Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccines

As large scale clinical trials take place globally in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine, communities are doing what they can to reduce the spread. However, a safe and effective vaccine is critical in reaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and finding a path back to normalcy. 

As we await a vaccine, let’s explore some frequently asked questions about vaccines in general, in addition to those specific to COVID-19:

Question 1: What are vaccines and how do they work?

Answer 1: Vaccines are a way to boost your immune system in an effort to protect against a certain disease. Vaccinations contain dead or weakened forms of viral infections in order to help your body defend itself in case it comes into contact with viruses such as the flu, measles, chickenpox, or another illness already contained by global vaccines. They work by helping your body to build antibodies—or proteins that fight germs—before a full-blown infection develops.  

Q2: Why is it important to get vaccinated against infectious diseases?

A2: Potentially fatal diseases like polio, tetanus, and measles have been contained thanks to widespread vaccination. And although many dangerous illnesses have been suppressed thanks to vaccines, they still exist—that’s why it’s essential to receive the vaccines recommended by healthcare professionals for every age and life stage. 

Even more important is that getting vaccinated against preventable diseases helps to protect vulnerable communities. Young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and otherwise immunocompromised individuals depend on those around them to get vaccinated when they cannot. The flu, for example, may cause short-term illness among a middle-aged person but can be deadly for someone over the age of 75. Vaccines create healthier communities, so it’s important to follow the advice of your healthcare provider when it comes to the vaccines recommended for you.

Q3: What vaccines do I need?

A3: Which vaccines you need will depend on your age and certain risk factors. Pregnant women, for example, aren’t able to get certain vaccines during pregnancy.

Everyone over the age of six months should receive a flu vaccination. Depending on age, other vaccinations that may be recommended to you are:

Before 2 years of age:

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccines.
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Polio vaccine
  • Rotavirus vaccine

Children ages 4-6:

  • Chickenpox (varicella) vaccine
  • Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTaP) vaccine
  • Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Polio vaccine


  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap)
  • Meningitis


  • Tetanus booster
  • Pneumococcal vaccine
  • Shingles vaccine
  • DTap (during pregnancy for women)

Q4: Will a vaccine give me the disease it’s meant to prevent?

A4: A vaccine will not infect you with the illness it’s created to prevent. They are components of viruses that promote the immune response and cannot be transmitted via vaccine. 

Vaccines undergo rigorous testing through clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective for those who receive it. Most side effects, if any, are mild—like a sore arm, fatigue, or mild fever. 

Q5: What is a COVID-19 vaccine?

A5: One of the most essential steps in reaching the end of the current pandemic is finding a way to reduce the spread from person to person—and a COVID-19 vaccine is one way to accomplish just that. 

Once approved, the COVID-19 vaccine will help boost immune systems against the pandemic-causing coronavirus. The vaccine being created is slightly different from others such as the flu vaccine. While others use a dead form of the virus, the COVID-19 vaccine essentially gives instructions to cells on how to make a small piece of the COVID-19 virus to allow the immune system to create defensive antibodies as a response. While data is continuing to be reviewed, early reports show marked reduction in COVID infection in those who receive the vaccine versus those that receive the placebo. And though a vaccine may not be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19, it may lessen the severity of symptoms and help those exposed to combat symptoms of the virus.

Q6: When will the COVID-19 vaccine be ready?

A6: First things first: It will be months before most people can receive the vaccine, so be patient and don’t rush out to your doctor’s office or pharmacy in hopes of getting one right away.

It’s up to states to allocate their share of vaccines, but the CDC has recommended that frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the vaccine first. Other high-priority groups include essential workers, emergency personnel and those with underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of complications or death.

Q7: How can I get Vaccinated now?

A7: Consider volunteering for a local vaccine trial. The Medical Group of South Florida is collaborating with Health Awareness on a COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Research study. The clinical trials are conducted in our Jupiter office and are a necessary step towards the development of finding a safe and effective vaccine.

We are looking for participants 18 years and older. If you or someone you know is interested, please call (561) 556-4733. Clinical Research participants are typically compensated for their time and also receive all study-related treatment and study-related medical care at no cost. Health insurance is not required and participation is voluntary.

Help us as we work towards finding a Vaccine for COVID-19 and call (561) 556-4733 today! Volunteer here:

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