Answering Your Questions about the Covid-19 Vaccine, in Animations

Here are the answers to some of the most common questions about Covid-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts, in animated form.

Q: Who is eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in Massachusetts currently?

A: Ages 16+. As of April 19, everybody over age 16 who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts is eligible to get the vaccine. Adolescents aged 12 to 15 can preregister. The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 18-year-olds on Monday, but it still awaits sign-off from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only authorized for people 18 and older, however, clinical trials are underway for children.


Q: Do I need a social security number or insurance or a form of payment to get a COVID vaccine?


A: No. The Covid-19 vaccine is free for all eligible individuals (i.e. age 16+). You do not need to present a social security card, insurance, or any form of payment to receive a vaccine. Some vaccination sites may ask for insurance and Social Security information so they can charge administrative fees to insurance companies or the federal government, but those are not requirements to get vaccinated.


Q: Can the Covid-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

A: No. Covid-19 vaccines do not alter your DNA. Covid-19 vaccines deliver genetic material to cells to help provide the instructions for building up an immune response against the virus. However, this genetic material is never delivered to the nucleus of the cell, meaning that it cannot interact with our own DNA in any way.


Q: Do I need to wear a mask in public if I am fully vaccinated?

A: Yes, inside and in crowded places. The CDC advises all fully vaccinated individuals to continue wearing a mask in indoor public settings. You will also be required to wear a mask if you plan to travel outside the country or if you go through a domestic airport or other transportation hub. However, you can gather outside — excluding certain crowded settings — without a mask.


Descriptions by Yuen Ting Chow and Meera S. Nair