first dose, you should receive documentation noting which vaccine you received. Keep that document and bring it with you for your second dose (if needed).

    If the vaccine I receive requires 2 doses, will my second dose of the vaccine have to be exactly 21 days or 28 days after my first dose?

    Depending on the COVID-19 vaccine that you recieve, a second dose may be required to achieve the full immune response. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. Second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are still considered valid. Doses inadvertently administered earlier than the grace period should not be repeated. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There is currently limited data on the efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.

    How will my follow-up visit be scheduled for my second dose of the vaccine if necessary?

    Please follow up with your provider based on the documentation you receive at your first vaccination. At the time of your first vaccination, you will receive details about the vaccine you received and instructions about when your second vaccination will be scheduled.

    What happens if the timing for my second dose falls on a weekend and the site I received my first dose at is closed?

    At the time of your first dose, your provider will schedule your second dose as close to the recommended interval as possible. Second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are not advised but still considered valid.

    What should I do if I miss my window for my second dose? What will happen?

    There should be no ill effects, but it could potentially impact the degree of protective immunity provided by your vaccine. If you cannot get your second dose within the recommended time-frames, the  Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There is currently limited data on the efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series.

    I understand that multiple vaccines are available. What if I prefer to receive one vaccine over the other?

    The two vaccines approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA that use mRNA technology (Pfizer and Moderna) appear to have a similar efficacy (~95%) and similar side effects. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine approved for EUA by the FDA is an adenovirus or viral vector vaccine with an efficacy rate of approximately 66%.

    The only way to accurately compare the effectiveness of medical products, such as vaccines or drugs, is by direct comparison in head-to-head clinical trials, which did not occur for these vaccines. Furthermore, the clinical trials for these vaccines occurred in different geographic regions and at different points in time with varying incidence of COVID-19. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for emergency use are at least 50% more effective than placebo in preventing COVID-19, consistent with FDA recommendations provided in our October 2020 guidance document, Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19. A vaccine with at least 50% efficacy would have a significant impact on disease, both at the individual and societal level.The CDC does not recommend one product over another.

    Most importantly, the sooner a person is vaccinated, the sooner they can develop immunity to the virus.

    If I tested positive and have recovered from COVID-19, do I still need the vaccination?

    Data from clinical trials indicate that COVID-19 vaccines are safe in persons with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Viral testing to assess for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or serologic testing to assess for prior infection solely for the purposes of vaccine decision-making is not recommended.

    Vaccination of persons with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. This recommendation applies to persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose. While there is otherwise no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Thus, persons with documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in the preceding 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired.

    Who will administer the vaccine to me?

    An Ascension nurse and or other assigned providers will administer the vaccine.

  • What are the risks of the vaccine?

    The FDA’s rigorous testing helps ensure that vaccines are safe and highly effective. However, all medications, including vaccines, carry a small risk of side effects. Most common side effects are identified in clinical trials before the vaccine is approved, but less-common side effects may not be detected until the medicines or vaccines are more widely available. That’s why vaccines are continuously, carefully monitored for possible side effects even after they are licensed.

    After receiving the vaccine, what side effects could I experience? Is it true that more side effects can be experienced after the second dose?

    COVID-19 vaccine recipients can expect to experience symptoms such as pain, swelling, reddening at the injection site, swelling in lymph nodes on the same side as the vaccinated arm, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, and muscle/joint pain after vaccination. Depending on vaccine product, age group, and vaccine dose, approximately 80–89% of vaccinated persons develop at least one symptom around the injection site and 55–83% develop at symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, chills, and muscle/joint pain following vaccination.

    Symptoms like fever, fatigue, headache, chills, and muscle/joint pain are typically mild to moderate in severity, occur within the first three days of vaccination, and resolve within 1–3 days of onset. For two dose vaccinations, these symptoms are more frequent and severe following the second dose and among younger persons (less than 55 years old) compared to older persons (greater than 65 years old) and the intensity of side effects after the second dose tends to be more common as your body develops greater immunity to COVID-19. Unless persons experience severe allergic reactions to vaccination, they should be encouraged to complete the series even if they develop symptoms following the first dose to increase protection against COVID-19.

    I received my first dose of the vaccine, and I am not sure if I am experiencing side effects or if I have COVID-19?

    Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever, body ache, headache, and fatigue. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity, according to the CDC. While COVID-19 infection can cause these same symptoms, additional and more specific COVID-19 symptoms may include cough, shortness of breath, congestion/runny nose, and new loss of taste and smell. If side-effect symptoms worsen or do not subside within 72 hours, contact your primary care physician. If you experience an adverse event, please contact your primary care physician as soon as possible.

    What are the risks of experiencing side effects from the vaccine compared to the risks of experiencing serious health problems from COVID-19?

    COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you personally. If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends and others around you, even if you do not show any symptoms and you do not become ill.

    Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without you becoming sick with COVID-19. Or, if you get COVID-19, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill or developing serious complications. Getting vaccinated may also help protect people around you from COVID-19, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

    Should I use medications to reduce fever or pain prior to receiving my COVID-19 vaccination to lessen the presence of side effects?

    Medications that reduce fever (antipyretic) or pain (analgesic) like Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil/Motrin (ibuprofen) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be taken for the treatment of symptoms you experience after vaccination, if medically appropriate. However, routinely taking these medications in order to prevent vaccine symptoms is not currently recommended, as information on what effect they would have on the current vaccine’s virus-fighting response is not available at this time.

    What effect might the vaccine have on individuals with chronic conditions (including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological issues, etc.)?

    According to the CDC, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. 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. If you have a chronic condition, follow-up with your healthcare provider to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

    More information on the following conditions can be found at this link.

    • Weakened Immune System
    • Autoimmune Conditions
    • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
    • Bell’s Palsy

  • Where can I find information about Ascension’s approach to the COVID-19 vaccine?

    We have established COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center sites that provides resources and updates for our Ascension community in support of our vaccine distribution and administration efforts.

    Ascension’s COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center site for patients can be found by clicking here.

    Ascension’s COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center site for associates can be found by clicking here.

    Ascension’s COVID-19 site can be found by clicking here.

    What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

    According to the FDA, an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products in an emergency to diagnose, treat, or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions when certain statutory criteria have been met, including that there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. Taking into consideration input from the FDA, manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA.

    Once submitted, FDA will evaluate an EUA request and determine whether the relevant statutory criteria are met. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA takes into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the vaccine that is available.

    For more information, visit: Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained

    How does an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) differ from full FDA approval?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug means that the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence, that the drug is effective for its intended use, and that the benefits of the drug outweigh its risks when used according to the product’s approved labeling.

    In the case of a public health emergency, the FDA may issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) before the full approval process can be completed. For the COVID-19 vaccines under development for the prevention of COVID-19, the FDA will make an assessment on a case-by-case basis considering all of the scientific evidence available, including data from adequate and well conducted clinical trials, as well as an assessment that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the potential risks.
    Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19

    Some believe the threat of COVID-19 is overstated and possibly a hoax. Why should I vaccinate?

    Medical experts across the globe, including the CDC and the World Health Organization, agree that COVID-19 is a very serious threat to health and wellness. An effective vaccine will help slow this spread and safely enable the world to return to a more normal life, which we are all eager to do.

    I read that COVID-19 has a very low mortality rate. Why should I get a vaccine?

    Many viruses can have devastating and lifelong consequences while maintaining a low mortality rate. We do not yet know the long-term impact of COVID-19, but we know some patients with COVID-19 are seeing serious quality-of-life issues, including continued respiratory, heart, kidney and other organ impacts – in some cases, for months after recovery. At Ascension, we are focused on keeping patients well and maintaining the highest quality of life possible. In addition to keeping you safe, COVID-19 vaccination can help prevent the spread of this serious disease that may have more severe consequences in those who are immunocompromised or with preexisting conditions.

    Do vaccines cause autism?

    No. There have been extensive studies confirming there is no link between autism and vaccines.

    Will masks still be required within Ascension facilities?

    We are committed to ensuring a safe, healthy environment for associates, patients and visitors at all Ascension facilities. Masks are currently required to ensure the safest possible experience, as well as frequent handwashing and social distancing. These safety behaviors will continue. We will continue to evaluate our mask requirement as the larger landscape evolves.

    How can I participate in the CDC’s V-safe program and what is it?

    According to the CDC, V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through V-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And V-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

    For instructions on how to register and use V-safe, view the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/vsafe.html

    For frequently asked questions about V-safe, view the link below:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/faq.html

    For more information

    Speak to your healthcare provider to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

    Other Resources

  • Does the flu vaccine cover COVID-19 too?

    No. The flu vaccine is important to protect you from influenza, particularly during the current coronavirus pandemic, but it does not vaccinate you for COVID-19. Receiving both a flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine are important to stay healthy. The flu vaccine is important to protect you from influenza, particularly during the current coronavirus pandemic, but it does not vaccinate you for COVID-19. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

    Do I need to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines?

    Yes. The flu vaccine is important to protect you from influenza, particularly during the current coronavirus pandemic, but it does not vaccinate you for COVID-19. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Learn more about COVID-19

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe and may appear 2-14 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms seen with the infection with COVID-19 are not specific, with symptoms ranging from cold-like symptoms in mild cases to severe illness and death.

Learn more about COVID-19

Tips on preventing COVID-19, wash your hands, avoid handshakes, avoid public gatherings, stay away from those who are sick.