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.
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 vaccinating Ohioans 5 and older.
- Does my child under 18 need a COVID-19 vaccine prescription?
No. OhioHealth is a recognized healthcare provider, so no prescription is needed at our COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
- What is the process for receiving the vaccine?
Walk-ins are accepted at several OhioHealth COVID-19 vaccine clinics during designated hours. Patients with an OhioHealth MyChart account can schedule online. Your OhioHealth Physician Group primary care provider can also schedule your appointment, and many offer the vaccine at office visits. Vaccine recipients younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
mRNA vaccines (Pfizer 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. 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.
- Where can I go to get the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccine appointments and walk-in vaccinations and boosters are available at designated OhioHealth vaccine clinics and some OhioHealth Physician Group Primary Care physician offices. Our hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care locations 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.
- I got the first dose of my vaccine somewhere else. Can I get my second dose at OhioHealth?
OhioHealth walk-in vaccination clinics will provide second doses if you bring your vaccination card. Second doses can't be scheduled online. Primary vaccine doses must be the same type, but boosters can be different from your primary vaccine type.
If you received the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, you do not require a second dose.
- Which vaccines have been approved by the FDA?
The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer was fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 23, 2021.
Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were granted emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and both companies have stated their intentions to pursue full FDA approval.
All three COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and continue to undergo rigorous evaluation.
- 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.
- Are walk-in appointments available?
Many OhioHealth COVID-19 vaccine clinics are providing walk-in vaccinations and boosters during designated hours. Walk-ins are not available at OhioHealth hospitals, emergency departments or urgent care locations.
- Will there be a cost for the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will be provided at no cost to you. You may be asked for your insurance card as part of your vaccination process. This is because 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.
- Is a combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine available?
There is currently no combined flu and COVID-19 vaccine. However, it is safe to receive both of them at the same time.
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.
- 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?
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.
- ARE THERE ANY REASONS SOMEONE SHOULD NOT GET THE COVID-19 VACCINE?
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.
After vaccination FAQ
- WHAT IF I LOST MY VACCINE CARD OR NEED TO PROVE MY VACCINATION STATUS?
OhioHealth cannot replace physical immunization cards. If you received your COVID-19 vaccine at an OhioHealth clinic or location, you can view your immunization record in MyChart.
- Sign in to MyChart online or in the OhioHealth mobile app.
- Tap or click Menu, and select COVID-19 in the My Record section. You have a few options when sharing your vaccination or test result:
- Option 1) Expand the details of your vaccination or test and take a screenshot.
- Option 2) Tap or click the Download/Export button and select Download vaccination PDF, or Export to Health Wallet if you have a supported app.
- Option 3) Tap or click the QR Codes button to be scanned at participating locations using the SMART Health Card Verifier app.
If you don't have a MyChart account, but received your vaccination from OhioHealth, you can request an activation code today.
- I RECEIVED THE VACCINE A WHILE AGO. WILL I NEED A BOOSTER?
People ages 18 and older are eligible for a booster five months after their last dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and two months after their last dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. You can choose a different booster from the vaccine you originally received.
People ages 12 to 17 are eligible for a Pfizer booster five months after their last vaccine dose.
- CAN I STOP WEARING A MASK AND SOCIAL DISTANCING AFTER I GET VACCINATED?
All COVID-19 vaccines that have been FDA approved or authorized for emergency use prevent hospitalization and death. 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.
- 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.
- Can vaccinated people with breakthrough infections spread the Delta variant?
Vaccinated people can be infected with COVID-19 and spread it to others, even if they have no symptoms. However, compared to unvaccinated people, fully vaccinated people have a lower risk of infection. In addition, the risk of becoming ill, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID-19 is much lower.
In areas with substantial or high spread, CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask in public indoor settings to prevent further spread.
- How is the vaccine effective if you can still get COVID-19?
If you are fully vaccinated, you have a significantly lower risk of getting infected with COVID-19 compared to an unvaccinated person. Clinical trial data and real-world data demonstrate the vast majority of vaccinated people who acquire COVID-19 have minimal to no symptoms and are not hospitalized.
Choose what works for you
Schedule an appointment online through OhioHealth MyChart, call your doctor, or walk in during designated hours at our COVID-19 vaccine clinics.