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COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

The following will be updated as more information becomes available (last updated: Jan. 18, 20201).

Post-Vaccine Q&A (Jan. 2021)

Additional Q&A is available on the CDC website

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have gotten 2 doses of the vaccine?

Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more.

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.

To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:

Wear a mask over your nose and mouth Stay at least 6 feet away from others


Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

  • Avoid crowds
  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
  • Wash your hands often

Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.


Pre-vaccine Q&A (Dec. 2020)

Which vaccines are approved by the FDA?

The current list of approved COVID-19 vaccines include:

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

How will South Dakota ensure equitable distribution of the vaccines?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will make recommendations regarding priority populations for COVID vaccine. The Department of Health will post the information about vaccine availability and distribution on the website.

Who will be vaccinated first?

Individuals with highest risk will be part of the Phase 1 vaccination plan. The Department or Health has identified the following populations for initial COVID vaccination pending ACIP recommendations and the state’s vaccine allocation from the federal government:

  • Phase 1A – 19,000 individuals: Frontline healthcare workers in emergency rooms, ICUs, and COVID units, and acute care units for COVID patients o Long-term care facility healthcare workers;
  • Phase 1B – 11,000 individuals o Residents in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
How many doses will SD receive?

The federal government provides vaccine doses to states based on the State’s population.

Where can I go to get vaccinated?

In Phase 2 of the plan individuals may get vaccination from physicians, pharmacies, drive-through clinics, and other vaccination sites. As vaccine becomes available, location of vaccination sites will be found at

When will the vaccine be available?

Limited vaccine doses are expected to be available for Phase 1 distribution and administration by the end of 2020. In 2021, Phase 2 is expected to have sufficient supply for the general population.

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

Everyone will eventually be eligible to receive the COVID vaccination.

If I’m not eligible in the early phases, can I request an exception? -

At this time there will not be exceptions.

If I’m considered high-risk, is my whole household eligible for a vaccine?

Only the individual that is high risk will receive the vaccine during the early phases when supplies are limited.

Will I need two doses?

Yes. The vaccines that are coming to the market will require two doses to be effective.

How is the vaccine given?

The vaccine is provided by an injection.

What is the effectiveness of the vaccine?

The vaccines coming to the market have shown primary efficacy of 94-95%.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, an individual could experience symptoms, such as fever, after getting the vaccine as the body builds immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause an individual to test positive on COVID-19 tests? -

No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause a person to test positive on a viral test which is used to see if a person has a current COVID-19 infection. If a person develops an immune response following vaccination, a person could test positive on an antibody test which indicates if a person had a previous infection.

Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or piece of a protein. COVID-19 vaccines use mRNA to work with the body’s natural defenses to safety develop protection (immunity) to disease. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where a person’s DNA is kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with a person’s DNA in any way.

How often do I need to get vaccinated? -

Studies are ongoing and this data will be provided when available.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Typical side effects of any vaccine may include soreness and/or redness at the injection site and low grade fever. Studies are ongoing and this data will be provided when available

If I’m vaccinated and come into close contact with a positive case, do I still need to quarantine for 14 days?

Studies are ongoing and this data will be provided when available. But it is highly encouraged to continue to wear your masks, social distance and wash your hands after receiving a vaccine.

How long should a COVID-positive individual should wait to get a flu shot?

There is currently no data about timing of influenza vaccination in persons with COVID-19 or who are recovering from COVID-19 as it relates to influenza vaccine effectiveness. Individuals should consult with their medical provider if they have questions.

If an individual has already had COVID, will they need a vaccine?

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.