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COVID-19 Vaccine Information: Distribution and Answers to Other Common Questions

Receiving the Vaccine

How does the vaccine work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines consist of genetic material called mRNA encased in tiny particles that transport it into our cells. From there, it stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. These vaccines do not have any impact on our genes. The vaccine material breaks down in the body shortly after it is taken into our cells. The Janssen vaccine is carried into the cells by an inactive adenovirus (which is a common virus).

Learn more about the differences between the vaccines

Once fully vaccinated, how quickly would a person test positive for antibodies?

Within two weeks. Because the vaccine is very effective, antibody testing after receiving the vaccine is not recommended.

What if I am sick with COVID-19 or another acute respiratory illness?

You should wait until you are completely better and then get your vaccine.

If I've already had COVID, do I need the vaccine?

Yes, you should still get vaccinated as the antibodies to COVID-19 that your body made during your infection will last only a few months, and then you are at risk for a repeated infection.

How soon can I get a COVID-19 vaccine after a COVID-19 infection?

Following a COVID-19 infection, you should wait to get a COVID-19 vaccination or booster until you no longer have symptoms and you have completed, at minimum, a 10-day isolation period.


You should wait longer than 10 days if you have any of the following conditions:


  1. You were severely ill from COVID-19 (i.e., required hospitalization, intensive care, or ventilation support), in which case you should wait until you no longer have symptoms of COVID-19 and have completed at least a 20-day isolation period;
  2. You are severely immunocompromised, in which case you should wait until you no longer have symptoms of COVID-19 and have completed at least a 20-day isolation period;
  3. You received monoclonal antibody therapy for COVID-19, in which case you should wait until you no longer have symptoms of COVID-19 and at least 90 days have passed since you received monoclonal antibody therapy.

How to calculate your isolation period if you had/have COVID-19-related symptoms:

Consider Day 0 as your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.


How to calculate your isolation period if you do not have COVID-19-related symptoms:

Consider Day 0 as the day of your positive COVID-19 test. Day 1 is the first full day after your positive test. If you develop symptoms after testing positive, your 10-day isolation period must start over with Day 0 as your first day of symptoms and Day 1 as the first full day after your symptoms developed.


These recommendations apply regardless of whether you are receiving part of your initial COVID-19 vaccine dose series or a booster dose.

Are you immune to COVID-19 after recovering from It?

The extent to which antibodies that develop in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection are protective is still under study. If these antibodies are protective, it's not known what antibody levels are needed to protect against reinfection. Therefore, even those who previously had COVID-19 can and should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  

Vaccine Distribution

What is the immunization schedule for the vaccine?

  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose series with a booster dose available. Those 6 months to 5-years-old will need three doses.
  • The Moderna vaccine is a two-dose series with a booster dose available for those 6 months and older.
  • The Janssen vaccine is a single dose and a booster is also available for adults.
  • Re-starting the vaccine series is NOT recommended at this time if there is a delay in administering the second dose of either vaccine type.

 

Primary series vaccine manufacturer

Age group

Number of doses in primary series

Number of booster doses

Interval between primary doses

Interval between primary series and booster dose

Pfizer-BioNTech 6 months – 4 years 3 N/A 3-8 weeks between 1 & 2
at least 8 weeks between 2 & 3
N/A
Pfizer-BioNTech 5–11 years 2 1** 3 weeks N/A
Pfizer-BioNTech 12–64 years 2 1** 8 weeks* ≥5 months
Pfizer-BioNTech >65 years 2 1** 3 weeks* ≥5 months
Moderna 6 months – 5 years 2 N/A 4-8 weeks N/A
Moderna 18–64 years 2 1** 8 weeks* ≥5 months
Moderna >65 years 2 1** 4 weeks* ≥5 months
Janssen 18–64 years 1 1** N/A ≥2 months

 

*A shorter interval (3 weeks for Pfizer-BioNTech; 4 weeks for Moderna) between the first and second dose remains the recommended interval for: people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised; adults ages 65 years and older; and others who need early protection due to increased concern about community transmission or risk of severe disease.


**Those 50 and older and those with certain immunocompromising conditions can receive a second booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines four months after their initial booster dose.

