Your Most Frequently Asked Questions, Answered
Get the answers to questions you’ve had about the COVID-19 vaccine both as a potential recipient and an employer.
Pregnancy & Fertility
Yes. The CDC recommends everyone 12 and older should be vaccinated, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners. Pregnant women who get COVID-19 have a higher risk of hospitalization and admittance to the ICU and may require ventilation, which means special equipment is needed to breath, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
Also, a joint statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and dozens of other healthcare provider associations states: “Pregnant individuals and those planning to become pregnant should feel confident in choosing vaccination to protect themselves, their infants, their families, and their communities.”
The CDC recommends all people 12 and older, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, become vaccinated. Reports show women who gave birth after being vaccinated passed on antibodies to their newborns, thus protecting them. It may also provide some immunity for nursing babies.
If you get a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy, be sure to enroll in V-safe, a program created by the CDC to monitor your health after receiving your vaccine.
No. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Arkansas Department of Health, they have no effect on future fertility. There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines—or any vaccine—will have any adverse effects on fertility for women or men.
It is recommended that women undergoing invasive procedures like in vitro fertilization not get the vaccine three days before or three days after the procedure. That’s because the COVID-19 vaccines may have side effects that include fever or chills. Health experts do not want to confuse these side effects with any type of infection related to the procedure.
The vaccine is safe and effective. Pregnant women who get COVID-19 are at a higher risk of severe illness. The vaccine will help protect them and their babies. Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are at increased risk for pre-term birth and serious pregnancy-related complications.
Health & Safety
Your employees may be concerned that because the COVID-19 vaccine has only been around for a short time, the long-term effects are unknown. Thanks to extensive research and clinical trials that conducted before the vaccine was made available to the public, the vaccines have been proven to be safe and effective. Also, the technology that was used to create this vaccine is not new, and lots of studies have been done on vaccines that are very similar to this one. All have shown this is safe for the long term, according to Dr. Chad Rodgers.
The COVID-19 vaccine is the safest, healthiest way to protect yourself and your community from the COVID-19 virus. By taking the vaccine, you can do your part in ending the pandemic and restoring normalcy to our state.
You should wait 14 days after receiving any other vaccine before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, and you should not receive any other vaccine within 14 days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
If you do receive your COVID-19 vaccine too close to another vaccine, simply complete your COVID-19 vaccine series on schedule.
As of now, the Pfizer-BioNTec vaccine is available for children ages 12 and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine are not available for those younger than age 18.
Most people with underlying conditions are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and becoming seriously ill, and the vaccine provides critical protection. Always discuss any concerns you have with your healthcare provider.
Though it is possible to have a reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, these instances are rare. According to the CDC, there have been reports of severe allergic reactions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In the case of a reaction, the person can be treated with epinephrine, or an EpiPen©, or go to the hospital.
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines ever come into contact with your DNA.
After COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and muscle aches. You may also have some soreness or redness in the arm where the vaccine was given. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection, and all side effects should subside within a few days.
None of the necessary steps in the vaccine-creation process were skipped in making the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was made available to the public quickly thanks to expedited approvals and government funding that allowed pharmaceutical companies to create and scale the vaccines quicker than possible within a normal budget.
The COVID-19 vaccines have all met rigorous safety standards and completed intensive safety monitoring that is greater or equal to any other vaccine on the market. The vaccines have also been extensively tested in large clinical trials where each met rigorous safety criteria. The vaccines have been reviewed and authorized for emergency use by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), and have also been approved by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), a CDC advisory committee.
As vaccines are made available to the public, the CDC will continue to monitor their safety.
The Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are administered in two doses. The second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be given 3 weeks (21 days) after the first.
The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be given 1 month (28 days) after the first.
While there is no maximum interval between doses, you should try to get your second dose as close to your vaccine’s recommended interval as possible. You should not get your second dose any earlier than your 3-week or 1-month interval though.
All of the COVID-19 vaccines have met the same rigorous standards of safety, and have proven to be effective. Take the first one available to you.
After receiving the vaccine, your body needs a few weeks to build up immunity against COVID-19 to effectively protect you from getting sick.
In some scenarios, yes. While you still need to continue to wear a mask in public, stay at least 6 feet from others in public, avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings, you can:
- Spend time with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart
- Spend time with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease
- Refrain from quarantine and testing after being exposed COVID-19 if you don’t experience any symptoms
Yes. Though you may have some immunity after contracting and beating COVID-19, this immunity is likely temporary and reinfection is possible.
Yes. COVID-19 can cause serious complications, and in some cases, death. The minor side effects associated with the vaccine are miniscule compared to getting the virus.
No. There are no live COVID-19 viruses within the vaccines, making it impossible for you to contract COVID-19 from the vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination teaches your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, a process also known as building immunity. Once you have built immunity against COVID-19, your body will be able to fight it off if you come in contact with it.
No, the vaccine is available at no cost to you or your employees, whether your employees have insurance or not.
If you would like to schedule a vaccine clinic to come to your workplace, contact a local pharmacy that is providing vaccine or the Local Health Unit as soon as possible.
Those without internet can call the Arkansas Department of Health vaccine call-line at 1-800-985-6030. The call-taker will either help schedule an appointment at an ADH clinic or work to connect the employee with a local provider.
Rights & Responsibilities
You don’t incur any liability if you haven’t mandated your employees get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, any medical or health records that are generated should be treated as a confidential health record.
If you mandate the vaccine, and pre-screening questions (have you had a reaction before to a vaccine, are you allergic to X, etc.) are asked, those questions should only be asked of those who would pose a direct threat to the health of others if not vaccinated. Unnecessarily asking these pre-screening questions could be a violation of the ADA.
As an Arkansas employer, the only real type of liability you could incur by requiring the vaccine would be through the workers’ compensation system.
You can incentivize the vaccine, but it is not advisable to offer exorbitant incentives. Appropriate incentives include:
- Paid time off for the actual time it takes to get the vaccine
- Additional paid time off if an employee the vaccine yet still catches COVID or has adverse effects from the vaccine
- A non-cash gift like a gift card
- A drawing for a prize
Yes. You should make exclusions for those who should not take the vaccine due to a health or medical condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and for those with a sincerely-held religious belief that prohibits them from receiving the vaccination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You should also consider accommodating pregnant employees who do not wish to receive the vaccine and have the backing of a medical professional.
Practically, you should consider your work environment and the amount of COVID-19 risk your employees are exposed to before mandating they get the vaccine. For example, if you run a health clinic that tests patients for COVID-19 or own a chicken plant where it is necessary for your employees to work in close proximity, you should probably require the vaccine. If you have a lot of remote employees or work in an office setting where employees can easily distance, a mandate may not be necessary.
Yes, you can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.