COVID-19 Vaccine General Information

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine require two doses.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine requires only one dose.

Read below to learn more about booster vaccines.

Between three to eight weeks.

Previously it was three or four weeks, however, an eight-week interval may be best for some people ages 12 years and older. This does not include those who are moderately or severely immunocompromised; adults ages 65 years and older; and others who need rapid protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine next steps.

Read more about this on the CDC website.

If you received your first COVID-19 vaccine of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech through Franklin County Public Health, you will be contacted to set up your second dose. You do not need to call and schedule it. Depending on how you registered for the first dose, you will be contacted in one of the following ways for your second dose:

  1. 1. If you scheduled online with FCPH, we will contact you through the email account you used to register for your first dose.
  2. 2. If you called to schedule your appointment with FCPH and did not provide an email, a staff member will call you directly to assist you with that appointment.
  3. 3. If your vaccine was scheduled through an organization (e.g., healthcare professionals), the scheduling link will be sent to the organization point of contact whom we worked with to send the scheduling link for the first dose.

Note: Please remember to bring the vaccination card that you received during your appointment.

The above information applies only to those who received their first dose of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through Franklin County Public Health. If you received your first dose through Columbus Public Health or a different medical provider, contact them directly for more information.

Your vaccine provider may give you a vaccine record card when you receive the first dose of vaccine. This will specify the type of vaccine that you received. Do not throw away your record card. If you do not receive a record card, please ask your vaccine provider.

It depends on their age. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorized for children aged 5 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine are authorized for people 18 years of age and older.

Note, children ages 5-11 receive the pediatric dose of Pfizer/BioNTech. At FCPH, this age range must sign up for our 5-to-11-year-old clinics which require an appointment. Visit our vaccine page for more information.

For more information about the vaccine for children ages 5-11, view this Ohio Department of Health fact sheet.

Source: CDC

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether or not you already had COVID-19. However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Source: CDC.

No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

People who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not seek vaccination until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit. This recommendation also applies to people with a known COVID-19 exposure who have received their first dose of an mRNA vaccine but not their second.

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authorizes the use of an unapproved medical product, or unapproved use of an approved medical product, for use during a public health emergency if the benefits of its use outweigh any known or potential risks. Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been granted EUA following rigorous review. In the past, EUAs have been issued for products, devices, and drugs related to Ebola, H1N1, Zika, and others. The EUAs are valid until the pandemic is over, the FDA revokes the EUAs, or the products are approved for traditional licensure by the FDA. The FDA closely monitors each vaccine for safety after the EUA is issued. Drug manufacturers are encouraged to obtain traditional FDA licensed vaccine approval as soon as possible.

On August 23, 2021, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for age 16 and up. More information can be found on the FDA’s press announcement.

On January 31, 2022, the FDA approved Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for 18 years of age and older. Read the press announcement.

Source: CDC Understanding mRNA COVID-19 vaccines

Mild side effects such as redness or soreness at the injection site are common. Signs of serious allergic reaction can include breathing problems, hoarseness or wheezing, hives, paleness, weakness, a fast heartbeat, or dizziness. If they do occur, it is usually within a few minutes to a few hours. If your symptoms are severe, call 911. Call the provider that gave you the COVID-19 injection if you are experiencing any symptoms not listed in the table below. Let them know your symptoms.

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects Chart

As of January 11, 2021, there have been 21 cases of anaphylaxis, among the first 1.9 million doses of COVID vaccine administered. 17 had a documented history of allergies or allergic reactions, which included allergies to drugs, insect stings, foods, medical products.

Anaphylaxis is considered a rare side effect.

COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where you received the shot, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. For tips on what to expect after getting a COVID-19, visit

Source: CDC

CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects these data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns of occurrence.

You can contact the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) at 1-800-822-7967 or file a report online at

The CDC also offers a smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you choose to enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.


On December 16, 2021, the CDC recommended getting the mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA vaccines are abundantly available in the US.

This updated recommendation was guided by real-time data and information. As of December 2021, more than 17 million Johnson and Johnson doses have been administered. 54 people developed a rare side effect of a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TSS). You can read more about that in the below FAQ.

Are all proven to effective in preventing COVID-19, and particularly important for preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

Depending on supply, yes. The Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are all available at FCPH clinics at this time, as supplies last. All are proven to be effective in preventing COVID-19 illness and hospitalization.

On December 16, 2021, the CDC recommended getting the mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA vaccines are abundantly available in the US.

This updated recommendation was guided by real-time data and information. As of December 2021, more than 17 million Johnson and Johnson doses have been administered. 54 people developed a rare side effect of a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TSS). You can read more about that in the below FAQ.

