Vaccine News & Notes — September 2021

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Parents PACK

Find answers to COVID-19 questions or ask your own!

Have a question about COVID-19 or the vaccines? The Vaccine Education Center (VEC) is here to help! Check out these two popular resources.

COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Should Know — This Q&A sheet has now been updated to answer several common questions about COVID-19 and the vaccines that protect against it, such as:

  • How do mRNA vaccines work?
  • How do adenovirus-based vaccines work?
  • Who should and should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
  • How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are needed?
  • Will COVID-19 vaccines cause long-term effects?
  • Can COVID-19 vaccines change a person’s DNA?

The Q&A can be photocopied for sharing and is available in English and Spanish. It will be available in Japanese soon. — This popular webpage includes answers to nearly 100 questions the VEC has received from people around the world. Don’t see your question? You can send it to us directly through our online form.

COVID-19 booster doses

Are you trying to make sense of the seemingly different scientific opinions related to COVID-19 booster doses? You’re not alone. For many people who do not practice science, the different interpretations of data can seem like disagreements or that no one knows what is happening. In reality, this is how science works. Scientists live at the edge of knowledge, so as new data emerge and conclusions are drawn, scientists engage in peer review and debate. As more information comes in, more pieces of the puzzle fall into place and differences in interpretation tend to converge. In most cases, the public does not witness this period of evolving understanding, but as described in a previous issue of Parents PACK, the COVID-19 pandemic has put everyone in a front row seat to science.

To get a better sense of the discussion related to COVID-19 booster doses, check out this recent video in which Dr. Paul Offit explains why a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine is being considered, what differences are at the heart of the booster discussions, and what to expect moving forward. This video is part of a comprehensive COVID-19 video series in which Dr. Offit answers common questions about COVID-19 and vaccines. The series can also be accessed through a YouTube playlist.

How many ways are vaccines made? (Infographic)

Can you name the different ways that vaccines are made? Most people are aware that COVID-19 vaccines represent new types, but they may not be able to name the other methods for making vaccines. For a quick review of the different ways vaccines are made, check out this infographic. For a discussion about the strengths and limitations of each of method, visit the related webpage.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family's personal health. You should not use it to replace any relationship with a physician or other qualified healthcare professional. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult your physician or, in serious cases, seek immediate assistance from emergency personnel.