Important Information About the COVID-19 Vaccine
The vaccine will be given to you at no cost, however the vaccine administration will be billed to your primary & secondary insurance. You do not have to pay any out of pocket fees, even if you are uninsured or undocumented.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe. Vaccines undergo rigorous testing and large clinical trials with diverse participants before they are approved for widespread use. Getting a vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 and may also help protect loved ones who are not yet vaccinated. For more on vaccine safety, visit mass.gov/covidvaccinesafety
You are encouraged to speak with your health care provider if you have concerns or questions about getting vaccinated because you are pregnant or breastfeeding, due to certain medical conditions, or for any other reason.
COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
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Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19
- All COVID-19 vaccines that are in development or being distributed are being carefully evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized or approved only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19.
- Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection
- COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
- Clinical trials of all vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
- The first available COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines (The “m” stands for message: the message to create an immune response to protect us from viral infections). Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. These vaccines work by giving our cells the message to make a protein that looks like the one outside the coronavirus. Our immune systems recognize that this protein doesn’t belong and begin building antibodies. These antibodies help protect you against future COVID-19 infections. These vaccines do not contain the live COVID-19 virus and the mRNA never interacts with or does anything to your genetic material/DNA of your cells. The mRNA breaks down after being used and the body will get rid of it.
- Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.
- Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important parts of COVID-19 disease that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
- Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do we know if the vaccine is safe?
A vaccine will not be distributed in Massachusetts until the FDA determines the vaccine is safe.
It’s important to know that vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals. Before any vaccine is made available, it must go through rigorous development and testing. Manufacturing is critical — every dose must consistently be high quality. Additionally, extensive testing in clinical trials is conducted to prove safety. First, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. Next, vaccine is given to people with particular characteristics (e.g., age and physical health). Then, vaccine is given to tens of thousands of people and tested for effectiveness and safety.
After that, the data is reviewed by the FDA which approves the vaccine, and by an independent board, CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) which will make its recommendations for use. These bodies are the final safeguards for the public ensuring any vaccine is both safe and effective.
Will I have to pay for the vaccine?
The vaccine is being provided free of charge to all individuals by the federal government. Insurance companies are also committed to not charging any out-of-pocket fees or co-payments related to COVID-19 vaccine administration, and all health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccine must agree to not charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.
How do COVID-19 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 in the future.
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 just 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.
For more information…
COVID-19 Vaccine Information from Mass. League of Community Health Centers