I meet the eligibility requirements and am a Henry Ford patient. How can I get a vaccine?
If you are a Henry Ford patient 16+ you can schedule your appointment through MyChart.
You cannot schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through your regular Henry Ford doctor or our contact center.
If you are a Henry Ford patient and do not have an existing MyChart account, we encourage you to sign up for an account to streamline the scheduling and notification process.
We appreciate your patience during this unprecedented vaccine roll-out.
How can I get a Henry Ford MyChart account?
If you are a Henry Ford patient and do not have a Henry Ford MyChart account, we encourage you to sign up for an account.
A Henry Ford MyChart account makes it easier for us to contact you and for you to schedule an appointment when it is your time to get the vaccine.
Register for Henry Ford MyChart today.
What do I need to know before my vaccine appointment? Do I need to prepare?
Here are a few things to keep in mind before you get your vaccine:
- The vaccine is given with a needle in the upper arm, so wear clothing that allows your upper arm to be easily exposed, like a short-sleeve or sleeveless shirt.
- Eat your normal meal or a snack (depending on the time of day) and drink plenty of liquids before arriving at your appointment.
- For maximum immunity, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. At your appointment for the first dose, you will need to make the appointment to receive your second dose at the same location in 3 weeks if you receive Pfizer or 4 weeks if you received Moderna. You may want to bring your calendar with you or check your availability beforehand, so you are able to find a convenient time within the recommended time frame. Keeping this follow-up appointment is very important. (If you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, just one dose is required.)
- Allergic reactions are possible with any vaccine, though they are rare. For your safety, you will be asked to remain in a designated waiting area for about 15 minutes for monitoring. If you’ve had a prior allergic reaction to an injectable medicine or vaccine, or any of the ingredients in the vaccine you’re getting, you may be asked to wait 30 minutes. The waiting area will be socially distanced.
- Mask wearing is required, and strict safety protocols are in place at all facilities that provide the vaccine.
- You may experience side effects after getting the vaccine, but don’t take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other pain relievers before your appointment. It may lessen the effect of vaccine.
- Your electronic medical record will be updated each time you receive a vaccine dose, including which vaccine you received and when.
- You will also be given a vaccination card at the time of your first dose. Please keep this card with you when you return for your second dose. You should also keep it for your own records.
How will my vaccination be documented?
Your electronic medical record will be updated each time you receive a vaccine dose, including which vaccine you received and when.
You will also be given a vaccination card at the time of your first dose. Please keep this card with you when you return for your second dose. You should also keep it for your own records.
Can I get more than one kind of vaccine, or choose which one I get?
There is no need to be vaccinated with a different type of vaccine if you have already received one. You can’t choose which vaccine you get, but you will be told which vaccine you are receiving when you are vaccinated.
Mixing vaccines is not recommended. If your first dose was the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose should also be the Pfizer vaccine. If your first dose was the Moderna vaccine, your second dose should be the same. (The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose.)
At this time, Henry Ford has received supplies of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and is administering them to employees and patients. If you receive a vaccine, the type of vaccine is documented and your second dose, if needed, will be that same vaccine.
The best vaccine is the one you can get the soonest. It’s just important that you get vaccinated.
If I participated in a clinical trial for a vaccine, am I eligible to receive early vaccination?
Henry Ford is a site for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine trials. The clinical trial team will communicate with all participants directly to help them make an informed decision about next steps.
If you are participating in either vaccine trial and have questions or concerns, please contact the research team.
Questions about your individual decision to get the vaccine should be addressed with your primary care physician.
Is Henry Ford involved with the mass vaccination site at Ford Field?
Henry Ford Health System has partnered with Meijer, the State of Michigan and FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) on a mass vaccination site at Ford Field in Detroit. We are serving as the medical director of the site, which is operated by federal and state health and public safety officials.
Beginning March 24, the site will be able to administer 6,000 vaccine doses each day for eight weeks. For people who cannot easily travel to Ford Field, transportation and other travel accommodations will be provided.
Ford Field appointments must be scheduled through Meijer. Click here or text EndCOVID to 75049. You can also call the State of Michigan’s COVID-19 hotline at 888-535-6136 (Press 1) from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
What’s happening with COVID-19 vaccines right now?
Three companies, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, have received emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines from the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). Distribution of these approved vaccines is underway, although the FDA and CDC recently called for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution.
