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About the COVID-19 Vaccines

DOES THE VACCINE PROTECT AGAINST THE NEW COVID-19 VARIANTS?

Research shows that the newest monovalent vaccines which were recently approved provide good protection against severe infection and hospitalization against new variants.

WHEN WILL I HAVE THE FULL IMMUNITY FROM THE VACCINE?

It takes approximately 2 weeks to receive protection from the COVID-19 vaccine.

CAN THE VACCINE GIVE ME COVID-19?

No. None of the vaccines contain a live virus, so the vaccine cannot give you COVID-19.

Getting the Vaccine

WHERE CAN I GET VACCINATED?

Beginning this fall, Atrius Health is offering our patients ages 6 months and older the opportunity to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine when they come in for other regularly scheduled primary care appointments. For patients under 19 years of age, parents or patients can also call their PCP’s office directly to schedule a vaccination. For patients 19 and older, you can also contact an Atrius Health pharmacy or your PCP’s office to schedule a vaccination. We are not offering direct scheduling for COVID-19 vaccination through MyHealth at this time.

COVID-19 vaccination appointment availability is limited at our practices. We encourage patients to use this website – https://www.vaccines.gov/search – to research retail pharmacies and other community-based options to find appointments that work best for you.

CAN CHILDREN GET THE VACCINE?

Yes. Children ages 6 month and older can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

WHAT IF I AM HOMEBOUND AND CANNOT GET TO YOUR OFFICE FOR VACCINATION?

The state of Massachusetts has an in-home vaccination program for homebound people who are not able to leave their homes to get to a vaccination site, even with assistance. If you or your loved one is eligible for an in-home vaccination, you can call the Homebound Vaccination Central Intake Line at (833) 983-0485. You will be able to speak with a representative who will ask questions to determine if an in-home vaccination is appropriate. If in-home vaccination is appropriate, you will be registered with the State Homebound Vaccine Provider or referred to your local Board of Health to schedule an appointment.

Data has shown that COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and the vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies.

IS THERE A COST TO RECEIVE THE VACCINE?

Yes, however there is a state-sponsored program to ensure people who do not have health insurance can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no charge. Also, many health insurance companies cover the cost to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Immunocompromised Patients

SHOULD I GET THE VACCINE IF I HAVE A WEAKENED IMMUNE SYSTEM?

If you have a medical condition or take certain medications that weaken your ability to fight infections, you may have more severe disease than other people if you get COVID-19. If you have a weakened immune system, you are recommended to get the vaccine and should ensure that family and friends around you are vaccinated. Please note that you should continue taking precautions, including social distancing, hand hygiene, and wearing a mask after vaccination in certain settings due to the potential for decreased immune response to the vaccine.

Fertility, Pregnancy, and Breastfeeding

SHOULD I GET THE VACCINE IF I AM HOPING TO BECOME PREGNANT SOON?

The vaccine does not affect fertility. It may be helpful to get the vaccine before you are pregnant to minimize getting COVID-19 while pregnant.

CAN I GET THE VACCINE IF I AM PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING?

The CDC, along with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and the Society of Maternal Fetal Monitoring (SMFM), strongly recommend the vaccine for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant.

Data has shown that COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause infection in anyone, including the mother or the baby, and the vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 in people who are breastfeeding. Recent reports have shown that breastfeeding people who have received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines have antibodies in their breastmilk, which could help protect their babies.

I HAD COVID-19 AND GOT BETTER. SHOULD I STILL GET THE VACCINE?

Yes. Since it is possible to get sick again from COVID-19, you should get the vaccine.

Safety, Side Effects, and Other Concerns

IS THE COVID-19 VACCINE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE?

Atrius Health strongly recommends you get the COVID-19 vaccine at any location when it is available to you. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and one of the best ways to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick from COVID-19.

DOES THE VACCINE HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?

Just like the flu shot or any other vaccine, there is a chance that you will experience side effects. These are a sign that the vaccine is working, and the body is building immunity. Most side effects should not cause concern and will go away in a day or two. You should stay home if you have a fever.

Common side effects include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

Other Vaccine Restrictions and Special Cases

SHOULD I DELAY OR NOT RECEIVE THE VACCINE FOR ANY REASON?

You are advised to delay getting the vaccine if:

  • You are feeling sick at the time of vaccination (fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea or acute illness).
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 10 days and have not yet met the criteria to stop isolation.

You are advised not to receive a mRNA COVID-19 (Moderna or Pfizer) vaccine if:

  • You have a history of immediate allergic reaction after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components (including polyethylene glycol [PEG]) OR have had an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate.

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

HOW DO I GET A COPY/PROOF OF MY COVID-19 VACCINATION WHICH I HAD DONE AT ATRIUS HEALTH?

If you are an Atrius Health patient who was vaccinated at one of our practices and you have a MyHealth account, you can log into your account and download a PDF of your COVID-19 vaccination documentation for your records. If you do not have a MyHealth account, you can call 617-541-6677 for proof of vaccination assistance.

HOW DO I GET A COPY/PROOF OF MY COVID-19 VACCINATION IF I AM AN ATRIUS HEALTH PATIENT, BUT I GOT VACCINATED AT A MASS VACCINATION SITE, RETAIL PHARMACY OR OTHER COMMUNITY LOCATION IN MASSACHUSETTS?

You should first contact the location/provider where you were vaccinated for proof of vaccination documentation.

If you were vaccinated at a Massachusetts mass vaccination site, view these instructions on the Mass.gov website for mass vaccination site record requests by each location.

If you have a MyHealth account and were vaccinated in Massachusetts, you can also log into your account and see if we have details of your COVID-19 vaccination, even if you did not get vaccinated at Atrius Health. Massachusetts has what’s called the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS) which is operated by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH). According to Massachusetts law, all immunizations given in the state must be reported to the MDPH through the MIIS. We regularly update our medical record system with newly reported MIIS vaccination data for our patients. If you can see your COVID vaccination in your MyHealth account, you can download a PDF of the COVID-19 vaccination documentation for your records. Please note if you were vaccinated outside the state of Massachusetts, this will not be reported to the MIIS. Please contact the out-of-state provider/location you were vaccinated at to get your proof of vaccination.

Finally, you can also fill out an Immunization Record Request Form that goes directly to MDPH. If you use this form, you will get a complete history of all vaccines you’ve gotten, not just the COVID-19 vaccine, and it can take up to 6 weeks to get your records.

For more information, please visit the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Page.