COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Vaccine Information

There are a lot of questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in our community, 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, the vaccination plan in New Hanover County, and more based on information from NHC Public Health, North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services (NCDHHS), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

We will continue to update this information as more details become available and as we progress through the vaccination rollout, so please check back regularly to stay informed of the latest news and resources.

How and when you receive the vaccine will depend on which vaccination group of the rollout applies to you. The first groups are focused on the people most vulnerable and at highest risk of exposure and severe illness, and are subject to change based on the state’s and CDC’s guidance.

View the current vaccination group in New Hanover County here, and an outline of the state’s current group outline here and below:

Group 1: Health care workers fighting COVID-19 & Long-Term Care staff and residents

  • Health care workers with in-person patient contact
  • Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and continuing care retirement communities

Group 2: Older adults

  • Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation

Group 3: Frontline essential workers

  • The CDC defines frontline essential workers as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to COVID-19

Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness

  • Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
  • Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function
  • Essential workers not yet vaccinated. The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety (e.g., engineers) and public health workers

Group 5: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination

We expect this vaccination event to take several months, so it is important to be patient and to continue the protective measures already in place throughout this process, regardless of vaccination status.


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:

New Hanover County Public Health is equipped and able to store and administer both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which are the two vaccines approved at this time. Both vaccines will be utilized and administered to populations throughout the four-phase vaccination plan.


More Information about the approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines:

Vaccines will be given by Public Health, health care providers, hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in the community, but how you will receive the vaccine will depend on which phase of the rollout applies to you.

For prioritized populations in Groups 1-2, vaccines will likely be distributed by the hospital to its staff first and through pharmacy programs to long term care facilities. Then New Hanover County Public Health will help administer it to any long term care facilities that have not received it, as well as other designated locations around the county.

Groups 3-5 may be distributed within pharmacies, physician’s offices, clinics, and other community-based sites with support from Public Health.


More Information:

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.

Eventually, yes, and it will be free for everyone. The initial supply of vaccine will roll out to high risk populations and frontline healthcare and emergency workers, so supplies will be limited at first. But supply will be built to ensure that at each phase of rollout that there is sufficient supply for those individuals.

We do expect this vaccination event to take several months, so it is important to be patient and to continue the protective measures already in place throughout this process, regardless of vaccination status.


 

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 will also be launching an app called “V-Safe” that will allow 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:

In the early stages of the vaccine distribution, it may not be recommended for children until further results can be obtained. This does not mean is it not safe, it just means that there is not yet enough data to make the call in either scenario.

In current planning, school-aged children are a part of Group 5 in the vaccine rollout, at which time more will be known.


 

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is your choice and will be available in the appropriate phase 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. Like any vaccine, it takes time for your body to build immunity, and that time varies from person to person. You are still susceptible to infection for the window of time after your vaccination, which is why it’s important to continue the protective measures and the 3 Ws consistently in the months following to prevent severe illness.


More Information:

 

Yes. Vaccines are one way to prevent serious illness from spreading, but it’s important to remember that it is not a cure or the end of COVID-19.

To keep everyone safe, we must use every tool in our toolkit – continuing to wear a mask, practice social distancing, washing our hands, staying home if sick, and other daily protective measures.


More Information:

The COVID-19 vaccine will be free and accessible to everyone. Health insurance will not be required to receive the vaccine.

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 to protect themselves from severe illness.


More Information:

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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