COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Getting vaccinated in Rhode Island

6/22/2022

COVID-19 vaccines are available at the places where you normally get your vaccines, like doctors’ offices and pharmacies. 

Call your healthcare provider to see if they are providing COVID-19 vaccine.  

Use Vaccines.Gov to find COVID-19 vaccines near you. You can search by location and by vaccine type.  

At-Home Vaccination: If you are unable to leave your home and need to schedule at at-home vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccines are available at no out-of-pocket cost. People cannot be charged for a COVID-19 vaccine when vaccination is the only service provided. However, some vaccine providers may ask for insurance information to charge your insurance for the vaccine administration fee. You do not have to have health insurance to get a COVID-19 vaccination.    

10/31/2022

CDC COVID-19 vaccine recommendations depend on factors like your age and health status. When you get vaccinated against COVID-19 and what doses you get may look different from what your friends and family do.

Vaccine schedule recommendations are made using the science and data that we know now. The virus that causes COVID-19 changes over time. So, scientists and researchers make changes to vaccines to better match the virus. This may mean that the recommendations about how many doses of COVID-19 vaccine to get, and when, could change.

Please see CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations by age here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html

Please speak with a healthcare provider if you have questions about your COVID-19 vaccination schedule.

In general, CDC recommends:

  • All people age 6 months or older get a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • All people age 5 or older get a primary series and a bivalent booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
  • People who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems should get an additional dose as part of their primary series.

CDC has different recommendations for people who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems. Please see CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine recommendations for people who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html  

 

6/21/2022 

Not all vaccine clinics require appointments. However, it is a good idea to make an appointment if you can. This helps vaccine clinics know how much vaccine to make available. It also helps reduce wait time.  

To find COVID-19 vaccine clinics, please visit Vaccines.Gov.  

You can also make appointments with your healthcare provider, at a hospital, at a health center, or a retail pharmacy. Please note that some retail pharmacies may require appointments for COVID-19 vaccination.  

7/23/2021

Many vaccination sites across the state are accessible by public transportation. To view transportation routes and any possible walking distances, visit www.ripta.com and enter your travel information into RIPTA’s trip planner on the homepage. The website also has detailed maps and timetables for every RIPTA route. If you need help or cannot visit the website, call RIPTA’s Customer Service team at 401-781-9400.

RIPTA offers free transportation for anyone traveling to or from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. For more information or to take advantage of this program, please contact RIPTA Customer Service by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling 781-9400.

Anyone enrolled in Medicaid or older than 60 can use the Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service provided by MTM. Transportation can be booked online at https://www.mtm-inc.net/mtm-link/ or by calling MTM at 855-330-9131 (TTY: 711) at least two business days before the appointment. If you are not enrolled in Medicaid, there may be a small cost to schedule a ride. For more information on the Non-Emergency Medical Transport Service, please see this FAQ sheet.

6/21/2022 

You don’t need insurance to be vaccinated, but if you have insurance, we ask that you bring your insurance card. 

Please wear loose-fitting clothing that allows easy access to your upper arm. Follow social distancing and masking guidelines at your appointment.  

You will receive a vaccination card that shows which vaccine you received and the date and location of your vaccination. There will also be space to write down when you got your second dose or your booster dose.  We strongly encourage you to sign up for your second dose while onsite and receiving your first dose. After receiving the vaccine, you will be asked to remain on site for a 15- to 30-minute observation period. You can make your second appointment during this observation period.

6/9/2021

Vaccines often cause our immune systems to respond in a way that shows the vaccine is working. This is healthy, normal, and expected. You may experience a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches, but they should go away within a few days. Some people have no side effects from getting vaccinated.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 following vaccination, stay home, call a healthcare provider, and get tested.

If you have any of the following severe symptoms after vaccination or in general, seek medical care right away:

  • Chest pain; shortness of breath; feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart
  • Severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision; shortness of breath; chest pain; leg swelling; persistent abdominal pain; easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the injection site

6/21/2022 

After receiving the vaccine, you will be asked to remain on site for a 15- to 30-minute observation period. You can make your second appointment during this observation period.  

You will receive a vaccination card that shows which vaccine you received and the date and location of your vaccination. There will also be space to write down when you got your second dose or your booster dose.   