Do I need a third dose?

Right now a third dose is recommended for certain individuals who are immunocompromised. That includes those who have received treatment for cancer, CAR T-cell therapy or those with HIV. Learn more about these recommendations.

What if I am on quarantine when I am offered the vaccination?

To protect others, you must wait until after your quarantine period ends to get vaccinated.

Will I be able to choose the vaccine that I want?

When you get the vaccine you will know if you are getting a one dose or multi-dose vaccine, but not the specific manufacturer. The vaccines are equally effective in preventing COVID-19. 

We encourage you to take any one of the three vaccines now available, unless you have a medical contraindication (such as a severe allergy to the vaccine or to one of its ingredients). All three COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and being hospitalized. Most importantly, all have been shown to eliminate the risk of developing severe disease and death due to COVID-19.

How long should an individual wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving another vaccine?

COVID-19 and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 and other vaccines on the same day.

Appointment Information

Do I qualify for a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Learn more about third shots for immunocompromised individuals

Who is eligible for a booster?

Booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are approved for all adults. Those 5 and older can receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

 

Learn more about booster eligibility

What vaccine should kids get?

Kids 6 months and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Learn more about kids and the vaccine

Do I need a MyChart account?

You do not need a Yale New Haven Health MyChart account to get a vaccine. However, having a MyChart account will help you keep track of when you got vaccinated.

What should I know before my appointment?

View our frequently asked questions page to learn more about the vaccine.

What do I need to bring to my appointment?

Please bring a photo ID, mask, and your insurance card if available.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

Yes. Patients are allowed to bring one support person for their vaccine appointment if they need assistance. 

Will I receive confirmation of my appointment?

After you schedule your vaccine, you will receive a reminder to the email address you used to sign up/sign into MyChart to schedule your appointment. You can also find the confirmation by logging into MyChart and selecting “Visits” > “Appointments and Visits”.

How do I cancel/reschedule my appointment?

To cancel or reschedule appointments via your computer, log into MyChart, click “Visits”, and then "Appointments and Visits". Then, locate the appointment you would like to cancel or reschedule. If rescheduling, you will be prompted to select a new date and time and confirm.

View a video on how to reschedule or cancel your appointment on the MyChart website

To cancel or reschedule appointments via your MyChart mobile app, open the app and click "Appointments". Then, locate the appointment you would like to cancel or reschedule. If rescheduling, you will be prompted to select a new date and time and confirm.

View a video on how to reschedule or cancel your appointment in the MyChart mobile app

What do I do if I lose my vaccine card?

If you have a MyChart account with Yale New Haven Health, you can look up the date of your vaccination and the vaccine's manufacturer there. You can also access a unique and secure QR code for your vaccine card in MyChart. To access it, click the menu button and then the link called "COVID-19 (Vacc Status and Test Results)" under Health and Wellness.

You can also get a copy of your card from the Immunization Information System called CT WiZ at the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Learn more about CT WiZ.

Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

Are the vaccines safe?

These vaccines have been safely administered to millions of people. In clinical trials, there have been a very limited number of allergic or other severe adverse reactions with these vaccines.

Through a reporting system called VAERS, the CDC is actively tracking and investigating severe allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis) and other possible severe reactions to the vaccines. To date, these severe reactions have been very low as a percentage of total vaccinations given, and the CDC continues to all three vaccines as being safe and critical to combating this pandemic. Learn more about VAERS here.

Side effects such as fever, headaches, body aches, fatigue and nausea are common but typically last 1-2 days only. It is not possible to “catch COVID” from the vaccine.

As an added measure of safety, we ask individuals vaccinated at our clinics to stay on-site for observation for at least 15 minutes after getting the vaccine to make sure they can be treated promptly and correctly if they experience a sudden reaction. Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to any vaccine, injectable drug or food in the past is asked to stay for a 30 minute observation period.

Does the vaccine protect against new COVID-19 variants?

Based upon data, our scientific experts agree that the current vaccines will help protect against variants, so you should get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. There have actually been over 40 variants described to date and more will occur as time goes on. The most important thing we as a society can do to avoid the impact of new variants is to get vaccinated, and continue our efforts to use masks, wash our hands, avoid crowds and maintain social distancing. Our medical leaders will continue to review the scientific data, and we will also follow FDA, CDC and other public health guidance, and provide updates.

