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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about COVID-19, the vaccines, and guidance.
If you don't see an answer to your question in the FAQs, please ask us. We are here to help.

0 Hot Topics (1)

You can access your immunization records by visiting the Vax Verify portal.
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/immunizationsupport

Categories: 0 Hot Topics, 02. Vaccines

0.5 Children (14)

Yes. If you are required to get vaccinated (because you work in healthcare, at a school, college/university or state-owned or operated church or place of worship), you do have the option to be tested weekly instead. However, your employer may have stricter requirements.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any parts of the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all children age 5 and older. The vaccine is free for everyone, both kids and adults. You don’t need to show proof of insurance or immigration to receive it.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

In the clinical trials (the research), zero out of 3,082 children from 5-11 years old developed myocarditis due to COVID-19 vaccination. Still, we believe there is a very small risk of a child developing myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Children are just as likely to get COVID-19 as adults! It is true that children are less likely to have symptoms and if children have symptoms they are usually mild. But children with COVID-19 can still get very sick, need to go to the hospital, and even die.

Tags: Kids, Symptoms
Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Children and adolescents (ages 12-18 years) receive the same dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as adults. There are no weight requirements for vaccination and the dose is the same no matter what you weigh.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children and teens. CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to help protect against COVID-19. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

You should vaccinate your child as soon as possible, even if that means they will get the smaller dose. When your child returns for their 2nd dose, at age 12, they will get the higher dose.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

The possible side effects of the vaccine for children are the same as for adults: things like fever, chills, or a sore arm. Young children usually have less side effects from the vaccine than adults do.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

They must have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single dose vaccine (J&J) by September 19, 2021.

For those with Pfizer or Moderna 2-dose vaccine: The second dose must be done within 30 days (no later than October 19, 2021). For employees starting in these positions after September 19th, the employer will determine when vaccination must be completed.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Clinical trials (the research) are happening right now to make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids as young as 6 months old. We cannot say for sure but it looks like the vaccine will be ready for children under 5 sometime in the beginning of 2022.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Many pediatricians are ordering the COVID-19 vaccine to have it ready for their patients. If your pediatrician does not have it, you can find the Cook County Health site closest to you here: myshotcookcounty.com.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Many people do not have any side effects after getting the vaccine.
Some common side effects include:
• pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the shot
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• fever
• nausea

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

02. Vaccines (52)

Yes. All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are effective at reducing your chances of getting COVID-19, getting very sick, and dying from COVID-19. To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, you should continue to wear a mask indoors when in public, even if you are fully vaccinated.

Category: 02. Vaccines

All of the COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are safe. Millions of people in the United States have received these vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. We recommend that you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes, effective July 1, 2021, the COVID-19 Vaccination Rights for Employees and Employer Obligations Ordinance went into effect. In Cook County, employers cannot require workers to get vaccinated outside of work hours. If your employer requires you to be vaccinated and your appointment is during your shift, you are to be compensated up to four hours per dose. If your employer does not require you to be vaccinated, you can use paid sick leave or paid time off to get vaccinated, but your employer cannot require you to find coverage for your shift during that time. Learn more or file a complaint with Cook County’s Commission on Human Rights: https://bit.ly/VaxRights

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. Businesses with health care, school or higher education employees or students are allowed to require proof of vaccination status for anyone, including visitors.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you work in healthcare, at a school, college, university, state-owned or operated church or place of worship, and you are not fully vaccinated, you are required to get tested weekly. Employees who are exempt from the vaccine requirement due to a medical or religious reason must get tested weekly.

Category: 02. Vaccines

All healthcare providers in the state enter immunization data into the state IDPH I-CARE system. CCDPH has access to vaccination records through the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE) system. You can see vaccination data for the CCDPH jurisdiction on our ShinyApp: https://ccdphcd.shinyapps.io/covid19/. For more information about I-CARE visit:https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/immunization/icare.html.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Many people have no side effects from the COVID-19 vaccination. Some people experience soreness where they received the vaccine, a headache or other side effects that make them feel under the weather for one or two days. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Usually the answer is yes, but it can be complicated depending on exactly what vaccine the person received. If you have a primary doctor, they can help you decide what vaccines you need. If you don’t, go to a location that has COVID-19 vaccines and ask to speak to someone who can help you. Most pharmacists at the drug store can help.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. If you are required to get vaccinated (because you work in healthcare, at a school, college/university or state-owned or operated church or place of worship), you do have the option to be tested weekly instead. However, your employer may have stricter requirements.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes, you can get COVID-19 even if you already had it. Getting the vaccine will give you a strong boost in long-term protection against severe illness, hospitalization or death.

