COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Vermonters who are 70 years and older and you will need to provide your primary address. However, if you live in another state, you can still get a vaccine in Vermont if:

  1. You work in Vermont.
  2. Your primary health care provider is in Vermont.
  3. You moved to Vermont within the last six (6) months with the intention of becoming a resident. 

Vermont is using a centralized appointment structure at this site: https://vermont.force.com/events/s/selfregistration. If you are unfamiliar with the Internet, ask a younger family member or person to help you over the phone. 

If you do not have access to the Internet, a telephone number will also be provided on January 25. Listen to or watch the news to get the number you should call. Also, the call center number will be published on svhealthcare.org

Yes, if you are 70 or older.  

855-722-7878. DO NOT call or e-mail the Health Department, your primary care provider, local hospital or others. They will not be able to make an appointment for you.

Unfortunately, no. Making exceptions confuses the system. Any show of rule bending will inspire everyone to ask if we can accommodate their special case. Apart from being inequitable, it will slow us down.

Around 4 weeks. The 65+ group is estimated to take another 3 to 4 weeks. 

If you are a part of an age band, call 855-722-7878. If you are a healthcare worker, call 802-440-8882. 

The number of people that can be vaccinated is limited by vaccine supply. If the vaccine supply increases, then the duration of vaccine period for each Age Band will decrease.

Once your age band has been called, you can register anytime. You do not go to the back of the line.

There will be an SVMC clinic in Bennington, and a Vermont Department of Health clinic in Manchester. Other clinics statewide were announced on January 25.

Feel free to schedule at a different Vermont clinic. The benefit of a central schedule is that those who are able to travel could fill empty appointment slots at a nearby clinic, which means we will all get vaccinated sooner. Vermont plans to have 54 vaccine sites in 39 towns throughout the state.  

The Vermont Department of Health is working with home health agencies and EMS to provide vaccinations to homebound residents and their caregivers.

Transportation is one of the biggest barriers to health access. Please see local resources here

After the 65-and-older group. Eighty percent of those with HRHCs are over the age of 65, so vaccinating the oldest people first takes care of two criteria in one. Those with HRHCs will most likely attest to it themselves. They will not likely need to have a health assessment or a provider prove their status. In the well-worn Vermont tradition, we’ll use the honor system.

Yes. Please plan to get vaccinated 75 days after the onset of your symptoms. Your own immunity will protect you throughout that time. The protection from the vaccine is expected to last far longer.  

There is no cost to the individual. The state and federal government have provided funds. Insurance companies will be billed. There is no out-of-pocket cost to patients. No one will be turned away.

After people 70 and older, the next age grouping will be 65 years and older, as vaccine supply allows. These phases will overlap. Based on what we know now about how much vaccine Vermont will get from the federal government, it will probably take until spring to finish these groups. This is an estimated plan and timeframe that could shift based on how much vaccine Vermont receives and how many people choose to get vaccinated when they are eligible.

Supply of the vaccine is limited, so the first 6 – 8 weeks of vaccinations will likely be slow. It may be so slow that there may not be doses available when your age band is called. As soon as we get the doses, you will get the doses.

If you know your way around the Internet, help your older relatives and friends register for their vaccines. Support those who are isolating or in quarantine by picking up groceries or waving from the front yard. Keep up preventive measures: masking, not socializing outside your household, and washing hands frequently. If you have medical experience and some free time, you can sign up to help with vaccine clinics by joining the Medical Reserve Corps at https://rms.vermont.gov.

Full clinics are the most efficient means of vaccinating large numbers. Once Vermont sees openings in the schedule, the state will open the next age band group.

Get a test and wait 14 days after your positive test or the end of symptoms, whichever is longer. Your second dose cannot be earlier than recommended, but it can be later. We recommend getting it as early as you can, only so that we will all be protected to the maximum extent sooner.

Due to supply, that is not possible. Our next best hope is to save lives. The oldest people are at greatest risk of exposure, serious illness, and death from COVID-19. That’s why the Vermont Department of Health chose to prioritize the oldest people first.

