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COVID-19 Vaccine

First and second dose of vaccine is available to everyone 12 and older. Make an appointment: 507-646-8019

About the COVID-19 Vaccines   |   About Getting Your Vaccination
Vaccination for 12- to 15-year olds   |   Vaccination and pregnancy

COVID-19 Information

First and second dose of vaccine is available to everyone 12 and older. Schedule an appointment: 507-646-8019.

Para programar su cita en español, llame al 507-646-1069.

Booster shots are recommended only for specific people at this time.

NH+C is scheduling Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for eligible individuals based on CDC guidelines.

As of Oct. 15, the FDA is expected to authorize booster shots for Moderna soon. NH+C will offer Moderna booster shots after FDA authorization plus CDC and MDH guidance are complete. 

The CDC recommends these people should get a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing the first two doses of Pfizer vaccine:

  • People 65 and older
  • Residents 18 and older in long-term care settings
  • People 50–64 years with specific underlying medical conditions (see below)

CDC recommends these people may get a booster shot of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine at least 6 months after completing the first two doses of Pfizer:

  • People 18–49 years with specific underlying medical conditions
  • Health care workers and front-line essential workers ages 18-64 (see below)

The criteria for Moderna booster shots are expected to be similar.

If you meet these criteria, please fill out the Booster Shot Wait List. Si cumple con estos criterios, complete la lista de espera de Pfizer Booster Shot.

Medical Conditions that qualify for Pfizer

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung diseases (including COPD, asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension)
  • Dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, hypertension)
  • HIV infection
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Smoking, current or former
  • Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
  • Substance use disorders

Occupations that qualify for Pfizer

  • First responder (healthcare worker, firefighter, police, congregate care staff)
  • Education staff (teacher, support staff, daycare worker)
  • Food or agriculture worker
  • Manufacturing worker
  • Corrections worker
  • U.S. Postal Service worker
  • Public transit worker
  • Grocery store worker

We contact people on our waitlist via phone or text to schedule an appointment. You must hear from us before scheduling a booster shot appointment. There’s no need to call NH+C until you hear from us.

Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine that has been authorized by the FDA and CDC for booster shots at this time. As of Oct. 15, the FDA is expected to authorize booster shots for Moderna soon. 

You can look for other options for booster shots, too. Vaccine is widely available in the community, including pharmacies.

Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html


NH+C is directly scheduling booster shots for immunosuppressed people with specific medical conditions: Organ transplant / Bone marrow or stem cell transplant / Immunodeficiency (moderate-severe) / Undergoing chemotherapy / Advanced HIV / Active treatment with high-dose immunosuppressant (such as prednisone). Current NH+C patients with these conditions can call to discuss scheduling a third dose: 507-646-8019. Please do not call to schedule a booster shot if you do not have one of these medical conditions. 


FDA approves Pfizer vaccine

FDA approved Pfizer's vaccine on August 23. 

“While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. 

The vaccine is fully approved for people 16 and older. It continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for people ages 12-15, and for a third dose for certain immunocompromised individuals.

The approved vaccine has the same formulation as the EUA vaccine and is administered as a series of two doses, three weeks apart. 

See FDA's news announcement here: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-covid-19-vaccine

CDC and FDA are not recommending booster shots for the general public at this time (as of August 2021). Please don’t make an appointment for another dose if you’ve already had two doses (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson). We will update this as CDC and FDA guidance evolves.

 

About scheduling your vaccination appointment:

Call 507-646-8019 to schedule appointments for anyone 12 and older.  

We will schedule your first and second doses (3 or 4 weeks apart) when you call.

NH+C’s goal is to vaccinate people in our community as broadly and efficiently as possible with the resources we have. We are committed to serving all members of our community.

Vaccine is widely available in the community, including pharmacies . . . convenient, no appointment at many locations. Find yours: vaccineconnector.mn.gov

 

NH+C recommends these resources for accurate, reliable information on COVID-19 and vaccination:

 

Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine

On this page:  About the COVID-19 Vaccines     |     Getting Your Vaccination     |     Vaccination for 12- to 15-year olds

Who should get a COVID vaccine?

Everyone over age 12 should get a vaccine. It’s a safe and effective way to build immunity against contracting COVID. This protects you, and others: The more people vaccinated, the less COVID can spread . . . the faster we can return to normal. With Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you need two doses, 3-4 weeks apart, depending on which vaccine you receive. It’s important to get both doses, on time, for full effectiveness. (Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose.)

Are the vaccines safe?