It is important to remember that the likelihood of the blood clotting disorder resulting from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely rare. Your odds of contracting a possibly life-threatening case of COVID-19 are much higher than your odds of serious side effects from the vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires only one dose. Additionally, it can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, so is easy to transport and store in most community settings and mobile sites.

Please contact the agency that provided your vaccination to get a replacement card. If you received your vaccine through Franklin County Public Health, please complete and send in the Immunization Records Release. You will be sent your immunization record through the state system.

COVID-19 medications are now available through doctors, local pharmacies and health clinics.

If eligible, oral COVID-19 medication must be taken early (within 5 days of your first COVID-19 symptom). Learn more by visiting this webpage.

You can find medication by visiting this webpage or by calling 1-800-232-0233.

If you are traveling, consider the following to prevent the transmission of COVID-19:

  1. 1. Wear a mask while traveling, particularly when in crowded or poorly ventilated areas.
  2. 2. Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, avoid crowds and wear a well-fitting mask.
  3. 3. Test for COVID-19 before traveling (no more than three days before). After travel, be sure to get tested if you develop COVID-19 symptoms or were exposed to a person with COVID-19.

Read more about CDC’s mask and travel recommendations.

COVID-19 Boosters

A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine series and protection against the virus has decreased over time. Additional doses are administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. This additional dose of an mRNA-COVID-19 vaccine is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series. Read more about this topic from the CDC.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Booster Dose:

    • • If you are 12-17 years old, you are eligible for a Pfizer booster dose. If you are 18 years old or older, you are eligible for Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson.
    • • Those who are eligible to receive a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine can received one at least 5 months after completing their primary series (the first 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine).
    • • These recommendations only apply to people who previously received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine primary series.

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Booster Dose:

    • • Booster doses are recommended for everyone 18 and older at least 2 months after receiving their J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by CDC*

  • • First responders (health care workers, fire fighters, police, congregate care staff)
  • • Education staff (teachers, child care workers, support staff)
  • • Food and agriculture workers
  • • Manufacturing workers
  • • Corrections workers
  • • United States Postal Service workers
  • • Public transit workers
  • • Grocery store workers

* List could be updated in the future. Visit the CDC’s website for more information.

CDC recommends that eligible groups should receive a booster dose at least 5 months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series (the first 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine) or at least 2 months after receiving their J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Those people who are eligible for a second booster dose can receive a booster dose 4 months after their first booster.

See booster FAQ for additional information on eligibility and visit the CDC’s website for more information.

The definition of ‘fully vaccinated’ has not changed at this time. Persons who have received all recommended doses of the primary vaccine series (one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Moderna or Pfizer) are considered fully vaccinated as of two weeks after their last dose.

On March 29, 2022, the CDC updated booster dose guidance to expand eligibility for some people to get a second vaccine booster. Adults age 50 and older and some immunocompromised individuals are now eligible to get a second Pfizer or Moderna booster dose at least 4 months after their first booster (whether they received a Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson booster). Older adults—especially those with underlying medical conditions—and people with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe health impacts if infected by COVID-19, and are therefore among those most likely to benefit from the additional protection of a second booster shot. Individuals in these groups should consult with their health provider if they have questions about getting a second booster.

Booster doses are common for many vaccines. The scientists and medical experts who developed the COVID-19 vaccines will continue to follow the science and research. To date, booster doses have been effective in extending protection against serious illness.

How to Get the Vaccine

Ohioans can receive vaccines from physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers, in-home health service providers, as well as some retail pharmacies.

Franklin County Public Health will continue to post vaccine scheduling on our vaccine page.

Additionally, an online tool is available the Ohio Department of Health’s Get The Shot website which can help you identify where to go get a vaccine. 

Children who are between the ages of 5-11 can schedule an appointment through our vaccine webpage.

Additionally, we recommend reaching out to your child’s pediatrician or using this online tool available through the Ohio Department of Health’s Get The Shot website which can help you identify where to go get a vaccine.

For individuals that are unable to leave their home or those in community settings, complete the request form here or call (614) 583-5128.

Vaccine Safety

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently 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.

To learn more, read the CDC September 2021 health advisory which strongly recommends COVID-19 vaccination either before or during pregnancy because the benefits of vaccination for both pregnant persons and their fetus or infant outweigh known or potential risks.

Source: CDC

You can choose to. After you are vaccinated, it takes some time for your body to build an immune response to the vaccine. CDC advises that the vaccines offer strong protection starting two weeks after completing the vaccination series (one dose for Janssen; two doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines).

