Updated 1/26/2021

SONJ will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Expand each for full details

Who is eligible to get the vaccine?

New Jersey is currently providing vaccines for individuals in Groups 1A and 1B. This includes Healthcare personnel, long-term care residents and staff, first responders, and individuals at high risk.  High risk includes those with chronic kidney and lung disease (COPD), heart conditions, obesity, Down Syndrome, smoking, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and sickle-cell disease. – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/who-is-eligible-for-vaccination-in-new-jersey-who-is-included-in-the-vaccination-phases

Can I get COVID from the vaccine?

No. The 2 approved vaccines do not contain the live virus which causes COVID-19. – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-do-covid-19-vaccines-work

If I tested positive for COVID-19, do I need the vaccine?

Maybe! As of now, experts do not know how long someone is protected after getting sick. https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-do-covid-19-vaccines-work

Will the vaccine prevent me from getting sick?

The current medical information shows that the vaccine protects most people by creating an immune response without making you sick. – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-do-covid-19-vaccines-work

Will the vaccine change my DNA?

The vaccine is not able to alter or change a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/how-do-covid-19-vaccines-work

Are there side-effects to the vaccine?

After receiving an injection of a COVID-19 vaccine, you will be observed for 15 minutes by healthcare staff to monitor any side effects.  Observation may be longer (30 minutes) if you have a history of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction).

Like many vaccines, a COVID-19 vaccine may cause some temporary discomfort. In addition to a sore arm, side effects of the vaccines may include tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, feeling unwell, and swollen lymph nodes. There is a small chance that vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour, which is why all individuals should be observed for at least 15 minutes after vaccination and 30 minutes if they have a history of a severe allergic reaction due to any cause. – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/slowing-the-spread/are-covid-19-vaccines-safe-and-effective-how-were-they-tested-and-approved

Is the vaccine free?

Noone will have to pay for the vaccine. Your insurance may be billed, however, there will be no cost to the individual. – https://covid19.nj.gov/faqs/nj-information/assistance-and-benefits/is-the-covid-19-vaccine-free-what-if-i-dont-have-insurance

Can I choose which vaccine to get?

Maybe. You may be able to ask which vaccine your site is giving.

How many shots do I need?

You currently need 2 doses of the vaccine. You should get your second dose within 2-3 weeks from the first dose and it should be the same vaccine as the first one.

Where can I get my vaccine?

Once you register and receive an email to schedule an appointment, you can use this list to find a site. – https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-eligible-recipients


The NJ COVID-19 Information Hub. https://covid19.nj.gov/ – This is the State of New Jersey’s central hub for all information regarding the pandemic, vaccines, travel, and workplace restrictions.

COVID-19 Vaccine information – https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine – you can register for the vaccine, determine eligibility, and find out where the vaccines will be distributed.

The Arc of New Jersey webpage with additional resources and videos for individuals with I/DD, DSP’s, and families – https://www.arcnj.org/information/covid-19-updates-information/covid-19-vaccine-information.html