Things to know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Scheduling frequently asked questions

Are there accommodations for people who need interpretation services?
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Interpreting services are available at no cost if English is not your preferred language. If you need other accommodations, please call our vaccination schedulers at 833.755.0696.
Is there assistance for people with a hearing disability?
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Video Remote ASL services are available at our vaccination clinics. If you need other accommodations, please call our vaccination schedulers at 833.755.0696.
Are there accommodations for people who need interpretation services?
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Please call 833.755.0696.
How do I cancel or reschedule my appointment?
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Through your Spectrum Health MyChart account or by calling 833.755.0696.
What if I have a MyChart account through another health care provider, can I use that to login?
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You will need to create a Spectrum Health MyChart account.
Are Spectrum Health vaccine locations only available to Spectrum Health patients?
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Spectrum Health urgent care facilities and regional clinics are available to anyone eligible for a vaccine. Call the COVID-19 Call Center at 833.755.0696 to find available locations in your area.

Patients of Spectrum Health Primary Care/Internal Medicine/Pediatrics offices can make a vaccine appointment by calling their doctor’s office.

Before your vaccine

For your safety, if you fit into any of the categories below you will not be able to receive your vaccine at your scheduled appointment:

  • Are not feeling well and have a temperature greater than 100.4F.
  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction for which you were hospitalized or treated with epinephrine (EpiPen) as a result of: a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine, a component of the COVID-19 vaccine, or an injectable medication containing polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate. If you have, you will need a message from your provider indicating you are able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Are currently in self-isolation for COVID-19 (10 days of self-isolation are required after symptoms) If the items above apply to you, please cancel/reschedule your appointment. 

If you are unsure if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine and want to speak with a provider, please contact a primary care provider.

Wear clothing that allows a clinician to easily access your upper arm, as the vaccine is delivered to the deltoid muscle. Consider wearing a short-sleeved shirt or wear a short-sleeved shirt under a sweater or jacket that can easily be removed.

Transportation

Need a ride? If you are 60+ and think you might need a ride to get your COVID-19 vaccine, you may be eligible for a low-cost or donation-based ride.

When you arrive

  • You should expect this appointment to take between 30 and 60 minutes.
  • In compliance with existing Visitor Restrictions please wear a mask and come alone to your vaccine appointment.
  • Arrive at your scheduled appointment time. We will not be able to accommodate early arrivals.
  • Further instructions will be provided prior to your appointment and upon arrival.
  • Video Relay Service (VRS) is available for Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the clinic.
  • Translation services are available for those who require an interpreter.

After your vaccination

Second dose

Timing of the second dose is critical if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and you must get the second dose to receive the full protection of the vaccine. If you did not also schedule your second dose when you made the first dose appointment, you will receive a notification to schedule within 24 to 48 hours.

MCIR text you may receive

Spectrum Health is authorized by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to participate in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR). After you receive a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you may receive a text message from MCIR to notify you when you are due for a second dose. If you do not want to receive further texts, reply with “STOP”.

Side effects

The symptoms below are commonly experienced after a vaccine:

  • Injection site pain, swelling or redness
  • Excessive tiredness or feeling weak
  • Muscle pain, joint pain
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Nausea or upset stomach or diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes

If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days please contact your primary care provider or the Vaccine Scheduling Line at 833.755.0696 to further discuss your reaction to the vaccine. If you do not have a primary care provider, we suggest scheduling a virtual visit through your preferred health system’s electronic resources.

Vaccine frequently asked questions

What should I expect after getting my COVID-19 vaccine?
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You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. To learn more about side effects and when to call your primary care provider please download the CDC’s “What to expect” document below.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
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Vaccines work by tricking the immune system to fight off an infection. They do this in different ways. Some use weakened versions of the virus that are unable to cause illness (chicken pox and measles); some use dead virus (influenza); and the COVID-19 vaccine uses pieces of the virus to target a specific protein on the surface of the virus.

Note: You cannot get COVID-19 from a vaccine. The vaccine would contain proteins or other biological substances to stimulate the immune response, but not the coronavirus itself.

How is the vaccine administered?
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Health care personnel and patients will receive a COVID-19 vaccine as a shot into the muscle of the upper arm. If you are receiving the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine, a second dose is then administered either three or four weeks later.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
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The FDA carefully reviews all safety data and only authorizes vaccine use if there’s sufficient evidence strongly suggesting that patients have benefitted from the vaccine and that it meets safety standards. The FDA has rigorous scientific and regulatory processes in place to help ensure the safety and effectiveness of a vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine effective?
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The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be effective, based on initial clinical trials. Because the vaccine is authorized for an emergency use during the pandemic, the vaccine’s maker will continue to collect data to demonstrate whether the vaccine is effective over longer periods of time. Find more information in the Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines.

Is there a cost to getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
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The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no out-of-pocket cost. Insurance is not required to register for an appointment. If you have insurance, please include that information when scheduling.

