Covid-19 Vaccine FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues across New Jersey. We will update this page regularly with new information as it becomes available.
RWJBarnabas Health is now vaccinating eligible individuals in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) guidelines. We continue to be at the forefront of the battle against the virus, working every day to keep our communities safe and healthy.
Below are some frequently asked questions about the safety, effectiveness and availability of the vaccines.
What COVID-19 vaccines are available now?
Currently, the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen have been given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are being distributed in New Jersey and around the country.
Who should NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccines, you should not get the vaccines.
How safe are the COVID-19 vaccines?
The FDA is responsible for making sure that, just like any other medications, any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and they work. Clinical trials testing vaccines are conducted according to rigorous safety standards. When vaccines receive approval or authorization, you can rest assured that they have been deemed safe for distribution. All of the currently available vaccines were tested in clinical trials on tens of thousands of people.
If I'm pregnant or breastfeeding, should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that the vaccine be available to pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. They say pregnant and breastfeeding individuals who are eligible for vaccination may choose to do so and can discuss the benefits v. risks with their healthcare provider to help them make an informed decision. While a conversation with a healthcare provider may be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination. Visit the CDC website for more information.
Does the vaccine have an impact on fertility?
There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine would reduce one’s natural fertility or affect future fertility. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine assert that loss of fertility due to the vaccine is scientifically unlikely.
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
All of the currently available vaccines were tested in clinical trials on tens of thousands of people and were determined by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to be safe and effective for their intended use.
Can I choose which vaccine I get?
The vaccine you receive depends upon availability at the site during the time of your appointment. All of the available vaccines distributed by the State of New Jersey have been proven to protect against COVID-19, and prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19. When you arrive at a vaccination center, please prepared to accept the vaccine that is available.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccines?
No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. The actual virus is not part of the ingredients, so you cannot be infected by them.
What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?
The vaccines may have localized side effects at the injection site, as well as mild symptoms of short-term discomfort. In rare cases, allergic reactions may occur. For details on the specific vaccines’ ingredients and possible side effects, visit:
- Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
- Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
- Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine fact sheet
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccines are being distributed in a phased rollout according to priority groups as established by the New Jersey Department of Health.
For information on who is currently eligible for the vaccine, please visit the official NJ state page on who is eligible.
Decisions about priority groups and how the doses will be spread across the state may change based on changes in vaccine supply and public demand. The goal of the NJDOH is to vaccinate 70 percent of the adult population in the state — 4.7 million adults — by June 2021.
Where can I go to get the COVID-19 vaccine in New Jersey?
As the vaccine becomes available more broadly, there will be many locations throughout the state for vaccination, including state and county mega-sites, smaller vaccine centers including several of our Medical Group practice sites and retail pharmacies.
Six mega-sites throughout New Jersey are now open to serve as vaccination hubs:
- Atlantic County: Atlantic City Convention Center
- Bergen County: Racetrack at Meadowlands, East Rutherford
- Burlington County: Moorestown Mall
- Gloucester County: Rowan College of South Jersey, Sewell
- Middlesex County: New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center, Edison
- Morris County: Rockaway Townsquare
The sites will distribute vaccines according to the State’s designated priority groups. Registration for appointments is required at this time.
How can I schedule my COVID-19 vaccination?
If you qualify for vaccination, you can make an appointment at any of the state's vaccination sites at this time. For a full list of these sites, visit the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System. You can also register directly with RWJBarnabas Health for vaccination at www.RWJBH.org/covid19vaccine. These online portals enable you to pre-register and schedule an appointment.
After I get the COVID-19 vaccine, will I still have to wear a mask and practice social distancing?
Yes. While COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe infection, they may not prevent mild or asymptomatic infection. If this is the case, an infected person could still spread the virus. This is why it is expected that even after a vaccine becomes available, people will need to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing measures for some time.
If I can’t get the COVID-19 vaccine yet, what should I do in the meantime?
Keep doing what you can to minimize your exposure to the virus. Avoid large gatherings of people. When in the company of others, try and maintain six feet of distance between you to prevent transmission. Until the vaccine is widely available, the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). Wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds or longer and avoid touching your face. For more guidance, read COVID-19 Prevention Strategies.
What if I have medical questions about COVID-19 (not vaccine-related)?
For medical questions about COVID-19 that are not vaccine-related, you may:
- Visit the New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub
- Call the New Jersey Poison Center and Coronavirus Hotline at 1-800-962-1253
- Contact your primary care provider
If I experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, what should I do?
If you have a severe allergic reaction, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
Report vaccine side effects to FDA/CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The VAERS toll-free number is 1-800-822-7967. Or, report online to https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.
- NJDOH COVID-19 Vaccination Information Page
- What You Need to Know About COVID-19
- Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19
For the most current information about when and where you can expect to receive the vaccine in New Jersey based on your age, risk factors and other criteria, visit the NJDOH website.