Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccines

Henry Ford Offers COVID-19 Vaccinations for Patients at Our Primary Care Sites

Henry Ford patients can schedule vaccination appointments at a Henry Ford primary care site using MyChart or by calling their doctor’s office. If you do not have MyChart, register for MyChart today.

Our large COVID-19 vaccination centers are not taking new appointments and will be closing on Thursday, Sept. 30. We support and encourage COVID-19 vaccination at one of the many other trusted vaccine sources in our area. Please review these options and get vaccinated at a location convenient for you. These locations also offer third doses for immunocompromised people:

Additional or Third Doses

We know many of our patients are interested in third doses of COVID-19 vaccines. At this time, we are only giving third doses to our immunocompromised patients, as recommended by the FDA and CDC. We are committed to following FDA and CDC recommendations, and if they should expand those recommendations to include people over age 65+ or those with other health risks, we will communicate that information and provide details on how you can make an appointment. Learn more about who is eligible.

Last updated: September 22, 2021

COVID-19 vaccine questions and answers

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine Basics

Vaccine Safety

Vaccine Side Effects

Vaccine Effectiveness

Kids and the COVID-19 Vaccines

Third Shots of The Vaccine

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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 receive 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.

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.

Do I need to receive the same vaccine for my first and second doses? What about third doses?

Yes, you should receive the same vaccine for each dose. If your first dose was the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose should be the Pfizer vaccine. If your first dose was the Moderna vaccine, your second dose should be the Moderna vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. Only Pfizer is given to patients 12-17 years of age.

Henry Ford vaccination centers typically have Moderna or Pfizer vaccines available. If a site is offering Johnson & Johnson, either Pfizer or Moderna will also be available for those who prefer it.

For immunocompromised people, it’s recommended to receive the same vaccine for your third dose (either Pfizer or Moderna). Second doses of Johnson & Johnson are not currently recommended.

How can I get a replacement CDC vaccination card?

If your vaccination card becomes lost or damaged, you can get a replacement.

  • Visit the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MICR) web site and complete the form to request a replacement card.
  • Call your county health department and ask for a copy of your vaccination record:
    • Macomb County: (586) 469-5235
    • Oakland County: (248) 858-1280
    • Wayne County: (734) 727-7000
  • If you’re a Henry Ford patient, you can login to your Henry Ford MyChart account, and access and print your vaccination record. Go to Health, then Health Summary, and then choose Immunizations. (Or go to Health Summary and then Immunizations through the app.) Note: This is a digital vaccination record and not a CDC card. You can also call your primary care provider for assistance.

Helpful hints: Take a photo of your vaccination card or record and keep it on your phone. Do not laminate your card. If third shots are received or boosters are developed, the record of your additional shots can be added to your card.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at my doctor’s office?

If you are currently a Henry Ford patient, you can get vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine at one of several Henry Ford primary care sites. Make an appointment using MyChart or by calling your doctor’s office. Walk-in visits are not available at the primary care sites, and vaccine is being provided only for established patients. You can also receive a flu shot at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccination. It’s important to know:

  • Primary care sites are offering first and second doses of Pfizer.
  • Primary care sites are also offering third doses of Pfizer for immunocompromised patients.
    • Immunocompromised patients who had Moderna for their first and second doses should visit a retail pharmacy or county vaccination site or other location to receive Moderna for their third dose.
    • Second doses of Johnson & Johnson for immunocompromised people are not yet recommended by the CDC.

Can I get Moderna or Johnson & Johnson at a Henry Ford site?

Three Henry Ford Allegiance Family Medicine locations – Townsend, North Street and East Michigan, in the Jackson area – are offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in addition to Pfizer. None of the Henry Ford primary care sites in southeast Michigan offer Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

Can I walk into a primary care site and get a COVID-19 and/or flu vaccination without an appointment?

No, vaccinations are available only by appointment. Please schedule a visit using MyChart or by calling your doctor’s office. If you do not have MyChart, register for MyChart today.

I’m not a Henry Ford patient. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at Henry Ford?

At this time, Henry Ford is offering COVID-19 vaccination only for established patients at our primary care sites. If you are not a Henry Ford patient, we support and encourage you to get vaccinated at one of these trusted locations offering the COVID-19 vaccine:

If I get vaccinated somewhere other than Henry Ford, will my vaccination be part of my Henry Ford medical record?

