COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Answers to top questions about the vaccine
We believe the COVID-19 vaccine represents our greatest opportunity to end the coronavirus pandemic. Our physicians strongly recommend that all who are eligible for the vaccine get it, unless advised not to by their provider. We hope these answers to frequently asked questions will help you make an informed decision.
When you're ready for your vaccine, we're here to help. Call our COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at (614) 533-6999, schedule online through your OhioHealth MyChart account, or walk in during designated hours at our COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
COVID-19 vaccine fast facts
Spend a few minutes with OhioHealth infectious disease expert Joseph Gastaldo, MD, as he dispels vaccine myths and responds to top concerns.
Vaccine distribution FAQ
- Who is currently receiving the vaccine?
OhioHealth is scheduling people 16 and older. OhioHealth is currently administering the Pfizer vaccine.
- What is the process for receiving the vaccine?
People 16 or older with an OhioHealth MyChart account can schedule online. If you are not a patient, or can't schedule online, call the OhioHealth COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline weekdays at (614) 533.6999. Walk-in vaccinations are also available at some OhioHealth COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) require two doses for maximum immunity, scheduled 21–28 days apart. Second-dose appointments at OhioHealth are scheduled in person before patients leave their first-dose appointment. Second doses can't be scheduled online. OhioHealth walk-in vaccination clinics are providing Pfizer second doses if you bring your vaccination card and your first dose was Pfizer. It's highly recommended that you keep your second-dose appointment as close to the recommended interval as possible. It takes up to two weeks after your second dose to achieve maximum immunity.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, which requires only a single dose. But use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currenly paused, on guidance from the FDA and CDC.
OhioHealth is not able to choose the types or amounts of vaccines we receive. Currently, OhioHealth has supply of the Pfizer vaccine
- Where can I go to get the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccine appointments and walk-in vaccinations are only available at designated OhioHealth vaccine clinics. Our hospitals, emergency departments, urgent care locations, and most physician offices are not providing COVID-19 vaccines to the public.
You may also receive the vaccine at retail clinics and other providers throughout Ohio. To see a list of retail sites and providers offering the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Ohio Department of Health website.
- How many vaccines does OhioHealth have each week?
OhioHealth matches the number of vaccinations we provide to the number of doses we expect to receive per county in each shipment. If no vaccines are available when you try to schedule, check back. At this time, we do not maintain a waitlist.
You may also receive your COVID-19 vaccine at retail clinics and other providers throughout Ohio. To see a list of retail sites and providers offering the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the Ohio Department of Health website.
- Can I get my vaccine at the same time as a loved one?
If you would like to receive your vaccine on the same day as your loved one, you will need to wait until each of you is eligible and consecutive appointments are available. Appointments are scheduled individually for first and second doses. Couple or group scheduling is not available.
- I got the first dose of my vaccine somewhere else. Can I get my second dose at OhioHealth?
OhioHealth walk-in vaccination clinics are providing Pfizer second doses if you bring your vaccination card and your first dose was Pfizer. Second doses can't be scheduled online.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, you do not require a second dose.
- What vaccines have been authorized?
COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been granted emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Are some COVID-19 vaccines better than others?
All FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines will be safe and offer a significant level of immunity to people who receive them, so the best COVID-19 vaccine to receive is the one available to you.
All FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine trials demonstrated 100% effectiveness in preventing hospitalization or death in clinical trials, and significant effectiveness in preventing severe COVID-19. There is no advantage to choosing between the different types of vaccines produced by different manufacturers, and delaying vaccination is not recommended if vaccine access is available to you. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine development and approval process on the OhioHealth Blog.
- Are Walk-in appointments available?
Some OhioHealth locations are providing walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations. At all other locations, you must have an appointment. Walk-ins are not available at OhioHealth hospitals, emergency departments, most physician offices or urgent care locations.
- Will there be a cost for the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine will be provided at no cost to you. You may be asked for your insurance card as part of your vaccination process. This is becuause OhioHealth bills insurance providers for the cost of administering the vaccine, but these costs are not passed on to you. We will not bill you for any balance, deductible, copay or coinsurance. Call the OhioHealth Price Line with questions at (614) 566.8707 or (toll free) (844) 393.1035.
