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 April 1st, individuals 16 years and older are eligible to receive the vaccine in the state of Connecticut. Individuals must either live, work, or attend school in person (not remotely) in the state.

Can I get the vaccine if I live outside of the State of Connecticut? What if I work in Connecticut, but don't live in Connecticut?
You are eligible to receive vaccine in the State of Connecticut if you live, work, or attend school in the State of Connecticut. If you live outside Connecticut, but work or attend school here, you must provide proof of your employment or school enrollment in Connecticut in order to receive your vaccination here.  If you do not live, work or attend school in the State of Connecticut, you are not eligible to receive vaccine in the State of Connecticut, even if your primary medical provider is in the State of Connecticut. If you do not live, work or attend school in Connecticut, you should receive vaccine from your State of residence when you are eligible based on their requirements.

I live out of state, but attend school in Connecticut.  Can I get my vaccine here?

If you are attending boarding school or college in the state of Connecticut but your residence is outside of Connecticut, you can receive your vaccine here.  You must be currently attending school in person in Connecticut in order to be eligible to receive your shot here.  If you are attending school remotely outside of Connecticut, you much receive your vaccine in your home state.

When will children under the age of 16 be eligible for the vaccine?

Clinical trials in children between the ages of 12-15 are currently underway and clinical trials for younger children are anticipated in the months to come. Children under 16 years old will be eligible to receive the vaccine based on authorization by the federal government and the Science Subcommittee of Governor Lamont’s Vaccine Advisory Group.

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.

I am an educator, how do I get an appointment?  Do I have to go through my school/school district? Will I have to show identification?

You should have heard from your employer and/or your local health director about options for appointments to receive your first dose.  There are closed clinics available to school personnel, childcare workers and others. Individuals eligible to receive vaccine because they work with children in childcare or pre-K through 12 settings must bring verification of their employment to the vaccine clinic.  Such verification could include an employee ID card, a paystub, or a letter from the employer.

I live in town X but teach in town Y, where do I get my vaccine?

You should have received options from your employer/school district for how and where you can make appointments/receive the vaccine.

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. 

What if I can’t schedule an appointment when my window opens up?

Currently, the state’s weekly supply of vaccines is smaller than the demand for vaccines.  While the supply of doses from the federal government is increasing, we are still several weeks away from having a supply that will meet demand.  Therefore, when we open up new age groups for vaccination, there will be delays in getting appointments. We ask for everyone’s patience and please know that you will get an appointment, but it might take some time for appointments to open up.

Can 16 and 17 year 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 16 and 17 year olds receiving vaccine?

Currently, 16 and 17 year olds can only receive the Pfizer vaccine.  That is the only vaccine approved by the FDA for children ages 16 and 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.

I am in Phase 1a, but wasn’t able to get my vaccination yet, do I have to wait now?
No, individuals who were eligible in Phase 1a can still be vaccinated, along with individuals 65 and over. If you lack the internet access to make your appointment you can call the COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments Assistance Line, 877-918-2224, seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. to schedule at select sites. Due to high volume, hold times may vary.

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. 

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) for your certificate 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. Tip: Keep this card somewhere safe in case you need it in the future. You can take a picture of the card as a backup copy.

If you did not receive a card or if you lose your card, you can contact your vaccination provider to get another. You can also contact the state Immunization Information System (CT WiZ) at the state Department of Public Health by calling (860) 509-7929 to request your Official Immunization Certificate. The CDC vaccine card or the DPH Official Immunization Certificate can be used as 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.

Employers

I have staff that I believe qualify as healthcare and medical first responders in Phase 1a, how do I get them vaccinated? 
Employees eligible for vaccination should schedule an appointment directly with a provider or clinic currently administering the vaccine. Click here to view appointment scheduling options.

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 16 or 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  16+  2  21 days
 Moderna: mRNA vaccine  18+  2  28 days
 Johnson & Johnson: Viral vector vaccine  18+  1  N/A

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

In general, given scarce supply, only one vaccine may be available through your provider. 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.   If you are 16 or 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.

Can I choose to get a one-dose vaccine? I don’t have time for two shots.

You can receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine if it is available at the location you make your initial vaccine appointment. Availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will vary by location. The CDC and public health experts advise that everyone get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they become eligible, regardless of the manufacturer.

Which vaccines are available to children under 18 years old?

Pfizer’s vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for ages 16 and up. When booking a vaccine appointment for a 16 or 17 year 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? 

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.  Additionally, second doses are automatically accounted for and sent to the location where your first shot occurred, so you are “guaranteed” your second shot at that location.  Switching locations may delay the timing of your second shot appointment.

What if I miss my second shot, or cannot find an appointment for 21 (for Pfizer)or 28 (for Moderna) days after my first shot - 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 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.  

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. Pfizer and 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?

No. Not everyone you come into contact with will have received the vaccine, and you may still be able to spread COVID-19. It is critical to follow basic public health best practices for the foreseeable future. 

Safety and Vaccine Risks

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?

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. Pfizer and Moderna are currently conducting additional clinical trials to determine safety and effectiveness in teens and kids.

Are individuals 16 and 17 year old at higher risk of side effects from the vaccine?

The FDA determined that the Pfizer vaccine has a similar safety and effectiveness profile in 16 and 17 year old individuals as other aduits in 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.

Does the vaccine cause blood clots?

The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was determined by the European Medicines Agency to be safe and effective, with no link to a higher risk of developing blood clots. No vaccines available in Connecticut are linked to a higher risk of developing a blood clot.