While it is not yet cleared for pregnant and nursing mothers, the vaccine is strongly recommended. Vaccines are historically very safe for pregnant and nursing mothers, and the risk of COVID-19 is much, much worse. See the complete answer by Kimberley Sampson, MD, of SVMC OB/GYN, here.  

The Pfizer vaccine is recommended for people age 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine is available for those 18 and older. Clinical trials of the Pfizer vaccine for children started in September, and those for the Moderna vaccine started in December. It is difficult to tell when these vaccines will be available for kids and may not be in time for the September 2021 school year.

No. Unless you would like to wait until all of the vaccines are widely available, it is not feasible for individuals at a clinic to know in advance which vaccine they will receive. All are tested, trusted, and provide the protection you need. We recommend getting vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity.

Eventually, yes. But we would prefer that everyone get their vaccine as soon as possible. Large clinics are the most efficient way to accomplish this. As more and more of the population is vaccinated, smaller clinics, like those at doctor’s offices and pharmacies, will be most efficient.

The Pfizer BioNTech COVID Vaccine includes mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3- phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose. See the complete fact sheet here.

The Moderna COVID Vaccine includes messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose. See the complete fact sheet here.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus. Instead, they use just a small piece of the virus, either a protein or genetic material, to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight it. The small piece of the virus used cannot multiply in the way necessary to make us sick.

Allergic reactions to the vaccine are very rare. If you have never had a reaction to another vaccine, you should not expect to have a reaction to this one. Complete information is available here.

In an emergency, like a pandemic, the FDA can issue an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to provide faster access to medicines and tests that may help. They can do this only during an emergency and only when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternatives. EUAs have been used to make COVID tests available to the public, and soon, we expect a few vaccines will be made available in this way. While less data is needed to get a EUA than FDA approval, it still takes tons of data. The benefit is that an EUA takes weeks, rather than months or years. EUAs are continuously evaluated and can be revoked if (a) the emergency ends, (b) the product is found to be unfit, or (c) the product is officially approved, cleared, or licensed by the FDA.

No. A small percentage of people who received the vaccine will get fatigue, soreness, inflammation, or headache. While these symptoms are similar to those experienced by those with COVID, they are a result of the vaccine teaching your body to respond to the virus, if it enters your body. These reactions have universally resolve in a short amount of time, usually less than one day.

It does take about 2 weeks for the vaccine to provide immunity. A person could encounter the virus and become infected just before or just after receiving the vaccine, before the protection takes effect, which could lead to someone thinking that the vaccine had made them ill.

The side effects from the first shot are comparable to those for the flu shot. A lot of people have some soreness at the injection site. Very few people (1 – 2%) get a headache or a fever that lasts a day or two. Recipients of the second dose experience side effects at a rate as high as 15%. This could mean having a headache, a fever, or muscle aches for 1 – 2 days. Over-the-counter pain reliever manages most of the side effects. Even the worst of the side effects is way better than getting COVID, which could kill you or someone you know.

There are still unknowns, like how long the protection will last and how often we will need to be revaccinated. We trust that science will answer those questions, once the data is available.

Yes. People who get the vaccine should continue taking steps to prevent COVID-19. This is because even if the vaccine protects you from illness, we still don’t have enough information on whether you could still transmit the virus to someone else. Even once we do learn this, there are a number of things we need to know before we can ease up on things like mask-wearing and physical distancing, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities. Together, the vaccine and those preventive actions are the best ways to keep from getting and spreading COVID-19.

We are not testing for B117, because testing for variants is laborious. But we are certain that the new strain has arrived in Vermont and likely even in our community. The news strain is more contagious, and we expect more hospitalizations, as a result. We expect that the current vaccines will work against the new strain, but some of the medication therapies may be less effective. This is a reason for continued mitigation, including masks and distancing, and to get vaccinated as soon as you can. A large percentage of people getting vaccinated will keep this strain and other mutations in check.

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