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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccinations 

Safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19 are now available and will be a key step to slow spread of the virus and protect our community’s health. Vaccines are being made available to the public in a phased approach over time.

This FAQ was created with the best information available at the time of publication. It may be updated with new information over time, as more details become available.

UPDATE JANUARY 2021 — K–12 educators are included in Oregon’s priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines are not yet generally available for families and community members but will become available for all over time. No vaccine is yet authorized for children under 16.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2021 — All 4J educators have been offered the opportunity to receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and the first group of staff has received their second dose.

UPDATE MARCH 2021 — 4J’s final staff vaccination clinic will be on April 2 and all 4J educators will have had the opportunity to receive both doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Over the past two months all staff have been provided opportunities to receive the COVID vaccine and a large percentage did.

UPDATE APRIL 2021 — All Oregonians age 16 and over will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 19, although supplies remain limited. The district is partnering with community providers to make COVID-19 vaccines available to 4J students age 16 and over. At this time there is no vaccine yet authorized for children under 16.

UPDATE MAY 2021 — The FDA is currently considering authorization of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered to children ages 12–15. The district will continue to provide additional student vaccine opportunities as vaccines are authorized for younger age groups.   

Vaccines for 4J Students and Families

Are vaccines available for students and families?

Vaccines for 4J Staff

Is the district providing staff vaccinations?
Are 4J employees in a priority group to receive the vaccine?
When will the vaccine be available for 4J employees?
Who will give the vaccine shots?
Can I get my first shot from another provider, and get my second shot with 4J?

How will 4J employees know when the vaccine is available?
Which 4J team members will be eligible to receive the vaccine?
Will all 4J employees receive the vaccine on the same day?
Will all staff in a school or department receive the vaccine on the same day?
What would keep an employee from receiving the vaccine?
Can 4J employees’ family members get the vaccine too?
Which vaccine will 4J staff receive?
Will there be a cost for the vaccine?
Will employees need to use leave time to get the vaccine?
How long will the appointment take?
Are 4J staff members required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Will staff who have been vaccinated still wear face masks at work?
Outside of the workplace, should people who have been vaccinated still wear a mask and keep their distance from others?

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

What vaccines are available in the United States?
Are the vaccines safe?
Will there be enough vaccines for everyone?
Why should people get the vaccine?
Who should consider getting the vaccine? Who should not get it?
Should someone who has already had COVID-19 get the vaccine?
Can children receive the vaccine?
Can those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant get the vaccine?
How is the vaccine given?
How many doses of the vaccine are needed?
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
How will a vaccination protect me from COVID-19?
When will the vaccine be effective?
Can someone who has been vaccinated still be a carrier?
If I get the vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19?
What are the most common side effects of the vaccine?
How do I know whether I am having an immune response to the vaccine or if I have COVID-19?
How should I monitor my health and report if I experience an immune response?
What are the risks of the vaccine?
What are the long-term effects of the vaccine?
How can I learn more?


 

COVID Vaccinations for 4J Students 

Are vaccines available for students and families? 

Starting April 19, all Oregonians age 16 and over are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, although it will take time for enough vaccine doses to be available for everyone.

Eugene School District 4J is partnering with community providers to make COVID-19 vaccines available to 4J students. Vaccine clinic dates and information are being shared when available.

Vaccination appointments also are available through many local sources including Lane County and various pharmacies and healthcare providers. 

At this time there is no vaccine available yet for children under age 16, but one is currently being considered for authorization for ages 12–15.   

 

COVID Vaccinations for 4J Staff

Is the district providing vaccines for staff? 

Yes, the district worked with our healthcare partners and Lane County Public Health to provide vaccines to all 4J staff. Safe and effective vaccines have been developed, but vaccine supplies are limited while production ramps up. As such, not all staff were able to receive a vaccine at the same time and had to be prioritized, with the first doses going to staff such as those who work with the youngest grades that would be the first to begin hybrid in-person learning when the time comes. Roughly one-fifth of 4J staff were given their first vaccine dose on January 29. Over the following weeks, as supplies increased and the district received additional doses, all staff were provided the opportunity to be vaccinated.  

