COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
Scheduling a Vaccination
Vaccination and other Medical Conditions
Vaccine and Pregnancy
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided Emergency Use Authorization
(EUA) for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine can
be given to people 16 years old and older and the Moderna vaccine can
be given to people 18 years old and older. Currently, there is no COVID-19
vaccine approved for use in children less than 16 years old.
Who is BCH vaccinating right now?
Colorado’s plan to distribute COVID-19 vaccine is based on federal
guidelines designed to dispense the limited supply of vaccines in an ethical
and transparent way. BCH, like all health systems, uses our available
supply of vaccine to support the state’s plan within our community.
We started by providing first doses to the groups initially prioritized
by the state plan -- health care workers and first responders. (It’s
important to remember that both COVID vaccines require two doses for maximum
effectiveness.) When Gov. Jared Polis recently approved vaccination of
Colorado residents age 70 and older, we started vaccinating at-risk seniors.
We have also started giving second doses to health care workers.
We are being as aggressive as possible with vaccination scheduling, but
due to ongoing concerns about vaccine supplies, we can only schedule a
limited number of patients each week. As we receive more vaccine, we will
notify more patients.
When will other groups get vaccinated?
You can get additional information on the State’s vaccination plans at
CDPHE vaccine website.
How do people age 70 and older get vaccinated?
Please click here to view special FAQs related to Gov. Jared Polis’ recent announcement
that Colorado citizens age 70 and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
How many doses are required for the COVID-19 vaccine?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require 2 doses. The second dose of
the Pfizer vaccine is administered 21 days after your first dose and the
second dose of the Moderna vaccine is administered 28 days after the first dose.
How long will I have to wait to get vaccinated?
At this point, it’s impossible to predict how long it will take to
vaccinate all community members age 70 and older. It could take a few
months to vaccinate everyone, depending on our supply of vaccine.
Can I choose which vaccine I receive?
BCH has both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines, both of which require
two doses. Unfortunately, we are not able to offer a choice of which vaccine
you will receive.
How much does the vaccine cost?
There is no charge for the vaccine
I had a natural infection from COVID 19 -- do I need the COVID-19 vaccine?
Vaccination is recommended even in individuals who have had natural infection
with COVID-19. Lab data from both vaccine trials suggest that the mRNA
vaccine will provide more robust immunity than immunity from natural infection.
Guidance from CDC allows waiting 90 days from natural infection to start
the vaccine series. Vaccination will act to boost your existing immunity
to COVID-19 and may be associated with more prominent, but transient side effects.
Do I need to still wear a mask after getting the vaccine?
BCH infectious disease specialists recommend that individuals continue
to wear masks and to social distance even after receiving the COVID-19
vaccine as these are still best tools to help reduce your chance of being
exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Until the entire country
has been vaccinated, getting the vaccine and following CDC recommendations
to protect yourself and others, including wearing a mask, social distancing
and frequent hand washing, will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
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Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe or is it recommended to wait until there is
BCH infectious disease specialists recommend that everyone get a COVID-19
vaccine as soon as it is available to the community. According to the
FDA, “Clinical trials are evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in tens of
thousands of study participants to generate the scientific data and other
information needed by FDA to determine safety and effectiveness. These
clinical trials are being conducted according to the rigorous standards
set forth by the FDA.”
If I have a history of anaphylaxis to a medication, food or another vaccine
in the past, can I get the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine?
Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction to a medication or other substance.
The overall background rate of anaphylaxis to vaccines in general is 1.3
for every million doses given and there are no associated deaths. There
have been a few reported cases of anaphylaxis to COVID-19 vaccines, all
which have occurred within 30 minutes of receiving the vaccine and responded
to therapy. The CDC considers a history of severe allergic reaction to
any vaccine or any injectable therapy a precaution, but not a contraindication
to vaccination. If you have a known allergy to polyethylene glycol or
polysorbate, this does exclude you from receipt of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.
Boulder Community Health will be able to deliver medication to you if you
have a severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or any injectable therapy.
We are following CDC recommendations for administering vaccine to individuals
with a history of anaphylaxis which includes monitoring for 30 minutes
after vaccination and having staff available that can recognize and treat
the early signs of anaphylaxis.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe if I am currently on medications or have an
existing medical condition?
BCH infectious disease specialists recommend individuals with underlying
medical conditions get the vaccine. However, if you have concerns, we
recommend that you speak with your physician before getting the vaccine.
I am in the process of getting another vaccine series. Can I get the COVID vaccine?
COVID vaccine needs to be separated from other vaccines by 14 days. If
someone has recently received a vaccine, their COVID vaccine should be
delayed until that 14-day time frame has expired. If your next dose of
an ongoing vaccine series is due around the same time as your scheduled
COVID vaccine, talk to your health care provider about which vaccine should
If I am having surgery, when should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
This is something you should discuss with your doctor or surgeon. As a
general rule, you should complete the COVID-19 vaccine two-2-dose series
prior to surgery and wait 1-2 weeks to undergo surgery. If you have already
undergone surgery, the best time to start your COVID vaccine series would
be after you are feeling well and 1-2 weeks has passed.
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How much will a COVID-19 vaccine reduce the risks or complications of COVID-19?
Current results from clinical trials have shown that the COVID-19 vaccines
have up to a 94 to 95 percent efficacy rate in preventing illness from
COVID-19. The studies suggest that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may prevent
hospitalization, even if you do get COVID-19. Experts are predicting that
getting vaccinated may also protect the people around you, especially
those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
What are the side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Side-effects from both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may include localized
pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, headache, chills, muscle aches
and joint pain after you receive the COVID vaccine. These side effects
should resolve in 24 to 48 hours. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol)
may be taken if this is safe based on your medical history.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to get the virus?
No. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain the live virus.
Getting the vaccine will also not cause you to test positive for COVID-19.
I heard taking Tylenol before getting vaccinated will minimize side effects.
Should I do that?
According to BCH Infectious Diseases specialists, pre-treatment with ibuprofen
or acetaminophen (Tylenol) before COVID vaccination is not believed to
be helpful in preventing side effects and is not recommended.
If you develop symptoms after vaccination, such as fever, headache or muscle
pain, ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be taken if this is safe based on
your medical history.
Can I get COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine?
Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses spaced 21
(Pfizer) to 28 (Moderna) days apart. And because it often takes a few
weeks for the body to build immunity after getting the vaccine, a person
could still be infected with COVID-19 just before or just after getting
the vaccine. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide
protection. Individuals should continue to practice social distancing
and wearing a mask even after receiving the vaccine.
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Scheduling a Vaccination
How do I sign up for a vaccination from BCH?
Patients cannot sign up for the vaccine. We will contact appropriate patients
when they are eligible to receive vaccine. Vaccination scheduling will
be done primarily through the MyBCH patient portal, which provides a secure
online connection to BCH services and physicians. The quickest and most
efficient way to schedule a vaccination from BCH is through a MyBCH account.
I already have a MyBCH account. What should I do next?
Check your account to make sure your personal information is up to date.
Keep in mind that patients cannot request the vaccine. We will notify
appropriate patients through MyBCH when they are eligible to receive vaccine.
I don’t have a MyBCH account. How do I get one?
You can sign up for a MyBCH account through the BCH website. Go to
bch.org/vaccine and complete the application.
What if I have trouble accessing or signing up for the MyBCH account?
If you have any issues trying to sign up or sign in to the MyBCH portal,
please email the BCH Health Information Management team at MyBCH@bch.org.
Please note that with many local residents signing up for MyBCH, HIM has
received a large volume of emails requesting support and it may take time
to respond to individual requests.
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Vaccination and Other Medical Conditions
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for those with immunocompromising conditions?
Those with HIV infection, other immunocompromising conditions or who take
immunosuppressive medications can take the vaccine. Although there is
less data regarding safety and efficacy in these groups, it is unlikely
to be different than those without these conditions. There is a potential
for reduced immune response and lower protection. BCH recommends that
you talk to your physician if you have concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I get the vaccine if I have an autoimmune disease?
No data is currently available on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19
vaccines in persons with autoimmune conditions, though these persons were
eligible for enrollment in clinical trials. No imbalances were observed
in the occurrence of symptoms consistent with autoimmune conditions or
inflammatory disorders in clinical trial participants who received an
mRNA COVID-19 vaccine compared to placebo. Persons with autoimmune conditions
may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
I have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), is it safe for me to
get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There have been no reported cases of GBS in clinical trials of COVID-19
mRNA vaccines.. Historically, GBS has been more commonly associated with
viral infections than with vaccinations which aim to prevent viral illness.
The following recommendations for persons with a prior history of GBS:
- Immunizations are not recommended during the acute phase of GBS and are
not suggested for a period of one year after the onset of GBS.
- After one year, immunizations need not be withheld, but the need for the
immunization should be reviewed on an individual basis with your doctor.
- If GBS occurs within six weeks of receipt of a specific vaccine, it is
recommended to avoid that specific vaccine in the future (but not all
I am worried about the cases of Bell’s palsy.
A person with a history of Bell’s palsy may receive the COVID-19
vaccine. Bell’s palsy is when the facial nerve becomes weak on one
side of the face most commonly due to reactivation of the herpes simplex
virus. Any vaccine administration could induce an immune response that
could trigger reactivation of dormant herpes viruses.
Cases of Bell’s palsy occurred in both vaccine studies only in the
vaccine arm at a rate that was within the typical rate of Bell’s
palsy in the general population (13 and 34 cases per 100,000). Current
data cannot determine if cases of Bell’s palsy were related to vaccine
administration. If you have a history of Bell’s palsy, talk to your
doctor prior to receiving the vaccine.
I have used dermal fillers -- is it safe for me to get the vaccine?
Having used dermal fillers is not a contraindication to receiving the COVID-19
vaccine. The observation of swelling at the site of dermal fillers with
a viral infection and after receipt of vaccines has been reported previously.
There are a small number of reported cases of swelling at sites of dermal
fillers following administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. This is considered
a rare side effect and can be easily treated. You should call your doctor
if swelling occurs.
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COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy
I am pregnant. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, including
mRNA vaccines, in pregnant people. Based on current knowledge, experts
believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant
person or the fetus because mRNA vaccines are not live vaccines and the
mRNA in the vaccine is degraded quickly by normal cellular processes.
If a pregnant person is part of a group that is recommended to receive
a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., health care personnel), they may choose to be
vaccinated. When making a decision, pregnant people and their health care
providers should consider the level of COVID-19 community transmission,
the patient’s personal risk of contracting COVID-19, the risks of
COVID-19 to the patient and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy
of the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine, and the lack of data
about the vaccine during pregnancy.
I am trying to get pregnant. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
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 mRNA COVID-19 vaccination.
I am breastfeeding. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people
or the effects of mRNA COVID-19 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., health care personnel) may choose
to be vaccinated.
It is strongly encouraged to sign up for
V-safe and report any adverse events to VAERS.
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