Yes. If you are vaccinated at another location, the record of your vaccine will be included in the Michigan Care Improvement Record (MCIR). You will see it in your MyChart account and it will become part of your medical record at Henry Ford.

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.

Can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing after I’ve been vaccinated?

People who are fully vaccinated (meaning it has been two weeks since your second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks since your single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) do not need to wear a mask or physically distance, except where it is required by laws, rules, and regulations. You should wear a mask and social distance on public transportation and if requested by workplaces, stores, schools, places of worship, for example. Fully vaccinated or not, it is advised to wear a mask in crowded places.

We will also continue to require all Henry Ford visitors to wear a face mask, as we have many patients with comorbidities who are vulnerable and may not be vaccinated yet. Visit the CDC website for details about how to protect yourself and others when you’ve been fully vaccinated.

Is one type of vaccine better than the other?

Be assured that all of the approved vaccines - Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are safe and highly effective. All of the vaccines help prevent infection and serious illness from COVID-19. All may produce some side effects, like arm soreness, fatigue or headache, but are usually mild to moderate and last about 24 to 48 hours.

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 of the COVID-19 vaccines. 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.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines FDA approved?

The Pfizer vaccine, now named Comirnaty, received full FDA approval on August 23, 2021 for use in people ages 16 and older. It is also available for people ages 12 to 15 with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). For those who are immunocompromised, a third dose of Comirnaty is also available with EUA.

Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is expected to receive full FDA approval soon, and Johnson & Johnson expects to apply for full FDA approval for its COVID-19 vaccine this year.

What does FDA approval mean?

An FDA-approved vaccine has undergone the FDA’s standard process for reviewing the quality, safety and effectiveness of medical products. With FDA approval, you can be very confident that the vaccine meets the FDA’s high standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality.

Before granting approval, the FDA carefully reviews very specific data and information about the vaccine. For the Pfizer vaccine (Comirnaty), this data builds upon the extensive data and information that was submitted to receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This includes preclinical and clinical data and information, manufacturing details, vaccine testing results, and inspections of the sites where the vaccine is made. The FDA conducts their own analyses of the information to make sure the vaccine is safe and effective and meets their standards for approval.

Full approval may reassure some people who have been hesitant about getting vaccinated. In fact, 30% of unvaccinated adults recently surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation said they would be more likely to get vaccinated when one of the vaccines receives full FDA approval.

Will Pfizer’s vaccine continue to be tested, even though it has received FDA approval?

The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have monitoring systems in place to ensure any safety concerns continue to be identified and evaluated in a timely manner.

The FDA is also requiring Pfizer to conduct additional studies about the risk of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation surrounding the heart) after vaccination. These studies will include long-term outcomes in people who have developed myocarditis after vaccination.

It is not required by the FDA, but Pfizer will conduct additional safety studies, including a study involving pregnancy and infant outcomes after the mother received Comirnaty while pregnant.

Can I travel within the U.S. after I’m fully vaccinated?

Yes. Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. People who are fully vaccinated (meaning it has been two weeks since their last dose of vaccine) can travel safely within the United States. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it. Fully vaccinated travelers do not need to self-quarantine.

Fully vaccinated travelers should follow the CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely including: wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, staying 6 feet from others and avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often or using hand sanitizer.

If you are not fully vaccinated, you should delay travel until you are fully vaccinated.

Can I travel internationally after I’m fully vaccinated?

Yes, but international travel comes with additional risks. Even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and spreading new COVID-19 variants.

If you are fully vaccinated, you should continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested three to five days after travel. You do not need to get tested before leaving the United States, but most countries require negative COVID-19 test results for entry. Many also require you to take another test after you’ve been in their country for a few days.

You need to have a negative COVID-19 test no more than three days before the flight home (or documentation of recovery from COVID-19). If you test positive, you will not be able to return to the U.S. until you have recovered from COVID-19. You do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

If you are planning to travel to a foreign country, be sure to check that nation’s requirements.

Can we be sure the vaccines are safe? Will one 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 vaccines. You can get vaccinated, 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, data shows that protection from vaccination lasts longer than protection after infection. 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 my child has had MIS-C or I have had MIS-A due to COVID-19, is it safe to get the vaccine?

