Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Rogue Community Health is now offering the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine to RCH patients over 70. If you are an RCH patient and fall within that eligible group, we will be calling you to see if you would like to make an appointment.

You can sign up at the Oregon Health Authority’s new Get Vaccinated page to receive updates as soon as you become eligible for the vaccine.

Below are the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. We also recommend reading the Oregon Health Authority FAQs and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention FAQs.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus. Our bodies recognize that the protein should not be there and build T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future. The CDC has additional information on how mRNA vaccines work.

What ingredients are in the COVID-19 vaccines?

The Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger RNA (mRNA), 4 fatty substances (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Due to the fact that reinfection is possible, the CDC does recommend the vaccine for those who have had COVID-19, whether they experienced symptoms or not. The immunity someone gains from having an infection varies from person to person, and experts do not yet know exactly how long protection lasts.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?

According to the CDC, you can get the vaccine if you are not allergic to any of the ingredients contained within the vaccines or to polysorbate. If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines or injectable medications, speak with your healthcare provider first.

The Moderna COVID‑19 Vaccine contains the following ingredients: messenger RNA (mRNA), 4 fatty substances (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

Has the COVID-19 vaccine been adequately tested?

The COVID-19 vaccines were tested in tens of thousands of study participants from many backgrounds, ages and communities of color. Those studies generated enough data to convince the FDA that the vaccine is safe and effective, and that the manufacturer producing the vaccine meets all safety standards.

How do I find out if I am eligible to get vaccinated?

When older adults can start getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Here is a list of who can get vaccinated currently. Starting Feb.8, you can also go to covidvaccine.oregon.gov and use the NEW Get Vaccinated Oregon tool. It is designed to help you understand if you are eligible. You will want to register to get updates on vaccination opportunities. If you need help getting registered, ask someone to help or reach out to 211:

  • Text ORCOVID to 898211
  • Email ORCOVID@211info.org
  • Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155
If I am currently eligible to be vaccinated, where can I go?

Rogue Community Health is now offering the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine to patients 70 and older. We will be calling our RCH patients who fall within this eligible group to help you make an appointment.

To receive updates on vaccine eligibility, visit the OHA Get Vaccinated page and sign up.

Are side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine worse than getting the disease?

No. COVID-19 disease can be mild, but it can also be very severe or even fatal. The COVID-19 vaccine may cause pain at the injection site, headache & muscle aches that can be more severe than with other vaccines, but side effects resolve within 1-3 days.

Will the vaccine be mandatory?

When a vaccine is authorized for emergency use, patients need to agree to receive it.

Once I get the vaccine, can I stop other safety measures like masking and physical distancing?

While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is not yet known whether you can carry and transmit the virus to others after vaccination. Until we learn more, it’s best to continue taking precautions.

Will COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?

No, messenger RNA from the vaccines will not interact with or affect your cells’ DNA. mRNA vaccines work by teaching your body’s cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response, according to the CDC.

Can the COVID-19 vaccines cause sterilization?

There is no evidence to support sterilization as a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines.