COVID-19 Vaccine Questions and Answers | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

COVID-19 Vaccine Questions and Answers

Updated Aug. 31, 2021

Answers to common questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional information can be found at NortonHealthcare.com/COVID-19 and in these recent Get Healthy posts.

Vaccine update information is subject to change. Please refer to this page regularly.

Who can get vaccinated at Norton Healthcare?

Norton Healthcare has opened COVID-19 vaccination appointments for anyone ages 12 and older using the Pfizer vaccine. Walk-in vaccinations are available at Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic – St. Matthews, 1001 Breckenridge Lane, Louisville, KY 40207, and Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic – Dixie, 4420 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40216.

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How do I get vaccinated?

You can schedule a COVID-19 vaccination online at NortonHealthcare.com/COVID-Vaccine. Norton Healthcare, in cooperation with the city and state, is offering vaccines to anyone 12 and older. Please note that appointments are required due to the recent demand for vaccination.

If you need to cancel your appointment, please let us know — to help prevent your dose from going to waste.

Norton Healthcare also will continue working with community partners to provide vaccinations at other convenient locations.

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What about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy or breastfeeding?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a COVID-19 vaccination for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or might become pregnant in the future. Data collected about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy suggests the benefits of a vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks.

There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men, according to the CDC.

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Why are people who are vaccinated still getting COVID-19?

Some of the “breakthrough” cases are people who don’t have symptoms but tested positive. Others have mild cold or allergy symptoms and test positive for COVID-19. A vaccine may not prevent you from being infected, but it helps your body fight the infection and prevent severe disease, hospitalization, long-haul symptoms and even death.

The delta variant is a mutation of the original coronavirus and creates a much higher load of the virus. That helps make it spread more easily, and it also can mean that your body needs to work harder to fight back the infection. Some symptoms can break through, but the vast majority of patients being hospitalized with COVID-19 aren’t vaccinated.

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Do the vaccines protect against the delta variant?

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August 2021, found the delta variant is better at defeating one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but still isn’t much of a match for two doses.

The Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against the delta variant after one dose was 31%, compared with 49% for the original alpha coronavirus. After two doses, the vaccine was 88% effective against delta compared with 94% for alpha. This level of effectiveness is considered very high and gives confidence of the vaccines’ effectiveness against the delta variant.

The study’s authors concluded that the data provided further evidence for getting two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

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What’s the status of a possible third dose of the vaccine?

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require an initial vaccine and a booster. In mid-August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated guidelines to allow a third shot for organ transplant recipients and other patients with similarly compromised immune systems.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a second shot 21 days after the first and the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after.

A second shot shouldn’t be scheduled any earlier than those time frames and can be given up to six weeks after the first shot whether Moderna or Pfizer. A third booster shot can be considered in immunologically compromised individuals to occur 28 days after the second dose.

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I’m young, healthy and never really get sick. Why should I get vaccinated?

One of the fastest growing groups who are being significantly infected by the delta variant are young people who are unvaccinated. Even if you don’t think you’ll get sick (you can, by the way), think about the people who come into contact with you every day.

Some may be close to you; some may be complete strangers. Even if they’re vaccinated, some of them could have compromised immune systems, and they could become seriously ill. Remember that children under 12 can’t get vaccinated, and children do get sick and can die from COVID-19.

There’s also an element of helping yourself, too. Vaccines and masking limit the spread of coronavirus and can help prevent more of the quarantines, isolation and business closures that we just went through months ago.

There are simple things we all can do to help others.

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Are more kids getting sick?

Vaccines are currently not approved for those younger than 12. More children were being diagnosed with COVID-19 as of mid-August, and Norton Children’s Hospital admissions were higher and about the same as they were during the winter. One day in August the hospital had 10 children admitted with four in the intensive care unit and two on ventilators.

While children under 12 can’t get the vaccine, immunizing everyone around them — older siblings, caregivers, family and others will help.

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I made an appointment to get vaccinated at Norton Healthcare, but was able to get a shot elsewhere. How do I cancel my appointment?

Thank you. If you don’t need the shot we set aside for you or you need to reschedule, please cancel your appointment so it doesn’t go to waste. You can cancel or reschedule online.

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How can I check that my vaccine appointment has been scheduled and the location?

You can confirm the date, time and location of your appointment by signing in to your free MyNortonChart account.

Anyone scheduled for an appointment will receive a confirmation email. If you do not receive a confirmation email, your appointment may not have been scheduled successfully. Please try again and make sure that you click “Schedule It” at the end of the scheduling process. 

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Will there be a waitlist and/or difficulty getting an appointment for the second dose?

When you get your first dose, we’ll line up your second dose and make your appointment.

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How should I prepare for my COVID-19 vaccination appointment?

Appointments are suggested for COVID-19 vaccination at a designated Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic location. Important things to know about your appointment:

  • Please arrive on time. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with directions to your designated Norton Healthcare Vaccine Clinic prior to arrival.
  • Bring photo ID and, if you have insurance, your insurance card.
  • Stay 6 feet apart from others and do not arrive more than five minutes before your appointment to maintain social distancing.
  • Wear a mask at all times. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided to you.
  • Wear a shirt that allows easy access to the upper arms.
  • Plan to stay at the site for 15 to 30 minutes after you get the vaccine.

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How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The vaccine is provided at no cost to the patient.

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

Serious side effects of the vaccine have been very rare. Mild reactions such as pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever have been more common. The side effects typically are short lived but may rarely last as long as several days. More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

There have been reports around the word of anaphylaxis after getting a vaccine. These patients have recovered, and providers are required to have appropriate medical treatment for severe allergic reactions, including epinephrine, immediately available when administering the vaccine.

Everyone is monitored for 15 minutes after the injection, and those with a history of severe allergic reaction are monitored for 30 minutes. Anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past still can get either vaccine, but should take precautions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We recommend discussing your specific health concerns with your physician(s) before getting the vaccine.

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I’ve already recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need the vaccine?

In short, YES, based on current data, the vaccines convey more effective immunity than the type your body created while fighting off the disease. Those who were more severely affected by the disease may have developed more antibodies than those who had mild or no symptoms.

Current recommendations suggest waiting at least 14 days from onset of symptoms and at least 24 hours without fever, though given our understanding of natural COVID-19 immunity, one may wish to wait for 90 days to receive their vaccine without negative effects.

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Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientific staff, an independent panel of vaccine experts and others review the safety and efficacy data collected as the vaccines are tested on thousands of volunteers.

Currently, all available data suggests these vaccines are safe, with minor side effects such as pain at the site of the shot, headache, fatigue and other flu-like symptoms for a short period of time. These side effects seem to follow the second shot more than the first.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration will continue to monitor for signs of even rarer safety issues.

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Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

NO, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a small gene from the virus while other vaccines being studied use inactivated virus or other methodology. None of these can cause COVID-19.

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Should I take Tylenol or ibuprofen before receiving the vaccine?

Taking the drugs to prevent post-vaccination symptoms is not recommended. Information on the impact of these drugs on antibody responses triggered by the vaccine is not available.

If you currently take over-the-counter acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, you can use them to ease the sore arm, headache and other potential temporary side effects of the vaccine.

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Will COVID-19 vaccines cause me to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests?

No. These vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility to test positive on certain antibody tests. These tests indicate you had a previous infection or vaccination and that you may have some level of protection against the virus.

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