You Asked: Do COVID-19 Vaccines Have Side Effects?

Dec 14, 2020

States will begin receiving the first doses of COVID-19 vaccines this week, and many anticipate receiving more at least weekly. Every state has made their own vaccination plans, so check with your health department for specific information.  Meanwhile, here are answers to some of your general questions about the vaccines.

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

No. 

Vaccine providers will be able to bill insurance for a fee to administer the vaccine, but will not be able to charge you. They can seek reimbursement for uninsured patients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on COVID-19 and other statewide issues.

Do I still have to wear a mask once I have the vaccine?

Yes. 

According to NPR’s Shots, studies of the new vaccines only measured whether vaccinated people developed symptoms, not whether they got infected. It's possible that they got mild infections — not enough to make them ill, but enough to pass the virus on to others. 

The CDC is calling for those who are immunized to continue wearing masks and practicing safe physical distancing until more is learned.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

WITF, a station in Pennsylvania, asked that question of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Dr. William Moss.

He said at this point, we only know the short-term side effects – which appear in about 5-15 percent of participants.

Those include inflammation, soreness at the injection site, a low-grade fever, headaches, muscle aches and fatigue. These can last from 12 to 36 hours after vaccination.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

Side Effects, WFYI and Indiana Public Broadcasting are asking Americans about health issues, as part of America Amplified: Election 2020. The public media initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, uses community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. Follow on Twitter at @amplified2020.