We’re committed to providing you with the information you need about COVID-19, the vaccines and life after the pandemic.
How to make the right decision about getting your shot
Now that the COVID-19 vaccines are widely available for adults in the U.S., it’s time for you to make the decision on getting yours, if you haven’t already. As your trusted health ally, we want to help you make an informed choice, so you can do your part in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and getting back to a more normal way of life.
Here’s what you need to know:
There are three COVID-19 vaccines being administered in the U.S. Recent research has demonstrated that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are the most effective against the Delta and Omicron variants and have fewer risk of side effects than the viral vector vaccines (J&J/Janssen). The CDC now recommends individuals be offered mRNA vaccines over the viral vector vaccines (you can read more about this here)
Here’s a cheat sheet on the authorized vaccines:
5 years and older
Two shots given 21 days apart
• A third dose is available for those that are 18+ and immunocompromised, given 28 days after the second dose
• A booster dose should be administered to everyone ages 16+, given six months after the second dose
18 years and older
Two shots given 28 days apart
• A third dose is available for those that are 18+ and immunocompromised, given 28 days after the second dose
• A booster dose should be administered to everyone ages 18+, given six months after the second dose
Johnson & Johnson / Janssen
18 years and older
One shot with a booster at least two months after the first dose. The booster can be any type, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer.
- All adults are now eligible, as well as those over the age of 5 for the Pfizer vaccine. If you are allergic to a component of the vaccine or have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, reach out to your healthcare provider to discuss your options.
- The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has received full FDA approval for people 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization (EUA) is still in place for those who are 5 to 15 years old.
- A third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are available and recommended for certain immunocompromised adults at least 28 days after their second dose. Reach out to your provider if you believe you qualify.
- Booster shots are recommended under an emergency use authorization (EUA) for everyone ages 16 and up.
- The Pfizer booster shot is available for people over the age of 16, at least six months after their initial two doses.
- Boosters are also available for adults who received two doses of the Moderna vaccine at least six months ago or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
- You do not have to get a booster of the same vaccine as your first or second dose. In other words, if you received two doses of Moderna you could then get the Pfizer booster shot or vice versa, as well as choosing to get an mRNA booster after you received the viral vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. Children ages 16-17 are only authorized to receive the Pfizer booster shot at this time.
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool in getting us back to normal life. It not only protects you and those around you from the virus, but also brings us one step closer to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Being fully vaccinated means less restrictions and doing more of the things you enjoyed pre-pandemic.
Ready to get your shot?
Check with your local wellness center to see if they have the vaccine and schedule an appointment.
If not, visit vaccines.gov to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you. Timing of your vaccine doses and booster shots can get confusing. Reach out to your provider if you have any questions.
Getting your COVID-19 vaccine
If you’re ready to get your vaccine, be sure to make your Premise Health wellness center your first stop.
Preparing for your vaccine:
After your vaccine:
Life after you’re fully vaccinated
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Safely resume pre-pandemic activities, while following local laws, rules or regulations (restrictions may vary at your workplace, local businesses and in healthcare settings)
Fully vaccinated people do not have to:
- Get tested or self-quarantine before or after traveling within the U.S. unless experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Get tested or self-quarantine before international travel unless the destination requires it; however, a negative test result is still required before coming back into the U.S.
Even after being vaccinated, you will need to continue:
- Wearing a mask while indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission and on all forms of public transportation
- Getting tested for COVID-19 three to five days after being exposed to someone who has the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms
- Self-isolating for 10 days if you get a positive test result for COVID-19
Those who are not vaccinated should continue to take the precautions set forth by the CDC, which include wearing a mask while in public, social distancing when gathering with people from multiple households, washing their hands often and avoiding large crowds.
For more information or guidance on safe activities or protocols after you’ve been vaccinated, reach out to your provider at your local wellness center.
A conversation on the COVID-19 vaccines
We hear you and are here for you
We understand there are people who have been historically let down or mistreated by the healthcare system. Tragically, these are also the populations being disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with higher rates of hospitalization and death. This is one of the reasons we know that vaccination of these individuals is critical to reducing that burden.
