FAQs

Download the COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs (English, Spanish)

It is anticipated all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. There will be a phased roll-out of the vaccine. The initial supply will be limited, and based on national guidance, healthcare workers will be the first population recommended to receive the vaccine, and even then, those who treat COVID-19 patients and perform certain procedures will likely receive the vaccine first.

There is currently no public registration for COVID vaccine at this time. CDPH will update this website with registration and clinic information as additional groups are recommended for vaccine and as clinics are scheduled. 

Yes, people who have had COVID in the past will still need to get the vaccine. Though past infection is thought to provide some immunity, we do not know how much protection is provided or how long this protection may last. It is recommended that people who have had COVID in the past still get the vaccine.

Information collected when you get the vaccine follows all HIPPA privacy requirements. The health department or medical provider will retain some information for dose tracking purposes. No information is shared with non-public health agencies.

The vaccine distributed at CDPH vaccination sites will be at no cost to the individual.

The Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at an ultra-cold temperature and the Moderna vaccine needs to be stored at frozen temperature. Both will be defrosted before administering the shot.

The initial supply of vaccine will be limited, and based on national guidance, healthcare workers will be the first population recommended to receive the vaccine, and even then, those who treat COVID-19 patients and perform certain procedures will likely receive the vaccine first. This prioritization ensures those with the highest risk of contracting COVID are protected. Additionally, by vaccinating those who provide direct patient care will protect our healthcare workforce capacity. Priority will also be given to older adults living in long-term care facilities to prevent outbreaks.

No. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses. One dose will not give you the same level immunity.

Even after someone has been vaccinated the individual should continue to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. While we know the vaccines protect the individual from contracting COVID, but we do not know if it prevents spreading COVID.  As more people receive the vaccine, we may be able to dial back these measures.

Similar to the flu vaccine, it will take a few weeks ​after completing the COVID-vaccine before your body builds up the immune response to protect against COVID-19. ​If you receive a 2-dose vaccine, the full immune response is not completed until a few weeks after the 2nd dose. Even with the high efficacy of the vaccines, no vaccine is 100% protective. CDPH still recommends mask wearing, social distancing and washing your hands frequently, even if you have received the vaccine.

Receiving the vaccine does not increase your chances of spreading COVID. ​Getting the vaccine drastically decreases your risk of getting COVID-19, but it does not eliminate the risk. Therefore, you may still spread COVID-19 if you contract the virus after vaccination.

At this time individuals cannot choose which vaccine they receive.

As the vaccine supplies increases, COVID-19 vaccine will be available through additional vaccination providers, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

CDPH will follow federal and state guidelines for distributing the vaccine. Distribution prioritization is based on risk, not geographic location. However, all hospitals across the city will receive doses of the vaccine based on their healthcare workforce and patient populations. Similar to the City’s approach to testing, access to the vaccine will always be looked at through an equity lens.

There are 16 critical infrastructure sectors identified by the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination thereof. Additional information on these sectors can be found on the CISA website.

There is no possibility that you can get COVID from the vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA to train the body to respond to the COVID virus without using ​any live virus. ​The mRNA used in these vaccines is code for a protein that is specific to the COVID-19 virus but does not cause any harm to you.

Widespread vaccination will ​allow the City ​to dial back restrictions set in place to slow the spread of COVID​, but this process will happen over many months. As more ​Chicagoans get vaccinated, there will be more opportunity to ​safely move back to normal lives. In the meantime, CDPH still recommends mask wearing, social distancing and washing your hands frequently, even if you have received the vaccine.

All vaccines in Chicago will only be distributed when they are deemed safe. Both the Pfizer and Moderna have completed multiple stages of clinical trials.

The CDC, along with FDA and other federal partners, will use established safety systems to conduct heightened safety monitoring of COVID-19 vaccines. Additional safety measures include active surveillance using text messaging and web surveys from CDC, and enhanced passive surveillance through other data sources from healthcare facilities.

If a link is found between a side effect and a COVID-19 vaccine, public health officials will take appropriate action by weighing the benefits of the vaccine against its risks to determine if recommendations for using the vaccine should change and continuously monitor and evaluate safety thereafter.

Data suggest current vaccines will be effective and safe in providing protection against COVID-19 variants. 

Having side effects isn't a bad thing. Vaccinations may cause mild COVID-19-like symptoms but this is a sign your immune system is responding to the vaccine. The vaccine does not contain a live virus and cannot give you COVID-19. The most common side effects are fever, chills, tiredness, or headache. At the injection site, you may experience pain, redness or swelling. Although these side effects may be unpleasant for 1-3 days, they are not dangerous. People with history of significant allergic reactions to vaccines, food, or medicine should consult with their doctor before receiving the vaccine.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective at preventing illness from COVID-19.

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization. This means that the vaccines are safe and effective, and that the benefits of taking the vaccines is greater than any possible risks from the vaccine.

In an emergency, like a pandemic, it may not be possible to have all the evidence that the FDA would usually have before approving a drug, device, or a test. When there is a declared emergency, the FDA can allow the use of a product, like a vaccine, before full approval by issuing an Emergency Use Authorization or EUA.

After the requisite determination and declaration have been issued, and after feasible and appropriate consultations, FDA may issue an EUA only if FDA concludes that the following four statutory criteria for issuance have been met.

  1. Serious or Life-Threatening Disease or Condition
  2. Evidence of Effectiveness
  3. Risk-Benefit Analysis
  4. No Alternatives

More information on EUA is available on the FDA website.

The COVID-19 vaccine was developed through the Health and Human Services’ Operation Warp Speed. No safety measures were cut in its design, testing or manufacturing. A focus was placed on early manufacturing and the use of new technologies so as soon as the vaccine was deemed safe by the appropriate agencies, distribution could begin. More information about Operation Warp Speed is on the HHS' website. 

Pfizer’s clinical trial enrolled 43,000+ participants with 42% globally having racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Moderna’s 30,000 trial ​included participants from minority communities, including 6,000 Hispanic and 3,000 Black participants. AstraZeneca’s initial trial data included participants from Brazil and the United Kingdom while the company continues to conduct trials in South Africa, Kenya, Latin America, Japan, Russia and the United States.

You can tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine through their website v-safe. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And, v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. Your participation in CDC’s v–safe makes a difference — it helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe.

 CDC has recommended that women who are pregnant can get vaccinated for COVID-19. Though there are not completed studies on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, there are no known risks from the vaccines to pregnant people. Pregnant people who get infected with COVID-19 are at risk for more severe illness, such as ICU admission, being on life support, or death. If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.