If you do not have health insurance, or do not have your insurance card, you will not be turned away, and you will not be charged for the vaccine. OhioHealth will submit for reimbursement from the government through the CARES Act for uninsured individuals.
Getting vaccinated FAQ
- Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Any vaccine that receives FDA authorization will offer some level of immunity to COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine is not expected to provide full immunity, like the vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) or chickenpox do. It will likely function more like a flu shot, which provides incomplete or partial immunity. In that case, recipients could still develop COVID-19, but the symptoms would be less severe.
- How does the vaccine work?
The vaccine offers immunity by activating antibodies to fight the virus in your immune system so that if you’re exposed, your body can fight the virus before you get sick. Although the vaccine is not expected to provide full immunity, it is the most effective way to avoid contracting COVID-19 or minimizing symptoms if you do contract COVID-19.
- What is herd immunity or community immunity? Why is it important?
In order to fight COVID-19, we need to establish herd immunity. Herd immunity, also called community immunity, is when a sufficient enough proportion of a population is immune to an infectious disease which makes its spread from person to person unlikely. If enough people become immune through the vaccination, we can prevent the spread and develop herd immunity. Even individuals not vaccinated are offered some protection because the disease has little opportunity to spread within the community.
- What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?
Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.
- Are there any reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
People under 16 should not receive COVID-19 vaccines because they are still being studied to determine the proper application for children.
People with serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, should discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with their doctor before receiving it.
Patients who have received monoclonal antibody infusions for COVID-19 should wait 90 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
People who have a short-term illness, such as strep throat or a cold, should wait to get the vaccine until they’re feeling better.
- How do I know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?
The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Clinical trials are used to study the effectiveness of vaccines in thousands of study participants. Data from these trials is provided to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine vaccine safety and effectiveness. If the FDA determines a vaccine candidate meets its rigorous safety and effectiveness requirements, it can make the vaccine available for use through approval or emergency use authorization. After the FDA makes its determination, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews available data before making final vaccine recommendations to the CDC. The COVID-19 vaccine development process involved several steps comparable with those used to develop other vaccines, and there have been no shortcuts in the vaccine development process.
- Can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing after I get vaccinated?
All the vaccines authorized for emergency use prevent hospitalization and death. So getting vaccinated is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19. It will take time to achieve community immunity. It's unknown what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated to limit the spread of the virus through community immunity.
You can help protect others waiting for their turn to be vaccinated by continuing to cover your mouth and nose with a mask, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. The vaccines do not provide 100% immunity to COVID-19, so there is a small chance you may still be able to get infected and spread the virus to others.
- If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?
It is not known how long natural immunity from COVID-19 infection lasts. Because of the severe health risks of COVID-19, you may be advised to get a vaccine even if you’ve recovered from COVID-19.
- Will I experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?
Minor side effects are an indication that your body is responding to the vaccine and building protection against COVID-19. The side effects may feel like cold or flu symptoms, and may even affect your ability to do daily activities, but should go away in a few days.
- Can the COVID-19 vaccine affect breast screening exams?
Swollen lymph nodes under the arm are a known side effect of COVID-19 vaccination that can be misidentified as breast cancer during screening exams. Consider scheduling screening mammograms, ultrasounds and MRIs before your first dose of the vaccine or six weeks after your final dose. This is only recommended when possible, and if it will not delay necessary care. Don’t postpone a breast exam if a new breast lump or symptoms appear, such as nipple discharge, skin changes or palpable adenopathy (abnormally large lymph nodes). Breast screening is one of the best ways to detect cancer early. Talk with your doctor if you are unsure whether you should delay breast screening due to COVID-19 vaccination.
- How will things change if I get the vaccine?
We do not yet know how long the vaccine’s temporary immunity will last. Even if you have been vaccinated, you may still be able to get sick with COVID-19 and potentially spread it to others who have higher risks of complications. You should continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and follow other preventive measures for COVID-19.
- I received the vaccine a while ago. Will I need a booster?
It has not yet been determined whether booster doses of vaccine would be necessary to maintain immunity to COVID-19. Ongoing research indicates that the vaccine may provide a strong level of immunity for at least six months, and perhaps longer.
Choose what works for you
Schedule an appointment online through OhioHealth MyChart, call our hotline, or walk in during designated hours at our COVID-19 vaccine clinics.