Check this out to get your every Covid-19 vaccine question answered. Really.


The Well section set out to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the coronavirus vaccine, and a few that are perhaps not so common. Using an experimental tool that relies on machine learning, you can even try posing a few questions of your own.

Below are excerpts. You can see the whole thing here.

Is the vaccine free?

You should not have to pay anything out of pocket, although you will be asked for insurance information. If you don’t have insurance, you should still be given the vaccine at no charge. Despite safeguards to prevent surprise bills, health experts worry that patients might stumble into loopholes that leave them vulnerable to having to pay. To be sure, the best bet is to get your vaccine at a health department vaccination site or a local pharmacy once the shots become more widely available. — Sarah Kliff

I’ve heard that taking a pain reliever after getting a Covid-19 vaccine could blunt its effectiveness. Is that true?

Most experts agree it’s safe to take a pain reliever or fever reducer like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve discomfort after you get vaccinated. You shouldn’t try to stave off discomfort by taking a pain reliever before getting the shot. Because fevers and other side effects are also a sign that the body is mounting a strong immune response, some researchers have questioned whether giving a pain reliever or fever reducer before or after a shot might blunt the effectiveness of the vaccine. Several medical groups, including the Henry Ford Health System and UCI Health, advise against taking pain relievers before your shot but agree that it’s fine to take an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort after getting the vaccine. — Tara Parker-Pope

Is it true that cosmetic injections (like those used to plump lips or smooth out wrinkles) can cause an allergic reaction to the vaccine?

A rare side effect has been seen in a few people who have been injected with dermal fillers. One to two days after getting the vaccine during the Moderna clinical trials, three women (out of 15,184 people) developed swelling where they had previously been injected with cosmetic fillers. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery said that viral and bacterial illnesses, other vaccinations and dental procedures have been linked to similar reactions. The group said people with dermal fillers should not delay or avoid the Covid-19 vaccine. If you’re concerned or not sure what type of injection you’ve gotten in the past, check with the doctor who gave you the cosmetic treatment. — Tara Parker-Pope

Will pregnant women be given priority to get the vaccine?

Pregnancy is on the list of conditions that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified as putting a person at high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19. However, whether a pregnant woman is now eligible for vaccination depends on the rules in the state where she lives. Eligibility can change overnight, so check your state health department website. Because the vaccine hasn’t been studied in pregnant women, they should consult their doctors about whether to be vaccinated. — Tara Parker-Pope

Will partners of pregnant women be given priority for getting the vaccine?

No, partners of pregnant women will not get to cut the line and will have to wait until their age or risk group becomes eligible. — Dani Blum

I’ve heard rumors and jokes about microchips in the new vaccines. What is that about?

The false conspiracy theory about microchips emerged after Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, made a comment about “digital certificates” that might one day be used to show a person had been tested or vaccinated for Covid-19. The reference prompted conspiracy theories to circulate online speculating that a tracking microchip would be planted by the government to surveil the movements of Americans. For months, widely shared videos and viral posts on social media have baselessly claimed that such technologies could find their way into syringes delivering shots. None of the rumors are true. — Katherine J. Wu and Tara Parker-Pope


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