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Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Most NOVA employees are considered Phase 1c.  There are employees due to their job, or their age, that are considered 1b.  Phase 1b candidates are being vaccinated.  We expect Phase 1c to start in 2 weeks to 2 months depending on the supply of vaccine.

NOVA’s Office of Emergency Management and Safety is working to secure vaccinations for all NOVA faculty and staff.  We are working with all local Virginia Department of Health Districts to provide contact information for NOVA employees.  You will receive an email from VDH containing information about your appointment.

No. The vaccine helps your body make antibodies to a protein on the surface of the virus.  This protein, often called the protein spike, is what allows the virus to invade healthy cells in the body.  The vaccine works by helping to eliminate these protein spikes making it harder for the virus to invade nearby cells if you are exposed.

A nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) that encodes the protein spike, polyethylene glycol (used in laxatives), four salts which act as pH buffers, and sugar (sucrose).

All three of the “frontrunner” vaccines recommend 2 doses.  FDA studies by vaccine manufacturers show that without a 2nd dose, the vaccine is only expected to be around 50% effective.

Moderna, Astrazeneca, and Pfizer all recommend 2 doses.  Currently, Virginia is receiving Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

If you receive the Moderna vaccination, your 2nd dose should be received in about 4 weeks.

If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, your 2nd dose is in about 3 weeks.

Scientists are confident that maximum immunity is reached about a week after your 2nd dose of the vaccine.

Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19.

According to the CDC, side effects of the vaccine are similar to those of the flu shot.  Soreness in the arm where you got the shot, fatigue, body aches, and perhaps a fever.  These are normal reactions for some people, and often an indication that the vaccine is working.

This is not known.  As more people receive the vaccinations, scientists will be able to determine if a person who has been vaccinated can still spread the virus.

Yes. Scientists have not determined if a vaccinated person can still carry and spread the virus.

Initial rounds of vaccinations are not intended to produce “herd immunity”.  This style immunity can only be obtained after 60-80% of the population is immune to the virus, and it begins to be unable to find suitable hosts for reproduction.

No. The taking of vaccines and medications are a personal decision that should be discussed with your primary healthcare provder.