Are 4J employees in a priority group to receive the vaccine? 

Visual of COVID vaccine priority groups 1A and 1B in Oregon Yes. States are prioritizing delivery of vaccines to certain groups before the general public. Oregon included preK–12 education staff high on this priority list. K–12 school and district staff were in the first group of Phase 1b. Information on where and when to get vaccinated was provided directly to staff members when it was their turn. 

Oregon Educators Eligible for Vaccination   

When was the vaccine made available for 4J employees?

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that K–12 and early learning educators and staff, early learning and childcare providers will be eligible to receive vaccines starting January 25. On January 29, the first allotment of vaccines was administered to roughly one-fifth of 4J staff. As vaccines are in limited supply, the district must prioritize the vaccines. The first availability of vaccines was targeted to staff such as those who have the most contact with students and community, and those who work with the youngest grades that would be the first to begin hybrid in-person learning when the time comes. 4J nurses and other health services staff received the vaccine earlier due to their roles as healthcare workers. Over the following weeks, vaccines have been be available to all education staff and to other groups in Oregon’s rollout plan, but it will take time for all Oregonians to be able to get their shots.  

Who gave the vaccine shots? 

The district worked closely with our healthcare partners, particularly Cascade Health, to administer vaccinations to 4J employees, staff from some neighboring districts, and other education providers such as charter schools and early childhood education.  

Can I get my first shot from another provider, and get my second shot with 4J? 

The care provider that gives the first dose is expected to also give the second dose.   

How will 4J employees know when the vaccine is available?

The district notified 4J staff by email and/or text message when the vaccine was available to them. 

Which 4J team members will be eligible to receive the vaccine? 

At this time staff are being contacted individually when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. We are seeking to ensure that all 4J staff have the opportunity to receive the vaccine over time, including part-time staff, temporary staff, substitutes, student teachers, staff on leave, and athletic coaches (including unpaid volunteers).

Will all 4J employees receive the vaccine on the same day? 

No. The first round of vaccines—about 3,000 doses—began on January 29 and will continue over multiple days and weeks. Vaccine supplies are limited and will not be provided all at once. Certain groups of staff, such as those who are likely to have more contact with students, will be scheduled earlier than others.  

Will all staff in a school or department receive the vaccine on the same day? 

The staff of each school or department may be scheduled to be vaccinated over multiple days, not all at one time, in case some staff need to be absent from work after receiving the vaccine. Most people receiving the vaccine experience no, mild or moderate side effects—but in some cases their immune response may make them feel too unwell to continue their regular daily activities for a day or two.   

What would keep an employee from receiving the vaccine? 

A person should not receive the vaccine on a day when they are unwell, or if they have received any other immunization in the past two weeks. 

A small number of people should not receive the vaccine due to the risk of allergic reactions—such as if they are allergic to polysorbate or polyethylene glycol (PEG), or have had allergic reactions to certain vaccines or vaccine ingredients in the past (see below).

Can 4J employees’ family members get the vaccine too? 

Not through the district at this time. Vaccination through the district is limited to eligible education employees.

Some of your family members may be able to receive the vaccine separately, from another provider, if they are in another group that is eligible in Group 1a or 1b, such as frontline healthcare workers, first responders, or older adults. At this time there is no vaccine authorized for use in children under 16. 

Which vaccine will 4J staff receive? 

As of January 2021, there are two safe, highly effective vaccines authorized for use in the United States, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. To ensure vaccines are available to 4J staff, we will accept whichever vaccine is available. People being vaccinated should receive the same vaccine for both doses. 

Will there be a cost for the vaccine? 

No. We want to make it as easy as possible for 4J staff to receive the vaccine. It will be offered to 4J employees at no cost.

Will employees need to use leave time to get the vaccine?