Since the first supply of vaccines will be limited, health systems like ours need to plan how to store and distribute the vaccines we receive. We’ve been carefully developing plans that follow the guidelines from the FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state agencies.
What are the COVID-19 vaccines, and how will they be given?
Pfizer and Moderna are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which cause the body to make a viral “spike protein” that activates the immune system to fight off the coronavirus by mimicking the infection. Recipients need to receive two shots spaced several weeks apart for full protection.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, which is given as a one-time shot. It uses a harmless version of a virus to deliver important instructions to our cells. For this vaccine, a virus – not the COVID-19 virus, but a different virus – enters a cell in the body and then activates the “spike protein.” This tells our immune system to begin making antibodies and activates other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.
You cannot get sick with COVID-19 from any of the vaccines. mRNA and viral vector vaccines do not contain live virus and cannot cause COVID-19. Side effects of the vaccines are a natural part of the process and show that the vaccine is working. At the end of the vaccination process, our bodies are trained to protect us against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Two weeks after you receive your second shot or your single Johnson & Johnson shot, you are considered fully vaccinated.
How did the vaccines get approved so quickly?
Production of the COVID-19 vaccines began sooner than is typical. Normally, production starts after a pharmaceutical company completes the development stage for a vaccine, which includes rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness. Every vaccine goes through a series of reviews and approvals by the FDA and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), among others. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, the federal government invested taxpayer dollars to encourage pharmaceutical companies to start production before the development stage completed.
The vaccines are still going through the same rigorous testing, review and approval process to establish safety and effectiveness.
Do the vaccines mean that other safety measures and restrictions can be relaxed?
Vaccines are one important piece of the puzzle in combating this pandemic and will eventually help life return to normal. It will take many months before a large portion of the population is able to be vaccinated.
In the meantime, reducing the cases of COVID-19 needs to continue to be our priority. Efforts like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and practicing hand hygiene remain essential to reduce the spread.
Is one type of vaccine better than the other?
Be assured that all of the approved vaccines are safe and highly effective. The best vaccine is the vaccine you can get as soon as possible. It is difficult to compare the vaccines, because the clinical trials used different measurements and different data collection methods. With V-safe, an app that those who are vaccinated can use to report symptoms, researchers will be able to look at all of the data and compare the results accurately in the coming months.
Pfizer and Moderna have 95% and 94.1% effective rates, respectively, and Johnson & Johnson is 72% effective at preventing moderate to severe illness and 86% effective at preventing severe illness.
Do not hesitate to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because clinical trials have shown it is not as effective in preventing infection as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is highly effective and will protect you from severe illness and death. It is a very important tool to help end the pandemic.
Pfizer and Moderna require two shots, spaced a few weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson is a single-shot vaccine. All may produce some side effects, like arm soreness, fatigue or headache, but are usually mild to moderate and last about 24-48 hours.
You should accept whichever vaccine your vaccination site is offering—you can’t choose which vaccine you receive. In the end, it doesn’t matter which one you get, it’s just important that you get vaccinated.
I heard that the vaccines were made with tissue from aborted fetuses and as a person of Catholic faith, I should not take them. Is this true?
There are no fetal cells or tissues in any COVID-19 vaccine. Concern comes from the use of fetal cell lines in development of the vaccines. The lines involved in the COVID-19 vaccines started with two aborted fetuses from 1973 and 1985. Since then, these cells have been multiplied millions of times, which is where we get the term “fetal cell lines.”
In December 2020, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated: “…it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”
Pfizer and Moderna used fetal cell lines to test that the vaccines worked in the laboratory.
Johnson & Johnson confirmed that it used the 1985 cell line in the production process of their single-dose COVID-19 vaccine. The scientists used the fetal cell lines to grow the adenovirus needed to make this vaccine, but by the time the vaccine goes into the vial, the cells from the fetal cell lines have been filtered out.
The Vatican also stated: "The moral duty to avoid such passive material cooperation is not obligatory if there is a grave danger, such as the otherwise uncontainable spread of a serious pathological agent.” The Catholic Health Association echoes this position, including specifically supporting the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Because vaccination will protect you and others from the danger of sickness or death from COVID-19, it is important to take the vaccine that is available to you. Because vaccine supply is limited, at most vaccination sites, and at Henry Ford at this time, it is not possible to choose the vaccine you receive.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine during Ramadan?
