COVID-19

How to get COVID-19 vaccinated

Information is constantly changing for COVID-19 vaccines. Below is what we currently know. Minnesota will not require COVID-19 vaccines.

How to get vaccinated

  • Who is currently getting vaccinated
  • Where to get vaccinated
  • If you have had COVID-19
  • Who can and can’t get the vaccine
  • Considerations for special populations
  • People under 18 years old
  • Pregnant people
  • People who are breastfeeding
  • Immunocompromised people

Getting vaccinated

  • What to bring when you get vaccinated
  • Doses of COVID-19 vaccine
  • Second dose for two-dose COVID-19 vaccines
  • Record of vaccination (e.g., vaccination card)
  • Pain medication
  • Information collected
  • Wait to get other vaccines
  • Residency
  • Cost/insurance
  • Scams

After getting the vaccine

  • Immunity after vaccination
  • Sick from COVID-19 after vaccination
  • Vaccine side effects versus COVID-19 symptoms
  • Serious adverse events
  • Going to work or school when you have side effects
  • Managing discomfort after vaccination
  • Reporting vaccine side effects
  • V-safe

For fully vaccinated people

  • Quarantine, masks, and social distance after vaccination
  • Gatherings after vaccination
  • Getting COVID-19 after being vaccinated

Now Share Details Of vaccinated

How to get vaccinated

Who is currently getting vaccinated
  • Every Minnesotan age 16 years and older can get vaccinated.
  • Even though we have three vaccines authorized for emergency use, it will still take time before everyone can get the vaccine.

Where to get vaccinated

Minnesota has a COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program with several large-scale community vaccination sites. You must Sign Up for the Vaccine Connector to be eligible to be randomly selected to schedule an appointment at a community vaccination location. This tool is for all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older who have not yet been vaccinated. Insurance and identification are not needed, and signing up is free.

The state is also sending doses of COVID-19 vaccine to more than 100 hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers to administer vaccines to Minnesotans and starting a COVID-19 Community Mobile Vaccination Bus Project for communities experiencing barriers to vaccination.

Minnesotans can use the online vaccine locator map to Find Vaccine Locations near them and contact those health care providers with questions.

People who can get vaccinated because of where they work may also be contacted by their employers to get vaccinated

If you have had COVID-19

If you tested positive for COVID-19, you may have some protection against the virus for at least three months after recovering. After that, there is a greater chance you may get it again because new COVID-19 variants may be too different from your initial infection and your natural immunity may not be able to protect you as well. You should get vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19.

If you have an opportunity to get vaccinated after you have had COVID-19, you can do so after you have completed your isolation period. This means it has been 10 days since you felt sick (or 10 days since you got tested if you do not have symptoms), and you feel better and have not have a fever for at least 24 hours. You do not have to get tested before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you were treated for COVID-19 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.

Who can and can’t get the vaccine

At this time, the available COVID-19 vaccines are for adults; the Pfizer vaccine allows vaccination of people 16 years and older and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines allow vaccination for people 18 years and older. This includes people with medical conditions, who have had COVID-19, and those of different ages, races, and ethnicities. Please see the section below, “considerations for special populations,” for people who are pregnant and those with weak immune systems.

There are few reasons that someone should not get vaccinated. A person that had a life-threatening reaction to a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine should not receive any further doses of that type of vaccine. Additionally, if a person has had a life-threatening reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine, they should not get that vaccine. They may want to talk to an allergy specialist. People who have had anaphylaxis (an immune response of the body that causes someone to go into shock) after taking other medicines, particularly medicines given by injection, may be vaccinated but should be observed for 30 minutes after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

There have been reports of some serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, most occurring 15-30 minutes following vaccination. Allergic reactions like this are known to happen after taking medicines or getting vaccinated, but they are still very rare. CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are working to understand what might be causing this. Clinics are prepared to respond quickly to adverse reactions. You will be asked to wait 15-30 minutes after you have been vaccinated so that clinic staff can observe you, this will likely be in a place that allows for social distancing.

Considerations for special populations

It is important to know that for some populations, we don’t have much information about safety or how well the vaccine works, or it hasn’t been studied yet. In these circumstances, people may be vaccinated but should speak with their health care provider so they understand what is known about their situation and vaccination.

People under 18 years old

At this time, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been studied and authorized for use by people ages 16 and 17. Other vaccine manufacturers are also studying their vaccines in younger age groups but have not yet received authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Learn more about parental consent for people under 18 years old, and how to find a vaccine appointment for this age group at Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for People Ages 16 and 17 (PDF).

