COVID-19 Vaccine Questions and Answers

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Student Guide to COVID Vaccine

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What are the COVID-19 vaccines available and are they safe?

Faculty from Midwestern University’s College of Graduate Studies have prepared a video to answer questions regarding the vaccines and the COVID-19 virus. You can view the short and informative video by clicking on the following link:

Currently, the two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States are:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech – 95% effective (manufacturer data)
  • Moderna – 94.5% effective (manufacturer data)

Both are mRNA vaccines with a two-dose schedule. These vaccines carry genetic material that teaches our cells how to make a harmless piece of “spike protein,” which is found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This produces antibodies to protect us from getting infected if the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters our bodies. The vaccine does not affect our DNA; mRNA does not enter the cell nucleus and cannot give someone COVID-19. Clinical trials for both vaccines had participants of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds from the U.S. and other countries around the world, including adults 56-85.

For the latest information about authorized vaccines, visit

What are the ingredients in the vaccine?

The two COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers:

Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine:


Who is eligible to get the vaccine at Midwestern University?

Currently, per Maricopa County (Arizona) Phase 1A guidelines, only healthcare workers and individuals 75 and older are eligible for the vaccine.  In Du Page County (Illinois), also under Phase 1A, only healthcare personnel and congregate care staff and residents are currently eligible for the vaccine.

Midwestern University has recently received initial approval to become  a COVID-19 vaccine Point of Distribution (POD) in the next few weeks, and will partner with local public health organizations and municipalities to provide vaccines to the public in accordance with health regulations and guidelines. Details about who can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at Midwestern University and information about the registration process for those who qualify will be shared when available.

Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realize you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and reschedule your vaccination.

What are the potential side effects of getting the vaccine?

All vaccines can potentially cause side effects, but most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. Common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • fever
  • chills
  • general aches, or mild flu-like symptoms

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days after getting the vaccine, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects do not seem to be going away after a few days

Can you give COVID-19 to anyone, after having the vaccine?

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. Also, experts do not yet know if getting the vaccine will stop you from catching and passing on the virus.  

To protect yourself and your family, friends, and colleagues you need to:

  • Continue practice social distancing
  • Wear a face mask
  • Wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • Follow the current health guidance

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

Yes. Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection is possible, you should get the COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

Medical experts advise waiting at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including the flu or shingles vaccine.

Does Midwestern University require students to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

State health departments determine the immunizations that are required of college and university students. Currently, the Illinois and Arizona state health departments do not require proof of COVID-19 immunization for students enrolled in college or postgraduate programs. However, students participating in clinical rotations may be required by their clinical site to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Students should check with their Dean’s office for more information.

Does Midwestern University require faculty and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Midwestern University does not currently require the vaccine for faculty or staff; however, all members of our community are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine as soon as they are eligible.  


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