According to Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni, Islamic Center of America (Dearborn):
"The current information available on the makeup formulas of the current vaccines don't contain any food related substances, nor do they have any vitamin issues. They are okay to be taken. Such vaccines don't invalidate your fast."
The vaccine will not invalidate the fast because it has no nutritional value and is injected into the muscle. A fasting person is not allowed to take food, water or medicine through open passages such as the mouth or nose, or intravenously. Because the vaccine is given in the muscle, it does not affect an open passage. Similar guidelines have covered flu shots and other vaccinations during Ramadan.
Arabic translation (view PDF).
Will vaccination allow me to travel internationally without getting a COVID-19 test?
At this time, people who have been vaccinated are not exempt from this requirement. Even if you have received the vaccine, you are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test, or documentation of recovery from COVID-19, to re-enter the U.S. If you are planning to travel to a foreign country, be sure to check that nation’s requirements. Visit the CDC web site for details or read the President's Executive Order.
Can we be sure the vaccines are safe? Will it be safe for me?
We understand that there may be concern over the safety and effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine. We have closely examined the FDA’s process for overseeing the many different vaccine trials. The FDA is required to make decisions that are guided by science and data regarding authorization or approval of COVID-19 vaccines. We have confidence in the FDA’s approval process and are committed to safety, quality and high reliability.
You cannot develop COVID-19 from any of the vaccines available.
Do the vaccines cause severe allergic reactions?
Though allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are rare, any vaccine or medication has the potential to cause a severe allergic reaction.
The FDA currently recommends that you avoid getting vaccinated if you have had prior severe allergic reactions to other vaccines, and avoid getting the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine if you have had a previous allergic reaction to the ingredients of that particular vaccine.
If you have had a severe allergic reaction to medication or therapies given as injections into muscle or a vein, you may be at an increased risk of having a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. You may receive the vaccine, but you need to stay in the location where you receive the vaccine for 30 minutes after vaccination for observation and for medical treatment, if a reaction occurs.
The Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices believes it is safe to receive the vaccine if you have severe reactions to food, pets, environmental allergies or medications taken by mouth.
If I’ve had COVID-19, do I need to get vaccinated?
Yes. If you tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, you should be vaccinated. Research suggests if you had the virus, you have some natural protection from your own antibodies. However, we don’t know how effective that protection is or how long it will last. A benefit of getting vaccinated is that you will have a higher, more predictable level of protection against the virus. In addition, there is now data that protection from vaccination lasts longer than protection after infection with the virus. Vaccine research will tell us more in the future about how long we are protected after vaccination.
If you had COVID-19 recently, wait until you are feeling better and you no longer need to isolate to before getting vaccinated. After having COVID-19, please wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and avoid gatherings, and continue these precautions after you’ve been vaccinated.
Can I get a vaccine if I’ve had convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-19?
If you have had COVID-19 and received either convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies, you should not receive the vaccine for 90 days as these drugs may interfere with its effectiveness.
If I have an underlying health condition, can I get a vaccine?
There is currently no data that suggests having an underlying health condition is a reason to avoid getting the vaccine.
In fact, those with an underlying illness or health condition are at an increased risk of developing severe side effects or hospitalization due to COVID-19.
If you have any condition that weakens your immune system, you may not have protection against COVID-19 infection.
However, it is safe to receive the vaccine if you are immunocompromised. For instance, if you are infected with HIV, you're on immunosuppressive medication, or you're a transplant recipient, there are no safety concerns but you may not get as strong a protective response.
You should address your individual concerns with your primary medical provider.
I just had a flu shot (or another type of vaccination). Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine right away too?
At this time, the CDC recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should be administered alone with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after any other vaccine, including the flu shot. The only exception is the tetanus vaccine for treatment of a wound or other injury. If the tetanus vaccine has not been given in the past five years, the tetanus vaccine should be given.
In addition, TB testing should be done prior to COVID-19 vaccination. If a COVID-19 mRNA vaccination has already occurred, the test should be delayed until four weeks after completion of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
Why was the Johnson & Johnson vaccine paused?
On April 13, the FDA and CDC called for a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an abundance of caution. A rare type of blood clot was reported in six people who received the vaccine. The six people were women ages 18-48 who became ill between six and 13 days after vaccination. Almost 7 million people in the U.S. have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The risk of blood clotting after receiving the vaccine is less than one in a million, or .00009 percent risk.