If someone has had a diagnosis of MIS-C or MIS-A (Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or in Adults), it is recommended to wait 90 days from the end of the treatment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please note: vaccines are currently approved for children 12 and older.

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 vaccinated.     

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 as much 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. That’s why it’s recommended that those who are immunocompromised and fully vaccinated receive a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

If you have concerns about your health and getting vaccinated for COVID-19, please talk to your primary medical provider.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine and another vaccine, like the flu shot, at the same time?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as other vaccines. The American Academy of Pediatrics also supports giving childhood vaccines together with coronavirus vaccines. Youth and adults who are behind on vaccinations do not need to delay regular vaccinations in order to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe for women?

The CDC and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approve vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine among people 18 years and older. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not associated with this risk. You may feel more comfortable choosing one of these vaccines if you are a woman under 50.

How do we know the mRNA vaccines don’t have any long-term effects?

While the vaccines may be new, the mRNA technology used to create them has been used for decades in treatments for cancer, influenza, ZIKA and rabies. This experience has informed us that unknown, delayed side effects show up within two months of receiving the vaccine. These vaccines have been in use for many months, since the first vaccine trials were conducted over a year ago. There are no long-term side effects to worry about.

If I’ve had a dermal filler, can I still get the vaccine?

Yes. Just know that a rare and temporary side effect is temporary swelling at the site of the dermal injection. You may want to space dermal fillers two weeks before your first vaccine dose, or two weeks after your last vaccine dose. If you experience swelling, contact your provider.

Do mRNA vaccines cause heart inflammation?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is monitoring cases of heart inflammation (also called myocarditis and pericarditis) that have been reported in young adults not long after mRNA COVID-19 vaccination with Pfizer or Moderna. The side effect is rare. Vaccination is still recommended for everyone who is eligible. Heart inflammation is much more common in people who get COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection are more severe.

Heart inflammation is typically detected within a few days of receiving the vaccination. Most patients who received care responded well to treatment and rest and quickly felt better. The CDC and its partners are actively monitoring reports of heart inflammation and reviewing data and medical records to learn more and understand any relationship to COVID-19 vaccination. More information from the CDC is available here. If you have concerns, please talk with your doctor or your child’s doctor. .

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.

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 effects of the vaccine.

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 that 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.

After I’ve been fully vaccinated, how long does protection against COVID-19 last?

Recent studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that protection from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines decreases after eight months. However, the vaccines were still highly effective against contracting severe cases of COVID-19 that require hospitalization.

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 vaccine, it is very important that you return for your second dose in order to receive full protection. An appointment will be scheduled for your 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?

Yes, but it is rare. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness. Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. However, there is evidence that being fully vaccinated makes illness less severe. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated people. And if you do get COVID-19, your symptoms will most likely be mild, but it’s important to know that you can still spread the virus to others. The vast majority of patients who are hospitalized for COVID-19 are not vaccinated.

If you are vaccinated and develop COVID-19 symptoms, contact your doctor for guidance, and ask if you should be tested. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 after being vaccinated, please call the MyCare Advice Line: 1-844-262-1949. We will update our records with this important information.

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?

Visit the CDC website for complete details about what has changed and what has not for fully vaccinated people. Fully vaccinated means two weeks has passed since your second shot. Fully vaccinated means at least two weeks have passed since your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks has passed since receiving your Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Even if you are fully vaccinated:

  • You should follow mask and social distancing rules and requests as required by your workplace, local businesses and places of worship.
  • You still need to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation, and in transportation hubs such as airports and stations.  
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay away from others.

If you have a condition or are taking medication that weakens the immune system, you should talk to your doctor to discuss what you can do. You may need to keep taking all social distancing and mask-wearing precautions to prevent COVID-19.

We are still learning how effective the COVID-19 vaccines are against the COVID-19 variants, along with how well the vaccines protect people with weakened immune systems, and how long protection against the COVID-19 vaccines lasts. These guidelines will continue to change over the coming months as we learn more.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective against the new variants?

At this time, the vaccines appear to be protective against the variants of COVID-19. However, they may be less effective against the variants compared to the original strain of the virus.

Researchers are working to determine just how protective the vaccines are against the new strains. They are also studying new vaccines that may protect against these variants.

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 isolation period is over.

If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 (you had close contact with someone who got COVID-19):

  • Quarantine for 14 days and monitor your symptoms.
  • If you have a negative COVID-19 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.  

