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COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine Availability

Vaccines are approved for those ages 6 months and older. The COVID-19 vaccines people can receive in Illinois are:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA COVID-19 vaccines
  • Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines
  • Novavax protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) viral vector COVID-19 vaccine

Please note different vaccines are available to different age groups.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are undocumented people able to get the vaccine?

A. Yes. All populations in Illinois, including individuals who are undocumented, can receive the vaccine.

Q. Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

A. Yes. COVID-19 vaccinees are safe and highly effective in preventing severe illness and death.

Q. Can my employer require that I receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A. Decisions regarding immunization at private workplaces are up to the employer.

Q. Do I need a vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

A. Yes, According to the CDC:

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against COVID-19. You may consider delaying your vaccine by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you received a positive test.
  • People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery.
  • Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Q. Can I get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

A. Yes. A seasonal flu vaccine will not protect you from COVID-19. Being infected with both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time could lead to a more severe illness, which is why it is more important now than ever to get the flu vaccine.

Q. Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

A. Yes. Billions of people have been vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines and they have been available since December 2020! The U.S. vaccine safety system is still monitoring these vaccines to ensure they are as safe as possible. Clinical trials happen with many thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and other information for the FDA to determine their safety and effectiveness.

Q. How was the COVID-19 vaccine studied?

A. The National Institutes of Health has information about how the vaccines were studied. Researchers used clinical trials to develop COVID-19 vaccines. This means that some people in the vaccine studies got the vaccine, and some got a placebo (sterile salt water that does not have any vaccine in it). This is how they could find out if the vaccine worked, which didn’t take long because COVID-19 was (is) spreading so easily.

Q. Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to become infected or infect others?

A. No, you cannot become infected or infect others from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the vaccine does not have live virus in it. Instead, the vaccine directs your body to produce a protein that teaches your body how to fight off the virus.

Q. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?

A. Yes. In fact, being pregnant or recently pregnant makes you more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. This means a higher likelihood of intensive care (ICU) admissions, mechanical ventilation to help with breathing, or death. Pregnancies affected by COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth and stillbirths. Being vaccinated helps prevent severe illness from COVID-19. Also, getting a two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) and staying up to date with boosters during pregnancy can protect your infant against hospitalization due to COVID-19 if they were to get the virus.

Q. I have allergies. Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for me?

A. While serious allergic reactions were not seen in vaccine clinical trials of thousands of patients, rare allergic reactions to vaccines are possible. If you have a history of serious allergic reactions, you should discuss your situation with your health care provider. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any animal products such as eggs.

Q. What are the side effects of this vaccine?

A. According to the CDC: side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine can vary from person to person. They generally go away in a few days. Some people experience a little discomfort and can continue to go about their day. Others have side effects that affect their ability to do daily activities. Even if you don’t experience any side effects, your body is building protection. Adverse events are rare but can cause long-term health problems. They usually happen within six weeks of getting a vaccine.

Q. It took four years to develop the mumps vaccine, how can the COVID-19 vaccine be safe and thoroughly tested so quickly?

A. Some steps of the vaccine studies occurred at the same time to gather data faster. And Pfizer-BioNTech & Moderna vaccines were created with a scientific method that had already been in progress for years, so they could start development right away! The process moved along without delays because there were more resources available compared to other vaccine studies.

Q. How long will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

A. We are still learning about how long protection lasts. It is important for you to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, meaning you have gotten all recommended doses for your age and immune status to stay as protected as possible.

Q. Is this vaccine preservative free?

A. Yes. The vaccines currently offered are preservative free.

Q. Can I still get a regular booster?

A. The bivalent boosters are the only authorized boosters now available for those 5 years and older.

Q. What if I got a J&J primary dose, can I get a bivalent booster?

A. Yes, at least two months after your last COVID-19 vaccine.

Q. Is it possible to compare the effectiveness of the various COVID-19 vaccines?

A. No. The only way to accurately compare the effectiveness of vaccines is by direct comparison in head-to-head clinical trials, which did not occur for these vaccines. Furthermore, the clinical trials for these vaccines occurred in different geographic regions and at different points in time with varying incidence of COVID-19.

Q. How much will this vaccine cost me? Is it covered by my insurance?

A. There is no cost for the vaccine. Vaccination providers can charge an administration fee for giving the dose that is reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay a vaccine administration fee.

Q. Will the administrative fees be passed on to the patient in the form of a co-pay or deductible?

A. No.