Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine
Q. Where is the most up-to-date info on vaccine availability at St. Luke’s?
A. St. Luke’s is sharing the most current information with regular updates online and via a recorded information line:
Q. Where is St. Luke's COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic?
A. St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic located at the corner of 9th Avenue E. and E. 1st Street on St. Luke's main campus in downtown Duluth.
Q. Who can get the vaccine?
A. Anyone 12 years old and up can get the vaccine in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Vaccine eligibility is directed by federal and state authorities. Learn more about eligibility here: https://mn.gov/covid19/vaccine/whos-getting-vaccinated/vaccinated.jsp. The FDA and CDC determine what age groups are able to receive the vaccine, based on clinical trials and other data. They use this information to determine who can get the vaccine under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). For current Emergency Use Authorizations, visit slhduluth.com/COVIDVaccineEUA.
Q. Which vaccine is St. Luke’s Hospital using?
A. St. Luke’s is administering FDA approved vaccines and those currently approved for use under Emergency Use Authorization. This includes the Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine (Comirnaty), which is FDA approved for those 16+, and available under EUA for those 12-15 years of age, and the Moderna vaccine, which available under EUA for those 18+. These vaccines have undergone rigorous testing from the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety and efficacy.
For most people, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are each administered in a 2-dose series, with the second dose given 21 days after the first for Pfizer, and 28 days after the first for Moderna. Second doses are scheduled when you come in for your first dose. Boosters are available for specific groups of people who completed the initial Pfizer series 6 or more months ago, while immunocompromised individuals may also need a 3rd dose as part of their initial series. More details about a 3rd dose or booster can be found here. The Janssen/J&J COVID-19 vaccine is a single-dose. All of these vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19 illness and hospitalizations.
More detailed information from the CDC can be found here.
Q. Where can I find the Information Sheets and Emergency Use Authorizations
for the COVID-19 vaccines?
A: Visit slhduluth.com/COVIDVaccineEUA.
Q. Are there any reasons I should wait to have the vaccine?
A. There are a few reasons why you may need to wait to receive a vaccine:
- If you currently have COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms
- If you are quarantined because of an exposure to COVID-19
- If you have received Monoclonal Antibody Therapy or Convalescent Plasma in the past 90 days
Q: Can COVID-19 vaccine be given to pregnant or breastfeeding women?
A. Yes. It is recommended that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. Infection with COVID-19 puts pregnant people at increased risk of complications and death. Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is increasing, and indicates that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
Q. Will it cost anything to receive the vaccine?
A. No. There are no out-of-pocket costs for people who receive the vaccine. Private insurance companies and government insurance programs like Medicare will fully cover the cost of the vaccine. For those who are uninsured, the cost will be fully covered.
Q. How do I replace a lost or damaged CDC vaccination card?
A. If your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card is misplaced or damaged, St. Luke’s COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic can issue you a replacement. Clinic staff will verify your vaccination by referring to your medical record or department of health vaccine registries. For more information, or to request a new card, call 218.249.4200.
Q. When will we need a COVID vaccine booster shot?
At the time of writing, authorizations and recommendations from the FDA and CDC call for a third dose of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals with specific diagnoses or undergoing specific treatments. For these people, the additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at least four weeks after a second dose of mRNA vaccine. More details will be coming soon for eligible individuals regarding getting their booster at St. Luke's. There is currently no recommendation for those who received the single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine to get an additional dose. More details about a 3rd dose or booster can be found here.
Q. When will I have protection from COVID-19 after the vaccines?
A. It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until 1-2 weeks after the second shot.
Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?
A. No, none of the vaccines that St. Luke’s is using contain a live COVID-19 virus.
Q. What are the risks of
not getting vaccinated?
A. While many people who get COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family and others around you.
Q. How can I protect myself from getting COVID-19 before I can receive
A. You should continue to follow CDC and department of health recommendations to decrease your risk of acquiring COVID-19 through methods like covering your nose and mouth with a mask when around others outside of your household, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds and washing your hands frequently. Learn more.
Vaccine Side Effects
Q. What are the common responses to the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. You may have some minor side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The common responses to these vaccines are: pain or swelling in the arm where you got your shot, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, and joint aches. These are typically mild to moderate and generally resolve within 1-2 days. Responses for multi-dose vaccines are more common after the follow-up dose(s), and are more frequent and severe in 18-55 year olds than those greater than 55 years.
Cough, shortness of breath, a runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell are NOT consistent with post-vaccination symptoms.
Q. Is it safe to get the second shot of Pfizer or Moderna if I had a reaction
to the first dose?
A. Yes, you should get the second dose even if you had side effects from the first dose, unless a vaccine provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot. When you go in for your second dose, be sure to let the vaccinator know what side affects you had.
Q. Will the vaccine cause sterility or infertility?
A. Social media articles have circulated regarding the vaccine’s potential impact on infertility. However, the claims are not based on any reliable scientific evidence. There is no scientific evidence from the current studies that the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine causes infertility in men or women.
Vaccine for those who had COVID-19 or are feeling ill
Q. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get
A. Yes. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again (called natural immunity). Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Since natural immunity is known to be good for at least 3 months after contracting COVID-19, those who were previously infected with COVID-19 can elect to delay their vaccine up to 90 days from their positive test if they so choose.
You should be well, fever-free and not in an isolation or quarantine period when you get your COVID-19 vaccine. Those who received Monoclonal Antibody Therapy or Convalescent Plasma treatment must wait 90 days to receive the vaccine.
Q: Why should I be vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19? Am I not immune?
A. There is risk of reinfection after having COVID-19, especially with more contagious variants. By receiving a vaccine after having COVID-19 infection, your immune system gets a boost in protecting you from repeat infection.
Q. Do I have to be symptom-free to get the vaccine?
A. Like any other vaccine, you don’t want to have a fever or obvious illness because your immune system is already working to fight something off. In addition, you won’t know what side effects you’re having from the vaccine. You should defer your date until you’re feeling better.
Q. If I get the COVID-19 vaccine and take a COVID-19 test, will it come
A. No, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 test. If/when your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on an antibody blood test.
Reasons to get the vaccine
Q. Why is a vaccine needed if we can do other things, like social distancing
and wearing masks, to prevent the virus from spreading?
A. Stopping a pandemic requires using all available tools. 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, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC’s recommendations on how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
Q. Should I continue to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others
if I have received 2 doses of the vaccine?
A. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. Learn more.