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, unles advised not to by their provider. We hope these answers to frequently asked questions will help you make an informed decision.
- Who is currently receiving the vaccine?
OhioHealth is currently vaccinating:
- People 60 and older.
- Ohioans who were born with a qualifying medical condition that places them at higher risk for adverse outcomes from COVID-19, or those who have qualifying childhood conditions they have carried into adulthood. The list of conditions is expanding to include bone marrow transplant recipients, and people with type 1 diabetes and ALS. You will be asked to confirm that you have one of the qualifying medical conditions. Vaccine recipients must be age 16 or older to be eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, and 18 or older to be eligible for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
- Ohioans who work in certain occupations, including child care services, funeral services, law enforcement and correction services.
- Pregnant people.
K–12 school employees should connect with their school leadership for scheduling guidance.
The vaccine may not be available to all who want it until spring or early summer. Continue to practice safe behaviors, like mask-wearing, social distancing and hand-washing.
- What is the process for receiving the vaccine?
If you received care at OhioHealth in the past three years, you may schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments online through OhioHealth MyChart when notified. If you are not a patient, or can't schedule online, call the OhioHealth COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline when you are eligible at (614) 533.6999 weekdays. Physician offices cannot schedule vaccine appointments.
mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) require two doses for maximum immunity, scheduled 21–28 days apart. Second-dose appointments are scheduled in person before patients leave their first-dose appointment. 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.
OhioHealth is not able to choose the type or amount of vaccines it receives.
- How will I know when I can get the vaccine? Will I be able to sign up?
OhioHealth patients with OhioHealth MyChart accounts will receive a notification when they are eligible to schedule a vaccine appointment. Sign in to your MyChart account at MyChart.OhioHealth.com or through the OhioHealth mobile app to make sure your contact information is correct. If you do not have a MyChart account, request an activation code today.
- Where can I go to get the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccine appointments 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. When you schedule your appointment, you will select your preferred location and receive details about where to go.
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.
K–12 school employees should connect with their school leadership for scheduling guidance.
- How many vaccine appointments will OhioHealth have each week?
OhioHealth matches the number of appointments we schedule to the number of doses we expect to receive in each shipment. If no appointments are available when you try to schedule, check back. At this time, we do not have 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?
At this time, we are not scheduling second-dose vaccine appointments unless you received your first dose at OhioHealth.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, you do not require a second dose.
- What vaccines have been authorized?
Three COVID-19 vaccines have been granted emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna began arriving in Ohio in December 2020. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorized by the FDA in February 2021.
- 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 have demonstrated 100% effectiveness in preventing hospitalization or death, 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?
Walk-in appointments are not available at OhioHealth hospitals, emergency departments, physician offices or urgent care locations.
- Will there be a cost for the vaccine?
OhioHealth is providing the COVID-19 vaccine for no cost to our community. However, if you have insurance, OhioHealth will bill your insurance provider for the cost to administer the vaccine. 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 insurance, you will not be charged for the vaccine. OhioHealth will be submitting for reimbursement from the government through the CARES Act for uninsured individuals.
- 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.
- 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.
We have open appointments!
People 60 and older, or with qualifying occupations or medical conditions, can schedule through our hotline or OhioHealth MyChart when notified.