COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs


  • If you are 12-17 years old and have an appointment, you must have your parent or legal guardian with you.
  • Don’t forget to eat and drink prior to your vaccine. There’s no need to fast.
  • We send email confirmations when appointments are made.
  • Second doses are scheduled at the time of your first visit. Remember to bring your vaccine card so we can update it.
  • You don’t need to arrive early. Just arrive a few minutes early.
  • You must wear a mask and observe social distancing guidelines.
  • You will be registered, then receive your vaccine and then observed for 15 minutes for any side effects.
  • People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

  • Identification like a driver’s license, passport, student ID or state ID or utility bill or lease agreement to demonstrate you live, work or study in New Jersey.
  • If you are receiving a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna, please bring your vaccination card.
  • If you have insurance, bring your insurance card. You will not be charged for the vaccine. It is free. Your insurance may be billed to defray the costs of paying staff to administer the vaccine, but you will not have an out-of-pocket expense.
  • For those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan, please bring your Medicare Coverage ID Card since COVID -19 vaccines are covered by traditional Medicare. If you do not have a traditional Medicare Card, please be able to provide your Social Security Number when you come in for your vaccine.

With billions of doses administered across the globe, there is a growing body of real-world evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines are both safe and effective. Importantly, they are very effective against preventing someone from getting seriously ill, requiring hospitalization or dying from COVID-19. Studies completed to date include:

 

  • mRNA vaccines are 94% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 among health care personnel - Learn more
  • Vaccination reduced the risk for COVID-19 hospitalization among adults 65+ by 94% - Learn more
  • mRNA vaccines are highly effective in real-world conditions; those fully vaccinated 90% less likely to get infected - Learn more
  • There are no increased risks of severe side effects or adverse pregnancy outcomes from the mrRNA vaccines - Learn more
  • Among those fully vaccinated in New Jersey, COVID-19 vaccines are 99.92% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, 99.998% effective against hospitalization and 99.9993% effective against COVID-19 related deaths - Learn more
  • A study by HMH CDI found just 138 COVID-19 positive cases among 26,000 vaccinated health care workers. None became seriously ill - Learn more
  • Nationally, mRNA vaccines reduce the risk of COVID infection by 91% for the fully vaccinated - Learn more

 

 

2 Ways To Request a Copy of Your Lost Vaccination Card
You can request that the state of New Jersey send you a copy by completing this form.
or
You can log in to your MyChart account and print a copy of the card from there. (See the screenshot).

Patients will not be charged for this vaccine. If you have insurance, we may bill your insurance company to cover the cost of administering. However, there are no out-of-pocket costs.

 

Pfizer-BioNTechModerna J&J Janssen
Age group12 years and older18 years and older18 years and older
Number of required shots221
Time interval between the first and second shot19-22 days26-30 daysSecond shot not needed
Effectiveness in U.S. clinical trials95%94.1%72%
Common side effectsinjection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, and

joint pain.

injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain,

and joint pain.

injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea and fever.
Underlying medical conditionsmRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditionsmRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditionsviral vector COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions

Delay in completing the vaccine series means that you will likely remain vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. You will not get the boost in immunity until you receive the second shot. However, you should reschedule your second dose at the earliest opportunity (but no doses need to be repeated).

Hackensack Meridian Health administers all three vaccine types (Pfizer, Moderna and J&J Janssen) depending on availability of supply. All three vaccines are very effective against preventing symptomatic or severe COVID infections.

Yes. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change those recommendations.

If you are not feeling well, it is recommended that you wait until you are feeling better to get the vaccine. If you have scheduled an appointment to receive the vaccine and are not feeling well on the day of vaccination, it is best to reschedule the vaccine.

In alignment with the CDC’s recommendations, COVID-19 vaccines may be administered simultaneously with other vaccines, including within 14 days of receipt of another vaccine (i.e. influenza or Tdap).

There is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. These are common reactions seen with other vaccines. There may be other reactions that are not currently known. If you experience common side effects from the vaccine it is still necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective.

We are happy to report that with more than 25,000 people vaccinated as of Jan. 15, there has been no reports of serious side effects.

If you experience symptoms where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area.
  • Use or exercise your arm.

You may also experience other common symptoms related to the vaccine. This includes:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Chills

If you have only these symptoms and NO FEVER, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a non- steroidal (like ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil). Your symptoms will typically improve in 24-48 hours. If they do not improve or you have any questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.

The CDC and FDA have a robust safety monitoring system in place as public vaccination begins. Through v-safe, use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID- 19 vaccine. You will also get reminders for your second dose. Learn more here: www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

You are also encouraged to report possible side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

If you experience common side effects from the vaccine, it still is necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective.

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two shots in the vaccine series. The second shot –is given 19-22 days - after the first one. 

 

Moderna’s vaccine also requires two shots in the vaccine series. The second shot is given – 26-30 days – after the first one. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you will be asked to schedule your appointment for your second shot at your first appointment. 

 

J&J Janssen’s vaccine only requires one dose.

