How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The first available COVID-19 vaccines work by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies protect us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Antibodies are our bodies’ natural defense against diseases.
When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being given to those at highest risk for contracting the virus, including healthcare workers, first responders (i.e. EMS, fire and police), and residents and staff of congregate care settings (i.e. nursing homes, shelters and correctional institutions). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts developed the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccine distribution and schedule that prioritizes our residents most at risk of contracting the virus and those most at risk of poor health outcomes if they contract the virus. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is also overseeing the distribution.
To find out when you can get vaccinated,
Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Boston Public Health Commission is actively planning vaccine clinics for Boston residents. Check back for updates on where you can get vaccinated when it is available. (More...)
Do I have to keep wearing a mask if I get vaccinated?
The current answer is yes. Masks, physical distancing, testing, contact tracing, and vaccinations must all be combined to eliminate COVID-19. No strategy is 100% effective, including the vaccine. Until the number of cases of COVID-19 in our community is low enough to prevent spread, all prevention strategies will need to be used. (More...)
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. A vaccine must be safe and effective for the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to approve it. Vaccines go through more testing than any other pharmaceuticals or medicines.
Before any vaccine is made approved and made available, it must go through rigorous development and testing. Manufacturing is critical — every dose must consistently be of high quality.
People of color were included in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Of the more than 70,000 people who participated in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, 10 percent were Black and 13 percent were Hispanic/Latinx participants. There were no serious safety concerns noted in the studies of these vaccines. (More...)
Will I have to pay for the vaccine?
No. The vaccine is being provided free of charge by the federal government to all individuals, including those with no insurance, undocumented immigrants and international students. (More...)
Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective?
Yes. To be approved, a vaccine must be effective. The FDA requires that any vaccine be greater than 50% effective at preventing COVID-19. The vaccines currently approved are about 95% effective. (More...)
I'm a medical professional. How can I volunteer to administer the COVID-19 vaccine?
Please visit the
Boston Medical Reserve Corps to learn more about joining this volunteer organization. You can also email
email@example.com for more information.
Where can I find additional resources about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine from the State of Massachusetts
Visit the Centers for Disease Control - Vaccines
Find federal information on COVID-19 vaccines
If you have any additional questions,
access our COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions or email us at