COVID-19 vaccine FAQ

En Español

6 answers to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine

As of this writing, vaccines in Monterey County have begun to the 75+ community as well as people 65 or older in certain zip codes or occupations considered at higher risk of infection. By the time you read this, you may have already received one or both of your vaccines. Whether you are weighing the decision to get vaccinated, or have been vaccinated already, we have the answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs) you may have. 

1. If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I need a vaccine? 

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and because reinfection is possible, people who have been sick with COVID-19 should be vaccinated. 

2. What can I expect after receiving the first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

People have reported side effects from the vaccines, including pain where the vaccine was injected, body aches, headaches, or fever, lasting for a day or two. Good news — the vast majority of side effects are mild and very short-term. 

After either dose, if you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. However, you should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days. 


On the arm where you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

3. Do I still need to wear my mask and take precautions after getting the COVID-19 vaccine? 

Yes, after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you should still wear a mask, practice social distancing and practice other infection prevention precautions. Vaccines do not stop the coronavirus from entering your body – they only prevent you from developing moderate-to-severe COVID-19. Also, it’s not yet known whether people vaccinated for COVID-19 can still carry and transmit the virus, even when they themselves don’t get sick.

4. Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

There is a common myth that researchers rushed development of the COVID-19 vaccine. In reality, the mRNA technology behind the new coronavirus vaccines has been in development for almost two decades. Vaccine developers didn’t skip any testing steps, but conducted some of the steps on an overlapping schedule to gather data faster. Because COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread, it did not take long to see whether the vaccine worked for the study volunteers who were vaccinated.

5. How does the COVID-19 vaccine work? 

Both authorized vaccines instruct your cells to reproduce a protein that is part of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, which helps your body recognize and fight the virus, if it comes along. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus, so you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The protein that helps your immune system recognize and fight the virus does not cause infection of any sort. In addition, the mRNA does its job to cause the cell to make protein to stimulate the immune system, and then it quickly breaks down – without affecting your DNA.

6.  How do I find a vaccination clinic?

Supply remains very limited. Vaccination clinic slots are offered by multiple providers on a first come, first served basis.  You can monitor many local vaccination clinic locations by visiting the County of Monterey’s COVID–19 Vaccination Registration page:

Or, Montage Health’s Vaccine Information page:

Or, Aspire Health Plan’s COVID-19 information page:

Slots fill quickly, so check back often. 

If you have any concerns, call Aspire Member Services today at (855) 570-1600 (TTY:711). 



We are open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. PT Monday through Friday from April 1 through September 30 and 8 a.m.– 8 p.m. PT seven days a week from October 1 through March 31 (except certain holidays). H8764_MKT_ CovidFAQ_0221_C