Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Why should I get vaccinated?

There are three main reasons to get vaccinated:

1. The vaccine is safe and will help keep you from getting COVID-19.

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 .

  • All COVID-19 vaccines in development must be evaluated in clinical trials and will be authorized only if they make it substantially less likely you’ll get COVID-19. 

  • Under the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the vaccine, the known and potential benefits of the vaccine must outweigh its known and potential risks. Watch a video on what an EUA is.

2. If you do get COVID, you may have a much less severe case.

  • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications. There’s no way to know how it will affect you.

  • Data from early clinical trials lead experts to believe that getting the COVID-19 vaccine may keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get the disease. This is also consistent with what we know about vaccines for other types of diseases.

  • Clinical studies show that the vaccine provides 85%+ immunity against COVID-19. This provides significant protection, though there is a small chance you could still get it. The vaccine may help make your symptoms much less severe if you do.

3. Vaccination is an important tool to stop the pandemic, stabilize the economy, and get back to normal.

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

  • Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. However, there have been instances of re-infection. It is not known how long natural immunity lasts.

  • Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.

About the Vaccine

Which vaccine is Caroline using?

Right now, Caroline County is administering the Moderna vaccine and the JANSSEN Johnson & Johnson Vaccine.  

How does the JANSSEN vaccine work?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is what’s called a viral vector vaccine. To create this vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson team took a harmless adenovirus – the viral vector – and replaced a small piece of its genetic instructions with coronavirus genes for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.


After this modified adenovirus is injected into someone’s arm, it enters the person’s cells. The cells then read the genetic instructions needed to make the spike protein and the vaccinated cells make and present the spike protein on their own surface. The person’s immune system then notices these foreign proteins and makes antibodies against them that will protect the person if they are ever exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in the future.


The adenovirus vector vaccine is safe because the adenovirus can’t replicate in human cells or cause disease, and the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein can’t cause COVID–19 without the rest of the coronavirus. This approach is not new. Johnson & Johnson used a similar method to make its Ebola vaccine, and the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is also an adenovirus viral vector vaccine.

The vaccine DOES NOT contain SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 virus. Therefore, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

How is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine given?

The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine will be given to you as an injection into the muscle. The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine vaccination schedule is a single dose.

Can the JANSSEN vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine does not contain SARS-CoV-2 and cannot give you COVID-19.


It is possible to get COVID-19 after being vaccinated before your body has time to build up immunity. That is why it is important to continue to practice physical distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently.

What is the effectiveness of the vaccine?

The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine will be given to you as an injection into the muscle. The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine The FDA’s analysis found that, in the U.S., the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine was 72% effective at preventing all COVID-19 and 86% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease. While there is still a chance a vaccinated person could get sick, this suggests they would be much less likely to need hospitalization or to die from COVID-19.

How long does it take to build up immunity after getting vaccinated?

It takes roughly 28 days after the single dose to reach peak effectiveness. It is important to still wear masks around other people indoors, after you have been vaccinated until you have reached the 28-day period. To learn more about if you need to wear a mask after being fully vaccinated visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html

How is the JANSSEN vaccine different from the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines?

You only need one dose. The most basic difference is that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is an adenovirus vector vaccine, while the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both mRNA vaccines. Messenger RNA vaccines use genetic instructions from the coronavirus to tell a person’s cells to make the spike protein, but these don’t use another virus as a vector. There are many practical differences, too. Both of the mRNA-based vaccines require two shots. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose.

After getting the COVID-19 vaccine, will I test false positive on a COVID-test?

No, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a viral test for COVID, which tests for current infection.

Can I spread COVID-19 to others after the vaccine?

No vaccine is 100% effective, so it is important to continue to take steps to avoid spreading the virus. Stopping a pandemic requires using all tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, getting a COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.


Safety & Who Should and Shouldn't Get the Vaccine

The vaccine was developed really fast. Is it safe?

Yes, the vaccine is safe.  Because there is no “live” virus in the vaccine, pharmaceutical companies did not need to grow large amounts of the virus in a lab setting to use in the vaccine. This saved a lot of time.


Another reason that the vaccine was able to be developed so quickly simply has to do with resources. Never in history have there been so many research scientists in every corner of the globe working on a vaccine for one disease. Governments around the world and the private sector have made huge investments of money to support that research.


The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available. Vaccines undergo a series of rigorous clinical trials using thousands of study participants. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses this data to determine their safety and effectiveness to approve or authorize for emergency use. Following approval or authorization, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events or possible side effects. Visit the CDC’s website for more information about ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. — including information about specific vaccine monitoring systems.