Premise Health acknowledges the past and current truth around race and health disparities in this country. We strive to deliver accessible, quality care regardless of your race, religion, national origin, age, ability, sexual orientation or gender identity. Please know that your hesitancies about the vaccine are heard and understood. We welcome questions from all different backgrounds, and we promise to earn your trust through honesty and empathy. Let’s come together to end this pandemic and protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities from further harm.
Keep the dialogue going. Talk to your provider to learn more about COVID-19, the vaccines and how we can
What we’re doing to help:
Many Premise Health wellness centers have the COVID-19 vaccines and are doing their part to get our members vaccinated. Contact your center directly to see if they have the vaccine and to schedule an appointment. Regardless of if or when your center has the vaccine, your provider can still provide guidance and support, as well as COVID-19 testing.
Also, we know this has been a difficult time for many, but we care about your wellbeing and want you to have the resources you need to live better. That’s why we have a free service available to connect you with a variety of community programs in your area.
Visit findhelp.premisehealth.com to learn more.
Get a COVID-19 test mailed right to your door.
Even if you’re vaccinated it is still important to get tested for COVID-19 when you think you may have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with the virus. That’s where we come in.
Home testing through your wellness center is the safe and easy way to get tested for COVID-19.
It’s convenient, quick and reliable. If you think you have COVID-19, schedule your virtual visit today.
*To conduct a local virtual visit, you must be in the same state which your provider is licensed.
**If your test is ordered on a Friday after 2 p.m. CT. shipping could take up to four days. Turnaround time for results is subject to national trends and case surges.
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine:
Many Premise Health wellness centers have the COVID-19 vaccines and are doing their part to get our members vaccinated. Now that everyone over the age of 5 can get vaccinated, we plan to continue to obtain and administer the COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with federal, state and manufacturer guidelines. You should reach out to your local wellness center directly to see if it’s available and to schedule an appointment.
Regardless of if/when the COVID-19 vaccine is available at your wellness center, our staff will act as a valuable resource for guidance on the vaccine, as well as continued COVID-19 testing and support.
For the most part, those who are fully vaccinated can begin to resume most pre-pandemic activities. However, to maximize protection against the Delta variant of the virus and to prevent spreading it to others, the CDC recommends that vaccinated individuals wear masks in public indoor spaces while in areas of substantial or high transmission. You can find a map that shows active transmission rates here: covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view.
Fully vaccinated people will also need to continue to wear a mask while on public transportation, such as trains, planes and buses and where it is required by laws, rules, regulations or local guidance. The CDC recommends wearing a mask regardless of the level of transmission in your area if you or someone in your household is unvaccinated or at an increased risk for severe disease.
The CDC has published full guidelines for fully vaccinated people and how to choose safer activities. If you are unsure on any of the guidance, have a conversation with your healthcare provider or review the information provided in the CDC guidelines here: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html.
If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends that you continue to wear a mask while in public, practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings until you are fully vaccinated.
Note: If you received your vaccine but have a condition or are taking medications that may weaken your immune system, talk to your provider to discuss safety protocols. You may not be fully protected by the vaccine and may need to keep taking all the safety precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19. You may also be eligible for a third dose if you received an mRNA vaccine.
You likely will not be able to choose the vaccine you receive. It will depend on your local area and what is available there, based on what your state health department can order and distribute. It may also depend on what your local hospital, wellness center or pharmacy can accommodate. However, children ages 5 to 17 can only get the Pfizer vaccine, so those in that age range will only be able to get an appointment with a site that offers the Pfizer vaccine.
It is important to know that all the vaccines currently available in the U.S. are highly effective, safe and help prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Studies on COVID-19 vaccine safety in young children are still ongoing, so the CDC has not recommended those under the age of 5 get the vaccine at this time. It’s important to note that only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized by the FDA and the CDC for children 12 years of age and older and a pediatric vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. The two other authorized vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and Moderna are still only approved for people 18 years and older.
Although the guidance was unclear at first, the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommend that all pregnant individuals get vaccinated. Pregnant individuals are at a significantly higher risk for complications from COVID-19, including hospitalization and risks to the pregnancy.
