The Village of Skokie will continue to offer free COVID-19 vaccines to Skokie residents ages 12 and over, as well as employees at Skokie businesses, as long as demand continues. See information and make an appointment at an upcoming vaccination clinic.
Q. Do I have to get a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine to all Americans age 16 and over.
Q. Can my employer require that I receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work?
A. Decisions regarding immunization at private workplaces are up to the employer.
Q. Are schools requiring students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, similar to mumps and measles? Will restrictions be placed on my child if we refuse to vaccinate?
A. There is no requirement for students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
Q. What happens if I refuse to get vaccinated for COVID-19?
A. There are no legal repercussions (such as fines, sanctions or punishments) for refusing the vaccine. If you do not get vaccinated, you will not be protected against the virus that causes COVID-19 and will be more likely to be infected with the virus. Additionally, you will be at risk of transmitting this deadly virus to loved ones and other community members.
Q. Do I need a vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
A. If you have had COVID-19, you still should be vaccinated. Long-term immunity does not occur after having the disease.
If you had COVID-19 without complications (not hospitalized or did not receive plasma or antibodies as treatment) you must wait at least 10 days after the start of your isolation period to schedule an appointment. You also must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine and have improving symptoms before receiving a vaccine. For example, if you had a positive test on April 1, you would be eligible for a first-dose vaccination on April 11 or after if you had COVID-19 without experiencing complications, have improving symptoms and have been fever-free for 24 hours without medication.
If you contract COVID-19 between receiving your first and second doses of vaccine, you must wait your entire 10-day isolation period before receiving your second dose of vaccine. The CDC recommends that you receive the second dose as close to “on-time” as possible, but not during your 10-day isolation period. If you were hospitalized or received plasma or antibodies, please call Skokie Health and Human Services at 847/933-8252 and ask to speak to a nurse who will ask you questions to determine the specific timeframe for your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Q. Do I have to get both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. A seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you from the flu. Being infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could lead to a more severe illness, which is why it is more important now than ever to get the flu vaccine.
Q. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
A. The U.S. vaccine safety system is a deliberate and multi-phase process to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority. Vaccine candidates conduct clinical trials with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.
If the FDA determines a vaccine meets its safety and effectiveness standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the U.S. by approval or Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). After the FDA makes its determination, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will review the available data in order to make vaccine recommendations to the CDC. ACIP will then recommend vaccine use. After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, vaccine safety monitoring systems will watch for adverse events (possible side effects). CDC is working to expand safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as enhancing existing safety monitoring systems. See more information about vaccine safety from the CDC.
Q: How was the COVID-19 vaccine studied?
A: Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has been studied in large trials of over 30,000 volunteers and shown to be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 disease. The trials involved people of different ages, sex, race/ethnicity, weight and medical conditions.
Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems were excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, and so the currently available studies do not provide direct information about vaccine safety and effectiveness in these groups of people. The CDC recommends that those who are pregnant consult with their doctor before taking the vaccine.
Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to become infected or infect others?
A. No, you cannot become infected or infect others from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, because the vaccine contains no live virus. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus.
Q. How long will it take for COVID-19 vaccines to take effect?
A. The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to provide some protection a couple of weeks after your first shot and reaches its greatest effectiveness after your second shot. It is very important to take the second shot within the recommended time period for maximum vaccine effectiveness
Q. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?
A. The CDC recommends that those who are pregnant consult with their doctor before taking the vaccine. Pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems were excluded from the COVID-19 vaccine trials, and so the currently available studies do not provide direct information about vaccine safety and effectiveness in these groups of people.
Q. Can children get a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. The Moderna vaccine is currently approved for persons 18 and older and Pfizer is approved for persons 16 and older. A pediatric vaccine is expected in the coming months.
Q. When injected with the vaccine, am I being injected with COVID-19?
A. No, you are not being injected with the virus that causes COVID-19. None of the early COVID-19 vaccines tested in the U.S. use a live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. At this time, the vaccines closest to receiving approval are mRNA - messenger ribonucleic acid - vaccines. Like other vaccines, mRNA vaccines work by training the immune system to recognize a virus threat and begin producing antibodies to protect itself.