Pregnant people

Some studies about COVID-19 and pregnant people are going on right now and data may be available soon. From the data we do have, there has not been an effect from the vaccine on pregnancy or pregnancy outcomes. There were vaccine study volunteers who were vaccinated and then learned they were pregnant. The manufacturer will follow these people throughout the pregnancy and birth. In the meantime, A Team of America has said that they support pregnant people getting the COVID-19 vaccine if they meet the ACIP recommendations for getting COVID-19 vaccine. We know that pregnant people are at a higher risk of severe disease compared to non-pregnant people. A pregnant person may choose to be vaccinated.

People who are breastfeeding

mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. A person who is breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated. Learn more about getting vaccinated while breastfeeding at CDC: Information about COVID-19 Vaccines for People who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding

Immunocompromised people

Immunocompromised means a person has a weak immune system. People with HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions, or who take medications or therapies that weaken the immune system might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. We currently do not have data on vaccine safety and efficacy in these groups. We do know that none of the current COVID-19 vaccines contain COVID-19 virus, which would be the main safety concern. The vaccine may not work as well in immunocompromised people because they may not have a strong immune response to the vaccine (they may have less protection). They should continue to follow guidance to protect themselves from COVID-19.

People who are immunocompromised who want to receive COVID-19 vaccine should be informed that there is little information about how effective or how safe the vaccine is.

Getting vaccinated

What to bring when you get vaccinated
  • A mask.
  • Your health insurance information, if you have it. If you do not have health insurance, that is OK. You do not need health insurance to get the vaccine.
  • Legal ID, if you have one and feel comfortable sharing it. You do not need a legal ID to get the vaccine.
  • If you are getting a second dose, bring your vaccination card if you have it.
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Some COVID-19 vaccines require one dose and some require two doses. Your health care provider will let you know which vaccine you are getting. If you get the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, you only need one dose. You do not need to make a second appointment.

Two doses are needed for the COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The time between the doses depends on the vaccine you are getting. The Pfizer vaccine (ultra-cold vaccine) should be given 21 days (three weeks) apart and the Moderna vaccine (frozen vaccine) should be given 28 days apart (one month).

Second dose for two-dose COVID-19 vaccines

It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, the same product for each dose, and that the doses are given at the correct time apart. The vaccine works best after two doses. If someone only gets one dose, they may not be as well protected against COVID-19. If it has been longer than 21 or 28 days (depending on which vaccine product you got) before you get your second dose, try to get your second dose as soon as you can. The second dose boosts your immunity to COVID-19 and provides longer time of protection. Even if it is beyond the recommended amount of time (21 or 28 days), go get your second dose. You will not have to start over.

We recommend that you schedule an appointment for your second dose when you get the first dose. Make sure you write down the appointment date somewhere you will remember.

Record of vaccination (e.g., vaccination card)

You should receive a card when you get your COVID-19 vaccine that has the vaccine product you got and the date you were vaccinated.

  • Hold on to your vaccine card between shots (if you got a two-dose vaccine) and after you are fully vaccinated. Bring the card with you to your second appointment so that both doses can be recorded on the same card.
    • Keep your card in a safe place with your other records.
    • Take a picture of your card on your phone.
  • It is okay if you lose your card. If you lose it in-between shots, ask for a new one when you get your second dose and ask them to record the first dose on it.
    • If you have not made an appointment for your second dose already and need the information about your first dose, you can request your vaccination record from the Minnesota Department of Health to see which vaccine product you got and when you need your second shot. Go to Find My Immunization Record.
    • Your health care provider can also look up your immunization record to help determine when you should get your second dose.
  • You do not need to laminate your vaccine card, but if you do, wait until you are fully vaccinated.
  • If you lose your vaccine card after you are fully vaccinated, you can request your vaccination record at Find My Immunization Record.
  • The State of Minnesota will not require proof of vaccination for events such as traveling, concerts, or other activities.
Pain medication

It is not recommended to take over-the-counter medications before getting your vaccine (unless you routinely take these for pain management) in order to prevent side effects. We do not know if taking these medicines before getting vaccinated could impact how the vaccine works. Taking over-the-counter medicines after getting the shot is OK if you have side effects. Take what you normally would take in that situation.

Information collected

When you get your COVID-19 vaccine, you will be asked to share your full name, date of birth, address, phone number, and gender. You will never be asked about your immigration status when getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated will not impact your eligibility to gain lawful permanent residence status (green card). You will not be identified as a public charge.

The person who gives you the vaccine is required to enter vaccine data into Minnesota’s immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC). MIIC keeps track of someone’s vaccination history and makes sure they get the right vaccinations at the right time. Find more information on MIIC at About MIIC. MIIC collects name, date of birth, address, phone number, and various information related the vaccination itself (administration date, vaccine type, lot number, etc.). MDH shares de-identified vaccine data (general information that does not include the person’s name) with the federal government (CDC) every day. This means that the data could not be traced back to a specific person. MDH does not share any information with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Wait to get other vaccines

It is recommended that a person should wait 14 days before or after COVID-19 vaccination to receive a vaccine for other diseases, like Tdap vaccine.

