Vaccination is a safe, effective, and reliable way to prevent getting sick from COVID-19. Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect you and your family. To help keep you informed, we’ve collected information about common COVID-19 vaccine questions. You can also explore more vaccine information from our trusted public health sources.
Vaccine coverage and eligibility
COVID-19 vaccines are available at no cost
All FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are provided at no charge to you, no matter where you get the vaccine. This includes when multiple doses are required.
Everyone 5 years of age and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine
- All people 5 and older living in the US are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
- The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for people 16 years and older, which is now marketed as “Comirnaty”.
- All people 18 and older living in the US are now eligible for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccine appointments
Schedule your vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available for individuals age 5 and over, at pharmacies, many doctor’s offices, and community clinics. We encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine wherever there is availability. All COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.
Visit your primary care provider
In virtually all communities, many physician offices and local clinics are offering COVID-19 vaccination. This is welcome access for those members who wish for a personalized approach to vaccination, including asking questions and receiving information specific to their personal needs.
Visit a participating pharmacy
Vaccinations are by appointment but many pharmacies allow walk-ins based upon availability. Schedule an appointment online or by visiting a participating pharmacy, such as:
- CVS Pharmacy, Inc.
- Fred Meyer/Kroger/QFC
- Health Mart
- Rite Aid Corp
Transportation assistance for COVID-19 vaccine appointments
Transportation assistance is available for COVID-19 vaccine appointments
- Ride to Care – 503-416-3955 or 1-855-321-4899, TTY/TDD 711, interpreter services are available.
- Ride to Care is a Health Share program that provides free trips to health care appointments. Plan a trip to your next health care appointment-it’s free and easy.
- Ride to Care can be used for transportation to/from vaccination sites. For more information, visit www.ridetocare.com
- Providence Medicare Advantage Plans is pleased to assist members who require transportation to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Please call OneCall at 1-866-733-8994 for questions or to a schedule transportation service.
How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I receive at-home services for a medical condition or disability?
- Various county vaccine clinics, including drive-thru clinics, are available at Vaccine Information by County or may be found via your county’s public health website. To register for a vaccine, follow the instructions on your local county’s public health website.
For all other members who need at-home services, call Customer Service at 1-800-878-4445 to be connected to our Care Management team for more information.
Get help scheduling an appointment
If you need help making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, we can help. Call us at 1-877-216-3644 for assistance.
- For Oregon residents, the Oregon Health Authority’s website contains many good pointers to find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon.
- Not everyone can use the internet for vaccine scheduling. If you need to schedule your vaccination and you do not have access to the internet, you can call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 (toll-free) from 6:00am – 7:00pm daily, including holidays. There is an option to get a call back rather than wait on hold. You can text ORCOVID to 898211 or email ORCOVID@211info.org for more information on where to get the vaccine.
- Additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics may also be found on COVID-19 Vaccine Information by County page located on the Oregon Health Authority website. For Washington residents, you can find a vaccinating provider by county on the Vaccine Locations website provided by the Washington State Department of Health.
- You can also call 1-800-525-0127, and then press “#” from 6:00am – 10:00pm, Monday – Friday and 8:00am – 6:00pm on weekends and observed state holidays.
- You can text “Coronavirus” to 211211 to receive information and updates on your phone.
If you are an employer interested in hosting a vaccination clinic for your employees, visit our on-site COVID-19 vaccine clinic page for more information.
Common questions for different groups of people
If I have a chronic condition, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, people with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Learn more from the CDC.
If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible although rare that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. Learn more from the CDC.
Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?
COVID-19 vaccination can help protect your child from getting COVID-19. Although fewer children have been sick with COVID-19 compared to adults, children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can get sick from COVID-19, and can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 to others. Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone 5 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available to children 5 years and older. Learn more from the CDC and OHSU.
If I am pregnant, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for pregnant people. CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people aged 5 years and older, including people who are pregnant, recently pregnant (including those who are lactating), who are trying to get pregnant now, or who might become pregnant in the future. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can prevent serious illness, death, and pregnancy complications related to COVID-19. Learn more from the CDC.
