There have been three COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
FDA: Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine)
An EUA is used in public health emergencies when: A product shows that it likely works, is safe but hasn't yet gone through the whole process of FDA licensure, and no other remedy is available.
You have the right to refuse or accept the COVID-19 vaccine, as stated in the EUA fact sheets. We strongly encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it is available to you. Getting the vaccine will help protect you and your family, co-workers, residents, patients, and community.
Several other COVID-19 vaccines are in development. They are going through different studies and checks (called clinical trials) to make sure they are safe, and that they work, before they are given to the public.
Protection against variant strains
We are still learning about new variants. While the COVID-19 vaccines may not work as well against some of the variant strains, scientists think the vaccines will still offer some protection against most COVID-19 variants.
Choosing between different COVID-19 vaccines
At this point, the data between the COVID-19 vaccines look very similar. There are not recommendations for certain populations (e.g., older people or people with immune disorders, etc.) to get one vaccine over the other. Currently, most vaccination sites and health care providers in Minnesota only have one COVID-19 vaccine product, so people will probably not have a choice of which vaccine they get. You can refuse to get vaccinated, but you will need to search for an appointment at a different location.
The COVID-19 vaccines that are available are not live virus vaccines. This means that they cannot give you COVID-19. After getting the vaccine, you will not shed live virus around your home or put others in your household at risk of COVID-19 disease. The vaccine will not affect a PCR COVID-19 test.
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were made using mRNA technology. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person's genetic makeup (DNA). Learn more about mRNA vaccines at CDC: Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.
How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work (PDF) This fact sheet explains how mRNA is used to fight the COVID-19 virus.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is made using a harmless cold virus, called an adenovirus. The adenovirus is grown using what is called an immortalized cell line, and the virus then is pulled out and purified. The cell line came from a legal abortion that occurred in 1985. This cell line has been maintained by Johnson & Johnson for decades to make life-saving vaccines and other medical products. The cells today are clones of the early cells, not the original tissue. There is not fetal tissue in the vaccine. Many faith groups and bioethics institutes have stated that people may ethically receive these vaccines when there is not an alternative vaccine.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: Moral Considerations Regarding the New COVID-19 Vaccines (PDF)
The Vatican – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: Note on the morality of using some anti-Covid-19 vaccines (PDF)
Charlotte Lozier Institute: An Ethics Assessment of COVID-19 Vaccine Programs (PDF)
These vaccines do not contain a preservative. They do not contain gelatin or eggs. For more information about ingredients, see the FDA vaccine fact sheets available in multiple languages.
For specific concerns about certain ingredients see: