COVID-19 General Information

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax vaccines 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.

Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are accepted.

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.

Yes, it is safe for children and adolescents to get a COVID-19 vaccine and other routine vaccines, including the flu shot and other routine pediatric immunizations, during the same visit. The CDC recommends that all children and adolescents age 6 months and older remain up to date with routine vaccinations, and to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when eligible.

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.

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 July 19, 2022, the CDC updated its COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, approving the Novavax vaccine for emergency use authorization for adults 18 years and older.

Novavax is a two-dose, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine that is currently being used in more than 40 countries. Novavax will now be the fourth COVID-19 vaccine available in the U.S., in addition to Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. As a protein-based vaccine, Novavax is another option for people who are allergic to one of the components in a mRNA or viral-vector vaccine. The vaccine is currently authorized as a primary series only, and not as a booster dose.

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

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.

CDC COVID-19 Community Levels help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high. They are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

COVID-19 Boosters

Everyone age 6 months and older is able to get an updated booster dose if it is two months after your last dose (booster dose or primary series).

CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and up should get an updated booster dose at least 2 months after their last dose. This could be primary series OR an earlier booster dose.

For maximum effectiveness booster doses, people who recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying any COVID-19 vaccination, including the updated booster dose, by 3 months. However, certain things could be reasons to get a vaccine sooner than later such as personal risk of severe disease, risk of disease in a loved one or close contact or a high COVID-19 community level.

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.

The updated COVID-19 booster provides protection against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. These newer subvariants are more contagious and able to evade protection that your body might have against earlier subvariants.

Booster doses are common for many vaccines. They are given for many types of vaccines (Tdap, flu, etc.) that kids and adults get. Just like other vaccines, the immune protection from COVID-19 vaccine can fade over time.

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.

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. 

We are pleased to offer in-home vaccinations for those who are homebound, such as senior housing. Please call 614-525-3719 to learn more.

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.

Yes. Scientists and medical experts have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children ages 6 months and older. These experts reviewed safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials involving thousands of children. 22 million children ages 5 and above have already received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Data from trials will continue to be collected for two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that they are safe for the long term. As with all vaccines, there will be ongoing monitoring among people who are vaccinated.

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.

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.

Side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines are typically mild and subside in one to two days like soreness in the arm, fatigue, headaches, or a slight fever.

The risk of a child having a serious adverse reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine is very low. One rare complication that has been linked to the COVID-19 vaccine is myocarditis (inflammation of the heart), and data demonstrate a higher risk for such inflammation among younger males. However, these complications are rare. The risk of developing myocarditis after a COVID-19 infection is much higher than the risk of developing myocarditis after the vaccine.

If you have questions about how to protect your children from COVID-19, about the vaccines, or about myocarditis, speak to your health care provider or pediatrician.

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, Pfizer or Novavax, 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