COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Vaccine Information

There are a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, and we know how important it is to have accurate COVID-19 vaccine information from trusted sources. See below for frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine based on information from Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please check back regularly to stay informed of the latest news and resources.

COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone 6 months & older that wants a vaccine. Vaccines are being given by Public Health, hospitals, health care providers, clinics, and pharmacies in the community. You can find more local vaccine providers and COVID-19 vaccine appointment information at TakeMyShot.NC.gov

Vaccines and boosters are available at the New Hanover County Pandemic Operations Center located at 1507 Greenfield Street in Wilmington, NC.


More Information:

Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized and recommended by the FDA and CDC for children 6 months to 17 years.  The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized and recommended by the FDA and CDC for those 12 and older.  In studies, these COVID-19 vaccines reduced the rate of COVID-19 infection and provided strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization.  Parents can learn more at NCDHHS.gov.  Parental consent is required for children ages 6 month -15 years old prior to receiving the vaccine

 

Pfizer:
6 months – 4 years:
approved as a 3 doses series 1/10th of the size of an adult dose.  Second dose is given 3 weeks after the first and the third dose is given 8 weeks after the second.  Clinical trials included 4500 children and side effects were minimal with some of the most common being pain at injection site, irritability, low fever, and fatigue. FDA Fact Sheet

Ages 5-11: a smaller 2 dose series for children ages 5-11 is given 3 weeks apart, and clinical trials with more than 3,000 children found the vaccines work and are safe. The side effects are similar to adults: a sore arm, headache, and being tired or achy for a day or two. FDA Fact Sheet

Ages 12 and older: The standard size Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is approved for anyone ages 12 and up, and has shown very high levels of effectiveness. FDA Fact Sheet

Moderna:
6 months to 5 years:  approved as a 2 dose series 1/4th the size of an adult dose.  Second dose is given 28 days after the first.  Clinical trail included 6300 children and side effects were minimal with some of the most common being pain at injection site, irritability, low fever, and fatigue. FDA Fact Sheet

Ages 6-11:  a smaller 2 dose series is approved for children 6-11 years of age given 28 days apart.  FDA Fact Sheet

Ages 12 and older:  the standard size Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is approve for anyone 12 and up.  FDA Fact Sheet

Novavax:
Ages 12 and older:  the standard size Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is approve for anyone 12 and up.  FDA Fact Sheet

More Information:

The vaccine will protect you from getting COVID-19, help prevent severe illness and the spread of the virus in our community, and save lives.

There is no way to know how your body will fight COVID-19 or the impact the illness could have if spread to members of your family, to friends, or other close contacts. The vaccine will help your body build protection from COVID-19, without having to experience the virus itself or risk spreading the illness to others.

We know that protective measures alone have not stopped the spread of COVID-19. When layered with these practiced protective measures, the vaccine will bolster effectiveness in preventing COVID-19 infections community-wide.


More Information:

While side effects can occur after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, just like with any other vaccine you receive, they are typically minor and short-lived. Adverse events from the vaccine are extremely rare, and some people experience no side effects at all.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists nine common side effects of the vaccine, including pain, redness and swelling at the injection site along with tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever and nausea.

After the second vaccine dose, side effects can sometimes be more intense than with the first, according to the CDC, but they are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus and should go away within a few days. While COVID-19 vaccines may cause side effects, they cannot and do not give you COVID-19.

The CDC encourages people to contact their doctor if side effects do not go away after a few days.

New Hanover County Public Health is offering free COVID-19 vaccines to the community, providing:

  • Pfizer (two-dose vaccine, authorized for anyone 5 & older; three-dose vaccine, approved for 6 month-4 years old)
    • Parental consent is required for children ages 6 month -15 years old prior to receiving the vaccine
    • You may also see the FDA-approved Pfizer vaccine now called Comirnaty
  • Moderna (two-dose vaccine, authorized for anyone 6 months & older)
    • Parental consent is required for children ages 6 month -15 years old prior to receiving the vaccine
    • You may also see the FDA-approved Moderna vaccine now called Spikevax
  • Johnson & Johnson (one-dose vaccine, authorized for anyone 18 & older)
  • Novavax (two-dose vaccine, authorized for anyone 12 & older)

More Information about the approved vaccines:

Yes. Our partners at Wave Transit are providing free next-day transportation to designated vaccination locations for community members with appointments.

Individuals with vaccine appointments can call Wave Transit at 910-202-2053 or email ptschedule@WaveTransit.com during the following times:

  • For next-day transportation requests, contact Wave Monday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • If requesting transportation for a Monday, contact Wave on Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Residents with Medicaid can also call New Hanover County Health and Human Services Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 910-798-3500 (option 7) to speak with a Medicaid Transportation Coordinator. A three-day notice is required to schedule in-county trips through Medicaid Transportation.

Every vaccine goes through extensive clinical trials and monitoring to identify effectiveness, potential side effects, or safety concerns before it is approved for public use, and the COVID-19 vaccine is no different.