Once you get vaccinated, you will have a lower risk of getting sick from COVID-19. However, no vaccine provides 100% immunity and many people around you are likely to be unvaccinated. To protect others, consider practicing the 3 W’s: wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance.


The viral vector genetic material delivered by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine not integrate into a person’s DNA.

The mRNA from Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines can most easily be described as a set of instructions for your body on how to make a harmless piece of “spike protein” to allow our immune systems to recognize that this protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies. Essentially, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to the virus, giving your cells a blueprint of how to make antibodies. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for COVID-19 vaccines is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Sometimes this process can cause side effects, such as fatigue, headache, soreness or redness at the injection site, and muscle or joint pain. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination, and Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses. That means it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before, or just after, getting the vaccination and become sick.

No vaccine injections or nasal sprays – including the shots for COVID-19 – contain microchips, nanochips, RFID trackers, or devices that would track or control your body in any way. Much like the way any shipment or delivery is tracked, shipments of vaccine doses will be monitored as they are shipped and administered across the country. However, the notion that these shots will contain tracking devices implanted into Ohioans is false.

No. Time after time, studies conducted across the globe continue to show that there is no connection between autism and vaccines.

Source: CDC: Autism and Vaccines

Safety is a top priority of the U.S. vaccine safety development and approval process. The development process for COVID-19 vaccines involved several steps comparable with those used to develop other vaccines such as the flu or measles vaccine, which have successfully protected millions of Ohioans for decades.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as independent medical experts, have ensured that every detail of COVID-19 vaccines is thoroughly and rigorously evaluated. Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19.

To learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work and the safety of vaccines, visit the CDC’s  website here and here.

Additionally, visit the US Department of Health & Human Services vaccine page.

There have been no shortcuts in the vaccine development process. The process has been quicker as a result of strategic efforts to run concurrent trial phases, as well as a commitment to help condense timelines and reduce or eliminate months-long waiting periods during which documents would be prepared or be waiting for review.

Although the COVID-19 vaccines themselves have been developed recently, the technology used in mRNA vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, has been studied for decades, and early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Recent technological advancements in RNA biology and chemistry, as well as delivery systems, have allowed these COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA to be developed as safe and effective vaccines.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Source: CDC

It is the measurement of how much a vaccine lowers the risk of an outcome. For example, for the Johnson & Johnson clinical trials in the U.S., the risk of moderate to severe COVID-19 was 72% lower in participants who were vaccinated compared to those who received the placebo.

The Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are all proven to be effective in preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.

On December 16, 2021, the CDC recommended getting the mRNA Pfizer/BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna vaccines over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. The mRNA vaccines are abundantly available in the US.

This updated recommendation was guided by real-time data and information. As of December 2021, more than 17 million Johnson and Johnson doses have been administered. 54 people developed a rare side effect of a condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TSS). Read more about this on the CDC website.

The vaccines are the best way to protect your child from getting seriously ill due to COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is an added layer of protection that will help put the pandemic behind us.

For more information about the vaccine for children ages 5-11, view this Ohio Department of Health fact sheet.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are rare side effects after mRNA COVID vaccines. There have been reports of cases of myocarditis and pericarditis after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. Both Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines are mRNA vaccines. Most of these reported cases have happened in young men under 30 years old and after the second dose of the COVID vaccine.

An important thing to remember is that there are more cases of myocarditis in people who naturally get sick with COVID-19 than those who had it after vaccination. Your child’s risk of myocarditis is higher with getting sick from COVID-19 naturally.

Myocarditis and pericarditis can be mild and treatable. In fact, of those who developed the heart conditions after getting vaccinated, at least 4 in 5 have made a full recovery.

Children who are allergic to vaccine ingredients should ask their doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.


Generally, it can take a few weeks for a vaccine to provide you with immunity once you receive it. If you received the Moderna and Pfizer, both doses are needed to get the maximum protection. You should take the same precautions you did before vaccination including wearing masks and practicing distancing to protect themselves and others.

Equitable allocation and distribution

The federal government is committed to providing free or low-cost COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given to Ohioans who choose to receive them at no cost.

The CDC has Spanish language myth-busting resources on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. has updated COVID-19 information in Spanish, compiled by the American Public Health Association and the COVID-19 Latinx Task Force. PAHO has communications materials in Spanish and Portuguese for its Latin American audience.

The Black Coalition Against COVID-19 is a trusted source of COVID-19 vaccine information, which is strengthened through its partnership with the four historically Black medical schools in the U.S. Its resources include: 1) Make it Plain: What Black America Needs to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines, 2) Resources for Enrolling in Vaccine Trials and 3) A personal account of a Black doctor who got the vaccine. 

Source: Black Coalition Against COVID-19