If I have been infected with COVID-19, do I still need a vaccine?
Yes, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends anyone who previously had COVID-19 to get the vaccine.
Data shows it is uncommon to be re-infected with COVID-19 in the 90 days after you were infected, so you might have some protection (called natural immunity). However, it’s unknown how long natural immunity might last.
People who currently have COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until they feel better and their isolation period is finished, if possible.
People who were recently exposed to COVID-19 should also wait to get the vaccine until after their quarantine period, if they can safely quarantine away from other people. If there is a high risk they could infect others, they may be vaccinated during their quarantine period to prevent spreading the disease.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past?
The vaccine should not be given to people with a known history of severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to a previous dose of an mRNA or viral vector vaccine, or to any ingredient of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson–Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.
People who have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies may still be able to receive the vaccine. However, providers should do a risk assessment and counsel them about potential risks. If the patient decides to get the vaccine, the provider should observe them for 30 minutes to monitor for any immediate reactions.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that providers observe all other patients for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to monitor for an allergic reaction.
What ingredients are in the vaccines?
You may see some rumors and untrue ingredients listed online or in social media. These are generally myths. The ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines are pretty typical for vaccines. They contain the active ingredient of mRNA or modified adenovirus along with other ingredients like fat, salts, and sugars that protect the active ingredient, help it work better in the body, and protect the vaccine during storage and transport.
See the Q&A webpage from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for more information about ingredients at https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/vaccine-education-center/making-vaccines/prevent-covid.
Does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine contain fetal tissue?
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was created using the same technology as many other vaccines. It does not contain parts of fetuses or fetal cells. One piece of the vaccine is made in lab-grown copies of cells that originally came from elective abortions that took place over 35 years ago.
Since then, the cell lines for these vaccines have been maintained in the lab and no further sources of fetal cells are used to make these vaccines. This might be new information for some people.
However, vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, and hepatitis A are made in the same way.