VA is listening to your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. This blog series answers questions from Veterans.

This entry is the second in a two-part series. Read the first one: COVID-19 Vaccine: Do I Need It? Part I.

I’m receiving a two-dose vaccine and I’ve already got the first shot. Do I really need the second?

Yes, you need the second shot. Both shots are necessary to make sure you have the best level of protection against COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccine works to teach the body to develop immunity against the virus.

The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine may offer some protection, but for the greatest level of protection, the second dose is needed a few weeks later. To best protect yourself and others around you, make sure to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Once I get both doses of the vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask and practice physical distancing?

Yes, you still need to wear a mask and physically distance while in public even after receiving both doses of the vaccine. Experts are continuing to study the virus to better understand when it will be safe to stop wearing masks and physically distancing in specific settings.

The CDC has created guidance for those people who have received both doses of the vaccine, which can be found here: Continuing to wear a mask and socially distance can protect you and those around you in your community.

If I already got the flu shot, do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, you still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC advises that receiving the flu vaccine will not protect you against COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 and flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.

Just like the flu shot protects you from flu, the COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from COVID-19.

Program Information

Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distance from others!

To learn more, you can review CDC information about COVID-19 and vaccination.


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Published on Mar. 30, 2021

Estimated reading time is 2 min.

Views to date: 559


  1. G.Manzanares April 6, 2021 at 7:52 pm


  2. William M Cheek April 5, 2021 at 11:34 am

    According to recent data, the vaccinated are still able to contract and spread, likely asymptomatically, since the immune systems are equipped to fight personal attacks. Please continue to wear masks in public areas. Suppose you are vaccinated, then exposed without any symptoms. You are now capable of single-handedly causing another wave of preventable infections, setting US back another year or so.

  3. Ronnie Mullins Sr April 2, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I heard I can get my wife vaccinated thru VA is this true and how do I do it?

  4. CF Frost April 1, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    To those wondering that if you have received the proper dosing of the vaccine, why do you have to mask…it’s simple.

    Can you get the any of its strains (Great Britain/United Kingdom, Brazilan, South African, New York, Californian) after getting properly vaccinated? YES!

    But, your body will have the antibodies to quickly respond and fight off the virus.

    All leading studies into the vaccines and the virus have come to the same conclusions – Yes, you can get infected – you may even shed a little of the virus itself, BUT – NO ONE who has been vaccinated and subsequently caught the virus has been required to be hospitalized…That is the Key!!

    If you stay out of the hospital – you are more than likely going to make a 99.99999% healthy recovery from the virus.

    It’s the ones who require hospitalization who don’t do so well – and even less so if ever put on a ventilator!

  5. Michael Hickey April 1, 2021 at 8:04 am

    When will the Johnson and Johnson vaccine be available? Does the VA do the Covid testing and if yes, how do I get it scheduled?

    • Stephen Paxton April 7, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      Illinois Department of Public Health officials reported Wednesday that 17 people in the state who were considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have since been hospitalized by the respiratory disease.

      [Editor: “Seventeen (fully vaccinated) individuals have been hospitalized due to COVID-19; seven individuals have been hospitalized but investigations are pending as to whether they are related to COVID-19; and six have been hospitalized but not related to COVID-19.” Furthermore, just 0.0185% of the 2.1 million fully vaccinated Illinoians have tested positive, “And studies have shown that those fully vaccinated for more than seven weeks have not been hospitalized or died from COVID-19, according to a report in” “IDPH considers someone fully immunized 14 days after their final vaccine dose.”]

  6. Kevin C O'Dunn April 1, 2021 at 12:20 am

    COVID is a Public Health event. Public Health is identical in mission to Public Safety. Both Public Health and Public Safety are designed to keep citizens alive by balancing risk against the thrust of social behavior. The benefit of the COVID vaccine is that people will be able to go to work, and as things progress, interact more and more in public places with less risk of death from infected people.

