Frequently Asked Questions

Which vaccines are authorized for use in the U.S.?

At this time, three vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA). These include the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA), which is a short-lived set of instructions that tell our cells how to make different proteins that our bodies need. The mRNA in both vaccines enter the cells and instructs them to make a protein that mimics the spike proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus. These new proteins stimulate an immune response since they are new to our bodies.

The immune system is then able to remember these spike proteins so that if they are seen again on the actual coronavirus, antibodies will latch onto the spike proteins and prevent them from entering your cells and making you sick. It's important to know that mRNA does not alter or modify a person's genetic makeup.

Additional vaccines are currently in clinical trials and progressing through the emergency use authorization process.

Do I have to get two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. It is highly recommended that each person get both doses of the series to provide full effectiveness of the vaccine for the currently available vaccines.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose.

We do not recommend waiting for a single-dose vaccine to become available if you are eligible to receive a two-dose vaccine more immediately.

How much will it cost to get vaccinated? Can I use my insurance?

There is no cost for the COVID vaccine and you should never be asked to pay out of pocket by any provider who is administering this vaccine. You may be asked for your insurance information so that the vaccinating provider can request reimbursement for the vaccine administration fee, but there should be no cost to you as the patient.

How effective and safe are the vaccines?

Published findings from the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials indicate that the vaccines were effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19. During the vaccine trials, safety was monitored by independent Data Safety and Monitoring Boards, who determined they were safe. Now that the vaccines have been approved for use in the US they are tracked and monitored through the same systems used for all vaccines. Enhanced monitoring systems have also been set up for the COVID-19 vaccines including V-safe, a smartphone app from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We encourage members of our community who have questions about the vaccine to speak with their medical providers and review the publicly available information about the vaccines, the approval process, and their efficacy.

Can I get COVID-19 by getting vaccinated?

No, COVID-19 vaccines cannot give you the virus; the vaccines do not contain a weakened version of a live virus, and they do not contain a dead version of the virus. mRNA does not get into the nucleus of your cells and it also does not create changes in your DNA.

You may have some side effects after receiving your vaccination. These side effects, such as fatigue, chills, muscle aches, and headaches are a sign that your body is building immunity against the virus.

I have concerns about the vaccine. What should I do?

We encourage members of our community who have questions about the vaccine to speak with their medical providers and review the publicly available information about the vaccines, the approval process, and their efficacy.

Should I still get my flu shot?

Yes, you should still get a flu shot. Please get one now if you have not already done so. Flu shots are available for students at Student Health Services at no cost. Employees and other community members can receive a flu shot from their medical providers or many local pharmacies.

Will SDSU require the COVID-19 vaccine for the fall 2021 semester?

As shared in the April 7 all-campus email detailing fall 2021 plans, the health and well-being of our students, staff, and faculty continue to be paramount, and to that end we are exploring a number of additional public-health protections and support mechanisms, which will make this possible. These include requiring either proof of vaccination or regular COVID-19 testing for our students returning in-person, testing on-arrival, continued contact tracing and isolation/quarantine housing, new waste water testing and enhanced cleaning services. Per California’s post-June 15 guidance, mask wearing will still be required in the fall.