Can receiving the vaccine give someone COVID-19?

No. The vaccine does not contain live or dead versions of the virus, so it cannot transmit COVID-19 and does not alter human DNA.

How long does the vaccine protect people from COVID-19?

While the studies haven’t indicated how long protection will last, the FDA predicts it to be effective months or maybe even years. A third dose helps boost protection and is currently recommended for certain individuals who are immunocompromised. A booster dose is also available for adults.

Why should someone get the vaccine even though they are doing other things such as wearing a mask, washing their hands often and practicing social distancing?

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus and reduce or eliminate illness if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least six feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.

If I get vaccinated, can I stop wearing my mask in public?

Getting vaccinated is just one way to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask, social distancing and hand washing are other tools that we can use to help end this pandemic. In addition, masks should be worn around others for at least 10 days if you were exposed to COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated and have received your booster shot.

Once vaccinated, do I need to quarantine if i'm exposed to COVID-19?

If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, the CDC states you do not need to quarantine if you are fully vaccinated and received your booster shot. However, you should wear a mask for 10 days after you were exposed.

If you have ANY symptoms, you should immediately quarantine and get tested.

 

I got the vaccine, can I still spread COVID to others?

Yes. The vaccine is not 100% effective, so there is still a chance you can get COVID-19, and then spread it to others. That’s why it’s so important to continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing even after you have gotten both doses.

I have just tested positive for COVID even though I have completed my COVID-19 vaccination. What should I do?

COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough is defined as having a positive test for COVID-19 at least 14 days after completing both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or one dose of the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

We recommend that you contact your primary care provider to notify them of your positive COVID-19 test and the date of your last COVID-19 vaccination. Your primary care provider will then notify the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) about the possibility of vaccine breakthrough. This is part of a national effort directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to monitor COVID-19 infections among vaccinated people.

If it has been more than 14 days since you completed your vaccination, it is very unlikely that you will develop severe symptoms or require hospitalization due to COVID-19. However, you should still monitor any symptoms that develop and seek medical evaluation if your symptoms worsen. You will also need to self-isolate according to the CDC guidelines until ten days have passed since the date of your positive COVID-19 test, and any COVID-19 symptoms are improving, and you have gone at least 24 hours with no fever and no fever-reducing medications.

Will I be able to travel anywhere after getting the second dose?

Many locations are considered to have a high risk of COVID-19 transmission. Even with vaccination, you should continue to wear a mask while traveling. If you were exposed to COVID-19, are sick or test positive for the virus, you should not travel. Follow the CDC for the latest guidance.

Does the flu vaccine also protect you from COVID-19?

COVID-19 and the flu are completely different. The flu vaccine does not protect you from becoming infected with COVID-19, so you should get both vaccines, if available. One of the benefits from getting a flu vaccine in addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, is that a recent study suggests people who received the flu vaccine faced a lower risk for being hospitalized if they got COVID-19.

Potential Vaccine Side Effects

What are the side effects of the vaccine and how frequent are they?

Side effects for the three vaccines are usually mild, and at worst are moderate and typically resolve in 1-2 days post-vaccination. Common side effects can include pain at the injection site, muscle aches, headache, nausea, fatigue and sometimes fever.

These side effects are a sign the vaccine is working, and your body is mounting the immune response it needs to in order to protect you from severe COVID-19 infection. These side effects are much less severe than actual COVID-19 infection and are not life-threatening.

Concerns about developing infertility, Bell's palsy, alterations of the DNA, and autoimmune conditions are unfounded. These are not side effects of the vaccine and have not occurred more frequently than normal among those who have received the vaccine.

As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction, other serious injury, or death. No severe side effects have been reported from the clinical trials.

Learn more about the differences between the vaccines

Is it safe to get the J&J vaccine?