Tags: Guidance, Vaccine
Category: 02. Vaccines

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any parts of the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. Private workplaces can require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes, health care workers, school personnel, higher education personnel and students, and state employees and contractors who work at state-owned or operated congregate facilities are required to be fully vaccinated or  undergo weekly testing and can provide confirmation of a negative test result on a weekly basis.

Category: 02. Vaccines

There is no federal or state mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommends the vaccine to all Americans 12 and over.

Category: 02. Vaccines

CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to help protect against COVID-19. On Nov. 4, 2021, the Biden administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new emergency temporary standard (ETS) requiring large companies with 100 or more employees to mandate coronavirus vaccinations by January or undergo regular COVID-19 testing and wear a face covering at work. OSHA issued an Emergency.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. In Illinois, as long as you can medically tolerate it, everyone 2 years and older should wear a mask over their nose and mouth in indoor public places. Masking is also recommended for crowded outdoor settings and activities that involve close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

You can remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking (including in bars or restaurants). While working, workers can remove their masks as long as they consistently maintain six feet of distance. An example of this would be if you’re working in your own office room or cubicle.

Everyone is required to wear a face covering on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation; in transportation hubs such as airports, train and bus stations; in congregate facilities such as correctional facilities and homeless shelters; and in healthcare settings.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. As of October 21, 2021, the most current recommendations are: There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all children age 5 and older. The vaccine is free for everyone, both kids and adults. You don’t need to show proof of insurance or immigration to receive it.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Vax Verify allows individuals to download and print their vaccination records from the Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange (I-CARE). To access Vax Verify, visit http://idphportal.illinois.gov.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you need a new card, ask your physician to look in I-CARE and give you a new one. If you lost or misplaced your vaccination card, visit IDPH Vax Verify website and print verification.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you lost or misplaced your vaccination card, visit IDPH Vax Verify website and print verification. If you need a new card, ask your physician to look in I-CARE and give you a new one.

Tag: ID
Category: 02. Vaccines

You can access your immunization records by visiting the Vax Verify portal.
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/immunizationsupport

Categories: 0 Hot Topics, 02. Vaccines

All steps have been taken to ensure the vaccines are safe and effective.
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
The CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/safety-of-vaccines.html

Category: 02. Vaccines

In the clinical trials (the research), zero out of 3,082 children from 5-11 years old developed myocarditis due to COVID-19 vaccination. Still, we believe there is a very small risk of a child developing myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

It usually takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. If you get a two-dose vaccine, you are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your 2nd dose.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. As of October 21, 2021, the most current recommendations are: There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Yes. Anyone who has COVID-19 can spread it to others, whether they have had the vaccine or not. When a person who got the COVID-19 vaccine gets infected with COVID-19 it is called a “breakthrough infection.” COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections but not all of them. Your chances of getting COVID-19 are much lower if you get the vaccine. You also have a much lower chance of getting really sick or needing to go to the hospital.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Children are just as likely to get COVID-19 as adults! It is true that children are less likely to have symptoms and if children have symptoms they are usually mild. But children with COVID-19 can still get very sick, need to go to the hospital, and even die.

Tags: Kids, Symptoms
Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. Having COVID-19 in the past does not give you lasting immunity. The COVID-19 vaccines can give you long-lasting immunity and also protect you against other COVID-19 variants.

Category: 02. Vaccines

If you received your first two vaccinations at a Cook County site and you get the booster at a local pharmacy, the booster vaccination does not show up in your Cook County vaccination records. Only vaccinations received from Cook County will show up in Cook County records. However, all immunization data is entered into the IDPH I-CARE system and can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health Vax Verify website. Learn more at: https://idphportal.illinois.gov/s/?language=en_US.