    Going to work is a voluntary act. You and your employer agree to certain standards of conduct to enter into the employer/employee relationship. Since companies depend upon a workforce that is not a threat to the health of its employees and customers, it is within the purview of a company to require proof of vaccinations from employees. In Public Health Events, protecting the mass population is the ONLY goal. If you lose your job because you elected not to get vaccinated you will likely have little legal support for your decision. Suing a corporation is expensive. Losing your job during a state of emergency for noncompliance with official safety guidance has nothing to do with employment discrimination. A company’s insistence that employees follow federal health and safety guidelines has nothing to do with protections under the US Constitution. This is not a civil rights situation. This is all about the greater good of the population. You are within your rights not to get vaccinated. However, your employer is within its rights to decide that by not following its requirements for employment, you have broken your agreement to deliver on certain expectations and you’ll be set free to express yourself any way you want in accordance with the First Amendment.

  7. Kevin R. March 31, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    Your ‘answer’ re wearing masks after being vaccinated does not explain WHY it should be necessary. If the vaccine works… WHY are masks necessary… and citing some amorphous declaration by the CDC is not an answer.

  8. GSF March 31, 2021 at 6:10 pm

    Reads like propaganda. carefully worded, luring, dangerous propaganda. Shame

  9. Susan Thomas March 31, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    If you get both shots but you still need to wear the mask and social distance, then why get the shots? I know the fear mongers want us to stay scared of our own shadows, but I don’t get it.

  10. Jon Morgan March 31, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    So we had to wear the mask to get help at the VA hospital and we’re not let in without it. Then told we should get the vaccine, ok got it I have my CDC card, now I’m told we still have to wear the masks to get health care at the VA hospital. Which is it does a vaccine work or not.

  11. Bryan B. March 31, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    So I’ve already had Covid, and now have had the Vaccine, in what Bizarro World should I who have already had it, and been vaccinated for it still have to wear the mask? So that those who haven’t had it and haven’t been vaccinated can feel better? How am I who has the antibodies and has been vaccinated at risk for spreading the virus? Where is the “Science” behind that? Utter ridiculous.

    • Kenneth R Smith April 2, 2021 at 7:10 am

      I’m with you on this. I have not gotten the vaccine and im leery as well, Will I get it again? I was 5 weeks in the hospital, 2 weeks in ICU, took me over 6 months to get back to 75%

  12. william gould March 31, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    I called to ask what is the window for the Pfizer vaccine between the first and second dose and the VA individual was unable to answer me. I ask because I have the first apt scheduled and I’m traveling with work the week of my 21st day. Is there a window plus and/or minus for the 2nd dosage? Thanks

    • Gearld berg March 31, 2021 at 7:12 pm

      Interesting about the vaccine. You cannot force anyone to get it. We have been frightened into receive it. Looking back now, I would not have gotten it. I will not be getting a booster vaccine. I was told at the VA yesterday, that it was the law to wear mask. But law can not enforced, outside of establishment. Which brings me a question? I am 100% disabled veteran, I am denied healthcare because I refuse to wear a mask?
      Why I am I asking these question ?

      • Liz Geller April 1, 2021 at 3:43 pm

        Typically around the end of the 2nd and beginning of the 3rd week since your first shot, but you do have a max of 42 days before having to start all over

    • Charlie Maxey March 31, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      The window is 30 days.

    • Ray White April 1, 2021 at 8:38 am

      According to the CDC you have up to 42 days after the first shot to get the second. So make you next appointment as soon as you can after you minimum time is up.

  13. Charles Rosato March 31, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    If the frist shot got me sick will the second one be worse?

    • Ray White April 1, 2021 at 8:44 am

      Everyone reacts different, but according to my experiences and others, the general answer is yes, but that can vary from a bit more sore to in bed for a day or two. Wife had a bit of a sore arm on #2 for a day, I had a 2.5 degree F fever and tired on #2 for a day and a sore arm for several days, daughter had same on #2 as on #1 (achy all over for a couple of days) but still went to work.

  14. Stephen Paxton March 31, 2021 at 5:27 am

    What are the side effects/death rates from the vaccine? If I am allergic to other vaccines (Typhoid); is it safe to get this one?

  15. Irma G March 30, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Why is India’s KILLED VIRUS not available to us in the US? I do not want a genetically altered vaccine.