What ages is the vaccine available for?

The JANSSEN  vaccine is approved for use in adults 18 and older.

What about kids?

Considering COVID infection tends to be much less severe in children, they were not included in the initial priority groups for study.  The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 18 years of age and older.

What if I'm pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, discuss your options with your healthcare provider. Medical associations are recommending the vaccine for women who are pregnant, considering pregnancy, or undergoing fertility treatment. There is no recommendation to withhold the vaccine from patients who are pregnant or breast feeding. 


These expert recommendations come from the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).


There is no reason to delay pregnancy attempts because of COVID-19 vaccination administration. These types of vaccines are not thought to cause an increased risk of infertility, first or second trimester loss, stillbirth, or congenital anomalies.


There is no data that shows any impact on sperm quality or male fertility after COVID-19 vaccination. If you’re still feeling unsure, we recommend you talk with your primary care provider or OB-GYN.

What if I've had COVID-19 previously or had COVID-related treatments?

Even if you’ve had COVID-19 before, you should get vaccinated to ensure you are as protected as possible. However, you should wait until you are recovered from the acute illness of COVID-19 and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation. The CDC notes that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and that if desired, you can delay vaccination during that 90-day period. However, it is not recommended that you delay.


If you get COVID-19 after your first dose, you are still recommended to get your second dose on schedule, or as soon as you are well and released from quarantine.


If you received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of your treatment for COVID-19, delay for 90 days after treatment and consult with your primary care provider before getting vaccinated.


More detailed information can be found here.

Who should NOT get the vaccine?

You should not get the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine if you had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of this vaccine. The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine includes the following ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD) polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.


Vaccine Availability

When can I get the vaccine?

Caroline County is currently in Phase IC  of the State of Maryland’s established vaccine tiers.

Phase 1C includes:

  • All licensed, registered and certified health care providers

  • Front line hospital staff

  • Nursing home residents and staff

  • Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

  • Assisted living, independent living, behavioral health and developmentally disabled group homes, and other congregate facilities

  • Law enforcement and firefighters, EMS

  • Education staff, including K-12 teachers, support staff and daycare providers

  • Correctional health care staff and officers

  • Public safety workers not covered in Phase 1A

  • Health care workers not covered in Phase 1A, including but not limited to lab services, public health, vaccine manufacturing and other health care professions

  • Front line judiciary staff

  • Continuity of government

  • Food/agriculture production, critical manufacturing, U.S. Postal Service, public mass transit, grocery store employees

  • Veterinarians and support staff

  • Clergy and other essential support for houses of worship

  • Adults age 65 and older

  • Individuals who are currently receiving hospital-based treatment, including in hospital outpatient centers, AND diagnosed with at least one of the following conditions:

    • Cancer patients who are currently in active treatment

    • End stage renal disease patients requiring hemodialysis

    • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

    • Solid organ transplant recipients

    • Sickle cell disease patients

    • Diabetic patients (Type 1 and Type

  • Individuals who are diagnosed with these medical conditions but are not currently receiving hospital-based treatment, including in hospital outpatient centers, will be eligible to receive the vaccine in Maryland’s Phase 2 COVID-19 vaccine distribution.


Full information on the State’s vaccine plan can be found here.

Do you have enough vaccine?

Vaccine is in limited supply across the country and the world. No local government is receiving as much vaccine as they want. Caroline County will continue to request the maximum amount of vaccine that we think we can quickly and safely administer. However, our ability to complete a phase and move to the next will depend on how much vaccine we receive and on what schedule – something we generally don’t find out until a day or two before the vaccine shipment arrives.

Who determines the priority groups?

The priority groups have been established by the State of Maryland. Full information on the State’s vaccine plan can be found here.

Which essential workers fall into which stage?

The State’s vaccine information site includes some limited information on which essential workers fall into which phase, and can be viewed here. We have asked for clarification about exactly which essential workers fall into Phase 1C and which fall into Phase 2. We will update this answer as we receive more information, so please check back regularly.

If I don't get vaccinated when I first become eligible, will I have another chance?

Absolutely, as we continue a phase and move on to the next, anyone who was in a previous phase but who did not get vaccinated is still eligible.

If I don't want the vaccine, but I am eligible, can I give my spot to someone in my family who isn't eligible yet?

No, you cannot “give” your spot to anyone else. Unless someone is eligible for the current phase, they cannot receive a vaccine.