As directed by the FDA and CDC, we have paused the use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Henry Ford. This pause extends to vaccine administrations in the J&J Ensemble clinical trials for which we are a study site. To date, we have given almost 1,000 doses of the vaccine. No adverse events have been reported.
Most of the vaccinations Henry Ford has provided, and all the vaccinations given at our large vaccination sites, used Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. We continue to encourage anyone 16 and older to get vaccinated, either through Henry Ford or at another location.
Do the vaccines have any side effects?
The COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with other vaccines, such as injection site pain in the arm, fever, muscle pain, chills and headache. The frequency of these side effects may be greater than with other vaccines. While the symptoms may be uncomfortable, and at times intense, they should go away within 24-48 hours. Most people are able to perform their normal daily activities.
Common side effects include sore arm, headache, fatigue, lymph node swelling, nausea and/or fever, which may be worsen after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This is an indication that the vaccine is working. (That said, if you don’t experience side effects, you should not be concerned. The same level of protection is expected.)
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be taken after vaccination to help with any symptoms you have. (It is not recommended that you take it before getting the shot, however, as it may somewhat lessen the effects of the vaccine.) If symptoms persist, please consult your primary care provider.
If I have side effects after receiving a vaccine, am I contagious to those around me?
If you have side effects after vaccination, this does not mean you are in any way contagious to your family or community. You cannot develop COVID-19 from these vaccines.
We don’t know yet whether you can still be a carrier of COVID-19 and transmit it to someone else, unknowingly, after being vaccinated.
Efforts like wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding large gatherings and practicing hand hygiene remain essential to reduce the spread, even after you have been vaccinated.
Are side effects from the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine worse than the first?
Yes, in the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, side effects tend to be more significant after the second dose. However, only 2% percent of people feel ill enough to limit their usual activities. Symptoms usually last 24-48 hours.
Acetaminophen (rather than NSAIDs) is recommended to help ease symptoms after vaccination. Do not take acetaminophen before vaccination to prevent side effects – it may lessen the immune response.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine cause a false positive on a mammogram?
Yes, when the body is building an immune response to the vaccine, in a very small percentage of people, it can cause the lymph nodes to swell temporarily. If the lymph nodes under the arm are swollen, it could cause a false positive on a mammogram. Because of this, it is recommended you schedule a routine mammogram either before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, or four weeks after receiving a second dose. If you are already scheduled for a mammogram or are concerned about delaying one, contact your doctor or the breast imaging clinic.
How long does protection against COVID-19 last once I receive a vaccine?
Clinical trials for all COVID-19 vaccines are continuing, and data collected over the next several months will help answer this question.
Do I have to take both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?
Yes. If you received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, it is very important that you return for your second dose of the vaccine in order to receive full protection from the vaccine. An appointment will be scheduled for you for this second dose at the time of your first injection. Please also remember that side effects may be more severe with your second dose. If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a second dose is not needed.
Can people get COVID-19 after being vaccinated? If so, why should I get the shot?
The vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 infections: 72% for Johnson & Johnson, 94% for Moderna and 95% for Pfizer. Because they are not 100% effective, though, it is expected that a small percentage of people will not develop the antibodies and T-cells they need to fight off an infection even after vaccination.
As of early April, 246 out of 1.8 million people who were fully vaccinated (meaning it’s been two weeks or more since their last dose of vaccine) tested positive for COVID-19 in Michigan. This breaks down to .0001% of those vaccinated. Most had a mild case or no symptoms at all. Eleven were hospitalized, and three have died (4/8/2021, MDHHS data).
There is no way to know for sure, but chances are very good that you will have a strong immune response and be protected from COVID-19 after getting vaccinated. If you do get COVID-19, being vaccinated is expected to lessen the severity of symptoms and decrease the risk for hospitalization or death.
Combining vaccination with social distancing, hand washing, wearing a mask and avoiding gatherings is the best way to protect yourself from the virus and help decrease the spread, keeping more people safe and healthy.
How long does it take for full protection?
It takes two weeks after your last dose of vaccine to achieve full protection.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single shot. Pfizer and Moderna are two shots, so full protection is reached two weeks after the second shot.
What are the safety guidelines I should follow after I’ve been vaccinated?
If you have been fully vaccinated, you can start to do some things you stopped doing because of the pandemic. Fully vaccinated means at least two weeks have passed since your second shot, or two weeks after one shot if you received Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Visit the CDC web site for complete details about what has changed and what has not for fully vaccinated people. According to the CDC, you can:
- Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing.
