Frequently asked questions about getting vaccinated for COVID-19

In order to fight this pandemic, it's important to use every tool we have to defend ourselves. In addition to masks and social distancing, vaccines work with your immune system to give your body a better chance of fighting off the virus if you do get it. The CDC further explains the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.


How do I sign up to get my vaccine at Main Line Health?

Main Line Health is now offering the Pfizer vaccine to anyone 12 and older who wishes to be vaccinated.

Learn more about registering for a vaccine at Main Line Health

Why get vaccinated?

There are many reasons to get vaccinated. Different people also have their own individual reasons why vaccination is important to them, including:

  • To protect yourself and others
  • To kickstart widespread immunity
  • To return to the activities, people and places you love
  • To demonstrate trust in medical science

What is the Delta variant?

While several variants have been identified (Delta, Alpha, Gamma, Beta)—and there will be more mutations to come—the Delta variant is spreading the most quickly. Learn more about the delta variant.

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines against this variant?

Although the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines is slightly lower against the different virus variants (Delta and Lambda), vaccination is scientifically proven to be the most effective way to protect yourself and others against contracting the coronavirus. For those who experience a breakthrough infection (vaccinated but contract COVID-19), symptoms are reported to be milder compared to those who are unvaccinated.

What are COVID-19 breakthrough infections?

Breakthrough infections are when individuals fully vaccinated for COVID-19 contract the virus. Breakthrough infections are incredibly rare — less than 1% of fully vaccinated individuals contract coronavirus. Fully vaccinated individuals are 95% protected against the virus.

Why is the Delta variant a concern for children under 12?

As schools prepare to reopen this fall, the highly transmissible Delta variant is a concern for children under 12 years old because they are not yet eligible for vaccination. The FDA has not approved using the different vaccines for this age group. Trials are underway for a low-dose version of the vaccine with approval for use expected later this year.

Across the Philadelphia region and country, school districts have varying guidance about mask mandates, which increases the chance of transmission of the virus among this vulnerable age group. The most effective way to reduce the risk of infection for children under 12 is for individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to get vaccinated.

I lost my COVID-19 immunization card. How do I receive a new card?

To receive a new COVID-19 immunization card, please follow the process listed on our Obtain Copies of Your Medical Records page.

Why did the COVID-19 vaccines get approved so quickly?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes an emergency vaccine only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.

How were the vaccines evaluated?

The safety and efficacy of the vaccines were reviewed by panels of independent experts.

There are no reported serious safety concerns from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The CDC and the FDA will continue to monitor individuals who have received the vaccines to ensure there’s no evidence of even rare safety issues.

How do we know the COVID vaccines are safe?

Many people are concerned about vaccine safety because of how quickly the vaccines have been developed. In an emergency like a pandemic, the FDA can make a judgment that it’s worth releasing something for use, even without the typical timeline for a new vaccine or drug.

The Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued was based on evidence that strongly suggests patients have benefited from the vaccine in clinical trials.

Current data from the manufacturers for both vaccines strongly indicate they are safe and effective. You can read more about the benefits of being vaccinated. These vaccines will continue to be studied, as is true with all vaccines.

What if I'm immunocompromised?

Vaccination is a personal decision. If you are immunocompromised or have concerns about vaccine side effects, make an appointment to discuss these concerns with your health care provider. The CDC has more information available for people who are immunocompromised.

What if I'm pregnant? Do I still get vaccinated?

Pregnant patients may be vaccinated, but it's important to talk with your provider to help you decide whether vaccination is right for you. Vaccination for disease such as COVID-19, which has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), often demonstrates greater benefit than risk. Here is more information on COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy and breastfeeding.

What are the COVID-19 vaccination side effects?

As with any vaccination, side effects vary. Some people may have some; others none at all. Here is what you need to know:

  • The immunization process can cause minor symptoms. This is normal.
  • Both Pfizer and Moderna reported side effects as mild to moderate.
  • Shots may cause mild flu-like effects, including sore arms, muscle aches and fever.
  • You will be monitored for 15 minutes after your vaccination.

Can I be vaccinated if I have my mammogram scheduled?

COVID-19 vaccines may lead to temporary swelling in the lymph nodes, which may make your breast screening study difficult to interpret. If you are scheduled for a routine screening mammogram or breast MRI, schedule your screening before you receive your first dose or wait until four to six weeks after receiving your second dose. If you are scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram, keep your regularly scheduled appointment.

Do not delay preventive screening further. The earlier breast cancer is found, the greater the chance for better outcomes. If you have questions or concerns, talk with your health care provider about what is best for you.

Can I get COVID from being vaccinated?

You cannot get COVID-19 from being vaccinated. The vaccines being produced in the United States contain no live virus. Research continues regarding vaccination and antibody testing. Get the COVID-19 facts from the CDC.

Is a booster shot the same as a third dose of the vaccine?

No, a booster shot is not the same as a third dose of the vaccine. Third doses can be administered as early as 28 days after a second dose, and are reserved only for those with a weakened immune system who may not have mounted a full response to the initial two shots of the vaccine. If you’re unsure about whether a third dose of the vaccine is appropriate for you, talk to your primary care provider.