Blood clots involving blood vessels in the brain, abdomen, and legs along with low levels of platelets (blood cells that help your body stop bleeding), have occurred in a small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. In people who developed these blood clots and low levels of platelets, symptoms began approximately one to two-weeks following vaccination. Most people who developed these blood clots and low levels of platelets were females ages 18 through 49 years. However, the chance of developing blood clots with low platelets after vaccination with the Janssen J&J) vaccine is extremely rare. Learn more about recommendations from the CDC.

If an individual has had a vasovagal reaction (i.e., fainting) after their first dose of the vaccine, should they receive a second dose?

Yes. Vasovagal reactions, such as fainting or a feeling like you are going to pass out, can happen in different situations including receiving a vaccine, getting your blood drawn, etc., and are considered benign (i.e., there are no long-term consequences). An individual can and should receive their second dose to be fully protected, but they should indicate this to the vaccinator so that they can be vaccinated in a recliner or recumbent position. 

Are side effects more severe after the second dose?

Based on the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the second dose results in a higher number of side effects (including fever and chills, headaches, body aches, fatigue and nausea) but there is no evidence for more serious side effects or risk of anaphylaxis from receiving the second dose. 

These side effects indicate that the internal process of stimulating the immune system and making antibodies against COVID-19 is taking place as a result of receiving the vaccine, and are not as concerning as the more severe symptoms of COVID-19 infection and are not considered to be life-threatening.

If I experience a side effect from the vaccine should I skip the second dose?

No, don't skip the second dose. You may wish to consider taking Tylenol and/or Benadryl when getting your next dose. You might also want to plan for your second dose 2-3 days before you are schedule to work in case you need to stay at home. If you take Benadryl, you should not drive as it causes drowsiness. 

Should I take medication prior to my COVID vaccination in order to avoid experiencing side effects?

Routine use of prophylactic (preventive) pain medicines before you get your vaccination is not currently recommended, as information on the impact on vaccine-induced antibody responses is not available at this time. However, if you experience side effects after receiving your vaccination (such as swelling or pain at the vaccination site, fever, headaches, or body aches) then taking an over-the-counter pain medicine (such as Tylenol) may be helpful in managing those symptoms.

Tips for dealing with side effects

Common side effects indicate your body is making an immune response to the vaccine and they should go away within 1-2 days. Some ways to minimize mild side effects include:

  • Use an ice pack or cool, damp cloth to help reduce redness, soreness and/or swelling at the place where the shot was given.
  • A cool bath can also be soothing.
  • Drink liquids often for 1-2 days after getting the vaccine.
  • Take an over the counter pain reliever unless you have any specific contraindications. 

Learn more

How can I tell if side effects are from the vaccine or from actual COVID-19 infection?

Symptoms that are side effects of the vaccine typically go away on their own within a couple of days and are a sign that the immune system is working. If side effects continue for more than 72 hours, they should be reviewed by a clinician. For severe side effects, contact your doctor or Urgent Care.

The vaccine does not cause respiratory symptoms or a loss of taste or smell, which are sometimes seen with a true COVID-19 infection. For these symptoms and/or if you have had a known or suspected COVID-19 exposure within the past 10 days, you should call your doctor.

I have read that the COVID vaccine can cause swollen lymph nodes in the underarm on the side of the injection that can be detected on a mammogram. Should I delay scheduling my routine screening mammogram?

Swollen lymph nodes in the underarm on the same side as the injection site may occur after COVID vaccination and may persist for up to several weeks. While swollen lymph nodes due to the vaccine are not worrisome, they may be detected on a routine screening mammogram and might need additional testing. If possible, try to schedule both doses of your COVID vaccine series before an upcoming mammogram. If that is not possible and if it will not result in undue delays, try to schedule your routine screening mammogram approximately 4-6 weeks after your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pregnancy, Nursing, and Fertility and the Vaccine

Should I be vaccinated if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

We are recommending the vaccine to individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 infection might be at an increased risk for other adverse pregnancy outcomes such as pre-term birth and stillbirth.

 

Should individuals who wish to become pregnant receive the vaccine?

We are aware of concerns in the public about fertility after the COVID-19 vaccine. However, these concerns are unfounded and we recommend the vaccine to those who wish to become pregnant. The safety data reported to the FDA for the Pfizer vaccine demonstrated that equivalent proportions of individuals became pregnant in the vaccine groups as the placebo groups. Among the people who did get pregnant in the studies, there were no self-reported pregnancy related adverse events in the groups that received vaccine.