Will methotrexate diminish vaccine effectiveness?

Methotrexate is a drug given to people who have immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. People who have already been taking methotrexate and then receive a COVID-19 vaccine may have a diminished immune response to the vaccine.

A recent study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases showed that one-quarter of people who take methotrexate mounted a weaker immune response to a COVID-19 vaccine. People who take methotrexate or other medications that affect the immune system can receive the COVID-19 vaccines.

If you received the COVID-19 vaccine in the past and then start taking methotrexate later, methotrexate can affect your level of protection over time. This is true for methotrexate and other medications that modify or suppress the immune system.

Should children get vaccinated even if they’ve recovered from COVID-19?

Yes. Children who are eligible based on their age should be vaccinated as soon as they are feeling well and no longer need to quarantine.  

The vaccines offer a very high level of protection against COVID-19, as well as protection against COVID-19 variants.

Do young people have more severe vaccine side effects than adults?

In some cases, children may experience more intense side effects than adults because their immune systems are more robust, but rest assured, side effects shows the vaccine is working and that they are developing immunity. They can’t contract COVID-19 from the vaccines.     

Most young people who have side effects feel better after a day and seldom need to take time away from school or activities. If you are worried about side effects, schedule a day off for your child with no events or activities.

Why should my child get vaccinated if all of the adults in our family are vaccinated?

While children are less likely than adults to have a severe case of COVID-19, they can (and have) developed severe cases of COVID-19. Getting vaccinated will ensure your child is protected from COVID-19 and the long-haul symptoms that can linger for months afterward.

And even if your child doesn’t have a severe case of COVID-19, they are just as likely as adults to spread COVID-19 to others in the community who aren’t vaccinated.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for children who have ADHD?

While COVID-19 vaccine studies have not been done specifically on ADHD, the vaccine research trials included thousands of people from around the world (36,000+ for Pfizer, 30,000+ for Moderna, and 43,000+ for Johnson & Johnson). It is estimated that 2.8% of people have ADHD worldwide. Based on these data, as many as 67,000 people with ADHD were involved in the vaccine trials and no adverse reactions occurred in people with ADHD. If your child has ADHD, it is safe for them to get vaccinated.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for kids who have allergies?

There are many kids who are allergic to food, plants and pets. Parents should know that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children who have allergies.

Should kids with developmental disabilities get vaccinated?

Kids with developmental disabilities are not more susceptible to COVID-19, but they may have greater challenges when it comes to wearing a mask, washing their hands, avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth, and social distancing. For these reasons, they may be at a higher risk for contracting and spreading the virus. For their protection and the protection of others, it is important to vaccinate children with developmental disabilities.

FAQs About the mRNA Third Doses for Immunocompromised People

On Aug. 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved a third dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for people who are immunocompromised.

Who should get a third shot?

You should get a third shot if you had Moderna or Pfizer for your first and second doses, and you:

  • Have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ transplant.
  • Received a stem cell transplant.
  • Have primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, Bruton’s agammaglobulinemia, or severe combined immunodeficiency).
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection (CD4 count < 200).
  • Are being treated with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

The latest information can be found on the CDC website. If you are unsure whether you should get a third shot, please contact your doctor.

Can my child, who is immunocompromised, receive a third shot?

Yes, your child can receive a third shot if they are immunocompromised. Children ages 12 or older who received the Pfizer vaccine should receive Pfizer for their third shot. (Moderna is available for people ages 18 and older.)

If I’m a caregiver for an immunocompromised person, can I get a third shot now?

No, third doses are not available for caregivers of immunocompromised people.

Why should people who are immunocompromised receive a third shot?

If you are immunocompromised, you have a weakened immune system. This limits your body’s ability to produce protective antibodies after being vaccinated. A third vaccine dose will give you additional antibody protection from the virus.

Studies suggest that fully vaccinated immunocompromised people make up 40 to 44% of hospitalized COVID-19 cases. If you get sick, you are also more likely to pass the virus to other people. It is important, especially for people who are immunocompromised, to have as much protection as possible against COVID-19.

Will the third shot improve my protection against the Delta variant?

Yes, it will improve your protection against all strains of the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant. It will also reduce the chances of getting very sick, if you do contract COVID-19.

When should people who are immunocompromised get their third shot?

You can get a third shot at least 28 days after receiving your second shot of Moderna or Pfizer.

