Employers do have the right to compel their workers to be vaccinated once a vaccine is formally approved. Many hospital systems, for example, require annual flu shots. But employees can seek exemptions based on medical reasons or religious beliefs. In such cases, employers are supposed to provide a “reasonable accommodation” — with a coronavirus vaccine, for example, a worker might be allowed to work if they wear a mask, or to work from home.
The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines are as safe as possible. COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same safety tests and meet the same standards as other vaccines. People living with HIV (PLWH) were included in clinical trials, though safety data specific to this group are not yet available.
While this specific safety data is missing, PLWH are encouraged to be vaccinated. Patients are encouraged to consult with their primary care provider if their case may qualify for vaccine prioritization. Note that this currently only applies to patients who are immunocompromised and is largely determined by the state. If you decide to get vaccinated, continue to take everyday preventive actions to protect yourself against COVID-19. Check out this article from April 2021 about some current studies of the vaccines with this population.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson do not use pork gelatin in their formulas. Gelatin from pork and cow products is often used in vaccines to stabilize the drug’s ingredients and ensure they remain effective through the distribution process. The three COVID-19 vaccines also do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex.
For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:
Yes. People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects immediately and for years afterward. The COVID-19 vaccines are being studied carefully now and will continue to be studied for many years, similar to other vaccines.
The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus that causes COVID-19, to prevent future illness. There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.
People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. While breastfeeding is an important consideration, it is rarely a safety concern with vaccines. No data are available yet on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants or on milk production/excretion but mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with a healthcare provider may might help you make an informed decision.
More information can be found here: Vaccination Considerations for People who are Pregnant or Breastfeeding | CDC
Severe reactions to any vaccine are very rare. Most people experience only mild side effects, such as a sore arm or mild headache.
After you receive your vaccine, you are required to remain on site for 15-30 minutes for observation. When severe allergic reactions do occur, they tend to happen in the minutes following your injection. Vaccination sites have trained medical personnel on site to help you if you should experience any level of allergic reaction.
If you should experience a reaction after you return home and do not have medical insurance, you can seek care from a local community health center or hospital, or a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center.
Muslim communities have expressed concern over the contents of some of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials and production around the world. At the center of their apprehension is whether the vaccines contain pig fat or pork products, which are prohibited under Islamic law.
On Dec. 23, 2020, the United Arab Emirates’ highest Islamic authority said that COVID-19 vaccines are permissible for Muslims, even if they contain pork gelatin. In other countries, including India, Muslim leaders are still debating their positions.
The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna do not use pork gelatin in their formulas. Gelatin from pork and cow products is often used in vaccines to stabilize the drug’s ingredients and ensure they remain effective through the distribution process. The two COVID-19 vaccines also do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex.
For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. This type of vaccine (i.e. mRNA vaccine) has a unique modality making it safer than many. However, your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own <72 hours. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection for the disease.
If you received the Pfizer vaccine, then you should receive your second dose 21 days later.
If you received the Moderna vaccine, then you should received your second dose 28 days later.
Both injections must be from the same vaccine company (e.g. you cannot mix Moderna and Pfizer). While the 1st injection begins priming the immune system, the 2nd solidifies and sustains a more robust immune response. You are only partially protected with just one shot of Pfizer or Moderna. If you miss your second dose appointment, schedule one as soon as you can.
The mRNA vaccine has no impact on a person’s DNA. Messenger RNA (mRNA) allows cells to make proteins that trigger an immune response to the coronavirus, stopping it from entering a person’s cells. The first vaccines granted emergency use authorization (EUA) contain mRNA, which instructs cells to make the “spike protein” found on the new coronavirus. When the immune system recognizes this protein, it builds an immune response by creating antibodies — teaching the body how to protect against future infection. The mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is kept. That means the mRNA does not affect or interact with your DNA in any way. COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to the virus, giving your cells a blueprint of how to make antibodies. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.
No vaccine injections or nasal sprays – including shots for COVID-19 – contain microchips, nanochips, RFID trackers or devices that would track or control your body in any way. Shipments of vaccine doses are monitored as they are shipped and administered across the country but the notion that these shots will contain tracking devices implanted into people is false.
The following are acceptable as proof of full vaccination: Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date last dose administered) OR a photo of a vaccination card as a separate document OR a photo of the attendee’s vaccine card stored on a phone or electronic device OR documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider or CAIR (California Immunization Registry).
On August 2, 2021, Marin County joined Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sonoma, and the City of Berkeley in issuing Health Orders requiring masks indoors by all people -- vaccinated or unvaccinated -- out of an abundance of caution due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases.
Masks are not required outdoors, but are strongly recommended in crowded environments.
- California also requires that everyone wear masks in:
- Public transit
- Long-term care facilities
- Homeless shelters
- Indoors in K-12 schools, childcare, and other youth settings
See our Public Health Order for the Wearing of Face Coverings in Workplaces and Public Settings to learn more about where masks are still required or recommended.
Read Get the Most out of Masking to learn how a mask can best protect you.
Yes, the State issued the following recommendations, which supersede the Travel Advisory issued on April 1, 2021:
- All travelers arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should follow CDC travel guidance.
- All travelers who test positive or develop symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and follow public health recommendations.
- Fully vaccinated travelers:
- are less likely to get and spread COVID-19, and can travel safely within the United States and California
- should follow CDC travel guidance, and are not required to test or quarantine before or after travel unless they have symptoms concerning for COVID-19 disease.
- Travelers that are not fully vaccinated:
- should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before travel, and get tested 3-5 days upon arrival to their destination. They should self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if their test is negative.
- if testing is not done after completion of travel, self-quarantine for 10 days.
When you receive your vaccination card, its strongly recommended you take a photo of the card, make a paper or electronic copy of the card, or scan and save the card in a cloud-based environment. Your COVID-19 immunization card is important for access to travel and event opportunities while the COVID-19 pandemic is still underway.
However, we know life happens and you may lose your card. The California Department of Public Health offers a new Digital COVID-19 vaccine record, available at myvaccinerecord.cdph.ca.gov. You can use this tool to request a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccine record.
See errors in your vaccine record? You can also correct or update your immunization record at cdph.ca.gov/covidvaccinerecord.