Residency

You do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to get vaccinated here

Cost/insurance

All COVID-19 vaccines are free. However, health care providers can charge an administration fee to insurance companies for giving the vaccine to someone. This means that you might be asked for your insurance information when you get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have insurance, you should provide that information when you get your vaccine. The administration fee helps cover costs of staffing, space, printing, extra supplies, and more. You can still get the COVID-19 vaccine if you do not have insurance. No one should receive a bill for the vaccine or administration fee. If you get a bill, call the place where you got your vaccine and let them know you should not have to pay.

Providers can get the administration fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund at COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured.

Scams

MDH and health care providers will never contact you and ask for personal information or credit card information in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

After getting the vaccine

Immunity after vaccination

After your final COVID-19 vaccine dose, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection. After those two weeks, you have good protection against illness for yourself. However, we’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19.

Though the vaccines work very well, they do not work 100% of the time. There is a small chance that fully vaccinated people could still get COVID-19. It is important to continue to follow all public health guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 even after you have been fully vaccinated.

  • Continue to wear a mask that fits well and stay at least 6 feet away from other people whenever you are:
    • In public.
    • Visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have been around someone who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. Learn more at CDC: Symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • Do not visit people who have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 and are in quarantine.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly-ventilated spaces.
  • If you travel, follow CDC requirements and recommendations: Domestic Travel During COVID-19.
  • Follow guidance specific to your workplace.

At this time, we do not know if this will be a vaccine that people need to get again, like needing a tetanus shot every 10 years or getting a flu shot every year.

Sick from COVID-19 after vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 disease. The vaccine does not provide instant and complete protection. It takes about two weeks after getting fully vaccinated for your body to build up protection from COVID-19 disease. You could be exposed during this time. Although your protection is pretty good after those two weeks, there is still a small chance you could become infected with COVID-19 and develop symptoms. If you do get sick, it is likely that your symptoms will be milder than if you didn’t get vaccinated.

While the available vaccines have been shown to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in those who are vaccinated, we are still learning to what degree the vaccine may prevent someone who is vaccinated from passing along the virus to other people. Someone who is vaccinated might be exposed to COVID-19 but have no symptoms. We do not know if that person could still spread COVID-19 to others and not know it. We are also still learning how long protection from the vaccine lasts.

This is why it is important for everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to continue to follow other public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, wash your hands often, and stay home if sick.

We will continue to evaluate these recommendations as more people in the community get vaccinated and we see how this impacts spread of disease

Vaccine side effects versus COVID-19 symptoms

Some side effects are common after vaccination. They are a result of your body responding to the vaccine (it’s also OK if you don’t have any side effects at all). Common side effects from the vaccine can include pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given, and sometimes feeling achy and tired. Some people may have a headache or fever. Side effects happen within a day or two of vaccination and go away one to two days later.

Some side effects can be the same or similar as symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses. The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 disease. For example, these symptoms after vaccination could be from the vaccine or other illness:

  • Fever
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headache
  • Chills

Other symptoms are less likely to be side effects of the vaccine but are signs of possible illness. If you have any of the below symptoms, or if you have worsening symptoms, you should get tested for COVID-19 and other illnesses as recommended by your health care provider:

  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nasal congestion, or stuffy or runny nose
  • Sore throat

Serious adverse events

A serious adverse event is something that results in hospitalization or is life-threatening. Most adverse effects occur in the six weeks after getting a vaccine.

If you have a severe reaction, contact your health care provider. If it is an emergency, go to a hospital or call 911.

A few people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have developed 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). Most people who developed these blood clots and low levels of platelets were adult women younger than 50 years old. The chance of having this occur is very rare. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare. This condition is treatable. For three weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, be on the lookout for these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Abdominal/stomach pain that doesn’t go away
  • Severe headaches or headaches that won’t go away
  • Blurred vision
  • Easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection

If you have any of these symptoms after getting the vaccine, you should seek medical attention right away. Tell the health care provider that you recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Three weeks after vaccination, the risk of developing a blood clot is very low.

Going to work or school when you have side effects

Side effects can happen after vaccination and can be similar to symptoms of illnesses, like COVID-19. These side effects can include pain, swelling, or redness where the shot was given. Less common side effects can include headache, fatigue, or fever.