Should individuals who are nursing/lactating receive the vaccine?

We are recommending the vaccine to individuals who are breastfeeding. If you have any specific health concerns, you should discuss those concerns with your pediatrician. 

Vaccination for High Risk Communities

Can kids get the vaccine?

Yes. We encourage eligible children to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to help protect against severe infection and hospitalization. Read answers to some commonly asked questions about the vaccine and kids here.

Is the vaccine safe for people with comorbidities?

Yes. Patients with comorbidities have the presence of more than one medical condition. We know that people with underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for getting more severe cases of COVID-19. That’s why it’s important that those individuals get vaccinated as soon as they are eligible to do so.

The vaccine helps to reduce both the symptoms of COVID-19 and the possibility of getting the virus in the first place. Studies on the vaccines included a substantial number of participants with medical conditions and there were not significant safety concerns identified.

According to the CDC, some of the conditions that put people at a higher risk of severe COVID-19 include cancer, obesity, heart conditions such as coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Those with liver disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and anyone with an immunocompromised state might be at an increased risk for severe illness as well.

Anyone who is at a higher risk of getting severe cases of COVID-19 should do everything they can to reduce the chance of getting the virus. The best way to protect yourself is by getting vaccinated. If you have any concerns about your health, contact your primary care physician.

Should individuals who had a prior anaphylactic reaction to another vaccine receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you previously have had an anaphylactic reaction to another vaccine or medication, you still may receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but we will ask you to notify the staff and be monitored in the vaccination clinic for 30 minutes after you receive your injection.

However, the FDA is recommending that individuals who have severe allergic reactions to any ingredients of a vaccine should not receive that vaccine. The ingredients of each vaccine are listed in the FDA facts sheets which can be accessed here.

There are safety protocols in place at our clinics to quickly address severe allergic reactions following vaccine administration. Also, if you experience an allergic reaction to a vaccine, you may be referred to an Allergist for evaluation.

For Pfizer or Moderna vaccines: if you experience an anaphylactic reaction to a first vaccine dose, you should not receive the second dose and instead consider getting the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.

Why should those 5 and older get the vaccine?

You may have heard that children are less likely to develop severe cases of COVID-19, and therefore think it's unnecessary for them to get vaccinated. However, they can still get very sick and even require hospitalization. 

The best way to protect kids is for them to get vaccinated. Vaccination is the best thing we can all do to help end the pandemic and return to normal activities like in person learning and after school activities. Therefore we encourage everyone who is eligible to get the vaccine.

If you are concerned about a specific health condition or allergy, please contact your pediatrician to discuss your options. 

If I am taking medications, are there any contraindications to receiving the vaccine?

No, but if you are receiving immunosuppressant medication (such as steroids, certain drugs to treat inflammatory conditions, current cancer therapy, etc.), you should talk with your prescribing clinician as the medication might interfere with your body’s ability to develop a full immune response to the vaccine. They may be able to help you better time when you get vaccinated.

Is it safe to receive the vaccine if I have a known allergy to a medication, a different vaccine or to some sort of food?

Unless you have had an allergic reaction to a previous dose of the type of COVID-19 vaccine you are planning to get or are allergic to one of the ingredients in the vaccine (e.g., polyethylene glycol or polysorbate), you should be able to get the vaccination. If you have concerns regarding your history of allergic reactions, you should discuss this with your regular clinician before getting vaccinated.

Should individuals who carry an Epi-Pen® receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The rate of allergic reactions in the clinical data was very, very low.

However, we recommend individuals discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with the allergist/immunologist before scheduling their vaccination. You should notify the staff at our vaccination site of any prior allergic reaction before receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

All vaccination sites will be prepared to respond to any allergic reactions in the unlikely case that they occur.

Can an immunocompromised individual receive the vaccine?

Yes, immunocompromised individuals should get vaccinated. Individuals with immunocompromising conditions (such as HIV or who have received an organ or stem cell transplant) or who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at risk for increased severe COVID-19 disease.

