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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Carle is working with local public health offices on a phased approach for vaccine distribution to patients and the public. To find out when vaccine may be available to you in your community, please check your local public health department website and social media.

In addition to health departments, IDPH is partnering with retail pharmacies to deliver the vaccine. Please visit this site to find a local pharmacy near you. These are by appointment only and documentation is required to show your eligibility as part of a priority group.

Frequently Asked Questions

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General Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions

When and where can I receive the vaccine?
Individual health departments will share specific county information about COVID-19 vaccine availability and eligibility through their websites, social media and local media outlets. Check Carle’s COVID-19 vaccine eligibility tool on or Carle social media for updates.

I’ve had another immunization or shot recently. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control recommend a separation of 14 days between Covid-19 vaccination and any other vaccination. This would include routine childhood vaccinations such as measles, polio, and diphtheria/tetanus, annual vaccinations such as influenza, and those more commonly associated with administration in older individuals, such as pneumococcal pneumonia and shingles vaccines.

What vaccines will be available?
Pfizer and Moderna have both been approved for Emergency Use Authorization under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Multiple other manufacturers are in the final stages of evaluation. However, the brand you will receive is determined by what we have been given by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The brand of vaccine may vary week to week, so you will not be given a choice. You will receive the same brand for dose 1 and 2.

How do I schedule my second dose?
You will get instructions on how to schedule your second dose from the entity that gave you your first dose Processes vary by clinic site but in most cases you will get your second dose where you got your first. At the Kohl’s Plaza site, you will make an appointment for your second dose when you check-out.

How do they work?
Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines use new mRNA technology, which does not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. While many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies, mRNA teaches our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

How effective is each vaccine in preventing me from getting sick?
Both vaccines are clinically proven to be an effective way to protect yourself from becoming ill from COVID-19. Read below for more information on the effectiveness of each approved vaccine.

Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
The FDA has given emergency use authorization to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Data has shown that the vaccine starts working soon after the first dose and has an efficacy rate of 95% seven days after the second dose. This means that about 95% of people who get the vaccine are protected from becoming seriously ill with the virus. This vaccine is for people age 16 and older. It requires two injections given 21 days apart.

Moderna vaccine
The FDA has given emergency use authorization to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Data has shown that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1%. This vaccine is for people age 18 and older. This vaccine requires two injections given 28 days apart.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines use messenger RNA (mRNA). Coronaviruses have a spike-like structure on their surface called an S protein. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give cells instructions for how to make a harmless piece of an S protein. After vaccination, cells begin making the protein pieces and displaying them on cell surfaces. Your immune system will recognize that the protein doesn't belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends and others around you.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without your having to become sick with COVID-19.

A COVID-19 vaccine might prevent you from getting COVID-19. Or, if you get COVID-19, the vaccine might keep you from becoming seriously ill or from developing serious complications.

Getting vaccinated also might help protect people around you from COVID-19, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Like with any vaccine, you may experience some side effects – that’s a sign that the vaccine is working. Plan for a day of rest after each dose if possible. Some trial participants see tenderness, achiness and mild fever. Staff will monitor you for 15 minutes after getting a COVID-19 vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most reactions happen with the first few days after vaccination and last no more than three days.

Can I take a pain reliever such as Tylenol® or Aleve® before my vaccination?
Medicines such as acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be taken after vaccination if medically appropriate and symptoms appear. Taking these medications before vaccination has been shown to reduce effectiveness of other vaccines, and its impact on the effectiveness of COVID vaccine has not yet been determined. We are discouraging prophylactic use but encouraging use once side effects begin to show. It is OK to start once the side effects like myalgias, fevers, etc. begin to appear.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19?
No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed in the U.S. don't use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

Keep in mind that it will take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after getting a COVID-19 vaccination. It is possible that you could become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 as a result, just before or after being vaccinated.

How many doses will I need to protect myself?
The vaccine is a two-dose series with the second shot 21 to 28 days after the first, depending on the specific vaccine received. It’s important to commit to getting both doses at the correct time.

When am I immune?
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could become sick or even spread the virus to others, because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection. The vaccines are more than 90 percent effective but it’s still unknown how long immunity last for at this time. We’re hopeful it could be for several months but research is still underway. That’s why it’s important that you continue to wear mask, social distance, and use good hand hygiene.

When can I see my family?
Each person needs to be making informed choices for their family based on their unique circumstances. While the vaccine does place us on the right path for widespread protections from COVID-19, it will be several months before enough people are vaccinated to significantly slow the spread of the virus. It may be possible to carry the virus to others even after vaccination which is why we’re focused on vaccinating as many people as possible.

Can you still spread the virus after getting the vaccine?
Given the currently limited information on how much the vaccine may reduce transmission in the general population and how long protection lasts, vaccinated persons should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds, washing hands often, following CDC travel guidance, following quarantine guidance after an exposure to someone with COVID-19, and following any applicable workplace or school guidance, including guidance related to personal protective equipment use or COVID-19 testing.


