COVID-19 Updates | COVID-19 Vaccine Info | Your COVID-19 Vaccine | Virtual Visits | Visitation Restrictions | Closures
No visitors allowed, with few exceptions. All patients and permitted visitors are required to wear a Munson Healthcare-issued mask.

COVID-19 Vaccine is Widely Available

1. Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID-19?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal of each vaccine is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. The CDC’s website includes information on how COVID-19 vaccines work.

2. Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to test positive on a COVID-19 viral test?

No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials or under emergency use authorization in the United States will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

3. Should I get vaccinated if I have already had COVID-19?

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the possibility of re-infection, you may receive a COVID-19 vaccine at any time as long as you are not acutely ill.

The immunity gained from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.

Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are studying.

If you have received COVID-19 convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibody treatment, please wait 90 days before requesting a COVID-19 vaccine.

4. What if I was exposed to a COVID-19-postitive individual but never tested for COVID-19. Should I receive a vaccination?

Yes. Please complete a 14-day quarantine before you elect to receive the vaccine.

5. Will a vaccination prevent me from getting sick with COVID-19?

COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without having to experience sickness. 

It usually takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible to be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection. This is why it’s critically important to continue wearing a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least six feet away from others in public.

Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

6. Will the COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

No. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of a cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. 

mRNA stands for “messenger ribonucleic acid” and can be described as instructions for how cells make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. 

Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

7. Will I need to pay to receive a COVID-19 vaccine? What will it cost?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given at no cost. COVID-19 providers agree to administer vaccines regardless of your ability to pay and regardless of insurance coverage status. However, vaccine providers will be able to charge administration fees for giving or administering the shot. 

8.  Will more than one dose of COVID-19 vaccine be required?

All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States need two shots to be effective. It is very important that you get both doses within the required time frame to ensure the best protection from COVID-19.

9. What is Emergency Use Authorization (EAU)?

In certain types of emergencies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can issue an emergency use authorization, or EUA, to provide more timely access to critical medical products (including medicines and tests) that may help during the emergency when there are no adequate, approved, and available alternative options.

The EUA process is different than FDA approval, clearance, or licensing because the EUA standard may permit authorization based on significantly less data than would be required for approval, clearance, or licensing by the FDA. This enables the FDA to authorize the emergency use of medical products that meet the criteria within weeks rather than months to years. 

EUAs are in effect until the emergency declaration ends but can be revised or revoked as we evaluate the needs during the emergency and new data on the product’s safety and effectiveness, or as products meet the criteria to become approved, cleared, or licensed by the FDA.

10. Do we have to wait for one group to be vaccinated before the next group can receive the vaccine? How long will it take to move between phases?

Group vaccinations in one phase will likely not be complete before vaccination in another phase begins. Vaccination in these phases will likely overlap. The timing of the start of vaccination in a phase is dependent on:

  • Guidance from CDC or ACIP
  • Supply of vaccine from the manufacturer
  • How the vaccine is allocated from the federal level to Michigan
  • The capacity to administer the vaccine

Stay updated on when and how the COVID-19 vaccination will be available to you. 

11. I’m immunocompromised or have comorbidities. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals who are immunocompromised or have comorbidities are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

12. Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women or mothers who are breastfeeding?

Current guidance is that pregnant and breastfeeding women should judge the risks and benefits of the vaccine before determining whether they should receive the vaccine. It may be helpful to talk to your healthcare provider as you make this decision.

13. Will tribal populations receive the vaccine?

Yes. The vaccine will be administered to tribal members through their tribal health clinics.

14. Will migrant workers receive the vaccine?

Yes. Local health departments will coordinate with Federally Qualified Health Centers and other providers to administer the vaccine.

15. I recently received a vaccine unrelated to COVID-19. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals who have received a vaccination should wait 14 days until electing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

16. Will the flu vaccine prevent me from getting COVID-19?

No, but it can prevent you from getting the flu at the same time as COVID-19. Preventing both illnesses at once by getting your flu shot could prevent severe symptoms. The CDC anticipates the likelihood of both the flu and COVID-19 viruses spreading at the same time this winter. 

17. What can I do to protect myself and loved ones from getting COVID-19 while I wait for the vaccine to become more generally available?

Avoid COVID-19 Today (ACT) by taking these science-backed precautions: 

  • Wear a mask around others outside your immediate household. 
  • Avoid crowds and gatherings.
  • Maintain a 6-foot-plus distance between yourself and others you do not live with.
  • Continue to practice frequent handwashing. 

18. Should I get the vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?

According to the MDHHS, Most people who have food or environmental allergies can still get the vaccine. Contact your primary care provider if have had any severe reactions to medicines or vaccines in the past.

19. After I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, am I contagious?

No, the vaccine itself will not cause you to be contagious. However, you should still take ACTion to protect others even after you’ve received a first or second dose. Please make sure to continue wearing a mask, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings when outside your household to limit asymptomatic spread.

This is especially important in the rare chance an individual has been infected with COVID-19 just prior or just after receiving a vaccine. 

20. Are current COVID-19 vaccines effective against different strains? 

COVID-19 virus mutations are expected. Scientists will continue monitoring variants of the virus and will assess their resistance to current vaccines. It is likely vaccine manufacturers will modify future vaccines to provide immunity to more than one strain. Currently there is no evidence that vaccines are less effective against different strains of the virus. 

21. How long will my immunity last after I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

After receiving a full recommended dose of COVID-19 vaccine, antibodies will develop in your immune system. This process usually takes about three weeks. Current evidence shows antibody levels will decrease after several months. However, this still provides a level of infection prevention and will contribute significantly to herd immunity throughout our community. 

22. If I had a reaction to the first dose, should I still receive the second dose?

Unless you had an immediate allergic reaction within four hours of receiving the first dose (hives, trouble breathing, tongue/lip swelling, anaphylaxis), you should receive the second dose with an observation period of 30 minutes afterward. Vasovagal reactions (dizziness, fainting, low blood pressure) or expected post-vaccination side effects are not contraindications to receiving the second vaccine dose. You can also talk with your healthcare provider about allergy testing before receiving the second dose.  

 

23. I saw in the media that you may only need one dose of an mRNA vaccine instead of two?

The media is currently reporting a consideration that giving one dose may allow us to distribute more vaccine across the country. This is not supported by the CDC, and the FDA Emergency Use Authorization currently states two doses should be given separated by 21 days (Pfizer) or 28 (Moderna) days. We will follow this recommendation until further guidance is made available.

 

Resources

Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department

District Health Department #10

Grand Traverse County Health Department

Health Department of Northwest Michigan

Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS)

Moderna

Pfizer