Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

COVID-19 Vaccines Frequently Asked Questions

Connecticut

May 12, 2021

 

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Am I eligible?


Who can get a vaccine?

Everyone age 16 and older who live, work or attend school in Connecticut are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Find a nearby vaccination site by visiting ct.gov/covidvaccine/access or calling the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 1-877-918-2224 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Nuvance Health is not scheduling appointments through its hospitals or medical practices.


Is the vaccine mandatory?

No. Getting the vaccine is voluntary, not mandatory. However, in accordance with CDC guidelines, Nuvance Health recommends everyone get a vaccine — unless you have a medical reason not to — in order to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

 

Where can I get a vaccine?


Where can I get a vaccine?

Mass vaccination drive-through sites, medical practices and retail pharmacies are administering vaccines. Find a nearby vaccination site by visiting ct.gov/covidvaccine/access or calling the Connecticut COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Assist Line at 1-877-918-2224 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.


Important considerations before getting a vaccine:

  • Some locations are now offering walk-up vaccinations. Visit the CT COVID-19 Vaccine Portal to find a location and determine if an appointment is required. Select a time when you can arrive 15 minutes early to complete paperwork and stay at least 15 to 30 minutes after for observation.
  • Talk with your primary care doctor before scheduling your appointment if you have questions about whether or not you should get a vaccine. At Nuvance Health, you can schedule a telehealth visit and have a remote consultation with your doctor.
  • Do not schedule your appointment within 14 days before or after receiving other vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine because at this time, there is no data on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines administered at the same time with other vaccines.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna second doses

    If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for your first dose, you will need to get a second dose of the same vaccine to ensure optimal immunity. Get your second dose at the same site as your first dose.

     

    According to CDC guidelines, the second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if that is not possible, get your second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose:

    • Schedule Pfizer-BioNTech second dose at 21 days or up to six weeks after first dose
    • Schedule Moderna second dose at 28 days or up to six weeks after second dose
    • Do not get your second dose earlier than the recommended interval for both vaccines

    The site administering your vaccine will record the type you received in the system they are using, such as the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). They should also give you a card after your first dose. Please bring the card with you to your second dose.

     

    Are vaccines safe for me?


    Who should or should not get a vaccine?

    At this time, the FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. Review fact sheets about each vaccine to determine if you should or should not get a vaccine:


    Should I get a vaccine if I already had COVID-19?

    Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and because re-infection is possible, the CDC advises people to a vaccine even if they have already had the virus. At this time, experts do not know if or how long someone has natural immunity from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.

     

    Natural immunity — the potential immunity someone gains from having an infection — varies from person to person. Early evidence suggests any natural immunity gained by an individual to COVID-19 may not last very long.


    I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Should I get a vaccine when it is my turn?

    Nuvance Health maternal fetal medicine and OB/GYN experts follow guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, The Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine and the CDC. These organizations have taken the position that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant women who want them.

     

    If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, speak with your OB/GYN about what may be best for you. Also, check out these resources:


    I have an underlying medical condition. Should I get a vaccine when it is my turn?

    According to the CDC, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions who want them provided they have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.


    Learn more about underlying medical conditions and vaccines.


    I have cancer or am in survivorship. Should I get a vaccine when it is my turn?

    COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been studied in people with cancer. However, early evidence suggests that most people with cancer can safely receive a vaccine. Although, there is a risk that some immunocompromised people may not mount an immune response to a vaccine, making it less effective for them.

     

    If you are receiving cancer treatment and have questions about vaccines, ask your doctor if you should get one. If you decide to get a vaccine, the next step is to determine when you are eligible.


    When will vaccines be available for kids?

    The FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use in ages 12 and up.

    The FDA authorized Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines in ages 18 and up.

    All three companies are conducting clinical trials for younger kids.

     

    What are possible reactions to vaccines?


    What are possible reactions to vaccines?

    At this time, the FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. The following fact sheets include reported reactions for each type of vaccine:

    According to the CDC, the most reported reactions of vaccines are:

    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Dizziness
    • Chills
    • Nausea


    What is the status of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine?

    The CDC and FDA recommended resuming the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine after a thorough safety review where they determined, “the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks.”