No. We want to make it as easy as possible for 4J staff to receive the vaccine. 4J employees may attend COVID vaccine appointments without using leave time. When the time comes to schedule your vaccinations, if you have a choice of times, please coordinate with your supervisor and do your best to select a time that does not create an impact on your students or coworkers (e.g. avoid scheduling during synchronous teaching time).

How long will the appointment take? 

Expect your vaccine appointment to take longer than when you get your annual flu shot. People who get a COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored on site for immune reactions after getting the shot. People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy should be monitored for at least 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people should be monitored for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine, CDC recommends.

Are 4J staff members required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. At this time the vaccine is optional.

Will staff who have been vaccinated still wear face masks at work?

Yes. The vaccine is an important layer of protection against the transmission of COVID-19, but it is just one layer. Vaccination does not change the need to be diligent about other practices such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, and proper use of personal protective equipment. All of these health and safety measures are still required for everyone in 4J, whether vaccinated or not.

4J COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan 

Outside of the workplace, should people who have been vaccinated still wear a mask and keep their distance from others?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others and washing hands frequently. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

 

About the COVID-19 Vaccine 

What vaccines are available in the United States? 

At this time, there are two highly effective vaccines authorized for use in the United States, produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. Additional vaccines are still being developed and tested.

Pfizer/BioNTech: 

Moderna: 

CDC: Different COVID-19 Vaccines 

Are the vaccines safe? 

Large-scale clinical trials have shown the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe and effective.

Due to the global pandemic, both vaccines were tested in many more people than a typical vaccine trial, including adults from all backgrounds. Data from this research show both vaccines were over 94 percent effective and neither reported serious safety issues. Similar to other vaccines, scientists will continue to carefully study the COVID-19 vaccines for side effects now and for years afterward.  

OHA: COVID-19 Vaccine Myths & Facts
CDC: Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines  

U.S.HHS: Tell Me More About Vaccine Safety


Will there be enough vaccines for everyone?

Yes—eventually. There was a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines before the end of 2020, but the vaccine supply is expected to increase gradually throughout the first half of 2021. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as quantities are available.

Why should people get the vaccine? 

COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. The available vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. The vaccine will make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19, and may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also help protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. 

CDC: Benefits of Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine 

Who should consider getting the vaccine? Who should not get it?  

Over time, nearly everyone should consider getting vaccinated against COVID-19! 

The vaccine is available only to certain groups right now because there is currently a limited supply, but supply will increase in the coming months. The goal is for everyone in the U.S. to be able to easily get vaccinated as soon as large enough quantities are available. There is currently no vaccine authorized for children, but studies are underway. 

A small number of people should not receive the vaccine due to the risk of allergic reactions: 

  • People who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
  • If you had a severe allergic reaction, or an immediate allergic reaction* that was not severe, after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. 
  • If you have had a severe allergic reaction, or an immediate allergic reaction* that was not severe, to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.  
  • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction* to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.
  • * An immediate allergic reaction means a reaction within 4 hours of getting vaccinated (although most occur within 15–30 minutes after vaccination), including symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress).

Other allergies are okay. The currently available vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. People with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, oral medication, or latex allergies—can and should get vaccinated, CDC recommends. People with a family history of severe allergic reactions also can get vaccinated. 

CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions

Should someone who has already had COVID-19 get the vaccine? 

Yes. There is not yet enough information to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Some people have been infected more than once, especially if their initial infection was mild. Given these unknowns, it is recommended that people be vaccinated even if they have previously been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Can children receive the vaccine? 

Teens age 16 and up can receive the Pfizer vaccine. At this time there is no vaccine authorized for use in children under 16, but studies are underway.

Can those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant get the vaccine?

Yes. COVID-19 poses an increased risk for severe illness for pregnant people. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.

People who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, and are part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, may get the vaccine. Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, these groups were not included in initial vaccine trials and the risk to the baby is unknown. Please talk to your primary healthcare provider to help you make an informed decision.

How is the vaccine given? 

Both of the currently authorized vaccines are given as a shot in the muscle of the upper arm.

