Should I get vaccinated?
With very few exceptions, the answer is yes. We suggest learning as much as you can about each COVID-19 vaccine so you can make the best, most informed decision for yourself and your community.
Studies show that the vaccines protect people against severe illness, hospitalization, or worse. For those with underlying conditions at a higher risk for severe illness - such as diabetes, obesity, or chronic kidney disease - the vaccine also showed protection.
At Virtua, we believe widespread vaccination is essential for bringing the pandemic to an end. We encourage everyone to give vaccinations serious consideration.
Who is eligible to be vaccinated at this time?
All people who live, work, or receive an education in New Jersey and are 5 years old or older are now eligible. Children ages 5 to 17 are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine only.
Who is eligible for a vaccine booster?
The CDC has authorized third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people who meet the following criteria, provided it has been at least 6 months since their initial vaccine series:
• People 50 years and older should receive a booster shot.
• People aged 18 and older who are residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot
• People aged 18 and older may receive a booster shot.
Those who are 18 years of age and over who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine two months ago or more should get a booster dose.
Virtua is not presently able to offer booster shots to the community. Fortunately, eligible community members can receive a third dose at more than 1,600 sites across New Jersey. To find a vaccination site and book an appointment, visit covid19.nj.gov/finder or call the state’s Vaccine Call Center at 1-855-568-0545.
I’ve recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need a vaccine?
If you've recovered from COVID-19, you've probably built up antibodies to the virus. But it's not currently clear how long those antibodies protect you against reinfection. Plus, with variants and mutations spreading throughout the community, we recommend you still consider getting vaccinated.
If you are currently sick with COVID or contract the virus between your scheduled doses – you can receive the vaccine after you complete your isolation period directed by your physician.
If I’m pregnant or breastfeeding, should I get the vaccine?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine released a joint statement that includes the following: “As experts in reproductive health, we continue to recommend that the vaccine be available to pregnant individuals. We also assure patients that there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to loss of fertility.” If you're pregnant, planning to conceive, or presently breastfeeding - we suggest speaking with your doctor to create a plan that's right for you.
What is the cost for being vaccinated?
There will be no charges or co-pays to vaccine recipients. As authorized, insurance providers will be billed for vaccine administration. For those without insurance, vaccination is free of charge.
What should I do if I feel sick on the day of my vaccine appointment?
You should cancel your vaccine appointment should any of the conditions below apply:
• If you have experienced any of the following symptoms in the past 48 hours: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
• If, within the past 14 days, you have been in close physical contact (six feet or closer for a cumulative total of 15 minutes) with someone who has laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms.
• If you are isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19.
• If you are currently waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test.
What should I do if I acquire COVID-19 in between my vaccine doses?
Vaccination of people with a known, current COVID-19 infection should be deferred at minimum until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation.
Someone with COVID-19 that developed after the first dose of vaccine may receive the second dose, but that person must take all necessary precautions to ensure he or she does not put others at risk. This means that a second dose can only occur if:
• At least 10 days have passed since the onset of symptoms and/or a positive test result, AND
• At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, AND
• All other symptoms have improved.
Should you find yourself in this position and are unsure whether to move forward or delay your second-dose appointment, consider consulting with your primary care provider to arrive at a decision that feels right to you.
Will I feel ill after I get the vaccine?
As with any vaccine, you may experience one or more common reactions over the coming days. This is a sign that the vaccine is getting to work. These symptoms are usually minor and will improve quickly. Some people report feeling fatigue, fever, headache, or pain/soreness in the arm -- particularly after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine. Some people have no adverse reaction at all.
If you have any concerns about how you’re feeling, please contact your primary care provider to answer any questions about your symptoms. If you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 right away. For more information on possible side effects, visit the CDC's helpful guide.
Do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, or if you live with or come into close contact with people who have not, or cannot, be vaccinated, it’s important that you continue safety practices to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect yourself and those around you:
• Wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
• Practice social distancing.
• Wash your hands frequently.
• Avoid indoors gatherings with those outside your immediate household.
If you have been vaccinated, there are still situations and circumstances in which wearing a mask is the best thing to do. For instance, if you’re in a large gathering or unsure of others’ vaccination status, wear a mask. Some places may still require you to wear a mask, regardless of whether or not you have been vaccinated.