COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ

COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

Welcome to our Frequently Asked Questions page! For quicker results, click on the links below to navigate to the section of information that you're searching for.

Eligibility and Requirements

When will I be able to receive a COVID-19 Vaccine?
Beginning May 13th, individuals 12 years and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in the state of Connecticut. 

Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?

No.  The State of Connecticut is not mandating vaccination.  

Can people who have already have COVID-19 get the vaccine? 
Yes.  The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can catch it more than once.  You can receive the vaccine any time after you are done with your isolation period and your symptoms have resolved, but since you have antibodies for that 90 day period and re-infection is not likely during that timeframe, you can choose to wait until after 90 days to get immunized.

 

Scheduling your Vaccination

Can I support my parents, grandparents, neighbors or others who need help scheduling online in finding an appointment?

Yes, you can.  Each person signing up through the VAMS system requires their own, distinct email address, and that is likely true for other scheduling systems as well. So, you may need to provide support in creating an email in addition to helping with scheduling. 

Should I call my doctor to schedule a vaccine appointment?

No, do not call your doctor. Not every medical provider is administering vaccine at this time. Those who are will contact their patients to schedule appointments. 

Can children and teens ages 12 to 17 years old individuals schedule their own vaccine appointments?

Appointment scheduling processes vary across different vaccine providers. While some scheduling platforms, such as VAMS, allow minors to create personal accounts and schedule appointments, others may require a parent or guardian’s electronic permission to schedule. Minors under the age of 18 cannot be vaccinated by a healthcare provider without parental consent.

Are there other restrictions on 12 to 17 year olds receiving vaccine?

Currently, 12 to 17 year olds can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.  That is the only vaccine approved by the FDA for children ages 12 to 17.  When signing up for a vaccine appointment, make sure that the location you are choosing is administering the Pfizer vaccine.

How do I cancel my vaccine appointment?

If you can no longer attend your scheduled vaccine appointment, it is critical that you cancel and reschedule your appointment as soon as possible.  With high demand for appointments and limited availability, cancelling your appointment allows someone else the opportunity to fill that slot and get their vaccination.

  • If you scheduled your appointment using VAMS or MyChart, you can reschedule or cancel your appointment through your online account.
  • If you scheduled your appointment directly with a vaccine provider, contact the provider directly to understand your rescheduling options.
  • If you scheduled your appointment by calling the Vaccine Appointment Assist Line (877-918-2224), you can reschedule or cancel your appointment by dialing 877-918-2224 or 2-1-1.

How do I cancel my appointment in VAMS?

To reschedule or cancel an appointment, log into the VAMS Recipient Portal and in the "My Appointments" tab, click the "View details/Modify" link next to the appointment you would like to reschedule. Select "Reschedule appointment" or "Cancel appointment" at the bottom of the details page and then follow the prompts.

How do I cancel my appointment in MyChart or MyChartPlus?

To cancel or reschedule appointments via your computer, log into MyChart, click “Visits”, and then "Appointments and Visits". Then, locate the appointment you would like to cancel or reschedule. If rescheduling, you will be prompted to select a new date and time and confirm.

To cancel or reschedule appointments via your MyChart mobile app, open the app and click "Appointments". Then, locate the appointment you would like to cancel or reschedule. If rescheduling, you will be prompted to select a new date and time and confirm.

 

Privacy

If I get a vaccination, where will my information go? Can I be sure it will be kept safe?

Your personal and health care information will be kept private, and will not be shared outside of your healthcare provider's office, and the Department of Public Health. Personal identifying information such as your name, contact information, and address will be treated as confidential health care information and will not be shared with law enforcement or the federal government without a court order or similar legal compulsion. 

Someone knocked on my door to talk to me about COVID-19 vaccinations. Is this through the state health department?

As part of a nationwide effort to ensure everyone has equal access to these lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations, CT has been sending out canvassers to go door-to-door signing up individuals for the COVID-19 vaccination appointments and informing them of walk-up or pop-up clinics available to them. Canvassers also assist with information about how to access transportation to the clinics. Remember, you will never share payment information to sign up for COVID-19 vaccines, as it is FREE.

