Covid Vaccine in Holyoke, 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 COVID-19 vaccines manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech (for ages 6 months to 15 years), Moderna (for ages 6 months to 17 years) 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. 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 administered more than 32 million COVID-19 tests and more than 59 million COVID-19 vaccines in 2021. 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.
When will CVS Pharmacy offer the updated COVID-19 vaccine booster?
We expect our pharmacies to begin receiving supply on a rolling basis over the next few days and appointments will be made available on the CVS website and via the CVS Pharmacy app. We continue to provide our communities with convenient access to vaccines at CVS Pharmacy including the approved COVID-19 primary series, as well as flu and several other vaccinations, such as pneumonia and shingles.
How will I know if my location has the updated booster?
CVS.com and the CVS Pharmacy app will be updated to reflect active vaccinating CVS Pharmacy locations as inventory arrives.
How will I know if I am eligible for the updated booster?
The updated COVID-19 booster vaccine will be administered as a single dose at least two months following the completion of the primary dose series or 2 months after subsequent booster vaccinations. (Age 12+ for Pfizer and age 18+ for Moderna)
People who have completed any COVID-19 vaccine primary vaccination series or any number of prior COVID-19 vaccine booster doses will be able to receive a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster dose, if eligible based on age and interval since last dose.
Is the booster covered by insurance?
Yes, the booster is available at no cost to any eligible patient with most insurance plans or for those uninsured.
What is a bivalent vaccine and how is it different from other COVID-19 boosters?
A bivalent vaccine is created to generate an immune response against two different antigens, or viruses. In this case, the updated vaccine includes an mRNA component of the original strain to provide an immune response that is broadly protective against COVID-19 and an mRNA component in common between the omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5 lineages to provide better protection against COVID-19 caused by the omicron variant.
Can eligible populations receive their booster at CVS?
Moderna booster shots for eligible individuals 18+ and Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for eligible individuals 5+ are available at select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.
A parent or legal guardian must complete the online registration on the CVS website or Minuteclinic.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.
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 on the CVS website or MinuteClinic website. 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 or MinuteClinic is offering either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine. Same-day or walk-in vaccination appointments may be possible but are subject to local demand.
Can eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time?
Yes. According to the CDC, children may receive the seasonal flu vaccine at the same time they are receiving the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to stagger vaccinations. Additionally, if a child has already received a flu shot, they can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at any time. We are awaiting CDC guidance for the coadministration of the flu and Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines for children age 4 and under.
Can I receive my bivalent COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as my annual flu shot?
Yes. Patients can also easily schedule multiple vaccinations in one appointment, including the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccines by visiting the CVS website or the CVS Pharmacy app.
What do I need to know about the COVID-19 variants, including the Delta and Omicron variants?
The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, but how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. The CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
Vaccines remain the best way to reduce your risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
Masks offer protection against all variants. CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.
For more information, visit the CDC’s page on variants.
What processes are in place to manage and ensure appropriate administration of the two-dose?
When patients make an appointment for their initial shot online or through the CVS App, they are prompted to schedule an appointment for their second dose at the same time (if receiving Moderna or Pfizer). The second dose is scheduled within the appropriate timeframe, allowing enough time for a potential reschedule of the appointment, if needed. CVS Health has implemented a detailed tracking system to make sure we know who received which vaccine and to help ensure they get the second dose of the same vaccine, if needed. We are also able to accommodate an extended interval between doses of the primary series for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, following recommendations by the CDC for certain populations. Find CDC recommendations for dosing intervals. Patients who wish to extend the interval between their first and second dose based on the new guidance may do so by contacting their local CVS Pharmacy team. Upon receiving their first dose, patients are provided with a vaccine card with all relevant vaccination information. Detailed reporting will be shared with state, local or territorial public health authorities.
The recommended interval between first and second doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) has changed? Why?
New data indicate that some people ages 12 through 64 years—and especially males ages 12 through 39 years—would benefit from getting their second mRNA COVID-19 vaccine dose eight (8) weeks after receiving their first dose. Extending the time interval between primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine doses from the FDA-approved or authorized three (3) weeks (Pfizer-BioNTech) or four (4) weeks (Moderna) to eight (8) weeks may help increase how long protection lasts against COVID-19.
It’s important to note this update does not apply to everyone. The 3-week or 4-week interval is still recommended for people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, adults ages 65 years and older, and others who may need early protection due to concern about an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or high levels of community transmission. People ages 12 years and older who are moderate or severely immunocompromised should receive three doses in their mRNA primary vaccine series and should receive a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine at least three (3) months after completing their third primary series dose.
What do I need to know about the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine?
On December 16, the CDC issued guidance expressing a clinical preference for individuals to receive a mRNA vaccine (e.g., vaccines manufactured by Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech)
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are offered in select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.
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 the CVS website to find locations near them with available appointments.
Is CVS Health offering the COVID-19 vaccine booster for children ages 5 to 11?
Yes. Select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations that carry the pediatric dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine offer a booster to children aged 5-11 years old at least five months after completing their primary series, as defined under the guidelines provided by the CDC.
How can I be sure that my local CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic offers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for my child ages 12-15?
At this time, our CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine have either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Patients are able to see which CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations have which vaccine and appointment availability on the CVS website or MinuteClinic website before scheduling, which is recommended especially when looking for an appointment for children ages 12–15 that require the Pfizer-BioNTech 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 the CVS website 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 CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations that are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible populations have either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Patients will be able to see which CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic location has which vaccine and appointment availability on the CVS website or MinuteClinic website before scheduling. Depending on which vaccine you receive, you will be prompted to schedule a second dose if needed.
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 but are generally mild and resolve on their own. 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
Is the COVID-19 vaccine recommended for people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant?
Yes. As of September 2021, the CDC is strongly recommending that people who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The CDC recommendations align with those from professional medical organizations serving people who are pregnant, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine along with many other professional medical organizations. When unvaccinated pregnant people contract COVID-19, they may experience severe disease and higher rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and death than non- pregnant people. More information is available through the CDCabout COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine when pregnant or planning to become pregnant?
The safety data shows no adverse complications in pregnancy related to the COVID-19 vaccination, including no association with having a miscarriage or impacts on fertility. More information is available through the CDCabout COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.
Am I able to book my first and second dose in two different locations?
Yes, when scheduling an appointment on the CVS website, 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 or those of your minor children. Any patient age 18 or older must create their own account 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 your CVS account 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 online
Have you already added your minor child to your CVS account?
If you’re trying to view your minor child’s vaccination record,view or create an account at Care.CVS.com
- Login with your CVS account details.
- You may be asked to verify your identity before you can view your child’s record
- Once you have logged in and verified your identity, visit “Vaccinations” on care.cvs.com
Is MinuteClinic offering the COVID-19 vaccine?
More than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations offer either the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (including doses for children ages five to 11 and booster doses for individuals 16 years and older) or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (including booster doses) to individuals 18 years and older
Will all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children ages five to 11 years?
At this time, vaccines for eligible patients five to 11 years of age are available at nearly 1,700 CVS Pharmacy locations. All of our more than 1,100 MinuteClinic locations are also currently offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 18 months to 11 years. The scheduling tool will only display appointments at CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic locations that have the appropriate vaccine once the patient's age is provided.
*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 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.