Q: When can I get the vaccine?
A: Augusta Health is working in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health and the Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD).
- Everyone ages 12 and older, who lives, works, or goes to school in the state of Virginia is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine through Augusta Health.
- Pfizer and Moderna are authorized for those 6 months and over; Novavax is authorized for those 12 years of age and older.
Q: How do I schedule my vaccine?
A: Augusta Health patients can schedule their vaccine by contacting their primary care provider’s office or calling the COVID vaccine call center at 540-332-5122.
- COVID vaccines are also available at the Central Shenandoah Health District office and can be contacted at 855-949-8378 by visiting the following link vase.vdh.virginia.gov/
- Local pharmacies also offer COVID vaccines in our community and to identify the locations, please use the following link www.vaccines.gov/
Q: How much does the vaccine cost?
A: The vaccine is FREE – at no cost to you.
Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?
A: The COVID-19 vaccination will not make you sick with COVID. You may experience side effects from the vaccine that mimics some of the symptoms such as muscle aches, low-grade fever, or mild malaise (you just don’t feel good). These are actually a sign that your immune system is working to produce an immune response.
It takes about two weeks for the body to build full immunity. So it is possible that while you are building immunity if you are exposed to the COVID-19 virus, you could become infected with it.
Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me test positive for COVID?
A: Vaccination will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you are currently infected. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility that you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate that you have had a previous infection and that you have some level of protection against the virus.
Q: Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I currently have COVID-19?
A: No, even if asymptomatic for COVID-19, vaccination should be postponed. While mild illness is not a contraindication to vaccination, medical visits for those with COVID-19 should be postponed to avoid exposing others to the virus. Please direct any questions to your primary care provider.
Q: I have already had COVID-19. Do I still need to be vaccinated?
A: Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person.
Q: Will receiving an mRNA vaccine like the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines alter my DNA?
A: mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA).
Q: Are there any allergies that should keep a person from getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Allergic reactions to the current COVID-19 vaccines are rare and the vast majority of people are tolerating these vaccines without any allergy symptoms. Persons with an allergy to polyethylene glycol, to polysorbate or to a first dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer and Moderna) should not receive one of the mRNA vaccines. Persons with an allergy to polysorbate should not receive a Johnson and Johnson vaccine. For all other allergies, we believe it is safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For instance, persons with allergies to antibiotics, bee stings, contrast dye, food allergies, or with other medicine allergies can safely receive these vaccines. We will answer questions about allergies when you come for your vaccine.
Q: If I am immunocompromised, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The current vaccines are not live attenuated vaccines, and appear safe to administer in immunocompromised populations. According to Anthony Fauci, MD, “Patients with compromised immune systems, whether due to chemotherapy or a bone marrow transplant, should plan to be vaccinated against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) when they have the chance”
Q: If I am pregnant or lactating, can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Yes. CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, recently pregnant, trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future. Monovalent mRNA (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) and Novavax vaccines are recommended for the primary series and a bivalent mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) is recommended for the booster dose for all vaccine-eligible populations including people who are pregnant or lactating. Any questions should be directed to their OB/GYN provider.
Q: Will I have to get this vaccine every year?
A: Currently, we do not know if this will become a seasonal vaccine. Much will depend on how many people are vaccinated and how quickly herd immunity can be achieved and how effective the current vaccines are against COVID-19 variants.
Q: Will I still need to wear a mask and social distance after being vaccinated?
A: Yes. While the vaccine protects you from getting sick, we do not know that it will completely prevent you from giving COVID-19 to an unvaccinated person. It’s important for everyone to continue using all tools available to stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Q: If I am taking antibiotics, can I still get my vaccine as scheduled?
A: Antibiotics do not affect the vaccine and it is ok to continue taking your antibiotics.
Q: Where can I get more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: For more information please visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov or www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/. Virginia also has a COVID vaccine Call Center, open 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week. That phone number is 877-VAX-IN-VA