Can a business asks about my COVID-19 vaccinations? Does this violate HIPAA?

Most businesses won’t violate HIPAA by asking customers if they’ve been vaccinated. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, known as HIPAA is a federal law to that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge. For more information, please visit: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) | CDC

Getting the Vaccine

Where do I go for a vaccination?

If you are eligible for vaccination, you can schedule an appointment with any vaccine provider in the state with available appointments. Vaccines are administered in a wide range of places: physician’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, community health centers, and other locations that would normally administer vaccinations. Please visit www.covidvaccinefinder.ct.gov to view vaccine clinic locations near you.

I don't have state-issued identification, will I be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes, you can still be vaccinated.  No person will be turned away based on their ability to show ID. While sharing your contact information may not be required to get a vaccine, staff at the vaccination site may ask individuals for an ID, but this only applies to people who have one. Individuals should bring an ID, if they have one, to verify the name and eligibility information they submitted to the vaccination appointment system, their insurance information if they have insurance, and their employment in Connecticut if they work but do not live in the state. Individuals can still get the COVID-19 vaccine without insurance or an ID.

Am I going to be required to carry verification that I’ve been vaccinated?

No. Although your provider will make sure that their records reflect you have received vaccine in order to most effectively treat you in the future. 

Can I get a certificate that says I am vaccinated?

Most providers will give you a card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that lists: your name, date of birth, how many COVID-19 vaccine doses you received, the date(s) you received the dose(s), and where you received it. Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. You can take a picture of your vaccination card as a backup copy.

If you did not receive a card or you lose your card, you can:

  • Contact your vaccination provider to request a copy, or log into the patient portal to view or download your certificate of COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • If you have an account, log into VAMS and View or Download your Certificate of COVID-19 Vaccination, or
  • Call (860) 509-7929 to request your official immunization record from the CT Immunization Information System (CT WiZ) at the Department of Public Health. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to CT WiZ.

The CDC vaccine card, your provider’s portal record, VAMS certificate, and the CT WiZ official immunization record are all acceptable forms of proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.

Do I have to pay for the vaccine?

Vaccines are administered free of charge in Connecticut.  No one should be charged an out of pocket fee for receiving the vaccine.  If you have health insurance, the vaccine provider can bill your insurance company for the administration of the vaccine dose, but you will not be required to pay any money out of pocket for the vaccine.

Vaccine Types

What vaccines are available in Connecticut?
Connecticut is now receiving vaccine supplies from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Is there a difference between the vaccinations that I can take?

There are differences between the vaccine types, but all three vaccines currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are highly effective based on trials. If you are 12 to 17 years old, the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only FDA authorized vaccine you can receive.

Vaccine type:  Age Requirements Doses required   Recommended Time Between Doses
 Pfizer: mRNA vaccine  12+  2  21 days
 Moderna: mRNA vaccine  18+  2  28 days
 Johnson & Johnson: Viral vector vaccine  18+  1  N/A

View the FDA factsheets on each vaccine:

Do I get to choose which vaccine brand I want to receive?  

You can talk with your medical provider if you have specific questions or concerns that may lead you to want to seek out one specific COVID-19 vaccine versus another. Vaccine clinics typically do not offer all three vaccine brands. You can contact the clinic before your vaccination to inquire about the type of vaccine offered. If you are 12 to 17 years old, you may only receive the Pfizer vaccine.

Can I choose the vaccine that says it’s the most effective?

All three vaccines are safe and highly effective against illness and death from COVID-19. Getting the vaccine as soon as you’re eligible, regardless of the brand, will protect you from severe illness, hospitalization and the risk of death from COVID-19.  The bottom line is the best shot you can get is the one that’s available.

What is the difference between an mRNA and a viral vector vaccine?

Both mRNA and viral vector vaccines contain instructions that teach our cells how to create "spike proteins", which is the protein found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. Once your cells produces COVID-19 spike proteins, your immune system recognizes that those proteins don’t belong in your body and creates antibodies to stop the virus from spreading and causing damage when you are exposed to it. Neither vaccine contains the  virus that causes COVID-19.

