Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions
The following information is based on guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
- How can I find a COVID-19 test or testing event?
There are many ways you can get tested:
- Find a list of free community testing sites.
- Find other testing sites. There may be a fee for testing.
- Your health care provider may provide COVID-19 testing.
- Find resources for at-home or self tests. Some options are free or allow for billing to health insurances.
Visit Find COVID-19 Tests for more information and to search for or order tests.
- What do I do while I’m waiting for my test result?
If you have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19, stay home and avoid others.
If you do not have symptoms and were not exposed, you do not need to stay home unless your employer or a health provider told you to do so.
Visit the What to Do If You Feel Sick page for more information.
- Should I be tested for COVID-19?
Call your health care professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19. Your health care professional will work with your state’s public health department and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
- Where can I learn more about COVID-19 treatments?
Ask your health care provider about COVID-19 treatments, learn more about treatments online or by calling 1-888-675-4576.
- I received a vaccine brand in another country that is not authorized in the United States. Can I get a booster of one of the three available brands?
COVID-19 vaccines that are NOT authorized or approved by the FDA OR listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) do not count toward vaccination in the U.S. You should restart your series of vaccines with an FDA-approved vaccine at least 28 days after your last shot. You should also get a Pfizer or Moderna booster five months after you get your vaccine(s).
If you got a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by the WHO but that is not approved or authorized by the FDA, you should get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot at least five months after your last vaccine. If you have a moderately or severely compromised immune system, you may need an additional shot and a booster shot even earlier. Learn more about boosters and additional doses.
Speak with a health care provider if you have questions.
- How long after receiving a booster shot am I considered boosted?
You are considered “boosted” and up to date right after your final booster shot. A first or second booster shot doesn’t take two weeks to help protect you from COVID-19 because your first shot(s) have already built up some immunity.
- Why do I need to get a vaccine if I can do other things to prevent COVID-19 from spreading, like staying away from other people?
Vaccines prepare your body to fight the virus if you are exposed to it. Vaccines help protect you from getting very sick, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. Other steps, like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands, help lower your chance of being infected or spreading the virus to others. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
- Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if there are treatments for COVID-19?
Preventing COVID-19 is much safer than treating it. Vaccines may protect you from getting infected. They can also help keep you from getting very sick. Even for people who develop a mild case of COVID-19, the symptoms can still bring discomfort. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, new loss of taste or smell, “brain fog,” and more. These symptoms can last for weeks or even months for some people.
Some people who have had COVID-19 develop a condition called “long COVID.” Long COVID is when symptoms continue for four or more weeks. You can develop long COVID even after your original symptoms have resolved. These symptoms may be nothing like the symptoms you felt when you were first infected. Long COVID can happen to anyone, including people who were never hospitalized for COVID-19. The vaccines can help prevent infections that may lead to long COVID.
Getting vaccinated can also help keep your loved ones safe. This is especially important for those around you who can't be vaccinated.
Don’t wait to get your vaccine, and get a booster as soon as you are able. Visit MySpot.nc.gov to find a vaccine location near you.
Treatments for COVID-19 are for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have symptoms. Treatments can help stop people from getting very sick by helping their body fight the virus. They can also shorten the time that you are sick by slowing the growth of the virus in your body. Treatments do not stop you from catching COVID-19 again later. Treatments do not stop you from spreading.
- Who should NOT get a COVID-19 vaccine?
You should NOT get the vaccine if:
- You are very allergic to something in the vaccine itself. This is rare and should be checked with a doctor, pharmacist, or allergy specialist. (In most cases, getting COVID-19 is much more dangerous than an allergic reaction.)
- If you have a history of blood clots, don’t get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax vaccines work differently and are recommended.
- You are under 6 months old. The vaccine isn’t available for this age group.
Nearly everyone else should get the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes people who are young, old, healthy, or sick.
Talk with a doctor first if you think you have a medical reason for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. They can help you understand your options. If you should not get the vaccine, they can give you a written document that explains to others why you are not vaccinated.
- Will I be able to choose which vaccine I get?
All of the vaccines work very well in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The Moderna, Pfizer, and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines are preferred. However, getting any vaccine, including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is better than not being vaccinated. The vaccine you receive will be based on age at the time of vaccination, which (if any) vaccine you received previously, and product available from your provider.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only available to people who are allergic to the other vaccines, can't access the other vaccines, or would not get vaccinated if they are unable to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Check with your provider if you have questions about which vaccine is right for you or if you want a specific brand to see what they offer.
- Who can I call in North Carolina if I have questions?
If you have specific questions or concerns related to COVID-19 in North Carolina, call 866-462-3821 for more information.
For additional questions please visit Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 Vaccinations | NC COVID-19 (ncdhhs.gov)