The current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do NOT contain live virus and cannot cause COVID-19, so there are no specific safety concerns in immunocompromised individuals.

However, they may wish to discuss COVID-19 vaccination with their specialist if they have specific questions or concerns. Although the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination may be reduced in an immunocompromised individual, such individuals are still advised to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they do not have any other contraindications for vaccination. 

I had a severe, immediate allergic reaction to the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine and was told not to receive the second dose of that vaccine. Can I safely receive the Janssen (J&J) vaccine as my second dose?

The current CDC guidance allows for consideration of the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine (at 28 days after the mRNA vaccine was given) in this situation as it uses a different mechanism to stimulate the immune system and has different components from the mRNA vaccines.

This is best done in consultation with an allergist. Please contact your primary care provider or other provider who can assist you with a referral to an allergist. If the allergist determines that it is safe for you to receive the Janssen (J&J) vaccine in place of the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, please be sure you are selecting that dose when you schedule your appointment.

Note: A “severe, immediate vaccine allergy” is defined as anaphylaxis, hives, swelling of face/lips, or respiratory distress (e.g., wheezing, stridor) occurring within 4 hours of receiving a prior dose of a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

I have a severe allergy to polysorbate, can I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have a severe allergy to polysorbate then vaccination with Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine is CONTRINDICATED.

However, the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain polysorbate so either vaccine is an option for COVID-19 vaccination. Recent guidance by the CDC does allow vaccination of individuals with a severe polysorbate allergy to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine after a review of risks. This is best done in consultation with an allergist. Please contact your primary care provider or other provider who can assist you with a referral to an allergist.

If an allergist determines that it is safe for you to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, make sure that is the vaccine you are getting.

Note: A “severe allergy” is defined as anaphylaxis, hives, swelling of face/lips, or respiratory distress (e.g., wheezing, stridor).

I have a severe allergy to polyethylene glycol (commonly called PEG). Is it safe for me to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have a severe allergy to polyethylene glycol (PEG), then vaccination with either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is CONTRAINDICATED.

However, the Janssen (J&J) vaccine does not contain PEG so it is an option for COVID-19 vaccination. Recent guidance by the CDC does allow vaccination of individuals with a severe PEG allergy to receive the Janssen (J&J) vaccine after a review of risks. This is best done in consultation with an allergist. Please contact your primary care provider or other provider who can assist you with a referral to an allergist if you need one.

If an allergist determines it is safe for you to get the J&J vaccine, make sure that is the vaccine you are getting.

Note: A “severe allergy” is defined as anaphylaxis, hives, swelling of face/lips, or respiratory distress (e.g., wheezing, stridor).

I am on warfarin due my increased risk of stroke, and am wondering if I should receive my COVID vaccine given my risk of bleeding following an injection?

Yes, you should go ahead and get your COVID vaccine unless have a known allergy to the vaccine. To ensure safety for individuals with an increased risk of bleeding following an injection, the following are expert guidelines to help ensure your safety:

- For individuals receiving prolonged anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy (such as warfarin and other prescribed anticoagulant therapy, including daily aspirin): 

  • These medications are considered to present only a low risk of complications related to prolonged bleeding after an injection.
  • After the injection, you should apply firm pressure over the site of the injection for 5 minutes.

- For individuals with a history of Hemophilia (or other severe bleeding disorder) or platelet count less than 50,000/uL:

First consult with your specialty physician for guidance prior to vaccination. If that physician agrees that the benefit of the intramuscular (IM) vaccination outweighs possible risks, the following steps at the time of vaccination are recommended:

  • If you take replacement clotting factors, then the IM vaccination should be administered as soon as feasible after the dose of the clotting factor.
  • Nursing staff who routinely perform IM injections are preferred to administer the vaccination.
  • An ice pack should be applied to the site before the injection.
  • After the injection, you should apply firm pressure over the site of the injection for 5 minutes.

Additional Vaccine Information

How can I learn more?

Talk with your healthcare provider, call your local or state health department or contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit CDC’s vaccine website: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines.

YNHHS will be updating and distributing more generally asked questions and answers as more information becomes available.