COVID-19 Vaccine General Information

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine require two doses. Ohioans who receive a dose of a particular vaccine must receive a second dose of the same vaccine as they are not interchangeable. For example, if you receive a first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, your second dose must be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered 21 days after the first dose. If you receive a first dose of the Moderna vaccine, your second dose must be the Moderna vaccine, administered 28 days after the first dose.

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

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

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes two shots, 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine includes two shots, 28 days apart.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.

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: the second dose may not always be given out exactly on the 21/28 day mark but clinics will be scheduled within the week they are due. 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.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes two shots, 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine includes two shots, 28 days apart.

These recommended timeframes should be followed as closely as possible to receive full protection. If you cannot make that timeframe, you should get the second dose as soon as possible thereafter.

A second dose administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date are still considered valid. Additionally, a second dose may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. Doses would not need to be repeated due to a longer interval, meaning you do not have to start over, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.

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.

depends on their age. The
Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorized for children aged 12 and older,
additional studies need to be completed before COVID-19 vaccines are
recommended for
children under the age of 12. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson
vaccine are authorized for people 18 years of age and older. 

If you are interested in signing your 12 years old or older child for a Pfizer vaccine, visit

As we wait for this additional clinical trial data, children, like adults, should wear a mask, watch their distance, wash their hands and avoid congregating in groups in order to protect themselves against infection. 

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.


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. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines have 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.

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.


The one that is available to you. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Pfizer/BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna vaccines are all proven to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19, and particularly important for preventing severe illness and hospitalization.

Adults can receive any of these three COVID-19 vaccines, which have been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. They are encouraged to get the first vaccine that becomes available to them as quickly as possible.

No. At Franklin County Public Health, we are allotted one type of vaccine depending on the supply provided that week. We do not have more than one type to choose from at appointments. The Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are all proven to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 illness and hospitalization.

Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine is another tool to help combat COVID-19. It has undergone rigorous review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is available for people who are 18 years of age and older.

On April 23, a CDC panel recommended that the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be lifted. Scientists determined that the level of risk was very low (less than 2-in-a-million) and that the benefits of continued use of the J&J vaccine greatly outweighed any risk associated with it.

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. The risk of blood clots from COVID illness is 165,000 per million cases.

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.

Adding Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine to our toolbox means more people can get vaccinated and become protected from COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death.

The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people who are 16 years of age and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for people who are 18 and older.

All of the companies have begun additional clinical trials in younger age groups, starting with children ages 12 to17 for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, and 12 to 15 for Pfizer. As we wait for additional data, children, like adults, should wear a mask, watch their distance, wash their hands and avoid congregating in groups to protect themselves and others against infection.

How to Get the Vaccine

Initially, there will be a limited number of vaccines available. Ohio is committed to making vaccines widely available, for all Ohioans who choose to receive it, as quickly as possible, as shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Ohio.

Until then, in conjunction with the recommendations of medical experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), Ohio has identified who will be among the first to receive those very early shipments.

Visit our vaccine website to learn about what tiers are open and if you are eligible.

As more information becomes available about who can receive the vaccine, and when they can receive it we will communicate this information publicly through the news media and will share information at

Limited amounts of vaccine doses are available. As they become available, 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 windows on our vaccine page.

Additionally, an online tool is available at to show where individuals will be able to see who is distributing vaccinations in their counties to what eligible group. As more vaccinations are available, more providers will be added. Visit the Ohio Department of Health’s Get The Shot tool to find out if you are eligible and where to book.

Eligible people can schedule appointments through our website. We will NOT accept walk-ins at our COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The schedule an appointment button will be removed once appointments are filled.

  • •  Website:
  • •  Appointment Hotline: 614-525-5225 (see website for hours)
  • •  For other COVID-19 questions, our information line: 1-833-4-ASK-OHIO

Please note that the schedule button is only available during posted times (see vaccine website for updates). This will turn off once appointments are filled. The scheduling system will ask you to register. Once you do, you will receive a one time password (OTP) via email to schedule. Please check your SPAM and junk folders if you do not see the email.

View a step-by-step instructional guide that walks through how to use FCPH’s scheduling system (ArmorVax).

Vaccine manufacturers are working hard to manufacture and distribute vaccines safely, quickly, and effectively. Each state will be informed, on a weekly basis, of how many vaccine doses they will receive that week.

Initially, there will be a limited number of vaccines available, so vaccination is approached in phases, with those who have the highest risk for exposure getting the vaccine first.

Ohio continues to make plans for a way to distribute vaccines in a way that is fair, ethical, and transparent, in conjunction with the recommendations of medical experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). As more information becomes available on who can receive the vaccine when, we will communicate this information publicly including through the news media and share information at

Yes, the tool FCPH uses to schedule vaccine appointments, called ArmorVax, created the following guides:

Vaccine Safety

The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has stated that people who are pregnant may choose to be vaccinated. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Immunization, Infectious Disease, and Public Health Preparedness Expert Work Group prepared a thorough outline related to COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP priority groups. The two vaccines currently available have not been tested in pregnant women. Therefore, there is no safety data specific to use in pregnancy. There is also no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion. The mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. The CDC states that people who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated. Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers should check with their doctors about any concerns.