    • According to clinical trial data, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19.
    • According to the CDC and FDA, a type of blood clot called thrombosis-thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) has occurred in one in 100,000 women receiving the J&J vaccine. The vaccine will now carry a warning label about the very rare possibility of TTS.
    • Individuals who receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine can review the Fact Sheet for Recipients for more information.
    • Contact your doctor if you develop abdominal pain, leg pain, severe headache or shortness of breath within three weeks after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


    What should I do if I experience reactions to a vaccine?

    There are three ways to report side effects and adverse reactions:

    Learn about the difference between a vaccine side effect and an adverse event.

     

    How do vaccines work?


    What are the different types of vaccines and how do they work?

    The FDA granted emergency use authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccines:

    • According to clinical trial data, all three vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19.
    • The FDA authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use in ages 16 and up; and, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines in ages 18 and up.
    • Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses for optimal immunity; J&J requires one.
    • Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology. According to the CDC, researchers have been studying mRNA technology for more than a decade. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein — or even just a piece of a protein — that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from infection if the real virus enters our bodies. Learn more about mRNA vaccines.
    • Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine uses viral vector technology, which has been in development for over four decades according to the CDC. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver instructions, in the form of genetic material (a gene), to a cell. The vaccine does not cause infection with either COVID-19 or the virus used as the vector. Learn more about viral vector vaccines.


    How do I know which vaccine I should get?

    We caution against comparing the types of vaccines because the companies designed the clinical trials differently and conducted them under varying circumstances. What you need to know is all three vaccines with FDA emergency use authorization are highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19, according to clinical trial data.


    How are vaccines tested for safety?

    According to the CDC, the vaccine safety system ensures all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make COVID-19 vaccines available.

     

    Before the FDA grants an emergency use authorization for a vaccine, the known and potential benefits must outweigh the known and potential risks for use.


    Will vaccines give me COVID-19?

    No. According to the CDC, none of the vaccines with emergency use authorization in the United States uses the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign the body is potentially building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.


    Can I still get COVID-19 if I get a vaccine?

    Yes. It is possible to get COVID-19 even if you get vaccinated. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build up its immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

     

    According to the CDC, no vaccine is 100 percent effective. If you have COVID-19 symptoms a few days or more after getting the vaccine, follow the guidelines for someone with suspected infection: quarantine (avoid contact with others) and get tested. Learn more about COVID-19 testing at Nuvance Health.


    Will I test positive for COVID-19 after I get a vaccine?

    According to the CDC, vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the United States will not cause you to test positive on viral tests. Viral tests show if you have a current infection.

     

    On the other hand, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and you may have some level of protection against the virus. The goal of vaccination is to develop an immune response (antibodies) without getting sick.

     

    Vaccines FAQ


    Why do we need vaccines?

    According to the CDC and based on what is known about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe a COVID-19 vaccine may prevent you from getting the virus or seriously ill if you do get it. A COVID-19 vaccine may also help protect people around you, particularly individuals at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.


    How will vaccines help protect me?

    According to the CDC, the goal of the vaccine is to teach your immune system how to recognize COVID-19, so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. The combination of getting vaccinated and following public health recommendations will offer the best protection from COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.


    Will I need to keep wearing a mask, social distancing and washing my hands if I get a vaccine?

    The CDC and State of Connecticut continue to update public health recommendations for individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19:


    What is an emergency use authorization?

    According to the FDA, during a public health emergency, the agency can use its emergency use authority to allow the use of unapproved medical products, such as a drug, vaccine or diagnostic device, to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases when certain criteria are met; including that there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.


    What vaccines have FDA emergency use authorization?

    At this time, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for three vaccines:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older
    • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older
    • Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older


    Did the FDA approve the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine?

    This product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA, under an emergency use authorization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 16 years of age and older; and the emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.


    Did the FDA approve the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

    This product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA, under an emergency use authorization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 18 years of age and older; and the emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.


    Did the FDA approve the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

    This product has not been approved or licensed by the FDA, but has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA, under an emergency use authorization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for use in individuals 18 years of age and older; and the emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of the medical product under Section 564(b)(1) of the FD&C Act unless the declaration is terminated or authorization revoked sooner.


    Which vaccine will I get?

    The type of vaccine available to you will depend on where you schedule your appointment and supply.


    Who is paying for the vaccine?

    There is no cost to recipients for vaccines purchased with United States taxpayer dollars. However, vaccination providers, such as medical practices, can charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

     

    Where can I go for more information?

    Call Nuvance Health’s Community Hotline with questions about vaccines at 1-888-667-9262.

    Visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus for the latest information about vaccines at Nuvance Health

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