This page answers common questions you may have about the COVID-19 vaccines. We understand that there is uncertainty around new vaccines and want to offer as much reassurance and information as possible.
We are now offering Covid-19 vaccines to anyone age 6 months and up, by appointment. You do not have to be a current NHS patient to get a vaccine. Vaccine appointments are available at all 4 clinic locations at varying times, call 612-588-9411 to schedule an appointment!
NHS offers first shots, second shots, and booster shots, in addition to 2 types of Covid-19 vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer). Please tell us which vaccine you want at the time of scheduling.
If you believe you are eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccine, please call the clinic (612-588-9411) and ask to speak to a nurse to discuss Covid-19 booster options.
When will the vaccine be available for NHS patients?
All three vaccines are available now at NHS. We are now offering Covid-19 vaccines to anyone age 6 months and up. You do not have to already be an NHS patient to get a vaccine. To make a vaccine appointment, call 612-588-9411 and press 3 right away. We offer vaccines at our Sheridan, Central, Fremont, and North Metro clinic locations. We also offer vaccines on a walk-in basis. Times and locations are listed at the top of this page.
What can I expect when I get the vaccine?
You will get the vaccine during an appointment at one of our clinics. The vaccine will be given by a nurse or medical assistant. You will be asked a set of questions before getting the vaccine to make sure you do not have any conditions that prevent you from getting the vaccine. You should not come in for your vaccine if you are feeling sick or have a fever on the day of your scheduled appointment. If you have any questions or concerns, please make an appointment to discuss the vaccine with a healthcare professional before your vaccine appointment. Once you receive your vaccine you will be required to wait 15 minutes to be sure you do not have any allergic reactions to the vaccine. You will be given a card with your vaccine information and an appointment date for your second vaccine.
Why do I need 2 doses of the vaccine?
Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses, several weeks apart. The first dose introduces the vaccine to your immune system so your body can start to build some immunity (protection) to COVID 19. The second dose builds on the first to increase protection against COVID-19. After the first dose you will have 50% protection; after the second dose you will have 95% protection. You will have 100% protection against severe effects of COVID-19, although there is still a small possibility you can become infected after being vaccinated. Only one dose is needed of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Will I have any side effects?
Side effects are always possible, meaning not everyone gets them but some people do. The most common side effect of the vaccine is soreness of the arm or at the injection site. This soreness may not start until later in the day or the next day. Other side effects you may experience are headache, low-grade fever, body aches, and chills. This is normal, and means the vaccine is working! Your body is creating the immune response necessary to fight COVID-19. Vaccines are safe and effective, and severe side effects are extremely rare.
What are common side effects of the vaccine?
As with most vaccines, some patients may experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Common side effects include headache, soreness at the injection site, and possibly fever. These side effects are normal and indicate the body is mounting the immune response necessary to protect against COVID-19. If you have ever experienced a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, or know/suspect you are allergic to the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine, consult your provider.
Will I be able to go out in public without a mask after I get my vaccine?
Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice social distancing after vaccination. To keep others safe, COVID-19 safety precautions are still necessary after vaccination since there is a slim chance you may still contract the virus and spread it to other people around you who may not have been vaccinated yet. This is called “asymptomatic spread” of COVID.
Which vaccines will be given at NHS clinics?
NHS has all three types of vaccine available. You will be asked which vaccine you want at the time you schedule your vaccination appointment. For patients age 5-17, only the Pfizer vaccine is available. The vaccines have shown similar side effects. They work in the same way to create immunity (protection) against COVID-19. You will be asked which vaccine you prefer when you call to schedule your vaccine appointment.
Why should I be vaccinated?
Vaccination protects you from getting seriously ill from COVID-19. In the event that you are vaccinated and still contract the disease, the vaccine will help keep you from getting seriously ill. The majority of a population needs to be immunized against a disease in order to reach the point at which spread of the disease becomes unlikely. Getting vaccinated helps in the effort to fight the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19.
Is the vaccine safe?
The COVID-19 vaccines have undergone rigorous trials to ensure their safety and efficacy. Some people are concerned about the speed with which the vaccine was developed. The COVID-19 vaccine was developed quickly for several reasons including access to more funding than vaccines usually get due to the urgent nature of the pandemic. For more information on the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s page on vaccine safety.
There is some concern around the idea that the vaccine changes your DNA. This is not true
. The COVID-19 vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines (also called mRNA vaccines). Messenger RNA gives our cells instructions for how to create a piece of so-called spike protein, a protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. This helps your body develop the ability to recognize and protect against the coronavirus and prevent you from developing COVID-19. The technology behind mRNA vaccines was already being developed before COVID-19 emerged; this also contributed to the speed of COVID-19 vaccine development. For more information on how mRNA vaccines work, visit the CDC’s page on mRNA vaccines.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant people/nursing parents?
There is currently no evidence that suggests the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding people. Please consult your provider for more information about whether or not being vaccinated for COVID-19 is the right choice for you.
Is the vaccine safe for children?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for children age 6 months and up; the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved for people age 18 and up. Please consult your provider to determine which members of your family should be vaccinated.
Should I get the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes. While data is limited on this matter, it may be possible to contract COVID-19 again if you have already had it. To avoid becoming sick again and spreading the disease to others, vaccination is the best choice.
If I get vaccinated, can I still get COVID-19?
No vaccine is 100% effective. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94% effective. That means there is still a slim possibility (5% and 6% respectively) that you could contract COVID-19 after being vaccinated. Furthermore, the vaccines require two doses, several weeks apart. If exposed, you could possibly become infected in the time between the two doses. This is why even if you are vaccinated, it is important to continue social distancing, hand hygiene, and masking in public or when gathering with others.
Do I need to continue wearing a mask at NHS clinics after I’ve been vaccinated?
Yes. Regardless of changes in mask policy at the state and local level, NHS is still requiring masks for everyone in our clinics for the safety of patients, staff, and providers.