Category: 02. Vaccines
The vaccines are working very well to prevent the worst cases of COVID-19 that lead to hospitalization or death, even against the highly contagious Delta variant. The virus is constantly changing and scientists are seeing reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. A booster dose is recommended for all individuals 18 years and older if it has been at least 6 months after receiving their second Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or at least two months after receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Category: 02. Vaccines

Children and adolescents (ages 12-18 years) receive the same dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as adults. There are no weight requirements for vaccination and the dose is the same no matter what you weigh.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children and teens. CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible to help protect against COVID-19. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for most people with any medical conditions. Vaccination helps to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. If you have a medical condition, speak with your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and keeping your distance from others are all very important to keep you safe from COVID-19.

People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html

Category: 02. Vaccines

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines work by using your body’s natural defense system to help your body fight disease.

You should vaccinate your child as soon as possible, even if that means they will get the smaller dose. When your child returns for their 2nd dose, at age 12, they will get the higher dose.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Many people do not have any side effects after getting the vaccine.
Some common side effects include:
• pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the shot
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• fever
• nausea

Category: 02. Vaccines

The possible side effects of the vaccine for children are the same as for adults: things like fever, chills, or a sore arm. Young children usually have less side effects from the vaccine than adults do.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

The active ingredient in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is Messenger RNA (or mRNA). Messenger RNA is a protein that helps the body make antibodies to the COVID-19 virus. Antibodies are like soldiers that fight the virus. The vaccine gets your body ready to fight for when it recognizes the real virus.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Most side effects will go away on their own.
If you gave pain, redness or swelling on the arm where you got the shot, you can put a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area. Keep using your arm as you usually do.
If you are feeling feverish, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly. Talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
If your side effects don’t go away within 3-4 days, talk to your doctor.

Category: 02. Vaccines

A booster shot is recommended due to concern that the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time and may not protect against a new strain, such as delta. Doctors use the term third dose when referring to people with compromised immune systems who may not have gotten the level of protection needed from the first two doses. The third dose provides additional immunity.

Tags: Boosters, Vaccine
Category: 02. Vaccines

Millions of Americans are now eligible to get a COVID-19 booster dose. The most current recommendations as of October 21, 2021 are:

For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.

For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

There are now booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Category: 02. Vaccines

They must have received the first dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series (Pfizer or Moderna) or a single dose vaccine (J&J) by September 19, 2021.

For those with Pfizer or Moderna 2-dose vaccine: The second dose must be done within 30 days (no later than October 19, 2021). For employees starting in these positions after September 19th, the employer will determine when vaccination must be completed.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

As long as you are no longer in isolation or infectious, it is safe to get the vaccine. If you had symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer infectious 10 days after your symptoms started. If you never had any symptoms of COVID-19, you are no longer infectious 10 days after the day you tested positive.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Clinical trials (the research) are happening right now to make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids as young as 6 months old. We cannot say for sure but it looks like the vaccine will be ready for children under 5 sometime in the beginning of 2022.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Many pediatricians are ordering the COVID-19 vaccine to have it ready for their patients. If your pediatrician does not have it, you can find the Cook County Health site closest to you here: myshotcookcounty.com.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

If you work in healthcare, at a school, college, university, state-owned or operated church or place of worship, you are required to be fully vaccinated.

Category: 02. Vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective in protecting fully vaccinated people from catching and spreading the virus. Unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people (according to CDC data, August 2021). While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine provides 100% immunity.

Because this is a new virus, scientists and medical experts continue to monitor how long immunity lasts, how well the vaccines protect against new variants of the virus, and whether some groups may need additional doses. Secretary Powell, while vaccinated, was also being treated for Parkinson’s disease and multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer. The medications he had to take for his health conditions made the vaccine less effective. This is one reason why it is so important for other people to get vaccinated, to protect people with health conditions like Secretary Powell from getting COVID.

Category: 02. Vaccines

Data shows the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination for all people 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/pregnancy.html

Category: 02. Vaccines

No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

Many people do not have any side effects after getting the vaccine.
Some common side effects include:
• pain, redness and swelling on the arm where you got the shot
• tiredness
• headache
• muscle pain
• chills
• fever
• nausea

Categories: 0.5 Children, 02. Vaccines

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any parts of the virus, so they can’t give you COVID-19.

Category: 02. Vaccines

09. Misinformation (1)

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain microchips. Vaccines work by using your body’s natural defense system to help your body fight disease.

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