Yes. 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, it is crucial to continue practicing the 3 W’s: wearing a mask, washing your hands and watching your distance until enough people are vaccinated to stop the spread of the virus.

Viruses frequently change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Multiple variants of SARS-CoV-2—the virus that causes COVID-19—have been documented in the United States during this pandemic. This includes the variants first detected in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil. It also includes the variants that scientists from The Ohio State University recently discovered.

To date, there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death. However, preliminary data suggest these variants spread more easily and quickly than other variants. As a result, it is very important for everyone to continue to wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart from others, avoid crowds, ventilate indoor spaces and wash their hands often, even after receiving a vaccine. These actions will help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and its new variants. 

Scientists are working to better understand how easily the variants might be transmitted and the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against them. For additional information, please visit: New Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19|CDC and What We Know About New COVID-19 Variants|OSU


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.

Of the first two vaccines to apply to the FDA for emergency use authorization, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective, and the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 70,000 participants between the two studies. 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.

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.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is globally respected for its scientific standards of vaccine safety, efficacy and quality. In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can make a judgement that it is worth releasing a vaccine, drug, device and/or test for use even without all the evidence that would go into the normal approval process. That judgement, in this case that the known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine, is called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Under both EUA and normal approval, the FDA provides scientific and regulatory requirements to vaccine developers and undertakes a rigorous evaluation of the scientific information through all phases of clinical trials, which continues after authorization or approval. Clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be issued an EUA. Watch a video on what an EUA is here.

Source: FDA

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

Clinical trials are studies to assess the safety and efficacy of vaccines. They are typically conducted in three phases, each with increasingly larger numbers of volunteers.

  • Phase 1 clinical trials assess the safety and dosage of a vaccine in a small number of people, typically a dozen to several dozen healthy volunteers.
  • Vaccine safety is also assessed in Phase 2 studies, in which adverse events not detected in phase 1 trials may be identified because a larger and more diverse group of people receive the vaccine.
  • Only in much larger Phase 3 clinical trials can it be demonstrated whether a vaccine is actually protective against disease. Safety is also more fully assessed. Phase 3 clinical trials often include thousands of volunteers, and for Covid-19 vaccines will involve tens of thousands (30,000 to 45,000 people in some of the ongoing phase 3 trials).

Source: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

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 safe and effective in preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. Getting vaccinated with any of these vaccines will greatly reduce your risk of serious illness due to the virus and it is recommended that you take the first vaccine available to you.

The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been shown to be 85% efficacious in preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and 100% efficacious against COVID-19 hospitalizations. The vaccine also lowered the risk of moderate-to-severe COVID-19 illness by 72% among people who were vaccinated compared to people who received the placebo. The Pfizer vaccine showed efficacy of 95% at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after two doses. And the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection after the second dose.

It is important to get vaccinated when it is your turn to make sure you and your community can benefit from all of the tools we have to fight COVID-19.


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.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine includes two shots, 21 days apart while the Moderna vaccine includes two shots, 28 days apart. Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine efficacy after a single dose was 52.4% in trials; Moderna’s was 80.2%.

However, both doses are currently recommended to get the maximum protection, since there have been no clinical trials assessing these mRNA vaccines as single dose regimes. Until more is learned about the duration and kind of protection you get from the vaccine, you should take the same precautions you did before vaccination. Moreover, until the population is broadly vaccinated and the outbreak is under control, which will take many months, everyone — vaccinated or not— needs to continue to wear masks and practice distancing to protect themselves and others.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. The CDC guidelines note that protection begins 14 days after receiving the vaccine.

Source: Science News and National Public Radio (NPR)

Equitable allocation and distribution

At first, there will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine, with a phased approach to offering the vaccines. However, it is important that the initial vaccines are given to people in a fair, ethical, and transparent way. Those who are at highest risk of contracting and transmitting the virus will be among the first to be able to access vaccination.

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.

During the early phases of administration of COVID-19 vaccines in the United States, supply will be limited. This means that not everyone will be able to be vaccinated right away but, in time, as vaccination production ramps up, every Ohioan who chooses may receive a vaccine when large quantities are available.

Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health encourage eligible residents to check and see if their primary care provider, hospital system, or pharmacy have the vaccine and sign up that way if it is a more convenient option.

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

Yes. The study enrolled a total of 43,783 participants. Conducted in eight countries across three continents, the trial includes a diverse and broad population including 34 percent of participants over age 60. The study enrolled 44 percent of participants in the U.S. In the U.S. only, 74 percent of participants are White/Caucasian; 15 percent are Hispanic and/or Latinx; 13 percent are Black/African American; 6 percent are Asian and 1 percent are Native American. Finally, 41 percent of participants in the study have a disease or illness associated with an increased risk for progression to severe COVID-19.

Learn more about Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, including international clinical trial populations, on the CDC website.