Vaccination will help protect you and those around you from COVID-19.
By being vaccinated, wearing a mask, and staying at least 6 ft. away from others, we can help end this pandemic.
Vaccination will help protect you
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is now looking at clinical trial data for the vaccine. We expect them to start approving vaccines in mid-December. The first vaccine expected to be approved will be from Pfizer. The second will likely be from Moderna.
Boston Medical Center will provide the vaccine to hospital employees and patients. The vaccine will also be available at other health care organizations and pharmacies as part of the nation-wide vaccination effort. It will be available to different groups in phases. Your overall health and your job will help determine which phase you’ll get the vaccine in. We expect that healthy adults will be able to get vaccines later in 2021.
We will continue to update this page as we learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.
Let’s fight COVID-19 together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn about how the COVID-19 vaccines work and when they might be available to you.
What is a vaccine?
How do COVID-19 vaccines work?
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The goal is for everyone who wants it to eventually get the COVID-19 vaccine. But it will take time to make enough vaccines for everyone. Because of this, the vaccine will be given in phases. When you get the vaccine will be based on things like your job, your age, and your health.
The most current guidance from expert groups have recommended that health care workers, first responders, and seniors living in long-term care facilities will be among the first to have access to the vaccine. This group will be able to get vaccinated soon after the vaccines receive emergency use authorization.
If you are a healthy adult under 65 years old without a medical condition or high-risk job, we expect that you’ll be able to get a vaccine later in 2021. The timeline depends on factors such as:
- How many vaccines are approved.
- How many vaccines each company is able to make.
- How many people get vaccinated in earlier groups.
How are COVID vaccines given?
The vaccine will be given as a shot in the upper arm. The first vaccines that will be available require two doses.
For the Pfizer vaccine, the second shot will be three weeks after the first. For the Moderna vaccine, it will be four weeks later.
It’s important that you get both shots. If you don’t, you won’t be as well-protected from COVID-19 as you could be.
How well does the vaccine work?
Does the vaccine keep me from getting COVID-19?
COVID-19 vaccines are very effective (about 95 percent) in preventing COVID-19. While they helped prevent COVID-19 generally, they were particularly good at preventing severe cases of the disease.
However, it’s important to keep wearing a mask and distancing because:
- Not everyone will get the vaccine at once. Following public health guidelines will help protect anyone who hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet.
- Although it’s not likely, it’s still possible to get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine, as no vaccine is 100 percent effective.
- We’re not sure yet how long the vaccine will protect you from getting COVID-19.
How long does protection from COVID vaccines last?
Is the vaccine safe?
Are COVID vaccines safe?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same trials as other approved vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines have met the high safety standards these trials set.
The clinical trial process for COVID-19 vaccines was much quicker than for other vaccines, but it was done just as carefully. More than 70,000 people took the different COVID-19 vaccines as part of clinical trials. In addition, the clinical trials included 10 percent Black and 13 percent Hispanic/Latinx participants, which means vaccine safety was tested within a diverse group. There were no major safety concerns in any of the trials.
COVID-19 vaccines in the United States will be approved under emergency authorization because of how serious the pandemic is. But the safety standards for emergency authorization are close to the same as the ones vaccines have to meet for regular authorization.
Expert groups will also keep looking at the COVID-19 vaccine’s safety after people start to take it.
What are the side effects of COVID-19 vaccines?
Have there been any serious adverse events after these vaccines?
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
Will the vaccine stay in my body or enter my DNA?
Should I get the vaccine?
Do the COVID-19 vaccines work in Black and Latinx individuals?
Should I get the vaccine if I had COVID-19 already?
Can pregnant or breastfeeding people get the vaccine?
Do the vaccines work in older adults?
Can vaccine be given to children?
A small number of children as young as 12 years of age were included in the vaccine studies. There were no safety concerns noted for this group. However, COVID-19 vaccines haven’t been studied in younger children. These studies are now being planned.
When the vaccines are approved, the FDA will announce a minimum age for people who can vaccinated.