Feeling comfortable and confident about getting your COVID-19 vaccination is one of our highest priorities. It’s important to look to trusted sources to make sure you’re getting the right information to support your whole health journey, and at Rite Aid, our pharmacists are always here to help. We’ve answered some of the most common questions we receive about the COVID-19 vaccine below.
“Are the vaccines safe even though they were developed faster than past vaccines?”
Years of vaccine research and development allowed the COVID-19 vaccines to be designed and tested so quickly. All the required steps that go into developing a vaccine were taken to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the current COVID-19 vaccines. Clinical trials were held, monitoring systems are in place and the CDC and FDA track reactions and side effects to the vaccines. As an example, the recent pausing of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine was because ongoing monitoring and tracking identified a handful of cases, and even though the impacted numbers are small (6 cases out of almost 7 million doses administered), officials are revisiting the information to confirm its ongoing safety. Learn more.
"Does the vaccine affect women’s fertility?"
COVID-19 vaccines do not affect fertility. The spike protein related to fertility and the one related to COVID-19 are completely different and distinct.
“Are vaccines safe for everyone?”
The FDA-authorized vaccine trials included a diverse group of people and were found to be safe across each of the included parties. The clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines included underrepresented minorities, a broad range of age groups and relatively equal distribution of sexes. Safety trials for pregnant women and children under 12 are currently underway. As of April 13th, the CDC and FDA have currently paused the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine while they revisit the risks, causes and frequency of an extremely rare side effect (blood clots) to determine if it’s safe for continued use.
"Do I need to get a vaccine if I'm not at risk for severe complications due to COVID-19?"
Regardless of your risk, you can still catch the virus and spread it to others. It’s important that you get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.
"Do you need to get the vaccine if you've already had COVID-19?"
You will be better protected from COVID-19 and the known variants of the virus if you get a COVID-19 vaccine. It is not yet known how long you will be protected from the virus if you already had it. A vaccine will provide you with even more antibody protection than the virus alone, so it’s recommended you get a vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19.
“Will I have to get a booster shot or another vaccination in the future?”
We do know that a vaccine will protect you for at least six months, but because we’ve only had COVID-19 vaccines for a limited amount of time, we’re not sure how long they will last. It’s currently being researched, but it’s possible that booster shots may be needed in the future.
"Will there be any negative long-term effects from taking the vaccines?"
All steps have been taken to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. While we can’t say long-term effects could never happen, vaccines rarely cause long-term side effects. The CDC and FDA continue to monitor vaccine safety to make sure any type of side effects are identified.
"Are the vaccine's side effects dangerous?"
Typical side effects from COVID-19 vaccines are common but usually short-lived. Severe, life-threatening reactions to the vaccines are rare. Pain, discomfort, fever, and itchiness are normal, a sign that the vaccine is working and can be relieved with items found at our stores. If symptoms last longer than two days, seek medical care.
"Will getting the vaccine cause you to test positive for the virus?"
The COVID-19 vaccines do not actually include the COVID-19 virus, so getting a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you test positive for the virus or cause you to have COVID-19.
"Do you need to wear a mask even if you've gotten a vaccine?"
Yes. Mask wearing, social distancing and other virus spreading preventative measures still need to be followed after getting vaccinated. It is not clear if vaccinated people can still carry and transmit the virus even if they themselves are not sick.
"Do the vaccines change your DNA in any way?"
The COVID-19 vaccines do not change your DNA. The vaccines do not enter the nucleus of the cell where your DNA is stored. The mRNA causes cells to make a spike protein that stimulates your immune system but it does not affect your DNA.
For more information about the vaccines check out our full FAQs here.
To schedule an appointment or learn more, visit our COVID-19 vaccine page.