If I’m immunocompromised, which vaccine should I receive for my third shot?

If you received Moderna for your first two shots, you will receive Moderna for your third shot. If you received Pfizer for your first two shots, you will receive Pfizer for your third shot.

I’m immunocompromised and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Can I get another dose of a COVID-19 vaccine? 

At this time, the FDA and CDC do not recommend that immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Clinical trials are ongoing, and once results are available, the FDA and CDC will make a recommendation. Currently, the third dose is recommended for immunocompromised people who have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Can I get a third vaccine dose at Henry Ford right now?

Yes, if you are a Henry Ford patient, you can schedule a third dose using MyChart.

If appointments at Henry Ford are full, should I wait until an appointment is available to get a third dose from Henry Ford?

No, you should not wait. We encourage you to get a third dose as soon as you can. Please use one of the many retailers now offering third doses, like CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, or Meijer. Detroit residents can receive a third dose at the TCF Center by calling 313-230-0505. You can also contact your county to find out where you third doses for immunocompromised people are being offered:

To get a third dose, do I need to provide a letter from my doctor?

No, you do not. Henry Ford will not ask about your specific health reasons for needing the third shot.

I’m not immunocompromised, but I received my COVID-19 vaccine more than six months ago. Can I make an appointment for a booster dose?

No. At this time, a third dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) is only recommended for people who are immunocompromised. Based on recent studies, the COVID-19 vaccines continue to provide strong protection against infection eight months or more after vaccination. If this recommendation changes in the future, we will rapidly communicate that information.

Will I have to bring my COVID-19 vaccination card to my appointment?

No, but if you do bring your COVID-19 vaccination card, we will add the third shot to your card.

Is the third shot different from the original two shots?

No. The third shot contains the same ingredients and the same amount of vaccine as the first and second shots.

Will side effects be worse after the third shot?

Side effects after third shot of Moderna or Pfizer are similar to what people experienced after receiving the first two shots. Most symptoms are mild to moderate, and the most common side effects are fatigue and injection-site pain.

Is the third shot approved by the FDA?

The FDA updated the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. ACIP (Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices) approved a third dose of mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) for people who are immunocompromised. The CDC also recommends a third dose for immunocompromised people. A third dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or a second dose of Johnson & Johnson, is not approved or recommended by the FDA or CDC/ACIP at this time.

What are the risks of getting the third shot?

The safety profile is the same as for the first and second vaccine doses. Studies with immunocompromised people did not show severe adverse effects after a third dose. The effectiveness of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses in immunocompromised people is very good. After receiving the third shot, many people developed protective antibodies.

Will booster vaccines be developed?

Vaccine manufacturers are partnering with the U.S. government and other organizations to develop booster vaccines. A booster vaccine may be different than an additional dose of the original vaccine, and designed to provide boosted protection against COVID-19 variants.

Much like the current COVID-19 vaccines, researchers will evaluate booster vaccines to ensure they’re safe and to see how well they help people develop antibodies against the variants.

I am immunocompromised. Can I get a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are immunocompromised and have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it’s recommended to receive a third dose 28 days or more after your second dose. For those with compromised immune systems, a third shot may provide additional protection against COVID-19.

It’s important to know:

  • Third doses of Pfizer for immunocompromised patients are available at Henry Ford Primary Care sites in southeast Michigan and the Jackson area for Henry Ford patients.
  • Three Henry Ford Allegiance Family Medicine locations – Townsend, North Street and East Michigan – are offering Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in addition to Pfizer.
  • Immunocompromised patients who had Moderna for their first and second doses should visit a retail pharmacy or county vaccination site that’s offering Moderna to receive Moderna for their third dose.
  • Second doses of Johnson & Johnson are not yet recommended by the CDC.

I am not a Henry Ford patient but I am immunocompromised. Where can I get a third shot?

If you are not a Henry Ford patient, we encourage you to get a third shot. Retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Rite Aid, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Meijer offer third doses to immunocompromised people. You can also go to your county health department:

I am not immunocompromised. Can I get a booster now?

For people with normal immune systems, a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, is not recommended by the FDA or CDC at this time. Henry Ford is following their recommendations, and we are not offering booster doses to people with normal immune systems. In the future, if booster doses are recommended more widely, Henry Ford will communicate that information rapidly and details will be available on this web page.

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