Be ready! Frequently asked questions about getting your vaccine

January 13, 2021
Be ready! Frequently asked questions about getting your vaccine

JANUARY 13, 2021 -- COVID vaccines are rolling out. We don’t yet know when you can get yours. (Federal and state governments drive the timeline and order of priority groups.)

We want to help you be ready, with clear information and answers to your questions.

Rollout plans keep evolving. Get updates at

Who is getting vaccines now?

As of January 13, Minnesota is in the first phase of vaccine rollout, “Phase 1a,” vaccinating healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Minnesota’s goal is to have all healthcare workers and nursing home residents vaccinated by the end of January (at least first dose). NH+C received enough Pfizer vaccine to vaccinate NH+C staff and providers in December and January. Vaccine for community distribution is expected to begin arriving in the spring, through Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). MDH expects to enter Phase 1b in early February. Minnesota is distributing the vaccine in stages, starting with healthcare workers and nursing home residents (Phase 1a), then first responders, frontline essential workers, and adults 75+ (Phase 1b), followed by adults 65+, people with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers (Phase 1c).

When I can get the vaccine?

All Minnesotans will have access to the vaccine. Those who are most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, followed closely by those slightly less vulnerable, and so on. Timing depends on how quickly vaccine is available. The federal government manages distribution to states. See updates on timing and who’s included in each phase on MDH’s webpage “Who’s getting vaccinated next?”

How can I find out when it’s my turn?

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and MDH share information publicly as they roll out more vaccines. You can follow CDC updates here:  and MDH updates here:

We’ll also keep the community informed as best we can as the situation develops – on our website and through news outlets and social media.

NH+C does not have a waitlist for COVID vaccination. Please do not call or plan a vaccine visit right now.

Who decides the order of groups to get the vaccine? 

CDC makes recommendations for who should be offered the vaccine first when supplies are limited. CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices have published recommendations for which groups should be vaccinated first, to help guide decisions at the state and county level. (Source: CDC)

When will the supply of vaccine increase?

Supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, CDC’s plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. (Source: CDC)

Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested. If more vaccines are authorized or approved by FDA, then CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. All the vaccines ACIP recommends will be added to CDC’s plan. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available to their communities. (Source: CDC)

When will kids be able to get a vaccine?

CDC officials expect children and young teens (under 16) could have a vaccine available in the second half of 2021. Researchers need to examine the dosages, interval between doses, and the number of doses that work best in children.

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.)

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:

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. 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. 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 CDC-recommended sources Minnesota Department of Health Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center