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About COVID-19 Vaccines

What to Expect When Getting Vaccinated

Transcripts of this video have been translated into 16 different languages, including Spanish, Somali, Hmong, and English.

Authorized Vaccines

Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines have been authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These vaccines help stop the spread of COVID-19. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is for people ages 12 and older. The Moderna COVID-19 and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are for people ages 18 and older. It is your decision whether to get the vaccine.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for protection against COVID-19. Both doses must be from the same product (Pfizer or Moderna). Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses are given 21 days (three weeks) apart. Moderna vaccine doses are given 28 days (one month) apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered as a single dose. Future vaccines for COVID-19 may have different wait times between doses and/or may be administered with a different number of doses.

If you are sick with COVID-19, or think you might have COVID-19, wait until you are better and have been cleared to come out of isolation before getting vaccinated. 

The vaccine will be free to everyone, regardless of your immigration or insurance status. Some vaccination clinics may ask for medical insurance information so they can get reimbursed from the insurance company. You should not receive a bill. If you do not have insurance, you can still get vaccinated.

People may have side effects after receiving the vaccine. Be prepared to wait for 15 to 30 minutes after getting the vaccination to make sure you feel alright. Some people experience flu-like side effects, which should go away within one to two days. If you develop something of concern, call your doctor.

After the being fully vaccinated with one or two doses based on which vaccine you received, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection. You will have good protection against the illness for yourself. However, there is still much to learn about long-term effectiveness of these vaccines. Until we know more, you should continue to:

  • Wear a mask
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone that does not live with you
  • Wash and sanitize your hands a lot
  • Stay home if you are sick
  • Avoid crowds and poorly-ventilated spaces
  • Delay unnecessary domestic or international travel
  • Follow guidance specific to your workplace.

If you’ve been fully vaccinated (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series):

  • You can gather indoors with smaller groups of fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Avoid larger gatherings


Additional up-to-date information about COVID-19, the vaccines, and more can be found at Minnesota Dept. of Health.

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