Yes. Having safe and effective vaccines is the top priority for us all. The science behind Pfizer's and Moderna's vaccines (messenger RNA) has been in development for over a decade. And all the steps of research and testing have been followed to establish the effectiveness and safety of the vaccine. Clinical trials had tens of thousands of volunteers (for Pfizer, about 40,000; for Moderna, 30,000) rather than a few thousand, for more data in a shorter time. Plus, federal funding enabled production of vaccines at the same time as clinical trials, so millions of doses were available quickly after each vaccine was proven safe and effective.

How effective are the vaccines?

A two shot series of Pfizer or Moderna reduces your chance of getting Covid-19 by 95%. (The small percent who do get COVID have a mild case.) Plus, the vaccines are 100% effective in preventing severe COVID disease and death. 

How long does it take for the vaccine to take full effect?

With Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, it takes about two weeks after the second dose to build maximum immunity. It’s important to get both doses. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose. It takes about two weeks to build maximum immunity.

Do I need a booster shot?

Booster shots are recommended only for specific people at this time. On Sept. 22, the FDA amended the Emergency Use Authorization (EAU) for a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine for people 65 and older; people 18-64 at high risk of severe COVID-19; and people whose work or institutional exposure puts them at high risk of severe COVID-19. NH+C is waiting for CDC and MDH guidance to provide booster shots for those who meet these criteria.

At this time, NH+C is only scheduling booster shots for immunosuppressed people with specific medical conditions: Organ transplant / Bone marrow or stem cell transplant / Immunodeficiency (moderate-severe) / Undergoing chemotherapy / Advanced HIV / Active treatment with high-dose immunosuppressant (such as prednisone) 

Current NH+C patients with these conditions can call to discuss scheduling a third dose: 507-646-8019. Please do not call to schedule a booster shot if you do not have one of these medical conditions. 

People who have had two doses of Pfizer or Moderna (or one dose of J&J) are well-protected against hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

Guidance will continue to evolve. NH+C will share information as plans evolve, based on guidance from CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP), the FDA, and the Minnesota Department of Health. 

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Possible side effects are typical of what happens with other vaccines: low-grade fever, body aches, headache, fatigue, joint pain, soreness at the injection site. Side effects may be greater with the second dose. Side effects may feel like flu and might even affect your daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Side effects are a sign that the vaccine is working: Your body is building immunity without having an actual infection or being infectious to others. (If you have no side effects, that's OK too. The vaccine is still working.)

Can I get COVID from the vaccine?

No. The vaccines do not use live virus. You cannot catch COVID from the vaccines. It’s possible to become infected through community spread shortly after vaccination, before the vaccine has had enough time to build immunity (typically about two weeks). It’s important to keep using precautions after your vaccination: Wear a mask, keep distance, wash your hands.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 95% effective in preventing COVID. (The small percent who do get COVID have a mild case.) Plus, the vaccines are 100% effective in preventing severe COVID disease and death. 

It’s all so new. What if I want to wait and see how other people do with the vaccine?

We understand, new things make people wary – it’s a survival instinct. Remember: COVID is a deadly, highly contagious disease. We now have safe, effective vaccines to prevent it. It is safer to get a vaccine than it is to get COVID.

We encourage you to get a vaccine when it is available to you. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. The more people who get vaccinated, the less disease there is to spread. Stopping the spread of COVID gets us closer to the end of the pandemic. 

After I’m vaccinated, can I still spread COVID?

Probably not. Studies show Covid-19 vaccines reduce the risk that you can transmit the infection to others. To protect others who are vulnerable, we encourage you to continue other prevention methods along with vaccine: wear masks, keep distance, wash your hands, stay home if you're sick. These precautions help everyone. Until enough people are vaccinated for widespread immunity, it's good to continue precautions.

Do I still have to wear a mask?

Not in most settings. You still must wear a mask in the hospital and healthcare settings to protect others who are at risk of COVID. Hospitals, healthcare settings and nursing homes will keep mask and distance precautions to protect high-risk people: Those who are ill and seeking care; immune-compromised; or vulnerable to severe illness. Healthcare settings must continue core infection prevention practices to keep these people safe.  

I’ve already had COVID. Do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. We don’t know how much immunity you get from having had the virus, or how long it lasts. Vaccine gives a clear, predictable level of protection. Plus, a second, new infection is possible without vaccination. You can become sick again, or make others sick. If you were recently diagnosed with COVID, talk to your primary care provider about when you should get vaccinated.

I wouldn’t get very sick if I got COVID. Do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. There’s no way to know how COVID will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. You can also spread the virus to family, friends, and others around you whether or not you have symptoms. Your vaccine protects others, too.

I have allergies. Should I get vaccinated?

If you have allergies so severe that you carry an EpiPen, talk with your provider and allergist about your options.

I’m pregnant. Should I get vaccinated?

