Frequently Asked Questions




COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

A collection of frequently asked questions to help employers and employees navigate the COVID-19 vaccine in the workplace. Browse questions below or submit your own.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective?

  • Yes, all approved COVID-19 vaccines underwent clinical trials to prove high efficacy before receiving approval. The clinical trials showed 94.1-95% efficacy at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection
  • After two doses, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection.  
  • After two doses, the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection.  
  • After a single dose, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 66% effective at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 infections and 85% effective at preventing severe infection after 28 days following the injection. 

Why are vaccinations so crucial for the return to in-office work?

  • Vaccination is the safest and most effective way to reach herd immunity, end the public health crisis, and reopen businesses. Register for a vaccination appointment.
  • Typically, for any given virus, 50% to 90% of a population needs to be immune before herd immunity is reached and infection rates start to decline. This percentage can change depending on viral evolution and variants, meaning we may see the population vaccination goal be increased to higher than 70% due to emerging variants.

Should those who have already had COVID-19 get the vaccine?

  • Yes! While recovering from the COVID-19 infections means you have antibodies, the vaccines offer stronger protection against future infection.
  • It is still unclear how long immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19.
  • People who had previous COVID-19 infection showed lower levels of antibodies than fully vaccinated people, according to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  • Full vaccination will boost antibody levels to better protect against COVID-19. 

Is it safe to stop wearing a mask and social distancing once vaccinated?

  • Fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. This updated CDC guidance was adopted by the State of Michigan and put into effect on May 15, 2021.

How does the vaccine registration process work?

Registering for a COVID-19 vaccine in the Detroit Region is fast and easy:

  • Step 1: Fina a local clinic:
  • Step 2: Register for an appointment.
  • Step 3: Schedule a time that works for you.

Should my business require employees to get vaccinated?

It will be important for employers to assess whether an employee vaccination program makes sense for their specific job function/service. Employers will need to provide a reason for requiring employees to receive the vaccine. Watch the COVID-19 Town Hall with Michelle L. Kolkmeyer of Bodman’s Workplace Law Group for more information.

What are some exceptions for employees not to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Medical reasons: Employees with certain medical conditions or sensitivities to vaccines may choose to request an exception. In response, the employer should be ready to offer other precautions such as additional PPE or working from home.
  • Religious or faith-based reasons: Employees with sincerely held religious beliefs may choose to request an exemption.

What can employers do to encourage employees to get the COVID vaccine?

  • Explain the benefits: The COVID-19 vaccine is the key to ending the pandemic and saving lives.
  • Reassure employees the vaccine is safe: All vaccines undergo a series of safety trials before approval. An independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) reviews clinical trial data to confirm it is safe before vaccines are submitted for FDA authorization.
  • Be flexible with schedules: Employees may need to adjust their schedule for their first or second dose of the vaccine

Who is currently eligible for vaccination?

  • All Michigan residents ages 12 and older are eligible to receive any of the approved the COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The state’s goal is to have 70% of eligible Michigan residents by the end of 2021.

How can I be sure the vaccine is safe?

  • The vaccines are safe. The reason the vaccine was able to be developed, tested, and approved so quickly is because:
    • There was already work in progress for developing a vaccine for the previous SARS outbreak.
    • Parts of the standard three phases of the development process were done simultaneously, rather than in series, without impeding on safety.
  • All FDA approved COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a series of safety trials.
  • An independent Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) reviewed clinical trial data to confirm the vaccines are safe before they were submitted for FDA authorization.

What are possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?

Pfizer vaccine:

    • Fatigue
    • Headache

Moderna vaccine:

    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Muscle soreness
    • Pain

Johnson & Johnson vaccine:

    • Tiredness
    • Headache
    • Muscle pain
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Nausea

It should be noted, although mild and temporary, side effects are fairly common with this vaccine. Unlike the flu shot, many people may feel tired, develop a mild fever, and experience headaches. These side effects are normal and indicate the vaccine is doing its job. Due to these potential side effects, however, employers should be understanding and as flexible as possible if an employee does not feel well enough to come into work or log on immediately after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Children under the age of 16 are not eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this time.
  • Pfizer and Moderna are currently conducting clinical trials for children ages six months to 12 years old.

Can the vaccine doses be mixed? For example, If I receive the Pfizer vaccine for my first dose, can I receive the Moderna vaccine for my second dose?

No, the vaccine doses cannot be mixed. Whichever vaccine you receive for your first dose is the same vaccine you must receive for your second. Mixing the vaccines will reduce the effectiveness.

James Grant, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

  • At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is no cost for patients. The federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine and insurance carriers are required to cover the cost of administering the vaccine.
  • The COVID-19 vaccine is also free for those who do not have insurance.

James Grant, senior vice president and chief medical officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Can the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?

No, there is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause issues with fertility.

What are variants?

It is common for viruses to develop new mutations when passing from person to person. A good analogy for this process is photocopying a document. Each time you make a copy, the new document will likely have a very small change different than the original. Virus strains, in essence, work the same way. Viruses make these changes to adapt and survive.

What is the delta variant?

Currently the most dominant strain in the United States, the delta variant is also the most contagious variant yet. Scientists estimate the delta variant is roughly 50% more transmissible than the alpha variant, which itself is 50% more contagious than the original coronavirus first identified in China in 2019.

Who is at risk for contracting the delta variant?

  • Unvaccinated people are most at risk from the delta variant.
  • It is still unclear whether delta causes an increased risk for severe illness than other coronavirus strains, but experts regard it as more dangerous because it can spread very quickly through unvaccinated populations.

How can I protect against the delta variant?

Is a third dose recommended?

  • On August 12, The Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorizations for the Moderna and the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines Thursday to allow some people with compromised immune systems to get a third dose.
  • At this time, a third dose is intended for patients who have been unable to mount an adequate immune response against the virus, even after being fully vaccinated.  This change does not apply to the general population.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must now decide whether or not they will formally recommend the third dose to immunocompromised individuals.

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