Covid Vaccine in Cambridge, Massachusetts
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COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Which vaccines have been FDA approved for COVID-19?
The FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to facilitate development and ensure the safety, effectiveness and quality of COVID-19 vaccines. As of August 23, 2021, the FDA has issued full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for ages 16+.
The previously issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those ages 12 to 15 and third doses for the immunocompromised, as well as EUAs for COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen, remain in effect. An EUA gives the FDA authority to allow unapproved medical products to be used in emergencies when no approved alternatives are available. Other COVID-19 vaccines are in development and will be reviewed by the FDA under EUA. Find the current status of the vaccine approvals and EUAs.
What is the role of CVS Health in administering COVID-19 vaccines?
CVS Health has administered more than 41 million COVID-19 tests and 50 million COVID-19 vaccines. The Company maintains a strong commitment to vaccine and testing equity and continues to optimize site locations and targeted outreach initiatives in order to reach vulnerable populations.
Who qualifies for a booster shot?
Following guidelines set by ACIP and the CDC all individuals who are over the age of 18 are eligible to receive a Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot at least six months after their primary two-dose vaccination series.
The FDA and CDC also authorized the administration of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for patients ages 16-17 years, six months after receiving the second dose of their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
Eligible individuals do not need to receive a booster shot that matches the formulation of their primary series. If individuals choose a booster dose that differs from their primary vaccine series, the manufacturers recommend individuals should check with their health care provider regarding the timing of the booster dose.
Additionally, individuals who are 18 years and old and received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID- 19 vaccine may receive a single booster does of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna, or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after receiving their primary vaccination.
Patients who received a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine and prefer to receive a Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) booster are encouraged to contact their primary care provider for best next steps or refer to vaccines.govfor more information.
Which vaccines are being offered as a booster?
As of November 19, the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines boosters are authorized for eligible individuals age 18 and above, following FDA authorization, and under guidelines set by ACIP and the CDC.
On December 9, the FDA and CDC authorized the administration of a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for patients ages 16-17 years, six months after receiving the second dose of their primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
Additionally, individuals who are 18 years and older and received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine may receive a single booster dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Moderna, or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least two months after receiving their primary vaccination.
What should people who received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine do?
CVS Pharmacy will provide Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster shots to eligible individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine as their primary vaccination. CVS Pharmacy will not be offering booster shots of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.
When can eligible populations receive their booster?
Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for eligible individuals 18+ are available at select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.
In addition, as of Friday, December 10, teens ages 16-17 years became eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot at CVS Pharmacy locations currently carrying this vaccine. A parent or legal guardian must complete the online registration on CVS.com for minors up to age 17. Teens 16 and older do not need to be accompanied by an adult to their vaccination appointment, unless required by local or state law.
Is the booster covered by insurance?
Yes, the booster is available at no cost to any eligible patient either through insurance or a federal program for the uninsured.
How can eligible populations receive their booster at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic?
Patients interested in receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 booster are strongly encouraged to make an appointment at CVS.com. Advanced scheduling is recommended for patients looking to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a specific manufacturer to ensure that it is available at the clinic of their choice. At this time, each participating CVS Pharmacy is offering either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, not both.
What do I need to do/know about the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine?
The FDA and the CDC are confident that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. At this time, the available data suggests that the chance of developing a rare blood disorder – thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) – is very low, and the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
For women between the ages of 18 and 49, this adverse event is rare, occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women. For women 50 years and older and men of all ages, this adverse event is even more rare. Women younger than 50 should be aware that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen.
Patients who receive the Janssen vaccine should monitor for severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain or shortness of breath for 2 weeks after administration.
If experiencing symptoms, patients should contact their healthcare provider.
The Janssen, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are offered in select CVS locations. Find locations and schedule your appointment.
Can eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time?
Yes. According to the CDC, eligible individuals, including children, may receive the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time they are receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stagger vaccinations. Additionally, if an individual has already received a flu shot, they can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at any time.