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without wearing masks or social distancing. (You should still wear a mask and socially distance if anyone is over age 65 or has other risk factors for developing severe illness from COVID-19.)
- If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or be tested, but you should monitor your symptoms for two weeks. If you feel sick, get tested and isolate.
Some things stay the same even if you are fully vaccinated:
- When in public or gathering with more than one household, continue wearing a mask, staying at least six feet from others, and avoiding poorly ventilated spaces – stay outside if possible.
- Avoid medium- to large-size gatherings. If you decide to go to a gathering, wear a mask, socially distance and wash hands often.
- In the workplace, follow the guidelines your employer has made.
- Travel guidelines have not changed, and you should continue to avoid unnecessary travel.
Until we know more about how the vaccines affect the spread of the virus, these precautions are important to protect unvaccinated people. Researchers are learning if vaccinated people can still spread the virus without having symptoms. These guidelines will continue to change over the coming months as we learn more.
Are the vaccines effective against the new variants?
COVID-19 variants are emerging across the U.S. and in Michigan. The currently approved vaccines appear to be effective against the highly contagious strains from the U.K. and South Africa but the level of protection may not be as high as it is for the original strain of the virus. These findings are preliminary. The vaccine manufacturers are conducting ongoing research, which includes testing if an additional shot will “boost” effectiveness against these variants.
Scientists are continuing to monitor the evolution of these strains, along with newer variants emerging in New York and California. More data on how effective the vaccines are in preventing them is expected in the coming weeks. While research continues, it remains even more important to wear masks, socially distance, wash hands frequently and avoid gatherings.
What if I get COVID-19 between my first and second vaccination shots?
This unique situation means you may need to postpone your second shot. But don’t worry – it’s okay to space it out a little longer. Currently a second dose of Pfizer is recommended 21 days later, and a second dose of Moderna is recommended 28 days later. There is no need to repeat the first shot. Below are a few scenarios and guidelines for timing the second shot:
If you have COVID-19 with symptoms:
- Wait until 10 days have passed since your symptoms started, AND
- Wait until you haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours and your other symptoms have improved.
- If you have severe symptoms, wait until you are feeling better and talk to your doctor about timing for the second shot.
If you have COVID-19 without symptoms (you had a positive COVID-19 test, but you don’t feel sick):
- You can stop isolation 10 days after your first positive COVID-19 test, and schedule an appointment after this 10-day time is over.
If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 (you had close contact with someone who got COVID):
- Quarantine for 14 days and monitor your symptoms.
- If you have a negative COVID test, you can end quarantine and get your second shot if the test was five days after you were exposed.
If you have questions about getting your second shot after getting COVID-19 or being exposed, please call your doctor, who can advise you based on your personal health and situation.
If I’m pregnant or of child-bearing age, is it safe for me to get a vaccine?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have been excluded from the leading vaccine clinical trials so far, including those from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax.
This is not unusual as vaccine clinical trials typically don’t enroll participants who are pregnant or lactating until the vaccine has been shown to be safely tolerated in people who are not pregnant.
There are current studies on the COVID-19 vaccine in which pregnant women are part of the study pool. We should have that data in the coming year.
Many experts believe that being infected with the COVID-19 virus itself poses greater risks both to the pregnant woman and to the fetus, including miscarriage or pre-term birth. Pregnant women should talk with their doctor to weigh the risk and benefit of the vaccine versus COVID-19 infection.
Do the vaccines have any effect on fertility?
There is an internet rumor that the COVID-19 vaccine could affect fertility. There is no evidence or scientific concern that the vaccine could impact fertility.
The vaccines do not contain live virus and cannot cause COVID-19.
Many researchers believe the virus itself may pose a greater risk to fertility than the vaccine.
If I’m breastfeeding, can I still get a vaccine?
On March 18, the CDC released a statement regarding the safety of vaccines and breastfeeding: "Because non-replicating vaccines pose no risk for lactating people or their infants, COVID-19 vaccines are thought to not be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Therefore, lactating people may choose to be vaccinated."
We expect more information about the COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant/breastfeeding women in the future. In the meantime, it may be helpful to discuss options with your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
It is also important to remember that live viral vaccines — measles, mumps and rubella vaccine — are routinely given to lactating women. But keep in mind that the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live virus.