You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination.
Boosters and additional doses
Do I need a COVID-19 booster shot?
Everyone ages 18 and older can get a booster shot.
You should get a COVID-19 booster if you received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and completed your initial series at least 6 months ago and are:
- 50 years and older
- Ages 18 years and older and live in a long-term care setting
Booster shots are also recommended for Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine recipients who are 18 and older and were vaccinated 2 or more months ago.
You can receive any vaccine as a booster, regardless of which vaccine you received first.
Learn more from the CDC.
What are the side effects to getting a booster shot?
So far, reactions reported after getting the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot were similar to that of the 2-shot primary series. Fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.
Who needs an additional dose?
The CDC recommends and FDA have authorized an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) for certain immunocompromised individuals as defined by the CDC. The additional dose augments the primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Individuals should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
Vaccine safety and effectiveness
What does approval from the FDA mean?
The FDA thoroughly reviews the safety, effectiveness, and quality of medical products, including vaccines, before granting an FDA approval. After this extensive review, the FDA determined the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, was safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older.
See below for more information on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for additional populations.
Is getting the vaccine safe?
The safety of vaccines is a top priority, and millions of people have already been safely vaccinated. All FDA-authorized and FDA-approved vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. Additionally, these vaccines have been determined safe in preventing COVID-19.
The FDA has authorized three COVID-19 vaccines under the FDA EUA. An EUA may be granted by the FDA only during a public health emergency. When reviewing an EUA, the FDA carefully considers the potential benefits and risks of a product based on the current data. The following COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use:
- Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 5 through 15 years of age
- People, 5 years and older, with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are authorized to receive an additional dose at least 28 days after a second dose
- The EUA will continue to cover the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 5 years of age and older until sufficient approved vaccine can be manufactured and distributed
- Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 18 and older
- People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are authorized to receive an additional dose at least 28 days after a second dose.
- Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 18 and older
Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect against variant strains of the virus?
All of the COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against variants, including the Delta variant, but breakthrough infections can occur. Fortunately, vaccination, even among those who acquire infections, prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
How long do I need to wait after getting a flu vaccine or another vaccine before getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit.
What should I expect at my appointment?
- Bring your photo ID to show proof of identify, such as your driver’s license. If it’s your second or third dose, bring your COVID-19 vaccination card.
- Wear your mask and physically distance from others while inside and in line.
- After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you should be monitored on site for at least 15 minutes.
- Consider signing up for v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one.
- You should get a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Keep your vaccination card, and consider taking a picture of it as a backup copy.
To be fully vaccinated, how many shots do I need?
The number of doses needed depends on which vaccine you receive. To get the most protection:
- Two Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart.
- Two Moderna vaccine doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart.
- Johnson & Johnsons Jansen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine requires only one dose.
What if I miss my second dose of the vaccine?
- If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, you should get your second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.
- If you miss your second vaccination appointment or are outside the recommended second-dose timing, you can still get the second dose. You won’t need to start over with the first dose, and the second dose will still help you get protection from COVID-19.
What to expect after you get vaccinated
What are the side effects? When do I need to seek medical care or be concerned?
Side effects from vaccines are normal signs that your body is building protection. For most people, side effects are mild or moderate and last only a day or two. Side effects might include feeling tired and achy. You might have a fever and chills. Your arm will probably be sore where you got your shot. If you received a second shot, side effects may be more intense than the ones you experienced after your first shot.
Contact your healthcare provider if your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.
What are the long-term side effects?
Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Millions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.
Can I get COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?
A small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. Studies show that fully vaccinated people have a reduced risk of getting severely ill and can be less likely to spread the virus to others, even if they do get COVID-19.
How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?
It’s not yet known how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. Recent studies show that protection against the virus may decrease over time. This reduction in protection has led the CDC to recommend certain groups get a booster shot at least 6 months after completing their initial vaccination series.