What do I need to know about the COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 continues to spread in the United States and variants are circulating. You can take steps to protect yourself from the virus and its variants by getting a COVID-19 vaccine and taking other safety precautions including avoiding crowds and washing your hands often. For more information, please see the CDC's page on variants.
Can my age 5-15 child receive the COVID-19 vaccine at CVS Pharmacy?
Pediatric doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are available at select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations. We recommend parents and guardians check CVS.com to find locations near them with available appointments.
How can I be sure that my local CVS Pharmacy offers the Pfizer vaccine for my child ages 5 – 15?
At this time, our CVS Pharmacy locations that are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine have either the Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine – not more than one type at this time. Patients are able to see which CVS Pharmacy location has which vaccine and appointment availability on CVS.com before scheduling, which is recommended especially when looking for an appointment for children ages 5 – 15 that require the Pfizer vaccine. Our online scheduling tool will only display appointments at locations that have the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine once the patient’s age is provided.
Is parental consent required for patients ages 12- 17 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, a parent or legal guardian must complete the online registration on cvs.com for minors seeking the COVID-19 vaccine. An adult must accompany children ages 12 – 15 to the appointment at CVS Pharmacy, but does not need to accompany teens ages 16 and older, unless required by local or state law.
Who is administering the vaccines? Pharmacists? Pharmacy technicians? Other health care providers?
CVS Health immunizers include pharmacists, pharmacy interns and trained pharmacy technicians, as well as other qualified health care professionals depending on each state’s specific regulations. All CVS Health immunizers are certified according to company requirements, trained in the administration of immunizations, and hold an active CPR certification.
Can patients choose which COVID-19 vaccine they receive at CVS Pharmacy?
At this time, our select CVS Pharmacy locations that are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible populations have either the Moderna, Pfizer or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine - not more than one type at this time. Patients will be able to see which CVS Pharmacy location has which vaccine and appointment availability on cvs.com before scheduling. Depending on which vaccine you receive, you will be prompted to schedule a second dose if needed.
Are patients being charged for the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is no cost with insurance or through a federal program for the uninsured.
Is getting the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
The FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines which have been shown to be safe and effective as determined by data from the manufacturers and findings from large clinical trials. This data demonstrates that the known and potential benefits of this vaccine outweigh the known and potential harms of becoming infected with COVID 19. CVS Health is only administering vaccines that have been authorized for use by the FDA and our COVID-19 vaccination services are being conducted in compliance with CDC guidance for safe delivery of vaccines.
What kind of side effects should people expect from the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the CDC, you may have some side effects following the COVID-19 vaccine, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects include pain and swelling on the arm where you got the shot, and fever, chills, tiredness and headache throughout the rest of your body.
How is CVS Health prepared to deal with possible allergic reactions to the vaccine?
CVS Health immunizers are trained in the safe administration of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the FDA, including identifying and treating allergic reactions. The vaccination procedures include a patient screening checklist to assess the risk of reaction. All patients are monitored for 15 minutes after administration injection, or longer for people with a history of severe allergic reactions. Our immunizers are equipped with appropriate medications, such as epinephrine and antihistamines. Further information on COVID-19 Vaccines and allergic reactions can be found here
What is the Federal Pharmacy Program and how does it work?
On February 2, 2021, the CDC announced the next phase of the vaccination program – the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. As part of this program, CVS Health is receiving vaccine allocations supply from the federal government and is now vaccinating eligible populations in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Am I able to book my first and second dose in two different locations?
Yes, when scheduling an appointment on CVS.com, patients are given a choice of where they’d like to schedule their two appointments (if required).
What type of reminders does CVS Pharmacy send to patients in advance of their scheduled appointments?
Patients receive email and text confirmations for each scheduled dose, as well as reminders that are sent 7 days and 2 days out, and a check-in reminder 15 mins prior to each appointment.
How do I cancel or reschedule my vaccine appointment?
To change or cancel your appointment, please refer to the link in your confirmation text message or email. If you're changing a COVID-19 second dose appointment, remember, it’s mandatory that the second dose is received within the appropriate time frame in order to be fully vaccinated.