As of now, experts recommend that all other populations get the COVID-19 vaccine to help slow the spread and ultimately end the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are unsure if you should get vaccinated, talk with your healthcare provider.
Yes, people who have had COVID-19 are eligible to receive the vaccine and should do so. If you currently have COVID-19, you should wait until the end of your isolation period before you get your vaccine.
Yes, because your antibody development and protection against the virus is based on having two doses of the vaccine. For full protection, you need your second dose and should get it even if you had side effects after the first shot (unless your provider tells you otherwise).
If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has only one dose, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive it.
You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series and two weeks after a single dose vaccine.
Boosters are available for everyone 16 years and older who has had the J&J vaccine at least two months ago or six months ago for those who received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna.
Immunocompromised individuals qualify for both a 3rd mRNA dose and a booster dose. Talk to your provider if you fall within this group.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recently authorized, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine for people with a compromised immune system after their initial two doses. Individuals with a medical condition that significantly impacts their immune system may not have achieved optimal immunity from their initial COVID-19 vaccines. These immunocompromised people may remain at high risk for more serious COVID-19 infections after only two shots. If you are immunocompromised due to an organ transplant, cancer, advanced HIV, or any other reason and think you qualify for a third dose, you should contact your provider at your wellness center for guidance. They can help you find out if you’re eligible and get you your third dose as soon as possible.
If you are immunocompromised due to an organ transplant, cancer, advanced HIV or any other reason and think you qualify for a third dose, you should contact your provider at your wellness center for guidance. They can help you find out if you’re eligible and get you your third dose as soon as possible.
Booster shots are available under an emergency use authorization (EUA) for both mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). Vaccine recipients qualify for a booster shot if they received their initial doses of Pfizer or Moderna at least 6 months ago and are 16 years of age or older.
Recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible for a booster shot if it’s been at least 2 months since their previous dose.
Eligible people can receive the same vaccine as their first or second dose, or they can choose a different vaccine for their booster if they prefer.
If you qualify for a booster shot, reach out to your provider at your local wellness center.
Yes. Although the authorizations were prioritized to expedite getting vaccines to the public, the standard safety trials and procedures were followed to ensure safety and effectiveness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) follows rigorous standards and will only give emergency use authorization (EUA) if the vaccine candidates meet their qualifications.
The FDA and CDC are also continuing to monitor the authorized vaccines as they’re being administered to the public to ensure continued safety and efficacy. In fact, on August 23, 2021 the FDA gave full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine continues to be under EUA for individuals ages 5 to 15.
In certain types of emergencies, the FDA can issue what’s called an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). This is used to provide timely access to critical medical products that may help during the emergency when there are no other options. The EUA standard may permit authorization based on less data than would be required for full approval, enabling the organization to authorize use within weeks rather than months to years. EUAs are in effect until the emergency declaration ends but can be revised or revoked as needs are evaluated during the emergency and new data becomes available.
An FDA-approved vaccine on the other hand, has undergone the agency’s standard process for reviewing medical products, including vaccines. The review process is extensive. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, FDA approval builds on the data and information that supported the EUA, such as preclinical and clinical data and information, in addition to details of the manufacturing process and inspections at the sites where the vaccine is made. The FDA’s review of this data is among the most comprehensive in the world. The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. that has received full FDA approval as of now. However, the other two COVID-19 vaccines under EUA (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are expected to apply for full approval soon.
Whether you have access to a vaccine with full approval or not though, you should get your COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, due to the continued surge of COVID-19 variants as the virus mutates. The EUA vaccines have proven effective at preventing severe symptoms and hospitalization.
Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been authorized for children 5 years and older. Studies have shown that it is safe and effective for children. Like adults, children may have some mild to moderate, temporary side effects after being vaccinated.
Although not as many children have gotten seriously ill from COVID-19 compared to adults, they can still get sick and spread the virus. With the Delta variant and more variants emerging, more children are getting seriously ill and being hospitalized at higher rates than they were last year. That’s why it is important to get them vaccinated if they are eligible, to protect your family and others.