  16. Raymond Daugherty March 30, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    I’m also awaiting the single dose vaccine when available and hoping that it would meet
    the recommended treatment advised .Other than that I would opt out for other alternatives. Disabled take enough medication as is and do worry about side effects so Johnson& Johnson sounds much
    better and none of the vaccines can guarantee full immunity .

  17. ARISTEO ESCOBAR March 30, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    When will VA CLINIC MANILA get the vaccines and what kind? I am willing to volunteer and give shots for Veterans living in Ilocos Norte, Philippines in conjunction with local health units. The trip each way for these Veterans is about 10 hours so it will really be a big help for these elderly Vets.

  18. Mauricio Melendez March 30, 2021 at 4:12 pm

    Is the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory? In particular, can an employer require that the vaccine be a condition for employment and consequently failure to comply (with few exceptions) will lead to dismissal?

    • Antonio April 1, 2021 at 11:13 am

      I would think it depends on your state. Our state passed a law stating that employers cannot mandate the vaccine. That being said if you travel for a living and the airlines require it in the future you would have no choice in order to do your job.

  19. peter cenzalli March 30, 2021 at 3:00 pm

    has the vaccine been approved by the FDA?

    • Glen R Scutt March 30, 2021 at 4:30 pm

      The moderna they gave was on an emergency basis.

    • CF Frost March 30, 2021 at 10:25 pm

      The vaccine(s) has only been approved for “Emergency Use Authorization”.

      The vaccine(s) have NOT received the normal Full Approval from the FDA.

      The distinction is important – because the vaccine(s) does NOT have “Full FDA Approval”, active-duty military members are NOT being required to get the vaccine. When is the last time you heard that military members were not forced to do something? Back in my day, the military gave me shot’s for everything, including Anthrax, Small Pox, SARS, etc… If someone threatened to refuse the shot…the military said fine; you’ll be subject to the UCMJ and subject to discharge for refusing a lawful order. A few were actually kicked out for refusing the Anthrax vaccine if I remember correctly. The fact that the military is NOT forcing the vaccine on troops is telling!

      • FP Huerta April 1, 2021 at 5:14 am

        Mr. Frost,
        The Military readiness fell deeper in the hole, due to the backlog for not following the lawful order. Some Men and Women used that order as an excuse to leave the Military.
        I enjoyed reading your reply!

    • David Scott March 31, 2021 at 4:32 pm

      No, clinical trials won’t be complete until 2023. To date, only emergency use of these vaccines is allowed, hence the emergency lockdowns and mask wearing. Without “emergency” conditions, these vaccines are not permitted by the FDA.

  20. Ann Jihnson March 30, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    When are they Soldiers deployed in Afghanistan going to get their vaccine? They are invaded by the deadly Taliban every day. My husband is fighting over there. The Taliban wants to infect as many that they can. They should be considered first responders fighting for our country. I fear my hero will due by being shot or by the virus. Many Soldiers were tested positive. They are in the hospital. Please I know a missionary or there is some way to reach them. Please give them the vaccine asap.

  21. Edward F Ayala March 30, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    I do not want to add more complexity to the VA roll out of the Vaccine but I would like a choice on which vaccine I think will work best for me. I would like the single dose Johnson and Johnson. I’m willing to wait and allow others to move forward with what is available.
    Could that be a possibility in the future months.

    • Glen R Scutt March 30, 2021 at 4:31 pm

      Sounds more like a problem for the Department of Defense rather than the VA.

      • John Leszar March 31, 2021 at 6:55 pm

        “Sounds more like a problem for the Department of Defense rather than the VA.”
        What the heck is that supposed to mean Mr. Scutt?
        Edward Ayala wants the J&J shot. So do I. The VA needs to answer that question.

  22. William Poole March 30, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    I don’t feel comments are facilitated by the system which discriminates against technologically challenged veterans

  23. William Poole March 30, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    My doctor told me that antibody testing is not reliable, Please tell me what you think and whether studies are being done on the relationship of + antibodies to infection rates after the vaccine compared to negative results on antibody testing ad the relationship to infection rates and severity of disease after and without the vaccine

Comments are closed.

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