What kind of testing did researchers do to make sure the vaccine is safe?
It begins in a lab with scientific observations and evaluation of what vaccine will work well. If approved for human clinical trials, phase one means a small group of adult volunteers receive the vaccine trial, phase two is for a group of volunteers who receive the new vaccine and phase three is to determine safety and efficacy in a larger number of volunteers. It takes months for each phase. These phases happened simultaneously and under emergency utilization authorization, the approval, not the study, was expedited.

The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) establish committees to review the scientific data and make recommendations on a vaccine candidate’s safety, efficacy and distribution. The FDA holds the studies for COVID-19 to the same standard as every other vaccine.

Should people be worried that drug companies produced these COVID-19 vaccines so rapidly?
No. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) issued by the government allows the process to move faster and COVID-19 assessments began with larger control groups of 30,000.

Lab testing processes of various vaccines ran simultaneously rather than sequentially with control groups. Scientists and vaccine manufacturers around the world have a solid understanding of how to rapidly manufacture a vaccine for infectious agents that stimulate a strong immune response. The flu vaccine is a good example of this process.

With the pandemic, there was a strong focus across the world on deploying extra resources in terms of research, manufacturing and clinical testing teams in companies and research labs. There were many eyes on the development of the vaccine.

Carle encourages anyone eligible to be vaccinated as soon as it’s available in your community.

If someone who has COVID is exposed to virus again, can they spread or carry the virus to others?
Experts believe that those who have had a COVID-19 infection are most likely immune for the 90 days after their symptoms began or they had a positive test, whichever comes first.

Should someone who has had COVID-19 and recovered take the vaccine?
Experts are uncertain of how long natural immunity lasts in someone who has had COVID-19. A person who has COVID-19 now should wait to get vaccinated until that individual has recovered and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation. While there is otherwise no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Thus, those with documented COVID-19 infection in the previous 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired.

Should someone who has received passive antibody therapy (Monoclonal Antibodies) for COVID-19 take the vaccine?
Currently, there is no data on the safety and efficacy of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination in people who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Based on the estimated half-life of such therapies as well as evidence suggesting that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after infection, in this instance, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until more information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.

Should you take the vaccine if you are pregnant?
Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant. Observational data demonstrates that while the absolute risk is low, pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness. Additionally, they might be at an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth due to COVID-19. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends the vaccine. Patients who are pregnant should talk with their provider with questions.

Should you take the vaccine if you are lactating?
There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people or the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. A lactating person who is part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated. As always, if you have questions, talk to your healthcare provider.

Should you get the vaccine if you plan to become pregnant soon?
There is no recommendation for routine pregnancy testing before receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination.

Should you get a vaccine if you have underlying medical conditions?
Both approved COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions who have no allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccination. Staff will observe patients for 15 minutes following vaccination.

Should you get a vaccine if you have allergies?
The only adverse side effect is a history of severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Those with a history of anaphylaxis to other vaccines or other injectable medicines should have a risk assessment and potentially defer the vaccine. If it is given, the patient should be observed for 30 minutes.

Should you get the vaccine if you have an immunocompromising condition?
Immunocompromised individuals may still receive COVID-19 vaccination if they have no contraindications to vaccination. However, they should be counseled about the unknown vaccine safety profile and effectiveness in immunocompromised populations, as well as the potential for reduced immune responses and the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19.

Persons with HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions, or who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. Data are not currently available to establish vaccine safety and efficacy in these groups. Persons with stable HIV infection were included in phase 2/3 clinical trials, though data specific to this group are not yet available.

Individuals who are immunocompromised should talk to their doctor with questions. After vaccination, immunocompromised patients will be observed for 30 minutes.


Is there a cost to me? Is it covered by insurance?
The federal government will cover the cost of the vaccine at this time. Most insurance plans cover the cost to deliver the shot. If you have questions about your coverage, call your health plan at the number on the back of your insurance card.

I do not have health insurance. Will I have to pay to get vaccine at Carle?
The federal government will cover the cost of vaccine for those who are uninsured. If you have more questions about your healthcare costs or a Carle bill contact Carle Patient Financial Services at (888) 71-CARLE, (888) 712-2753.

Why is Carle having a separate vaccine clinic in Champaign County?
Because we care for a large number of patients in the region, Carle is partnering with public health to open a vaccine site at the request of CUPHD in Champaign County. At the vaccine clinic we’ve set-up, we’re using our health system’s staff to give vaccinations, and our scheduling and medical record system to schedule appointments and reminders to ensure that the vaccine is documented in the patient’s health record. Our intent is to establish a vaccination process that will work for the weeks and months ahead to help bring an end to this pandemic.

Do patients have to pay to get vaccine at the Carle-run vaccine site at Kohl's Plaza?
At the Carle vaccine clinic, we will take down your insurance information (similar to processes at COVID-19 testing sites). If you have health insurance, your insurance company will be billed for the cost to deliver the shot. If you don’t have insurance, you won’t get a bill.