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, so please check back regularly to stay informed of the latest news and resources.

COVID-19 vaccines are now available to anyone 12 & older that wants a vaccine. On April 7, the state’s vaccination plan expanded eligibility to all vaccination groups outlined here.

You can sign up for COVID-19 updates here and will receive an email or text alert when new appointments or walk-up clinics are available through NHC Public Health.

You can find more local vaccine providers and COVID-19 vaccine appointment information at MySpot.NC.gov

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, approved for anyone 12 & older)
  • Johnson & Johnson (one-dose vaccine, approved for anyone 18 & older)

More Information about the approved vaccines:

Vaccines are being given by Public Health, hospitals, health care providers, clinics, and pharmacies in the community.

Below are the several entities currently offering appointments or walk-up clinics for the vaccine:

  • NHC Public Health: Vaccinations can be scheduled through an online scheduling system and by calling 910-798-6800 when appointments are available.
  • NHRMC: Vaccinations can be scheduled at nhrmc.org/coronavirus or by calling (910) 662-2020 when appointments are available.
  • Wilmington Health: Vaccinations can be scheduled at WilmingtonHealth.com/COVIDvaccine or by calling (910) 407-5115 when appointments are available.
  • MedNorth: Vaccinations can be scheduled at MedNorth.org or by calling 910-343-0270 when appointments are available.
  • Cape Fear Clinic: Vaccinations can be scheduled at CapeFearClinic.org when appointments are available.
  • Walgreens: Vaccinations can be scheduled online here for participating local Walgreen locations when appointments are available.
  • Harris Teeter: Vaccinations can be scheduled online here for participating Harris Teeter locations when appointments are available.

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.

Yes, and it will be free for everyone. Vaccine supply continues to increase and is more readily available now than in the previous months.

It is important to continue the protective measures, like the 3 Ws, 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 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:

Children below the age of 12 are not yet eligible to receive the vaccines as the FDA has not authorized their use in that age group. 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.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the FDA for use in ages 12 and up and has shown very high levels of effectiveness. You can read more about Pfizer’s recent FDA approval here.

Clinical trials are underway to ensure the vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness in young children. Updates on each of those clinical trials are below:

  • After receiving approval for emergency use in ages 12 and up, Pfizer is now conducting a clinical trial in children ages 5-11.
  • Moderna, whose vaccine is currently only approved for people 18 and older, started conducting clinical trials in adolescents ages 12-17 in December 2020. On March 17th, 2021 they began clinical trials in children from 6 months to 11 years old.
  • Johnson & Johnson, whose vaccine is also only approved for people 18 and older, is currently conducting a clinical trial in adolescents ages 12-17.

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. 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:

 

The COVID-19 vaccine will be free and accessible to everyone. Health insurance is not 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:

The COVID-19 vaccine is not recommended for anyone who has had another vaccine within the previous 14 days. In addition, individuals who have an active COVID-19 infection (and are still under isolation) or recent exposure to an individual with COVID-19 should defer receiving the vaccination until recovered or removed from quarantine.

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.

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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