About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Last updated on January 11, 2022

About the Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given emergency use authorization to two COVID-19 vaccines, made by pharmaceutical companies Moderna and Janssen (which is owned by Johnson & Johnson), for use in those age 18 and older. The FDA gave full approval of the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine for use in those age 16 and older and emergency use authorization for use in those ages 5-15.

These vaccines work by giving the immune system a “sneak peek” of what the coronavirus looks like without causing COVID-19. Your immune system will then remember the virus for a period of time and be able to specifically target the full, live virus if you are exposed to it.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, three to four weeks apart. The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose.

The vaccines do not contain the actual virus, and they will not cause you to get COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain thimerosal, mercury, antibiotics or preservatives. There are no plans to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine, and individuals must give informed consent to receive it.

The most commonly reported side effects of the vaccine included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, nausea, chills, joint pain and fever.

If you have any questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, schedule a separate appointment with your primary care provider to discuss them before receiving your vaccine. This will prevent delays.

Up to date

For individuals ≥18 years of age:



Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna within the last 5 months or
Completed the primary series of J&J within the last 2 months

For individuals 5–17 years of age:

Completed the primary series of COVID-19 vaccines

Not up to date



Has not completed the primary series of any COVID-19 vaccine

For individuals 
18 years of age:
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna over 5 months ago and is not boosted
Completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and is not boosted

Why Get the Vaccine

There are many reasons to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including:

  • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect your body.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness. It lowers your chance of getting COVID-19 and its associated health risks.
  • The vaccine is our best tool to end the pandemic.

Vaccine Distribution

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available throughout Hood River County. Visit our Get a Vaccine and Events pages for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

The federal government covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare providers may charge your insurance company or your employer a fee to administer the vaccine. You will not be charged anything to get the vaccine.

The Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires just one dose. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses 28 days apart. The different vaccine products are interchangeable, and the series of two doses must be completed with the same vaccine product.

The most important part is to get your second dose of the same type of vaccine (i.e., Moderna or Pfizer) that your first was. If a second dose of the same brand is available from a different location/provider where you received your first dose, it is fine to get it there.

Studies show that the COVID-19 vaccine will prevent illness by building immunity. It is too early to know how the vaccine will prevent transmission of the virus. The currently available COVID-19 vaccines attack the virus’s ability to invade your body’s cells. One study showed that those who have been vaccinated are less likely to harbor the virus. 

No, you do not need to isolate from others after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.


If it has been at least 14 days since you were fully vaccinated (i.e., you received your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or you received the single-dose Janssen vaccine), you do not need to quarantine if you have had close contact with someone with COVID-19. If you do develop COVID-19 symptoms, you should isolate and get tested.

The COVID-19 vaccines given emergency use authorization and approval in the U.S. are safe and effective. The vaccines were tested in large-scale research, which included individuals from all backgrounds.

The most commonly reported side effects of the vaccine included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, nausea, chills, joint pain and fever. For more information about side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, click here.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines, you should talk with your healthcare provider about whether a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe for you. However, those who have a history of allergies to food, pets, venom, environmental factors, latex or oral medications may still get vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects data through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) to continue to confirm that authorized or approved vaccines are both safe and effective.

VAERS is way for healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers and the general public to submit information about any health problem that occurs after vaccination — even if the problem can’t be definitively linked to the vaccination itself.

Healthcare providers and vaccine manufacturers are mandatory reporters to VAERS; members of the public are encouraged to report any adverse health event after vaccination. Learn more or report an event here.

It is too early to know how long immunity will last for the current COVID-19 vaccines.

Please discuss your unique healthcare concerns and the COVID-19 vaccine with your healthcare provider.

The COVID-19 vaccine does not affect or alter your body’s genetic code, or DNA. Messenger RNA vaccines work by teaching cells in the body how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. They do not interact with your DNA in any way. You can learn more about this type of vaccine here.

Currently, only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use in those ages 5-11 and approved for use in those age 16 and older. (The Moderna and Janssen/J&J vaccines are authorized for use in those 18 and older.)

It is now recommended that people 18 and older choose the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, instead of Johnson & Johnson, given the greater effectiveness and stronger safety profile of these mRNA vaccines.
If your first dose was Johnson & Johnson:
– You are eligible for and should get a booster 2 months after your first dose.
– Choose Pfizer or Moderna as your booster dose. There are a few exceptions to this recommendation, and you can still request a Johnson & Johnson vaccine if you want one.
Visit the OHA FAQ page for more information. Please talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and your health.

Some employers in Oregon have announced that they plan to require that employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. Employers may also require workers to document their COVID-19 vaccination status.

Read more on vaccination in the workplace from the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries. 

A breakthrough case happens when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least 14 days after getting their final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Oregon Health Authority reports breakthrough cases monthly on its COVID-19 webpage. Scroll down to the section that says “Breakthrough Cases Report.” 

Read about third doses and boosters here.