COVID-19 FAQs: Vaccine Patient Information

Before, During, and After my Vaccine Visit

What will the vaccine cost?

There is no charge for the COVID vaccine, although your insurance only may be billed for the administration fee. Whether insurance pays or not, currently there is still no cost to you.

What should I do before my vaccine?

Talk to your doctor about getting a vaccine for COVID-19. Remember to bring your mask and any other additional identification materials required by your vaccination center. For individuals who have had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (see question about vaccine ingredients), it is not recommended that you receive that particular COVID-19 vaccine at this time. A patient with allergy to an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) component may be eligible for Johnson & Johnson vaccine or Novavax vaccines, or vice versa.

You may receive the Covid vaccine at same time as other vaccinations. An exception would be the Monkeypox vaccine which should not be given at the same time as the Covid vaccines whenever possible.

What should I do during my vaccine visit?

Wear your mask into the vaccine clinic and during your vaccination. You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. You will also get a paper or an electronic version of a fact sheet from the manufacturer of the authorized COVID-19 vaccine that you received. Make sure you review this and ask any questions you may have before leaving. If your vaccine requires two doses, make sure to schedule your second dose.

What should I do after my vaccine visit?

Sign up for v-safe at V-safe is a free, smartphone-based tool that uses texts and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive your vaccination. Continue to wear your mask and practice social distancing, especially in indoor settings.

Can I get the vaccine if I am not feeling well?

Yes. Vaccination is safe and effective in patients with mild illnesses including common colds, mild diarrhea, or other mild ailments. However, if you have a fever over 100 F, your vaccination will be rescheduled.

How can I get proof that I’ve had the vaccine?

You will receive an immunization card at the end of the visit. Additionally, your vaccine will be recorded in GRITS, the official vaccine registry of the state of Georgia. You may request a print out of your GRITS record through your primary care physician.

How many shots do I get?

For the primary series: If you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, a single shot would be sufficient. If you received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, 2 shots are required and you must complete BOTH doses to be fully immunized. You will get the same type of shot for the 2nd dose as you did with the first dose. You should still receive the second dose even if you had mild side effects from the first dose. Currently, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is no longer available.

For updated vaccine doses: The bivalent vaccine from Moderna or Pfizer for anyone 12 years of age or older is recommended.

Will I need to get this shot every year like the flu shot?

It is not currently known what the maintenance vaccine schedule will be.

How soon are the vaccines effective?

It is important to get both shots to be fully protected for Moderna and Pfizer. The vaccines are considered fully effective within 14 days of the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and within 14 days of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. If you are more than 2 months beyond your last dose of Covid vaccine, it is recommended that you receive an updated vaccine.

How long does immunity from the vaccine last?

Because of rapidly evolving variants, protection from severe disease and hospitalization begins to wane at months.

Do I still need to wear a mask and physically distance after I’ve been fully vaccinated? When can I stop wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others after I have been vaccinated?

From the CDC website: (see When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated)

Safer Activities for You and Your Family

  • If you are fully vaccinated, you can participate in many of the activities that you did before the pandemic.
  • To maximize protection from COVID-19 and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask is most important if you have a weakened immune system or if, because of your age or an underlying medical condition, you are at increased risk for severe disease, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated. If this applies to you or your household, you might choose to wear a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area.
  • You should continue to wear a mask where required by laws, rules, regulations, or local guidance.


Second Dose Questions

How will my second dose be scheduled?

You will automatically receive an alert in MyChart to schedule your second dose appointment on the appropriate day based on date of your first dose and the manufacturer’s recommended dosing schedule (Pfizer 21 days, Moderna 28 days).

What if I can’t get my second shot on the exact date required?

The second dose should be given after 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 days (Moderna). There is a +/- 4-day grace period for receiving the second dose in which patients are considered as being vaccinated “on time.”

  • For Pfizer: Patients who are greater than 25 days from initial Pfizer vaccination should still receive their second Pfizer dose as soon as possible. The vaccine series does not need to be repeated.
  • For Moderna: Patients who are greater than 32 days from initial Moderna vaccination should still receive their second Moderna dose as soon as possible. The vaccine series does not need to be repeated. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine does not require a second dose.
Can my second shot be different from my first one? (i.e., I receive Pfizer first but want to get Moderna as my second shot.)

This is not preferred. However, the CDC has allowed for mixing shots under "exceptional circumstances."

Are the side effects worse for the second dose?

Common side effects for both vaccines include fever, fatigue, headache, chills and muscle and/or joint aches and pain in addition to redness and swelling at the vaccination site. And, these side effects have been more frequent with the second dose.

Should I pre-medicate prior to my second dose?

You may if you choose to. There is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that taking Tylenol or NSAIDs diminishes vaccine effectiveness. So while it is allowable, it is not advised.

Is the 15-minute evaluation period still necessary for the second dose?

Patients who receive their second dose (or updated vaccine) of the vaccine should be evaluated for 15 minutes after vaccination. Reactions to the vaccine could occur after the second shot as well for those who did not have a reaction with the first dose. However, this is rare.


COVID-19 Vaccine and Other Vaccinations

Does the COVID-19 vaccine take the place of the pneumonia vaccine or the flu vaccine?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine does not take the place of the pneumonia vaccine or the flu vaccine. It is important to be up to date on all immunization including pneumonia and flu vaccines in addition to COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider regarding which vaccines are recommended for you.


Post-Vaccination Testing

Does vaccination cause a false positive COVID-19 test?

No, vaccines do not cause false positive COVID-19 tests for acute disease. In fact, patients who are fully vaccinated (>/= 2 weeks from final vaccine dose) who test positive for COVID-19 should have their specimen sent to the state department for further evaluation AND the case reported in VAERS, regardless of severity.

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