While mRNA vaccines seem new, researchers have been studying them for decades. They were a favorable choice for the COVID-19 vaccine because they can be created in a lab using readily available materials, which means they can be developed faster than more traditional methods of making vaccines. Basically, rather than triggering an immune response with a weakened or inactive virus, the mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response and helps produce antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus to protect us from future infection.
No, your DNA is inside your cells. The vaccine components never enter your cells’ DNA and do not affect your genetic code.
No. All the vaccines available under the emergency use authorization (EUA) in the U.S. were tested in a diverse group of adults and children spanning different races, ethnicities and ages. There were no significant safety concerns identified in these or any other groups in the clinical trials.
Some participants in the clinical trials reported temporary, mild to moderate side effects after receiving their vaccine. The side effects were fairly similar to the flu vaccine and included pain at the injection site, fatigue, headache, fever and aching muscles and joints for a day or two.
In addition to the more common side effects listed above, there are rare cases of more serious side effects, such as neurological and cardiac conditions. The CDC has more information about these risks here: cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/safety-of-vaccines.html. They have also provided healthcare providers and vaccine recipients, or their caregivers, with information about what to look for in the rare event that a person develops an adverse reaction.
In general, side effects to the vaccines are temporary and mild to moderate in nature. These side effects are preferable to the alternative of getting COVID-19, so they should not deter you from receiving the vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do – working and building up protection to disease.
Of the tens of thousands of vaccine trial participants, there have been very few serious side effects reported. Some individuals have had allergic reactions to the vaccine, but it is extremely rare. As a precaution, you will be asked about any history of severe, life-threatening allergic reactions prior to being vaccinated. Everyone who receives the vaccine will be required to wait 15 minutes after vaccination for observation and 30 minutes if you have a history of anaphylaxis to ensure you do not have an unexpected, adverse reaction to the vaccine.
If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, particularly to vaccines, ask your provider for further guidance on whether you should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
All the authorized and approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. have been deemed highly effective at preventing COVID-19 after going through clinical trials. While no vaccine is 100% effective, you’re much less likely to get COVID-19 if you’ve had the vaccine. Also, it not only prevents you from getting sick or severely ill with the disease, but it might also protect those around you.
It’s also important to note that the vaccine may prevent severe illness and long-term symptoms of COVID-19 if you get it. This is important, because even young survivors who were physically fit prior to getting COVID-19 have reported lingering symptoms months after infection. This is called post-acute COVID-19 syndrome (PACS for short). PACS symptoms can include fatigue, difficulty breathing, cough, joint pain, chest pain, cognitive impairment, depression, muscle pain, headache, fever and heart palpitations. More serious complications of COVID-19 can include heart disease, acute kidney injury, rash, hair loss, smell and taste dysfunction, sleep dysregulation, depression, anxiety and changes in mood.
Yes, there is a chance you could still get COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine because even though the authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine is 100% effective. So, even though you could potentially still get the virus, you’re much less likely to get it if you’ve had the vaccine.
Breakthrough infections, or infection occurring after being fully vaccinated, are less common compared to the number of unvaccinated people contracting COVID-19. Breakthrough infections in vaccinated people make up a small percentage of current COVID-19 cases, hospitalization and deaths. Also, data shows that typically breakthrough infections in vaccinated people are mild and do not require hospitalization.
Viruses often change and mutate, so new variants of COVID-19 are expected and have already started to emerge in the U.S. Currently, the research suggests that the vaccines currently available in the U.S. are effective against the different variants circulating throughout the country. The CDC and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as many medical groups and vaccine manufacturers, are closely monitoring the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against the Delta and Omicron variants and others. They are prepared to make changes if needed, much like the process taken each year with the flu vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine is provided free of charge in the U.S. However, providers can charge a fee for administering the shot to you. Your insurance will likely cover this added fee and there are public funds to cover fees for those without insurance, so cost should not be a barrier to getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
First check with your local Premise Health wellness center. They may have the vaccine and you can schedule an appointment there. If not, they can also help you find a vaccine near you.
Another option is to visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you.
Download the PDF version of our FAQs here.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccines, reach out to your healthcare provider or check out: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/
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