How to Sign Up to Be Vaccinated

How will I know when it's my turn?

Caroline County will communicate when we are entering each phase the following ways:

  • On our COVID-19 website at www.carolinecovid19.org

  • Through the Caroline County Department of Emergency Services and Caroline County Health Department Maryland Facebook pages

  • Through the County government Twitter @CarolineMDgov

  • Through press releases and articles in the Star Democrat newspaper

  • Using the County’s Smart 911 System. It is important that you be registered at www.smart911.com and that your profile be complete, including all members of your household and their month and year of birth. Many of the public phases are defined by age and having your birth year in this system allows us to notify you directly when we get to your phase.

How do I register for a vaccine clinic?

Caroline County has developed a Covid-19 Vaccine Eligibility Screening Form. This form will take approximately 5-10 minutes to complete. A family member or friend may complete this form for you. If you have already filled out this form, we have your information on file and will be in touch when it is your turn to be scheduled. Do not fill it out again. It will not increase your chance of being vaccinated. Registering over the phone is not a quick or easy option. Vaccine clinics have caused us to be short-handed with staff and short on time. However, if calling is your only option, please be patient! You may contact the Caroline County COVID-19 Call Center at 410-479-5880.

You can find the eligibility form here.

What if I don't have a photo ID or my ID doesn't show my current Caroline County address?

Bring any form of identification that includes your name and physical address. This may include a utility bill or bank statement.  You must be a resident of Caroline County to be vaccinated at one of our public clinics.

Will my insurance be billed? What if I don't have insurance? What is the cost?

The vaccine itself is provided free by the federal government, and there is no charge for vaccine administration at any government-run public clinic, including those run by the Caroline Health Department and County government.


In the future if vaccines are offered at primary care offices, your insurance may be billed for the cost of vaccine administration. However, it is expected that most insurance plans will cover the full cost with no direct expenses to the policy holder.

What if I need help getting to the vaccination site?

Transportation assistance may be available. Contact our call center at (410) 479-5880.

Can I get on a list to be notified directly?

Please contact our call center at (410) 479-5880 to be placed on a list to be notified when the vaccine is available. When the time comes, this notice will come via our County alert phone system as a recorded message.


We recommend you fill out the Caroline County COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Screening Form which will allow you to be notified when the time comes to be vaccinated.


Getting Vaccinated

What do I need to bring with me?

  • Mask/face covering

  • Photo ID or other form of identification showing name and address

  • The cell phone you provided at the time of registration

  • Be prepared to answer questions about your medical history and any allergies.

What should I wear to be vaccinated?

Wear a short-sleeved shirt or comfortable, loose fitting clothing that allows you to expose your arm to receive the vaccine.

Can I bring someone with me to support or help me while I'm getting vaccinated?

If you need someone to assist you for mobility reasons, you can bring one person into the clinic site with you. Minor children who cannot be left alone may also be brought with you. Anyone accompanying you must be wearing a face covering.

What is the process of getting vaccinated?

Step 1: On the day of your appointment, arrive at least 5-10 minutes early. We request that you wait in your vehicle in the parking lot until notified it’s your turn.


Step 2: When the Clinic is ready to serve you, you will receive a text message asking you to enter the clinic site. Have your photo ID ready for check-In staff when they greet you. They will screen you for Temperature/Symptoms and medical history.


Step 3: Once checked-in, the next available Clinic staff will assist you and provide your vaccination. Please have your arm exposed for the Clinic staff.


Step 4: After receiving your vaccination, you will be provided a reminder card which lists your name, the vaccine received, the lot number, and the approximate date of your second dose appointment. Save this card for your records.


Step 5: Clinic staff will direct you to a separate waiting area. We ask that you remain in this area for at least 15 minutes so Clinic staff can monitor for adverse reactions, should they occur.


Step 6: After waiting 15 minutes, you may exit the Clinic site and return home.

What side effects might I experience?

You may experience some effects after being vaccinated. Generally, these mean that your body’s immune system is doing its job.


Side effects that have been reported with the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine include:

• Injection site reactions: pain, redness of the skin and swelling.

• General side effects: headache, feeling very tired, muscle aches, nausea, and fever


There is a remote chance that the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:


• Difficulty breathing,

• Swelling of your face and throat,

• A fast heartbeat,

• A bad rash all over your body,

• Dizziness and weakness

Why do I still have to wear a mask and social distance after being vaccinated?

No vaccine is 100% effective. Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, getting a COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.