COVID-19 Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between a supplemental third dose and a booster shot?
Based on CDC recommendations, third vaccine doses are available now for people who are considered moderately or severely immunosuppressed, while booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are available to adults with high risk medical conditions for COVID, or are at high risk for getting COVID due to their occupation. Learn more here. You can also find out if you're eligible for a COVID-19 booster dose or a third dose here.
How Can I prove my vaccination status?
For answers to questions related to proof of vaccination status, using LA Wallet and replacement vaccination card, click here .
What is the current state guidance for using a mask?
Effective October 27, Gov. John Bel Edwards lifted Louisiana’s statewide mask mandate in all settings except for K-12 schools, after sustained improvement across the state in terms of new cases, test positivity and hospitalizations.
Who should take a COVID-19 test, and when should they be tested?
All people should take a COVID test immediately after an exposure to someone with COVID-19
- If the test is positive, they should isolate immediately
- If negative, they should retest again between five and seven days post-exposure.
- If they COVID-19 symptoms develop, they should test and isolate pending the results.
If you are exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until you receive a negative test result.
Who needs to quarantine?
LDH and CDC advise that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19. Anyone who tests positive should immediately isolate. Isolation (for those who test positive for COVID-19) typically consists of:
- If symptomatic, at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared, symptoms are improving, and at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication.
- If asymptomatic but with a positive test, 10 days from the time the test sample was collected.
How common is a COVID-19 infection for people who are fully vaccinated?
Infections happen in only a small proportion of people who are fully vaccinated, even with the Delta variant. However, preliminary evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people who do become infected with the Delta variant can spread the virus to others.
Why are the vaccines so important?
COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States. More than 7,600 Louisianans died from COVID in 2020 — that’s more than the number of deaths caused by accidents, stroke and diabetes combined in Louisiana in 2017. The vaccines are critical to ending the pandemic and getting our lives back to normal.
Who is eligible for the vaccines?
Everyone in Louisiana ages 12 and older is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Having a large portion of the population vaccinated is our best shot at a return to some form of normalcy. Based on conversations with our federal partners, we are encouraged that Louisiana will receive enough doses to vaccinate everyone who wants a shot.
Where can I get a vaccine?
All nine public health regions and 64 parishes of the state have at least one vaccine location. To find one near you, visit covidvaccine.la.gov and click/tap on the Vaccine Locations button. Vaccines are available at select:
- Chain pharmacies
- Grocery stores
- Retail stores
- Independent pharmacies
- Public health providers
- Urgent cares
- Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs)
- Community events
- Medical practices
- Rural health clinics (RHCs)
- Other healthcare providers
In addition to these providers, community vaccination events are taking place across the state and are listed at covidvaccine.la.gov.
How much will it cost to get vaccinated?
The federal government is making vaccines available at no cost to the individual.
You do NOT need insurance to get the vaccine. If you do have insurance it may be billed but the vaccine will be no cost to YOU.
Can the vaccines affect my fertility?
There is zero evidence that COVID vaccines affect fertility. The vaccines tell the body how to fight the protein that is on the outside of the coronavirus, but this protein is completely different from the protein that allows for successful reproduction. The antibodies your body produces to fight the coronavirus will not attack reproductive proteins.
How do the vaccines work?
Unlike many vaccines, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain a dead or a weakened virus that triggers an immune response. Instead, these vaccines contain a genetic instruction manual that tells your immune system how to respond and protect you from exposure to the actual virus.
The technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is not new. It is called mRNA, or messenger RNA, and it has been around for decades. This is the first time mRNA has been used in a vaccine, but the effect is the same as other vaccines: Your body gets protection without the serious consequences of a severe illness due to COVID-19 exposure.
The J&J vaccine works like many vaccines you are already familiar with. It uses an adenovirus vector, (in this case, a harmless cold virus) that carries the blueprint for the spike proteins on the virus’s surface. This virus works like a Trojan horse, infecting cells and replicating the coronavirus spikes. If you later become infected with the coronavirus, these replicated spikes are how your immune system recognizes and knows how to fight the real thing.
Are the vaccines effective?
Based on evidence from clinical trials, all three vaccines are 100% effective at preventing serious hospitalizations and deaths. That’s our most urgent, important goal. A recent CDC study of essential workers in real-world conditions found the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines reduced the risk of infection by 80% after 1 dose and 90% after 2 doses. The CDC will continue to provide updates as it learns more about how the vaccines work in real-world conditions.
Are the vaccines safe? What does FDA authorization/approval mean?
Yes, the vaccines are safe and effective. FDA grants “full approval” for a vaccine after the manufacturer demonstrates the product is “safe, pure, and effective” which generally means completing robust, well-controlled clinical trials. By contrast, an “authorization” for the emergency use of a vaccine is granted to allow an otherwise unapproved product to be used during a public health emergency.
All three COVID-19 vaccines used in the US were authorized last year to be used to address the pandemic. Authorization for these vaccines followed clinical trials and an extensive review of the results of those trials.
Today, the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA. This approval is expected soon for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Are the vaccines OK if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
The CDC advises all pregnant people be given access to the vaccines. In Louisiana, anyone currently pregnant is currently eligible to be vaccinated.
While specific studies are ongoing, there has been no indication that there are negative effects for this population. Pregnant and breastfeeding people should discuss whether they should receive their vaccine with their providers.