COVID-19 Vaccine | Boston Medical Center
BMC Updates and Information

BMC is seeing patients at our hospital and clinics—see how we’re keeping everyone safe. Book your next appointment today or learn about our telehealth options.

To protect the health of patients and staff, BMC is restricting all visitors unless pre-approved by each patient's care team under extenuating circumstances.

doctor Find a doctor

COVID-19 Vaccine

We now have a new way to help stop the spread of COVID-19 -- vaccines.

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?

A vaccine is a substance that can help protect you against specific diseases. Vaccines cause your immune system to make antibodies, which fight viruses and bacteria. If you get exposed to a disease you’ve been vaccinated against, the antibodies will fight the disease-causing bacteria or viruses before they makes you sick. For more information on vaccines, visit the Centers for Disease Control.

How do COVID-19 vaccines work?

The first COVID-19 vaccines that will be available are mRNA vaccines. They work by telling our bodies to make a protein that then produces antibodies. These antibodieshelp protect you from the virus that causes COVID-19.

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?

Learn about how successful the COVID-19 vaccine is at preventing COVID-19.

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?

We don’t know how long protection will last. The studies that are going on now will help to answer that question. You may have to get vaccinated again in the future.

Is the vaccine safe?

The COVID-19 has been through strict safety trials. Learn more about what this means.

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?

Some people in the clinical trials did report side effects. However, these have generally been mild and only lasted for a few days. Reported side effects include headaches, fatigue, chills, and soreness at the injection site. A small number of participants had a fever. For some people, these side effects were worse after the second dose.

Have there been any serious adverse events after these vaccines?

No. There have been no serious safety concerns noted in the studies of these vaccines.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccine doesn’t actually contain the virus that causes COVID-19.

Will the vaccine stay in my body or enter my DNA?

No. The cells that use the mRNA vaccine get rid of the mRNA after they finish using it. The mRNA never gets into the part of the cell where DNA is located.

Should I get the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines were tested in diverse clinical trials. Read more about what that means for specific groups

Do the COVID-19 vaccines work in Black and Latinx individuals?

The U.S. clinical trials included 10 percent Black and 13 percent Hispanic/Latinx participants. Pfizer and Moderna haven’t yet released study results specifically for these groups. But the vaccines were successful in all study participants, shown to be 95 percent effective overall.

Should I get the vaccine if I had COVID-19 already?

Yes. Experts recommend getting the vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding people get the vaccine?

The vaccine has not been studied in pregnant or breastfeeding people yet. Recommendations and studies will be coming soon.

Do the vaccines work in older adults?

The Pfizer vaccine worked as well in older adults as it did in younger adults. In this trial, about 45 percent of participants were ages 56-85.

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.