COVID-19 Vaccines | Coronavirus Resources | Loyola Medicine

COVID-19 Vaccines

Loyola Medicine is currently vaccinating patients aged 12 years and older who are recommended for vaccination. Anyone under 18 years old will need to come with their parent/guardian for their vaccine appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Vaccinated

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine is now available for children 12- to 15- years old, and everyone age 16 and older. We are vaccinating everyone eligible as directed by the local state and county health departments. Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website for more information.

What is a vaccine?

Think of a vaccine as a way for your immune system to practice for an infection. Vaccines give the body a preview of a virus or bacteria before you get the real deal. The immune system then learns and remembers how to react. This helps the body stop the virus or bacteria from making you sick if you are exposed to it.

Will the vaccine protect against variants?

Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most variants. However, some variants might cause illness in some people after they are fully vaccinated.

How are vaccine appointments scheduled? How do I get signed up?

Loyola Medicine is currently vaccinating patients aged 12 years and older who are recommended for vaccination. Anyone under 18 years old will need to come with their parent/guardian for their vaccine appointment. Please check myLoyola for up-to-date scheduling information. If there are no appointments, please continue to check back for openings.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

All persons ages 12 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website for more information.

How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

The COVID-19 vaccine gives your immune system a preview of the coronavirus, so it learns how to stop it. It triggers antibodies in your blood to attack the virus’s unique spike protein. (Did you know, coronaviruses got their name because they have protein spikes that look like a crown?)

Your immune system learns from the vaccine how to quickly recognize the actual virus and stop it from multiplying. The idea is to stop SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from getting into cells, replicating itself and making you sick.

How many doses are needed and can I skip a dose?

Two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are needed to provide the complete protection. The first one primes the immune system, helping it to recognize the virus, and the second one strengthens the immune response. If the vaccine you received requires two doses, you should receive both doses. The vaccine’s approximately 95% effectiveness is based on both doses taken by more than 78,000 clinical trial participants.

The Johnson and Johnson requires just a single dose for full immunization.

Can the vaccine give me the virus?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines are made with a live virus. They cannot give you COVID-19.

Does a person who has already been sick with COVID need to be vaccinated?

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, it is recommended everyone eligible get a COVID-19 vaccine-even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Children and the Vaccine

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use authorization (EUA) in the United States are safe. The vaccines go through the same testing and clinical trials as all vaccines and no serious safety concerns have been identified.

Can my child get the vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for those ages 12 and older. Vaccinating this age group will help kids get back to their normal lives including school, sports and more, while keeping high-risk family members and others safe.  The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are authorized for use by adults 18 years and older. Additional studies are underway to determine safety and effectiveness for younger children.

What are the benefits of vaccinating children?

While most children are at lower risk for severe illness from COVID-19, there are still many unknown long-term effects. While uncommon, it is also possible for children infected with COVID-19 to become seriously ill or worse. Vaccination also allows for safe return to activities and normal life. Vaccination will:

  • Prevent the risk of serious illness including Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
  • Eliminate the need to quarantine if your child is exposed to COVID-19 at school or elsewhere
  • Keep your child from missing sporting events or extracurricular activities after exposure
  • Prevent long-term effects of COVID-19
  • Avoid passing COVID-19 infection to family members and others at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19

How effective are COVID-19 vaccines in children ages 12-15?

Clinical trials show COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in children ages 12-15. In fact, data shows the immune response for children was better than trial participants ages 16-25, with no COVID cases in the vaccinated group.

What side effects are common in children?

Side effects in children ages 12-15 were like those in ages 16-25. The most common side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Fatigue (feeling tired)
  • Headache

Will kids get the same dose of the vaccine as adults?

For the Pfizer vaccine, 12- to 15-year-olds will receive the same dosing as adults. Clinical trials tested the adult dose and two smaller doses to determine safety and efficacy. This dose was proven safe and shown to be most effective for this age group.

Could COVID-19 vaccines impact puberty or menstruation?

There is no clinical evidence to suggest COVID vaccines have effects on puberty or fertility.

Will COVID-19 vaccines be required by schools?

It will be up to each state's government to decide whether a COVID-19 vaccine is required for school entry. Many colleges and universities in the U.S. have announced they will require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Are other countries giving COVID-19 vaccines to children?

Yes. Canada's health department authorized the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children 12- to 15- years of age on May 5, 2021.

After Vaccination

When am I considered fully vaccinated?

The vaccine requires two doses three or four weeks apart, depending upon vaccine. Immunity takes some time to develop- at least two weeks after last the last injection. For example, someone vaccinated in late December won’t be fully protected until late January or early February.

What are common vaccine side effects?

Side effects are like other vaccines. The most common side effects are pain/redness at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle/joint aches and low-grade fever. The side effects respond well to Tylenol and ibuprofen. Most side effects last less than 24 hours and those ages 55 and older reporter fewer side effects.

What can I do after I am fully vaccinated?

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people (including children) from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Participate in outdoor activities and recreation without a mask, except in certain crowded settings and venues
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if asymptomatic and feasible

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in indoor public settings like wearing a well-fitted mask
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear well-fitted masks when visiting indoors with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid indoor large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

I've been fully vaccinated, but am having COVID-19 symptoms. Should I get tested?

Although the risk that fully vaccinated people could become infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person who experiences symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should isolate themselves from others, be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, and tested for COVID-19, if indicated. The symptomatic fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status at the time of care.

Safety and Development

For information about the safety and development of the COVID-19 vaccines, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and prevention website.

I Still Have Questions, Where Can I Get More Information?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website has trusted, up-to-date information on COVID-19.