 

In addition, based on recommendations from the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health:

 

  • People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) after the initial 2 doses. The CDC recommends the additional dose be administered at least 28 days after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. 

 

  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine boosters are now available for the following groups, at least six months after completion of the primary series: 
    • people 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings;  
    • people age 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions;
    • people age 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on their individual benefits and risks; and,
    • people aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings, including health care workers, based on their individual benefits and risks.

 

If you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past, or if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until after your illness has resolved and after you meet criteria to discontinue isolation. There is no need to wait 90 days. Vaccination will be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. Data from clinical trials suggest vaccination is safe and likely effective in those with a history of COVID-19 infection.

If you have had a COVID-19 infection in the past, or if you are currently infected with COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until after your illness has resolved and after you meet criteria to discontinue isolation. There is no need to wait 90 days. Vaccination will be offered regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. Data from clinical trials suggest vaccination is safe and likely effective in those with a history of COVID-19 infection.

There is currently no data on safety or efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in those who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.

Vaccination should be deferred until the quarantine period has ended to avoid exposing health care personnel or others during the vaccination visit.

 

Vaccines may be administered to those with underlying medical conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination. Clinical trials demonstrate similar safety and efficacy profiles in those with underlying medical conditions, including those that place them at increased risk for severe COVID-19, compared to those without comorbidities.

At the end of July, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) - the two leading organizations representing specialists in obstetric care - announced in a statement they strongly recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19 based on evidence demonstrating the safe use of the COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from tens of thousands of reporting individuals over the last several months, as well as the current low vaccination rates and concerning increase in severe cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) subsequently released new data last week on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines throughout pregnancy, strengthening its recommendation of vaccination for all people who are pregnant, as well as those breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or who might become pregnant in the future. 

 

To learn more, check out these resources from leading experts in obstetric care:

No. Claims linking COVID-19 vaccines to infertility are unfounded and there is no evidence that any vaccines impact menstrual cycles or future fertility in women or men. In alignment with leading specialists, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, vaccination is recommended for all eligible people who may be considering future pregnancy - as well as women actively trying to conceive or undergoing fertility treatment. 

You should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, Moderna or J&J Janssen vaccine if you:

  • had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine;
  • had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient of the vaccine

• mRNA: Many vaccines work by putting inactivated or weakened germs into our bodies that trigger an immune response and build natural antibodies against the virus. mRNA vaccines are different. mRNA technology teaches our cells how to make a protein that prevents infection.
• Viral vector: Viral vector vaccines use inactivated or weakened virus to trigger an immune response and build natural antibodies against the virus. Note: The J&J vaccine does not contain any live COVID virus.

No. The available vaccines do not contain live COVID virus.

Yes. All HMH facilities administering the vaccine have the three approved COVID-19 vaccines. Please remember the most important step is to get vaccinated with any of the three available vaccines, which are all safe and effective.

  • Don't forget to eat and drink prior to your vaccine. There's no need to fast.

  • Per the CDC, it is not recommended you take over-the-counter medicine – such as ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen – before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent vaccine-related side effects.

  • Per the CDC, it is also not recommended to take antihistamines before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to try to prevent allergic reactions.

  • If you have any questions about medications, please speak with your healthcare provider.

The CDC and FDA made the recommendation to resume use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine following a thorough review of available data that shows the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh the risk of the potential rare blood clotting disorder that led to the pause.

For two weeks after receiving the vaccine, you should be on the lookout for the following possible symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath,

  • Chest pain,

  • Leg swelling,

  • Persistent abdominal pain,

  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision,

  • Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

If you develop one or more of these symptoms after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine, seek

medical care immediately.

The Pfizer-BioNTech was approved for use in those 12 years and older; the Moderna and J&J Janssen vaccine was approved for use in those 18 years and older. These vaccines have not been authorized in younger age groups at this time.

At the end of September, Pfizer submitted data to the FDA related to its COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 11. Pfizer’s clinical trial included more than 2,000 children in this age group. A formal submission from Pfizer to request emergency use authorization is expected shortly. The FDA is currently reviewing the data Pfizer submitted. 

Moderna submitted data to the FDA to use its COVID vaccine in children 12-17 in June. J&J is currently conducting clinical trials of its vaccine in children.

Early clinical trials largely focused on adult participants. Now, researchers are studying the vaccine in younger children. Pfizer-BioNTech recently completed a vaccination trial on patients aged 12-15 and found the younger group’s immune response was “as good as” the immune response of older participants. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently studying the vaccine in children as young as six months old.

Parents should be vaccinated against COVID-19, both to protect themselves and their children. Everyone should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing and handwashing to model best behavior for their children that are too young to get the currently available vaccines.

Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), HMH has resumed administration of the one-shot J&J vaccine at all vaccination locations.  We concur with federal and state authorities and do not recommend one vaccine over another.  All authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and reduce the risk of severe illness.

HMH continues to proudly offer all three of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to our patients and members of the community.  Schedule your vaccine appointment today!