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Which vaccine will residents receive?

Moderna and Pfizer and J&J COVID-19 vaccines are available in Youngstown. You may check with vaccine administration sites to see which vaccine(s) they have available.

J&J vaccine:

  • Requires only a single dose.
  • Can be given to people 18 years of age and older.

Moderna vaccine:

  • Requires two doses given at least one month apart.
  • Can be given to people 18 years of age and older.

Pfizer vaccine:

  • Requires two doses given at least three weeks apart.
  • Can be given to people 12 years of age and older.
How do the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines work?

The coronavirus particle resembles a sphere, or ball, with spikes (proteins) adhered to its surface (see the image below). These spikes help the virus attach to and enter human cells, causing illness.



COVID-19 vaccines contain synthetic mRNA (messenger RNA) that instructs human cells to make these spike proteins. The body recognizes the spike protein as an intruder and produces antibodies, or infection-fighting cells, against it. That way, the body has antibodies that can recognize and destroy the actual coronavirus if they encounter it. An mRNA vaccine CANNOT change your DNA.

This short video provides a helpful explanation of how the COVID-19 vaccines work.

Why does the COVID-19 vaccine require two doses?

The first dose is a “prime” dose and does not provide optimal immunity. The second dose acts as a booster, bringing the efficacy of the two-dose series to 95% (for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines).

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are safe. These vaccines have undergone rigorous safety monitoring, and millions of people have already received the vaccine. The vaccines were deemed safe and effective after reviewing data from large clinical trials and vaccine manufacturers. Even now after the vaccines have been authorized for use, safety monitoring systems continue watching for any adverse reactions to the vaccine. On rare occasions, a person has a severe side effect, but this occurs only 0.4% - 1% of the time.

The vaccine’s rapid development does NOT compromise its safety. There are several reasons why the vaccine was able to be developed so quickly. For example, vaccine manufacturers received adequate funding to move vaccine development along swiftly. Additionally, the mRNA technology used to create the vaccine has been in development for years in preparation for a disease outbreak such as COVID-19. There were also plenty of people willing to participate in clinical trials. All of these factors (and many more) led to development of COVID-19 vaccines in record time without compromising safety.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Common side effects: Common side effects from COVID-19 vaccines include pain and swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects are normal and are signs that your body is developing an immune response against COVID-19. However, if you think you are having a severe allergic reaction after receiving the vaccine, call 911 immediately.

Tips for dealing with side effects: For pain and swelling at the injection site, try applying a cool, wet compress and using or exercising your arm. If you experience a fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. Talk with your healthcare provider about taking tylenol or ibuprofen.

When to call a healthcare provider: Call your healthcare provider if symptoms do not resolve after a few days, if redness/swelling at the injection site worsens after 24 hours, or you are concerned about your symptoms.

Should I make a vaccine appointment if I am young?

Yes, anyone 12 years of age and older may receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the timing of which depends on the individual’s personal health characteristics and Ohio’s phased approach. While younger people in good health may think they will not develop severe illness if they contract COVID-19, there is no way to know how the disease will affect a person until he or she gets it.

Additionally, if a person contracts COVID-19, that person could still potentially spread the virus to friends, family, loved ones, and their community. Therefore, it is important for young people to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are able to.

I’ve had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Can I stop wearing a mask?

Not yet. There isn’t enough information available at this time for the CDC to determine if or when it will be safe to stop wearing masks. Currently, the CDC says that the combination of getting vaccines, wearing masks, social distancing, and taking other COVID-19 protective measures are our path forward for returning to a more normal routine and ending the pandemic.

Before experts can declare that it’s safe to stop wearing masks, more information is needed about how protection from COVID-19 vaccines functions in the real world and whether or not people who have been vaccinated can pass the virus on to others. Decisions about mask wearing will also be affected by how many people have been vaccinated and the level of COVID-19 spread in a community.

What should I do if I contract COVID-19 between doses?