The COVID-19 vaccine is designed like many other vaccines to teach your body to fight infection. Sometimes, this can cause a spike in fever or other symptoms that signal your body is building immunity. Some recipients have reported effects of the immune response the vaccine triggers, like soreness at the injection site or fatigue.

Any potential side effects are required by law to be reported by the drug manufacturer. So far, none of the approved vaccines have reported any significant safety concerns in their trials.

The CDC also has an app called “V-Safe” that allows users to report any side effects experienced after receiving the vaccine.

Monitoring of potential side effects will be on-going as the vaccine is distributed, with mandatory reporting of any adverse effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).


More Information:

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is your choice and will be available if you want one.

Without the vaccine, you risk exposure and potential severe illness from COVID-19 or unknowingly spreading COVID-19 to others, so protective measures like wearing a mask and maintaining distance from others will have to be followed in the long-term, while the vaccine is administered broadly.

Choosing to not get the COVID-19 vaccine may not have an immediate consequence, just like choosing to not get the flu shot doesn’t immediately result in you getting the flu. What it does mean, is that the only way your body will build defenses and protections from COVID-19 is through the virus itself.

There is no way to know how your body will fight COVID-19 or the impact the illness could have if spread to members of your family, to friends, or other close contacts. The vaccine will help your body build protection from COVID-19, without having to experience the virus itself or risk spreading the illness to others.


More Information:

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is designed like many other vaccines to teach your body to fight infection. Sometimes, this can cause a spike in fever or other symptoms that signal your body is building immunity. Some recipients have reported effects of the immune response the vaccine triggers, like soreness at the injection site or fatigue. Any side effects from the vaccine will be reported, as required by law.

The vaccine will not give you COVID-19, but may take some time to build protection, so it’s important to keep up with the 3 Ws consistently. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands well & often, and keep up with cleaning and sanitation measures.


More Information:

Not quite.  Getting your vaccine will build your immunity, which can lower your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19.  Your vaccine will also greatly reduce your risk of developing serious illness or death related to COVID-19.

Your greatest level of immunity will be once you are considered fully vaccinated, which is 14 days after receiving your second dose of either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, or 14 days after receiving the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

To keep your immunity level high, you are eligible for a booster shot 5 months after receiving your second Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine or two months after your dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.


More Information:

The COVID-19 vaccine and booster is free and accessible to everyone. Health insurance is not required.

Yes, and you should. Even if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, there is no current understanding of how long natural immunity, gained from exposure to the virus, will last from person to person. Re-infection is still possible, so everyone is encouraged to get the vaccine and booster to protect themselves from severe illness.


More Information:

Yes. The CDC has advised that you can receive your COVID-19 vaccine even if you have received another vaccine recently.  You can even receive other necessary vaccines on the same day you receive your COVID-19 vaccine, like for the flu or other diseases.

People who are actively sick with COVID-19 should wait until they have recovered and can no longer spread the virus before getting their vaccine. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 between their first and second dose of a two-dose vaccine. For two-dose vaccines, the second dose can be given up to 6 weeks after the first dose and still be very effective, so do not worry if you have to reschedule your appointment for a later date. Once you have recovered, it is safe to get vaccinated with any COVID-19 vaccine if you have been infected in the past.

If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have authorized and recommended updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine shots for everyone 12 and older to provide continued protection to individuals who have been fully vaccinated.  These booster shots are available to anyone that has finished their initial vaccine series and have or have not received any number of previous COVID-19 boosters.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. See below for a COVID-19 booster eligibility guide.

You are eligible for a Pfizer booster if you are:

  • 12 years or older and it has been at least two months since your last COVID-19 shot, either the last dose in your initial series or any previous booster shot

You are eligible for a Moderna booster if you are:

  • 18 years or older and it has been at least two months since your last COVID-19 shot, either the last dose in your initial series or any previous booster shot.              

How to schedule:

Booster shots are currently being offered by appointment, which can be made at TakeMyShot.NC.gov (the website is available in English and Spanish).

*The previous COVID-19 boosters are still available for the following eligibility*

You are eligible for the previous monovalent Pfizer booster if you are:

5 to 11 years old and fully vaccinated with Pfizer for at least five months

You are eligible for a Johnson & Johnson booster if you are:

  • 18 years or older and fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna for at least five months, or with Johnson & Johnson for at least two months

Appointments for vaccines or boosters are not required but can be made at takemyshot.nc.gov.

Vaccines and boosters are available at the following times at the Pandemic Operations Center:

  • Monday – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Tuesday – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday – 9 am to 6 pm
  • Friday – 1 pm to 5 pm
Health: 1650 Greenfield Street • Wilmington, NC 28401 • Phone 910-798-3500 • Fax 910-798-7834 • Human Services Fax 910-798-7824
Environmental Health: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 140 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-6667 • Fax 910-798-7815
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