How many doses of the vaccine are needed?

The COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States as of January 2020 require two doses to be fully effective. Doses will be administered at least three to four weeks apart. People being vaccinated should receive the same vaccine for both doses. Public health experts say you should get the second shot even if you had some side effects after the first one, unless you had an immediate or severe allergic reaction or a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No, the vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized or in development in the United States do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that it is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

How will a vaccination protect me from COVID-19?

Vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight a virus, in this case COVID-19. Typically vaccination makes it much less likely that you will contract a virus, and if you do get sick you will be much less likely to have serious illness.

CDC: Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work
CDC: Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

When will the vaccine be effective? 

Based upon the information we currently have, immunity will begin to develop after the first dose and should be fully developed within a few weeks of receiving the second dose of the vaccine. We will not know how long immunity lasts until vaccine recipients are followed over longer periods of time. This will also help determine whether further booster doses are required. Studies to further explore this and the duration of the immunity are ongoing.

Can someone who has been vaccinated still be a carrier?

This is unknown, although the likelihood of carrying the disease to others is significantly reduced if a person is not actively infected. For now, persons who have been vaccinated should still follow protocols to reduce the possibility of transmission.

If I get the vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19?

No, you will not test positive for COVID-19, but you may test positive on some antibody tests

FDA: An Introduction to COVID-19 Tests


What are the most common side effects of the vaccine?

Most people have experienced mild, moderate, or no side effects of the vaccine. Common mild or moderate immune responses (side effects) of the vaccine can include discomfort, redness or swelling on the arm where the shot was administered, fatigue, nausea, fever, chills, muscle pain, joint pain and headache. Side effects may feel like flu and may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days. These immune responses, which are more common after the second dose of the vaccine, are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do—building up protection to the virus. 

CDC: What to expect at your COVID-19 vaccination appointment
CDC: What to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

How do I know whether I am having an immune response to the vaccine or if I have COVID-19?

The vaccine cannot cause COVID-19, but it is possible that someone might get sick at around the same time as they receive the vaccine. If you are experiencing other symptoms that are not consistent with an immune response—such as coughing and shortness of breath, which are not normal reactions to the vaccine—and/or these symptoms occur outside of the window when you might expect an immune response, you may have COVID-19 (or something else), and should stay home and contact your supervisor.

How should I monitor my health and report if I experience an immune response?

Image illustrating the CDC v-safe post-vaccination health monitoring appImage illustrating the CDC v-safe post-vaccination health monitoring app. Readable text says "v-safe after vaccination health checker. Get vaccinated. Get your smartphone. Get started with v-safe."CDC has made an app available that will keep track of when and which vaccine you need for your second dose, provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination download, and report any immune responses to the vaccine. Using the app to share this information will continue to contribute to our understanding of the vaccine.

CDC: V-Safe After-Vaccination Health Checker 

What are the risks of the vaccine?

Most people have experienced mild, moderate, or no immune responses to the vaccine. The vaccines were tested in large-scale research and no serious safety issues were identified. However, like any medicine or vaccine, this vaccine could cause a serious problem such as an allergic reaction. Based upon information currently known, the risk of this vaccine causing serious harm or death is small, but possible. The COVID-19 vaccines are new, and some effects may not yet be known.

What are the long-term effects of the vaccine?

The long-term effects of the vaccine are unknown, including how long it provides immunity. Patients in vaccine studies will continue to be monitored by the FDA and the CDC for 24 months to allow researchers to learn more about these impacts. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine whether the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and what the best course of action may be.

How can I learn more?

Be sure to carefully review any materials provided to you when you are notified that you are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before you schedule your vaccine. 

If you seek out other information about the COVID-19 vaccine, look for reliable, authoritative sources, such as the CDC or trusted healthcare officials and providers. 

Online resources include: 

Oregon Health Authority (OHA) COVID-19 vaccine website
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 vaccine website

COVID-19 Vaccines Q&A: Surgeon General Jerome Adams Answers Frequently Asked Questions

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