Yes. Based on how mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they do not pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. Getting COVID poses a bigger risk: Pregnant people who get COVID are at higher risk of severe illness or death, and COVID can affect your baby’s health. (Source: CDC) Talk with your provider if you have concerns. 

I’m breastfeeding. Should I get vaccinated?

The CDC says that mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. (There are no data at this time on the safety of COVID vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion.) People who are breastfeeding and in a group that’s recommended to get a COVID vaccine (such as healthcare workers) can choose to be vaccinated.

Does the vaccine affect fertility?

No. No vaccine affects fertility or sterility, in women or men, girls or boys. Getting sick with COVID can affect sperm count and motility in men.

How do the vaccines work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use “messenger RNA” (mRNA) to teach cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside the body. That immune response produces antibodies that protect you from getting infected if the real virus enters your body.

Can mRNA alter my DNA?

No. mRNA does not affect or interact with your DNA in any way. It never enters the nucleus of the cell, where DNA is kept. Instead, the vaccine uses mRNA to work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity.

Does my vaccine protect my loved ones?

Yes. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. The more people who get vaccinated, the less disease there is to spread. Stopping the spread of COVID gets us closer to the end of the pandemic. 

Three reasons to get the vaccine

  1. We share a social responsibility to protect others. You might not be at high risk for becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID, but we all have a responsibility not to spread it to others who are at high risk. You can spread COVID without even becoming sick yourself. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer people there are to spread COVID.
  2. Vaccines are the best way to develop immunity as safely as possible. COVID will continue to exist, a viral illness in our world like chickenpox, measles, and influenza. We will all need to become immune to this virus at some point in our lives. Science shows the vaccine is the safest way to build immunity.
  3. Widespread immunity helps us get back to normal. When 75% to 80% of the population is vaccinated, the country will develop widespread immunity that protects us all. The sooner we each get vaccinated to protect our family, friends, and neighbors from COVID, the sooner we can reopen and gather together once again.

There’s a lot of information being published about COVID vaccines. Please choose reliable sources to learn the facts, so you can make an informed decision about your health – and your loved ones.
•    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(link is external)
•    CDC-recommended sources(link is external)
•    Minnesota Department of Health(link is external)
•    Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center

How can I get a vaccine?

Vaccine is available to everyone 12 and older. It is free. Make an appointment by calling 507-646-8019.

Who is getting vaccines now?

Vaccine is available to everyone 12 and older. It is free. Make an appointment by calling 507-646-8019.

When will kids be able to get a vaccine?

Youth ages 12-15 are being vaccinated now. The FDA authorized use of Pfizer vaccine for youth ages 12-15 on May 10. The FDA gave full approval for Pfizer vaccine for people 16 and older on August 23, and continues emergency use authorization for ages 12-15. Make an appointment by calling 507-646-8019.

Vaccination may be approved for children younger than 12 later this year.

What happens when I get my vaccine?

When you get the vaccine, you and your healthcare worker both need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth. Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines. You’ll be given a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific vaccine you’re being offered, to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine. The healthcare worker will review a few health questions with you before your injection. After injection, you’ll be monitored for any side effects for 15 minutes. You’ll be given a vaccination card or printout that tells you what vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Keep this card for your records. (Take a picture of it for back up.) Ask: When am I due for my second dose?

What will it cost?

There is no charge for vaccine doses from CDC; these doses are funded by the federal government. There may be a charge for getting the shot, to cover administration costs for the clinic or hospital. Vaccine administration costs will be billed to insurance. For patients who do not have coverage, administration costs may qualify for government funding.  

It’s all so new. What if I want to wait and see how other people do with the vaccine?

We understand, new things make people wary – it’s a survival instinct. Remember: COVID is a deadly, highly contagious disease. We now have safe, effective vaccines to prevent it. It is safer to get a vaccine than it is to get COVID. We encourage you to get a vaccine when it is available to you. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. The more people who get vaccinated, the less disease there is to spread. Stopping the spread of COVID gets us closer to the end of the pandemic. 

Three reasons to get the vaccine:

  1. We share a social responsibility to protect others. You might not be at high risk for becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID, but we all have a responsibility not to spread it to others who are at high risk. You can spread COVID without even becoming sick yourself. The more people who get vaccinated, the fewer people there are to spread COVID.
  2. Vaccines are the best way to develop immunity as safely as possible. COVID will continue to exist, a viral illness in our world like chickenpox, measles, and influenza. We will all need to become immune to this virus at some point in our lives. Science shows the vaccine is the safest way to build immunity.
  3. Widespread immunity helps us get back to normal. When 75% to 80% of the population is vaccinated, the country will develop widespread immunity that protects us all. The sooner we each get vaccinated to protect our family, friends, and neighbors from COVID, the sooner we can reopen and gather together once again.

