We know that  COVID-19 has disproportionally impacted the African American, Latinx, Native Americans, and other minority communities. This is where we’ll add resources and information to help keep people informed about the latest COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines were built upon years of work in developing vaccines for similar viruses. Development time was accelerated without cutting corners. More than 70,000 people participated in clinical trials for two vaccines to see if they are safe and effective. To date, the vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

For more information about the phases visit: https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines

Frequently Asked Questions

Vaccine Development

You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. All of the currently authorized vaccines give your body temporary instructions to make a protein. The two-dose vaccines use mRNA technology, while the one-dose vaccine uses DNA technology to provide these instructions. This protein safely teaches your body to make germ-fighting antibodies against the COVID-19 virus. These germ-fighting antibodies are then ready to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you. Your body naturally breaks down everything in the vaccine. There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine, and none of the vaccines can change your DNA.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures all food and drugs are safe.  COVID-19 vaccines must pass clinical trials like other drugs and vaccines and are only approved if they are safe and effective.

The FDA keeps checking safety through the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS). Healthcare providers are required to report serious side effects or if someone gets seriously ill with COVID-19. There is also a smartphone-based health checker called V-SAFE that uses text messaging and web surveys to do health check-ins after people receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccines give the cells in your body the instructions to make a protein that safely teaches your body how to make antibodies (germ-fighting cells) to fight the real COVID-19. Your body naturally destroys the instructions and gets rid of them. None of the vaccine ingredients remain in your system, nor do they alter any DNA in your body. The three COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States do not contain eggs, preservatives, fetal tissue, stem cells, mercury or latex. For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:

Getting Vaccinated

There are currently three authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines available in North Carolina. Old North State Medical Society is sponsoring numerous vaccination events across central North Carolina. To find a location near you, visit our COVID-19 Vaccination Locations and Information page.

There is no cost. The COVID-19 vaccine will be free to everyone, whether you have health insurance or not.

The federal government is covering the cost.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two shots a set number of days apart. The second shot takes place 3-4 weeks after the first to help build strong immunity. It is very important to receive two doses of the same vaccine. North Carolina is using the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to make sure you are safe and get your second shot at the right dosage and at the right time. During your appointment for your first shot, you will make an appointment for the second shot. At this time, you will also receive a card with information about which vaccine you received for your first and the date of your second shot.

No. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

No. North Carolina has no plan to require the vaccination. It is possible that some employers or schools could require a vaccine for their employees or students.

Not right now. Children will not receive the vaccine until clinical trials are completed to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective among children. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine can be given to youth who are 12 years old and up.

Pregnant women may choose to receive the vaccine. They can also talk with their doctors before making a choice. It is not required to take a pregnancy test before receiving the vaccine.

Women who are breastfeeding may also choose to receive the vaccine. They can also talk with their doctors before making a choice. The vaccine is not thought to be a risk to a baby who is breastfeeding.

No serious side effects were reported in clinical trials. Some people have reported temporary reactions such as sore arms and tiredness for a day or two after receiving the vaccine, and these reactions have been more common after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.

Yes. It works to prevent you from a future infection.

Yes. Everyone should continue to practice the 3 W’s until most people are vaccinated.

Vaccine Data

North Carolina will use the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), a free, secure, web-based system provided to all who give COVID-19 vaccinations. CVMS helps vaccine providers know who has been vaccinated and with which vaccine to make sure people get the right dose of the same vaccine at the right time. CVMS also allows North Carolina to manage vaccine supply. Pharmacies (like CVS and Walgreens) giving vaccines in long-term care facilities will not use CVMS, but instead will use their own systems. Your information on the vaccine is confidential health information and carefully managed to protect privacy.

North Carolina has an online public dashboard to share data that can be viewed here. It is updated weekly and includes data on the number of people who have been vaccinated by county, by race, by ethnicity, by age, and by gender.