The instructions in the mRNA vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA), the genetic material that tells your cells how to make proteins. The mRNA is surrounded by a tiny lipids (fatty molecules) which help mRNA enter directly into your cells. Once your cells create the spike proteins, your body breaks down the mRNA.

In viral vector vaccines, spike protein DNA is placed inside a modified version of a different virus that doesn’t cause illness. This non-harmful virus delivers the DNA instructions to your cells – this virus is called the vector. 

Which vaccines are available to children under 18 years old?

Pfizer’s vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for ages 12 and up. When booking a vaccine appointment for someone under 18 years old, be sure to confirm with the vaccine provider that Pfizer will be available.

The Second Dose (Pfizer & Moderna)

How do I know when to schedule my second vaccination? 

The timing between your first and second dose will depend on which vaccine you received.

  • If you received the Pfizer vaccine, the CDC recommends you get your second dose 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first.
  • If you received the Moderna vaccine, the CDC recommends you get your second dose 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first.

You should get your second dose as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. You should not get your second dose early.Most providers will ask you to schedule your first and second vaccination at the same time and will help you set up reminders via text, email, or phone call about your second dose.  

Do I have to get my second dose at the same location I got my first dose? 

No, you are not required to get your second dose at the same location that you received your first dose. However, it’s encouraged that you receive both doses at the same location so your provider can ensure you’re getting the same vaccine type at the correct time. Switching locations may delay the timing of your second shot appointment.

What if I miss my second dose, or cannot find an appointment for 21 (for Pfizer)or 28 (for Moderna) days after my first dose - is it a problem if I wait?

No. You do not need to get your second dose exactly 21 (for Pfizer) or 28 (for Moderna) days after your first shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have advised that the second should be taken up to 42 days of the first dose.  However, the CDC has also indicated that you do not need to start the shots over again if you go beyond the 42 day window for the second shot.  It will still be effective.

Vaccine Trials

How do we know the vaccines are safe? 

The FDA approves a vaccine for use only if it is proven safe and effective, after clinical trials have been conducted with thousands of people, and when its benefits outweigh any risks. The COVID-19 vaccine builds on years of scientific research and an unprecedented level of scientific investment and cooperation. Every study and every phase of every trial was carefully reviewed and approved by a safety board and the FDA. The process was transparent and rigorous throughout, with continual oversight and expert approval.The Pfizer vaccine alone had a trial of over 40,000 people over a period of many months without any serious incidents.

Since vaccines became available in December, millions of people across the country have received the vaccine with a relatively small number of reports of serious adverse reactions.

Since the vaccine is so new, how do you know there won’t be long term health effects from taking it?

Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinates to learn about very rare or possible long-term effects.  At least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination. 

Have the vaccines been tested in children or teens?

The Pfizer vaccine clinical trials and testing included participants 16 years and older, and subsequent trials were held with children 12 to 15 years of age. Pfizer received approval from the CDC on May 12th to administer its vaccine to 12 to 15 year olds. Moderna are currently conducting additional clinical trials in children and teens 12 years and older.

Long-Term Care Facilities

My relative is in a nursing home, can I visit once the residents are vaccinated? 

You should continue to follow guidelines released by the Department of Public Health. While you or your family member may be vaccinated, you may come into others who are not, so it is critical to continue to use caution. 

If I’m vaccinated, can I visit family in the hospital or nursing home?

You should continue to follow guidelines released by the Department of Public Health. While you or your family member may be vaccinated, you may come into others who are not, so it is critical to continue to use caution. 

Once I’m vaccinated, can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing?

Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated. 

Safety and Vaccine Risks

What is the current status of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?
On April 23, a CDC panel recommended that the pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine be lifted. The panel also recommended that a warning label be added to the vaccine packaging noting the very rare blood clotting disorder risk. Based on the panel’s recommendation, the FDA ended the pause; states and local jurisdictions can now resume use of the J&J vaccine.

The CDC and FDA will provide monitoring and treatment information to health care providers and vaccine recipients. On 4/23, the FDA released a factsheet for vaccine recipients and a factsheet for healthcare providers.