There’s a lot of information being published about COVID vaccines. Please choose reliable sources to learn the facts, so you can make an informed decision about your health – and your loved ones.
•    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(link is external)
•    CDC-recommended sources(link is external)
•    Minnesota Department of Health(link is external)
•    Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center

I have an appointment. How do I prepare?

Do not get any other vaccinations before your appointment.

Before you arrive: You can review vaccine information online. CDC has information on COVID vaccines

Please keep your appointment time. Times are coordinated to space people out and maintain distance for COVID precautions.

When you arrive: Wear a mask covering your mouth and nose. You will be screened to enter the building. We’ll check you in, review your consent form and some health questions. Please do not come if you have a fever or any COVID symptoms. Call 507-646-8019 to reschedule your appointment. 

When you get your vaccine: You’ll get your vaccine (a shot in your arm), then sit in a monitoring area for 15 or 30 minutes to monitor for side effects. If you wish, we can help you sign up for V-Safe – CDC’s text-based program to track side effects for everyone who’s gotten a vaccine.

Why should my child be vaccinated?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it.

Children can get sick from COVID, some with long-lasting health problems. Children can spread COVID to others, even if they don’t have any symptoms. Vaccinating children helps break the path of virus to other family members and friends.

Having all members of your household vaccinated is the best protection for your whole family.

Having everyone vaccinated is what helps us return to what life was like before the pandemic. Getting your child vaccinated can bring your family one step closer to enjoying activities you miss.

 

How do we know it’s safe for children?

COVID vaccines have had the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in adolescents. (Source: CDC)

Pfizer tested its vaccine with 2,400 youth ages 12-15 (in addition to 40,000 people 16 and older) and found it has the same effectiveness and safety for youth as it does for adults: It is 95% effective in preventing COVID, and 100% effective in preventing serious illness and death.

V-Safe, a voluntary program, monitors millions of vaccinated people who joined the program for side effects and illness after being vaccinated. V-Safe shows that the vaccines have been consistently safe across many millions of doses.

When should my child be vaccinated?

As soon as you can arrange it.

COVID vaccine can be given at the same time as other immunizations for youth who are due (or behind schedule) on routine vaccinations including Tdap, HPV and Meningococcal vaccines. (Source: AAP)

If your child gets their 7th grade required immunizations this summer and are offered a COVID vaccine that day or week, it is safe to get it. You do not need to wait two weeks after other immunizations.

What are the side effects?

Most people experience mild (or no) side effects. Side effects are normal signs that the body is building protection.

During testing, youth ages 12-15 had the same side effects as older teens and adults – at the same frequency and severity.

Your child may have pain at the injection site, some redness and swelling. Your child also may have fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever or nausea. Side effects may appear a few hours after injection and may last a few days.

You can give your child non-aspirin pain reliever (ibuprofen, Tylenol, acetaminophen) for any of these common side effects. (There’s no need to give pain relievers before your child’s injection; that medication is likely to wear off before side effects appear.)

Before the appointment, we recommend having something to eat. It will keep your child’s blood sugar steady and help keep them calm, especially if they're nervous or excited.

I’m pregnant. Should I get vaccinated?

Yes. If you are pregnant now, you can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine. Pregnancy increases the risk of severe illness, complications of pregnancy, and even death from COVID-19. Vaccination reduces that risk dramatically.  Over 139,562 pregnant people across the U.S. have been vaccinated (as of July 26, per CDC). All evidence shows COVID vaccination is safe during pregnancy.

I want to get pregnant soon. Should I get vaccinated now?

Yes. We strongly encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccination protects you and your loved ones. You do not need to delay getting pregnant after you get a vaccine. Vaccination will not affect your ability to get pregnant.

I heard that vaccines can affect my fertility. Is that true?

No. COVID-19 vaccines DO NOT affect fertility. It’s distressing that many young women (and men) have latched onto misinformation that vaccines could affect their ability to have children in the future. That is a scary thought. But it simply is not true. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. That gives us confidence that new vaccines using this proven technology are safe for you today and into your future.

I’m breastfeeding. Can I get vaccinated?

Yes. If you are breastfeeding, we recommend that you get vaccinated. You can keep breastfeeding your child. When you get vaccinated, the antibodies made by your body may be passed through breastmilk, and help protect your child from the virus.

Can’t I just wait and see how other women do with their vaccination?

There is no benefit in waiting. Two things are clear: COVID-19 remains a serious risk to those who are not vaccinated. And COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. More than 100 million people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated, with no harm to pregnancies, fertility, or breastfeeding. As scientists continue to study the benefits and effects of COVID-19 vaccines, the data continue to reassure us.