Q. After getting a flu shot, I always get the flu. Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to get COVID-19?
A. No, you cannot become infected, or infect others, from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, because the vaccine contains no live virus. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus. Some people develop flu-like symptoms, such as mild fever and muscle aches, after getting a flu vaccination. These symptoms are not the same as having influenza.
Q. I have allergies. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for me?
A. While serious allergic reactions were not seen in vaccine clinical trials of thousands of patients, rare allergic reactions to vaccines are possible. If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, you should discuss your situation with your healthcare provider. The current COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products such as eggs, preservatives, antibiotics or natural rubber latex.
Q. What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Some people may experience side effects, which are a part of the normal immune response to a vaccine. The majority of the side effects, while not seen in every individual, are signs that your body is recognizing the vaccine and mounting an immune response. Based on prior studies, side effects may include pain, redness and swelling at the site of the injection as well as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, nausea, malaise and swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms may occur within two days after the shot and last one to two days. Side effects may be more frequent after the second shot (booster) and less frequent among older adults
Long-term side effects are unknown, although most vaccines do not have long-term side effects. Vaccine studies are ongoing and will continue to monitor and watch for adverse events.
Q. It took four years to develop the mumps vaccine, how can the COVID-19 vaccine be safe and thoroughly tested so quickly?
A. Many things helped this vaccine get developed so rapidly. First, development of the COVID-19 vaccine began many years ago in researching for a vaccine to protect against Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), both of which are caused by coronaviruses. This research assisted with the fast development of the COVID-19 vaccine. Significant resources were invested to fund the research and clinical trials, accelerating timelines greatly. Joining existing trial sites instead of developing new sites was a time saver. The virus has a good vaccination target and relatively low mutation rate. Additionally, the amount of infection in the communities allowed scientists to quickly compare vaccinated to unvaccinated populations and conclusively shows the vaccine worked. Last, but not least, are the huge number of brave volunteers willing to try the “novel” vaccines during the clinical trials.
Q. How long will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19? Will this be an annual vaccination, like the flu?
A. We are still learning about length of immunity. To determine how long protection lasts, follow-up studies are required to detect levels of both types of immune responses – antibody and T cell – as well as any repeated exposure risks. As more information becomes available, more information will be shared on the length of immunity.
Q. Can I get COVID-19 after the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Although the first dose of vaccine offers some immunity, you will still be considered susceptible to COVID-19. The first dose of the vaccine will provide some protection, but the recommendation is to receive two doses to be protected as intended. Pfizer and Moderna have indicated their vaccines are approximately 95% effective.
Q. How does the COVID-19 vaccine cause my body to be protected?
A. Your immune system makes antibodies to fight infections. The COVID-19 vaccine causes your body to make antibodies that target the COVID-19 virus. In the event that your body is exposed to the actual COVID-19 virus, the new antibodies prevent infection.
Q. Is a COVID-19 vaccine a guarantee that I will not get the virus?
A. Like any vaccine, there is no guarantee that you won’t get the virus, but early indications are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 94%-95% effective in protecting against COVID-19, and other vaccines under development have shown to be 90% or more effective.
Q. How many people need to get the COVID-19 vaccine to have herd immunity to COVID-19?
A. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.
Q. If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, can I quit wearing a mask?
A. No. While the COVID-19 vaccine is highly effective, it not 100% effective. Until the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, people who receive the vaccine need to continue following Illinois Department of Public Health guidance such as the use of facemasks, social distancing, and regular hand washing. This protects you as well as your family and community.
Q: When will masking and social distancing be able to end, allowing us to get back to normal life?
A: Given the time it takes to get large quantities of the vaccine produced and distributed, we will need to continue our current mitigation practices for some time. It will remain important that vaccinated people continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and good hand hygiene to help prevent spread. Community infection rates will be continuously monitored and will be used to guide the decision process.
Additional information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found here: