Coronavirus Vaccine Q & A

I heard that Howard University Hospital will be administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Is that true?

Yes. Howard University Hospital has been selected by the District of Columbia as a citywide hospitals to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to healthcare workers and District residents 65 years of age and older at the current moment. 

What is the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine contains synthetic mRNA, which is genetic information used to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike protein is the part of the virus that attaches to human cells. The vaccine works by training and preparing the body’s natural defenses (immune system) to recognize and fight off the virus and bacteria. If the body is exposed to the disease at a later time, it is immediately ready to destroy the germs and prevent illness. Two shots of the vaccine can prime the immune system to fight the virus.

Why should I take a COVID-19 vaccine?

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 will be one of the best ways to protect yourself, your family and everyone around you. If you are protected from getting COVID-19, you cannot pass the disease to others. The more people who get vaccinated against COVID-19, means there will be less disease in our communities and a chance to return to normalcy.

When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to Howard University Hospital?

Howard University Hospital currently has the Pfizer COVID-19 first vaccine.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine is reported to be 95 percent effective at decreasing the chance of acquiring the COVID-19 virus. 

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

Like any over the counter medicines, the vaccine will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), before it is distributed to the general public. These organizations follow stringent processes and a bevy of criteria to ensure that all information is made available about the risks and benefits of taking it.

How many times will I need to be vaccinated?

The Pfizer vaccines that Howard University Hospital has is a two shot process, 21 days a part.

Who is Howard University Hospital working with to administer the COVID-19 vaccine?

Howard University Hospital is working in conjunction with the District of Columbia Department of Health to administer the vaccine.

What is the distribution plan for the COVID-19 vaccine?

City residents age 65 and older are next in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with hospital officials regarding distribution times and dates.

Should I take the vaccine if I have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19?

Yes. The general recommendation is to get the vaccine, even if you were previously infected with the virus. Although COVID-19 reinfections are rare, natural antibody levels wane over time, so it is possible for a person to become infected more than once.

What are the COVID-19 vaccine side-effects?

The reported side effects (fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain in the area of the shot) of the COVID-19 vaccine are similar to the flu shot. 

How much will the vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to city residents at no cost. 

After I take the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask, social distance and wash my hands multiple times per day?

Yes. It’s important to continue to stay safe and practice CDC guidelines by wearing your mask above your nose and mouth at all times; thoroughly washing/sanitizing your hands multiple times per day; and social distancing by staying at least six feet apart from the next individual.