Should I Get Vaccinated?

Real questions. Real answers.

Over 1,600,000 Minnesotans have been vaccinated to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Minnesota leads the nation in vaccinations and slowing the spread of COVID-19. However, you may have questions and concerns about the vaccines and wondering if getting vaccinated is right for you and your family. You are not alone.

Below are a few answers to commonly asked questions to help you make an informed decision.

“What’s in the vaccine?”

The COVID-19 vaccine consists of mRNA - ‘Messenger Ribonucleic Acid’. It teaches the cells to recognize and fight the virus. According to the CDC, none of the authorized vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, nor can it enter the cell’s nucleus or alter DNA.

“What are the side effects?”

Reported side effects include, pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given. Other effects include, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. Side effects after the 2nd shot may be more intense. Some pain is normal as the body adjusts to it. Call your doctor if symptoms persist beyond a few days.

“Bringing the vaccines to market seems rushed”

Earlier research on the coronavirus and advances in technology sped up the process of launching the vaccine. Recruitment for all 3 steps in vaccine research was conducted all at once to avoid delays. Funding from the federal government helped these processes happen faster and more efficiently.

“What’s the difference between the vaccines i.e. Moderna v. Johnson & Johnson, etc?”

Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are made with mRNA-activating the immune system to fight the virus and create antibodies. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is made with an Adenovirus which creates the spike protein. The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for use for people aged 16 and older. Moderna’s has been cleared for use by people 18 and older. J&J’s vaccine has also been tested in people 18 and older. J&J’s vaccine was temporarily suspended due to a rare reaction of blood clots in women with an average age of 37. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were shown to be 95% effective, while the J&J single-dose vaccine was 72% protective in the United States, 66% protective in South America, and 57% protective in South Africa. J&J’s vaccine was developed later, during the onset of severe variants.

Moderna and Pfixer have reported on average, 2.5 cases per million cases of anaphylaxis - a severe reaction.

J&J has reported only 1 case.

“Will getting vaccinated protect me from getting or spreading COVID-19 and variants?”

The CDC has stated that getting vaccinated will prevent you from getting COVID-19,

and may prevent you from spreading to others.

“I don’t trust the medical industry or government”

Vaccine hesitancy with Black people and other groups, can be traced to historic human rights violations in medicine, including the Tuskegee experiment, Henrietta Lacks, and dangerous experiments during the Nazi regime. As a result, ethical codes, along with federal and global policies, have been put in place to protect people. Examples include the Nuremberg Code, Belmont Report, and the institution of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and the ‘Common Rule’ adopted by the FDA, OHRA, and others. To learn more, visit:

“I can’t afford to get vaccinated. I don’t have insurance”

The federal government is providing the vaccine FREE, at no cost to the public.

“What happens if I have bad side effects, who will pay for my healthcare?”

If you experience severe side effects, contact the site you got vaccinated at and call your doctor. The United States currently has two methods for individuals to seek compensation for serious vaccine-related injuries without the need to resort to traditional litigation: the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP), which covers most routinely administered vaccinations for children and adults, and the Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP), covering certain “countermeasures” against bioterrorism events and pandemics. As of this writing, any person who believes that they may have been injured by a COVID-19 vaccine and is seeking to be compensated for those injuries must first file a claim with CICP.

“What if I still don’t want to get vaccinated. Will I be able to travel? Work?”

There are currently no federal mandates requiring vaccination. Check your local or state government laws for more information. Other countries may require vaccination to enter their countries.

“What if I don’t want to vaccinate my kids? Will they be allowed back in school?”

Vaccination is voluntary. While testing, and vaccines, are available to youth ages 12 and up, it is currently not required to attend school. Check with your school district for updates.

“What are healthy ways to avoid getting COVID-19?”

Wearing a mask in public, staying 6 feet or 2 meters apart from others and washing your hands for 26 seconds with warm soapy water, helps prevent spread. Avoiding large crowds or being around those who may have travelled recently. Maintaining a healthy immune system through rest, getting lots of water and eating healthy nutritious foods, helps.

“What if I already get the flu shot?”

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19; only the COVID-19 vaccine will. Because they share similar symptoms, testing will help confirm diagnosis.

“What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?”

The CDC has stated that getting vaccinated will prevent you from getting COVID-19.