  • If you are experiencing side effects where the shot was given (such as pain, swelling, or redness), but you are otherwise well, you can return to work or school. Typically, side effects start within a day of receiving the vaccine and may last for three days.
  • If you are experiencing other symptoms of illness like fever, headache, or noticeable tiredness, then you should stay home. These may or may not be due to the vaccine. With any of these symptoms, stay home until your symptoms are improved and you have not had a fever for 24 hours. If symptoms worsen or last longer than three days, stay home and call your health care provider. Because the virus that causes COVID-19 is still in our communities, it is possible that you were exposed to COVID-19 before or around the same time you were vaccinated, so it may be helpful to get tested.
Managing discomfort after vaccination

Pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen are effective in managing vaccine side effects including pain where the shot was given, body aches, and fever after you get vaccinated. Cool cloths may relieve the swelling or pain at the injection site. Move or exercise your arm. Take the medicine you usually take when you have pain or fever or follow the instructions of your health care provider.

Reporting vaccine side effects

If you have a severe reaction, contact your health care provider. If it is an emergency, go to a hospital or call 911. Providers should report severe reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This reporting system helps the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

V-safe

CDC has also launched a new patient reporting tool for COVID-19 vaccine. It is a smartphone app called v-safe. This app can help with active monitoring for COVID-19 vaccine safety after you get the COVID-19 vaccine. Your health care provider will give you more information on v-safe. You can learn more at V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker and access an information sheet and flyers in multiple languages at V-safe Print Resources.

For fully vaccinated people

Quarantine, masks, and social distance after vaccination

If you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and it has been at least 2 weeks since the final dose of vaccine (enough time for your body to develop immunity), you have good protection against illness for yourself. However, we’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. So, it is important to follow the recommendations below when visiting an unvaccinated person or a household with anyone at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

If you’ve been fully vaccinated (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series):

  • You can gather indoors with smaller groups of fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. Avoid larger gatherings.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more at CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.
  • You can gather with others outdoors without wearing a mask except in crowded settings and venues, such as sporting events, outdoor concerts, or other places where you cannot stay 6 feet from others and you are with people you don’t know.
  • For more information, visit CDC: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

It is still important to:

  • Continue to wear a mask that fits well and stay at least 6 feet away from other people whenever you are:
    • In indoor public settings.
    • Visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have been around someone who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. Learn more at CDC: Symptoms of Coronavirus.
  • Do not visit with people who have COVID-19. If someone in your household gets sick, do your best to keep them away from others in the house. If you are fully vaccinated, you can take care of the person who is sick, but try to stay 6 feet away from them as much as you can.
  • Do not visit people who have had close contact to someone with COVID-19 and are in quarantine.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly-ventilated spaces.
  • Delay unnecessary domestic or international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations: Domestic Travel During COVID-19.
  • Follow guidance specific to your workplace.

If someone is fully vaccinated and is exposed, they do not need to quarantine if ALL of the following are true:

  • The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
  • They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.

People who live or work in a health care or long-term care facility, have been vaccinated, and have a COVID-19 exposure should refer to COVID-19 Recommendations for Health Care Workers (PDF).

You’re Vaccinated Against COVID-19…Now What? (PDF)
Fact sheet with recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
5/3/21

To get COVID-19 under control, it is important to continue to follow public health guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 even after you have been vaccinated.

We will continue to evaluate these recommendations as more people in the community get vaccinated and we see how this impacts spread of disease.

Gatherings after vaccination

When you and those you might get together with are all vaccinated, it is likely that the risk of spreading the disease to each other is small.

If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with smaller groups of fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. Avoid larger gatherings.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more at CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions.
  • You can gather with others outdoors without wearing a mask except in crowded settings and venues, such as sporting events, outdoor concerts, or other places where you cannot stay 6 feet from others and you are with people you don’t know.
  • For more information, visit CDC: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

Remember, Minnesota still has a face covering requirement. This means there are some places that you are required to wear a face covering and it does not include exemptions for vaccinated people. Under Executive Order 20-81, people are required to wear face coverings in certain public spaces. For more information about face covering requirements and recommendations under Executive Order 20-81, visit Face Covering Requirements and Recommendations.

We will continue to evaluate these recommendations as more people in the community get vaccinated and we see how this impacts spread of disease

Getting COVID-19 after being vaccinated

Breakthrough cases (where someone becomes sick with the disease after being fully vaccinated) are expected. No vaccine is works 100% of the time, but there is still a lot of value in getting vaccinated. We know these vaccines are safe and can help keep people from ending up in the hospital or dying from COVID-19.

The more people are vaccinated, and the fewer chances for someone to be exposed to and get COVID-19, the less likely we are to see breakthrough cases. We have seen a small amount of breakthrough cases compared to the millions of people who have been vaccinated.

People who have been vaccinated should make sure they still get tested if they have symptoms of COVID-19 disease. Continue to follow public health recommendations in “Quarantine, masks, and social distance after vaccination” while many others are still waiting to get vaccinated

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