Should I be concerned about the safety of other vaccines?
The identification of what is approximately a less than 2-in-a-million risk associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a sign that the nation’s safety monitoring system for COVID vaccines is working. After any vaccine is successful in clinical trials and approved for use, the FDA continues to monitor it for safety. The pause in the use of the J&J vaccine allowed scientists to evaluate each incidence of the clotting disorder. They determined that the level of risk was very low and that the benefits of continued use of the J&J vaccine greatly outweighed any risk associated with it.

What was learned during the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause?
The 10-day pause gave health officials time to review additional data to better understand the degree of risk associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine related to a blood clotting disorder. It also gave federal agencies and the medical community time to determine and share information on the most appropriate treatment response. During that time, nine additional cases of the clotting disorder were identified, bringing the total number of known cases to 15 (among the nearly 7 million people who received the vaccine).

The decision to lift the pause is based on the experts’ determination that the benefits of again administering the vaccine greatly outweigh the very small degree of risk associated with its use, particularly now that the risk and treatment protocols are better understood. The risk of blood clotting is much higher for people who contract COVID than it is for people who receive the J&J vaccine.

Who is at risk for the blood clotting disorder associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
The likelihood of the blood clotting disorder resulting from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is extremely rare. The risk varies by age and gender. There have been fewer than 1 case per million for men and for women who are 50 years or older; the risk is estimated to be about 7 cases per million for women age 18 to 49. If you questions about the J&J vaccine or other vaccines, talk to your doctor.

If I got the Johnson & Johnson shot, am I at risk?
If you received the Johnson & Johnson shot and have not developed any of the side effects associated with the blood clotting disorder (severe headache or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, neurological symptoms, leg swelling) within three weeks of being vaccinated, the risk of an adverse reaction is unlikely. If you have questions or concerns, consult your doctor.

If I’m offered the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should I wait until I can get either Pfizer or Moderna?
For most people, getting the first available COVID vaccine is the best thing you can do to safeguard your health. Your odds of contracting a possibly life-threatening case of COVID-19 are much higher than your odds of serious side effects from the vaccine. The risk of blood clots from COVID illness is 165,000 per million cases.

More than 90% of the vaccine supply in the United States is either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, for some settings the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be the one that is available. And some people prefer the option of a single-dose vaccine.

If you have additional questions about which vaccine is best for you, check with your doctor.

Can I still get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated? 

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. However, if you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Those who receive the vaccine may experience mild symptoms of COVID-19 and soreness at the site of injection. Information about rare allergic reactions to the vaccination can be found on the CDC website

Is it safe to get vaccinated if I have an underlying health condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity.  People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. It is recommended that people with these conditions get vaccinated. Individuals who have had prior allergic reactions to injectable medicines should consult with their medical providers before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  

I’ve had allergic reactions to other shots, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You should talk with your provider about what allergies may make it risky for you to get the COVID-19 vaccination, but, it has proven safe in the vast majority of instances.  

Can I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or nursing?

Yes. 

Can people who have already have COVID-19 get the vaccine?

Yes. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19 because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last. 

How do we know the vaccines are safe?

The Pfizer vaccine alone had a trial of over 40,000 people over a period of many months without any serious incidents. No vaccines will be available to the public without the review of the federal government and the Science Subcommittee of Governor Lamont’s Vaccine Advisory Group. In Connecticut, we continue to make every decision with public health as a number one priority.  

Are the vaccines safe for children?

On May 10th, the FDA expanded its emergency use authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 based on the results of clinical trials on children ages 12 to 15. The CDC approved the FDA’s expansion on May 12th. The Pfizer vaccine was proven safe and effective in participants 16 years of age and older during clinical studies. The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved by the FDA for use in individuals under 18 years of age.

Are individuals 12 to 15 years old at higher risk of side effects from the vaccine?

The FDA determined that the Pfizer vaccine has a similar safety and effectiveness profilein 12 to 15 year olds as in 16 and up from previous clinical trials.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?

No.  None of the COVD-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. 

Does this vaccine cause infertility?

No. This is a rumor. 

I have a food allergy, can I get the vaccine?

Yes. Information about the COVID-19 vaccination and allergies can be found on the CDC's website.

I have seasonal allergies, can I get the vaccine?

Yes. Information about the COVID-19 vaccination and allergies can be found on the CDC's website..