If you get COVID-19 between your first and second COVID-19 vaccines, it is still important to get your second vaccine dose. While it’s thought that contracting COVID-19 does provide some natural immunity, it’s unknown how long that immunity lasts. The second vaccine dose is thought to boost immunity without causing harm.

However, if you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma during your COVID-19 illness, please wait 90 days before getting a vaccination.

How long does immunity from the vaccine last?

Experts are still learning how long the COVID-19 vaccine provides immunity against the disease.

Does the vaccine prevent COVID-19 from spreading to others?

Researchers are still investigating whether or not the vaccine prevents COVID-19 spread to others. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections and 100% effective at preventing severe COVID-19 infections. However, it is unknown whether or not a person who has been vaccinated and has asymptomatic COVID-19 can pass the virus to others. Therefore, experts recommend wearing masks, social distancing, and taking other COVID-19 protective measures until we learn more.

Is the vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants?

Experts think so. According to the CDC, “So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize variants.” Experts are continuing to study and learn more about this.

Have a question that’s not on this list? Call or text the Youngstown COVID-19 hotline (330-502-4276) to submit your question.

What can I do during quarantine?

During this time, even if you do not have any symptoms, please stay home and away from others to prevent spread. Do not travel, go to work or school. Have groceries/food delivered outside your door; do not go to public areas, such as gyms, restaurants/bars; do not go to parties or family events (weddings/funerals, etc). Do not have visitors to your home. Do not prepare or serve food to others.

Read more about what you can do during isolation/quarantine here.

How do I keep others in my house safe?

If you tested positive, stay away from others. Stay in your home. If you live with others, stay by yourself in a room with the door closed. Have food delivered outside of your door. If possible, do not share a bed with anyone else and use a separate bathroom.

Learn more about everyday disinfecting and keeping your home clean here. Read more about how you can keep others in your home safe here.

When can I return to school/work?

You can return to work after your isolation or quarantine end date (above), so long as you do not feel sick for at least 24 hours, without the use of medication (such as, using Tylenol to reduce a fever). If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID, please wait to return until you are feeling better for at least 24 hours. Sometimes employers, schools, or healthcare providers may require 2 negative tests before you can return.

The CDC is no longer recommending a test-based strategy to return to normal activities; instead, individuals must complete the full 10-day isolation or quarantine and be symptom-free for 24 hours.

What if I think I exposed others?

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and you were in close contact with someone, starting 72 hours (3 days) before your symptoms started or your labs were collected, you should notify those individuals immediately. Close contacts should: Quarantine 10 days from the date you were last in contact, consider testing and watch for symptoms to appear over the 10-day period (it takes time for the virus to activate in the body before symptoms appear). Close contacts are people defined as within 6 feet for longer than 15 minutes (cumulatively), even if you were wearing a mask. Even if individuals test negative during quarantine, they should still stay home for the full 10-day period.

What if I retest positive?

The CDC does not recommend re-testing; instead, a symptom-based strategy should be used. If you previously tested positive, you are likely to continue to test positive for up to 6 months, due to remnants of the virus in your body. So long as you are not symptomatic (sick) and have completed the isolation period, you are no longer considered contagious to others, and can return to normal daily activities.

Is it possible to be re-infected?

If you tested positive (PCR, FDA-approved laboratory test) and are around someone who also tests positive within three months of your test, you do not need to re-isolate/re-quarantine. Evidence suggests that your body may contain antibodies to protect you from becoming re-infected for 90 days after you first contract the virus.

What resources are available?

For additional questions or concerns

You can contact Youngstown City Health District’s COVID-19 hotline with questions (phone or text) or the Ohio Department of Health hotline at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH.

Is the vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants?

Experts think so. According to the CDC, “So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize variants.” Experts are continuing to study and learn more about this.

Have a question that’s not on this list? Call or text the Youngstown COVID-19 hotline (330-502-4276) to submit your question.