How do I access COVID-19 vaccination records for someone else?
At this time, you may only access your own vaccination records. Any patient age 18 or older must create their own account on Care.CVS.com to access their vaccination records.
How do I view my minor child’s vaccination records?
Check your email for the COVID-19 vaccination record if both the following conditions apply:
- The minor was vaccinated at CVS Pharmacy®
- An email address was provided at scheduling/check-in
A record of the vaccination should have been immediately sent to that address. It would have been sent from Pharmacy@Notification.CVSHealth.com with a subject line of “For Your Records.”
How do I add my minor child to my account and view their vaccination records?
- Sign in to CVS.com® or create an account if you do not have one. (You may first have to verify your identity if you have not done so in the past.)
- Go to Pharmacy > Pharmacy Settings > Manage Family Members > Add a person.
- To add your minor, we first need to locate their pharmacy records by using their patient information or a prescription number.
Quick tip: The prescription (Rx) number can be found on any prescription bottle, as well as on the vaccination confirmation email referenced in the previous question (“How do I view my minor child’s vaccination records?”) with the subject line “For your records.”
- Once the pharmacy records are found, you will be asked to confirm that you are the parent or legal guardian.
- Once you confirm: Success! Your minor child’s Rx records are now available for viewing at CVS.com®
Is MinuteClinic offering the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines (including booster doses and doses for children ages five to 11) are available at select MinuteClinic locations, CVS Health’s retail medical clinic. Select MinuteClinic locations will continue to offer the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.
How can you schedule an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine at MinuteClinic? Are walk-ins allowed?
COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to all patients 18 and older at participating MinuteClinic locations. Currently, customers can walk-in to a participating MinuteClinic location and register for an appointment at the kiosk outside the clinic or add-on the vaccine if they are visiting the clinic for another health care service. Soon, patients will also be able to schedule a vaccine on-line at MinuteClinic.com.
Will all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages five to 11 years?
No. Vaccines for eligible patients five to 11 years of age are initially available at a select number of CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations, based on the initial allocation from the Federal Government. Not every location will have the vaccine immediately available upon authorization, so parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to visit CVS.com or to use the CVS App to schedule an appointment. The scheduling tool will only display appointments at CVS Pharmacy locations that have the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages five to 11 years once the patient's age is provided.
As vaccine allocation increases, additional CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations will be added, and online scheduling tools will be updated regularly to reflect the new stores with available appointments.
*FOR COVID-19 VACCINE COST: The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available at select CVS Pharmacy® locations and is no cost with most insurance plans or through a federal program for the uninsured.
*FOR WALK-INS: Subject to vaccine availability.
*FOR $5 OFF $20 SHOPPING PASS: Offer available August 15, 2021 through December 31, 2021 while supplies last. Limit one per customer per vaccine visit. For vaccines that require two doses, the shopping pass will be given with vaccine series completion. Merchandise coupon redeemable at CVS Pharmacy® and Longs Drugs® for one-time use. Terms and conditions apply. See coupon for details. $5 savings applied to total qualifying minimum purchase of $20 (after other coupons and discounts are applied). Reward cannot be earned in AR, NJ or NY. Offer not valid at MinuteClinic® locations in MA, NJ, NY, PA and RI. Coupon cannot be issued or redeemed at CVS Pharmacy at Target or CVS Pharmacy at Schnucks® locations. ExtraCare® card required to receive savings.
*FOR MINUTECLINIC AVAILABILITY: Vaccine available at select MinuteClinic® locations. Find eligible clinics.
*FOR SIDE EFFECTS: All CVS Health® immunizers will be certified according to company requirements and trained in the administration of immunizations, and will hold an active CPR certification.
*FOR CDC RECOMMENDATIONS AND SOURCING: Learn more about CDC data sources, exclusions and estimates.
*FOR VACCINE ADMINISTRATION GUIDELINES: All CVS Health certified immunizers are trained in the administration of vaccines and hold an active CPR certification.