Does the vaccine have side effects?
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There are usually mild to moderate side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine. The most common side effect caused by the vaccine includes pain at the site where the vaccine was given, which is in the arm. Other side effects may include a headache, fever, chills or muscle aches.

Do I need to get my 2nd dose?
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If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it is important to get your 2nd dose in order to receive the full protection of the vaccine. This is based on the clinical trial data for both COVID-19 vaccines.

Who does the CDC recommend receive a a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
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Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive a third dose. This includes people who:

  • Are undergoing active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have received a stem cell transplant within the past two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Are undergoing treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Who should get a booster vaccine?
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  • Pfizer – Individuals 12 years and older at least 5 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Pfizer is the only approved vaccine booster for Individuals who are 12 - 17.
  • Moderna - Adults 18 years and older at least 6 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series.
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) - Adults 18 years and older at least 2 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Janssen (J&J) - Spectrum Health locations are not offering Janssen vaccines.
  • Adults 18 years and older can mix and match a booster vaccine.
Can I receive a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
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Yes, you can receive a flu vaccine at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccine. Your Spectrum Health MyChart account gives you the option to schedule both vaccines at the same appointment.

Your Spectrum Health MyChart account gives you easy access to your COVID-19 vaccine records
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If you received your vaccine from Spectrum Health, we’ve automatically captured your vaccine information in your Spectrum Health MyChart account. To find it:

  • Sign in
  • Go to your Menu
  • Scroll down to My Record and choose COVID-19.

You’ll find your vaccination record with a QR code for easy scanning and any past COVID-19 test results. This also is where to go to schedule future COVID-19 vaccines or screenings.

What if I didn’t get my vaccine at a Spectrum Health location?
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Easily upload your vaccine card to your MyChart account. You’ll find the upload feature by following the instructions provided above.

If you lost your card, return to the provider who administered your vaccines and request a replacement. They should have you on file and be able to reproduce a copy.

What should I do if I lost my vaccine card?
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If you lost your card, go back to the provider that administered your vaccines and request a replacement. They should have you on file and be able to reproduce a copy.

Who is recommended to receive a third dose?
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Currently, the CDC is recommending moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. 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 past two 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 their immune response
Is the “third or additional” dose different from the booster vaccine?
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A third dose, also referred to as an additional, and a booster vaccine are different. Read below for more information:

  • Third dose: The CDC recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional (or third) dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Booster: A “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend, a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least six months after completion of the primary vaccine series in certain populations. Visit the CDC guidelines for more information on the booster vaccine.
Can I mix and match third (additional) doses?
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For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?
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The FDA’s recent EUA amendment for immunocompromised patients only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as does the CDC’s recommendation. Emerging data has demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine.

There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.

Where can I get a third (or additional) dose of the vaccine?
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You can get your third or any doses from your local pharmacy or visit vaccines.gov to find a convenient location.

Third doses also are available at Spectrum Health by appointment. Easily schedule your third dose using your Spectrum Health MyChart account or by calling 833.755.0696. Remember to have your vaccine card with you when you go to your appointment.

How much time should there be between a second and third doses?
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The CDC recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional (or third) dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

If I had a reaction to my first or second dose, should I proceed with a third dose?
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If you have any concerns about receiving a third dose, speak with your health care provider.

Do I need a provider’s order to receive a third dose?
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You don’t need a provider order to schedule you’re your third dose of the vaccine.

Remember to have your vaccine card with you when you go to your appointment.

Who should get a booster vaccine?
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  • Pfizer – Individuals 12 years and older at least 5 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Pfizer is the only approved vaccine booster for Individuals who are 12 - 17.
  • Moderna - Adults 18 years and older at least 6 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series.
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) - Adults 18 years and older at least 2 months after completing primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Janssen (J&J) - Spectrum Health locations are not offering Janssen vaccines.
  • Adults 18 years and older can mix and match a booster vaccine.
Is the booster vaccine different from the “third or additional” dose?
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A third dose, also referred to as an additional, and a booster vaccine are different. Read below for more information:

  • Third dose: The CDC recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional (or third) dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Booster: A “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but whose protection has decreased over time (this is called waning immunity).
Can I mix and match booster vaccines?
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CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix and match dosing for booster shots. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster.

Where can I receive a booster vaccine?
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You can get your booster vaccine at your local pharmacy or visit vaccines.gov to find a convenient location.

Booster vaccines also are available at Spectrum Health by appointment. Easily schedule your third dose using your Spectrum Health MyChart account or by calling 833.755.0696.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Schedule an appointment in MyChart or call the Spectrum Health COVID-19 Vaccine call center from 8am to 8pm.

Find Additional Convenient Vaccine Locations

Please note: Appointments may be limited. Find other convenient and local vaccine locations at vaccines.gov