You may experience a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches, but they should go away within a few days. Some people have no side effects from getting vaccinated.  

If you did not schedule your next dose on site, you can find a vaccine clinic and appointment at Vaccines.Gov.  

It is important to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines so that you are protected against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill, being hospitalized, and dying. Staying up to date means that you have received all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including a booster dose when you are eligible. 

6/21/2022 

Being “up to date” with your COVID-19 vaccines means getting all recommended doses—including booster doses when you are eligible.  

COVID-19 vaccine recommendations are different for different people and depend on age, health status, and when you were first vaccinated. Please see CDC guidance for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html 

8/30/2022 

After vaccination, people should continue to follow guidance around prevention, testing, exposure, and isolation. People are likely to experience some minor symptoms after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Here is a list of symptoms and what to do if you experience them:   

  1. Local symptoms (e.g., redness or swelling where you receive the injection, muscle pain or discomfort in arm) – This is unlikely to be related to COVID-19. It is ok to go to work or school. No additional testing is needed.  
  1. Generalized symptoms (e.g., fever, headache, whole body muscle aches or joint pain) – These symptoms could be related to either COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccine. Please stay home from work or school, call a healthcare provider, and get tested for COVID-19.  
  1. Respiratory symptoms (e.g., runny nose, congestion, cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell) – These may be related to COVID-19. Please stay home from work or school, call a healthcare provider, and get tested for COVID-19.  
  1. Gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., belly pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) – These may be related to COVID-19. Please stay home from work or school, call a healthcare provider, and get tested for COVID-19.

If you have questions about any other symptoms you are experiencing after a COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your healthcare provider.

6/9/2021

COVID-19 vaccines will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost. People without health insurance can get the COVID-19 vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost.

No matter where you are vaccinated, COVID-19 vaccine providers cannot charge people if COVID-19 vaccination is the only service provided.

No one can be denied vaccination based on healthcare coverage or network. Providers also cannot require additional medical services to get vaccinated.

9/1/2021

Please visit Back2SchoolRI.com and read the Back 2 School Frequently Asked Questions for more information about vaccination, masking, and testing in schools.

 

5/19/2022 

In general, it is not mandatory for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

There may be some businesses or employers that require COVID-19 vaccination. For example, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) requires that healthcare workers are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, meaning a person has received all recommended doses of COVID-19—including a booster dose when eligible—or must wear a NIOSH-approved N95 mask while working in healthcare facilities when there are high levels of COVID-19 in the community.   

For more information, please visit covid.ri.gov/vaxrequirement and read the Vaccination Requirement FAQs.  

8/10/2022 

People who are unable to leave their home for vaccine have the following options:   

Home Health Providers: Please contact your home health provider to see if they are offering vaccine.   

Through the following vaccine providers:   

Please note that patients cannot be charged for a COVID-19 vaccine when vaccination is the only service provided. However, some at-home vaccination providers may charge insurance providers for administering, or giving you, the vaccine. A provider may ask you for your insurance information so they can charge your insurance an administration fee. You do not need insurance to get an at-home vaccination.   

  • Alert Ambulance: Alert Ambulance can provide at-home vaccination throughout Rhode Island. To request an at-home vaccination through Alert Ambulance, you can email them at [email protected] or call them at 508-944-7722.  

  • Bristol Emergency Medical Services: Residents of Bristol, Rhode Island can request at-home vaccination through Bristol EMS. Residents should contact Bristol EMS at: 401-253-6912. Please note that this service is only available to Bristol residents.   

  • Cumberland Emergency Medical Services: Residents of Cumberland, Rhode Island can request at-home vaccination through Cumberland EMS. Residents should contact Cumberland EMS at: 401-334-3090 extension 3. Please note that this service is only available to Cumberland residents.  

4/28/2021

Yes. A person age 16 or 17 in Rhode Island can sign a vaccination consent form on their own and they do not need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive a vaccine.

According to state statute, RIGL 23-4.6-1, “(a) Any person of the age of sixteen (16) or over or married may consent to routine, emergency, medical or surgical care. A minor parent may consent to treatment of his or her child.”

Vaccines for Children

6/21/2022 

Children can get vaccinated at most places that offer COVID-19 vaccines.  

Many pediatric and family medicine practices are enrolled as providers of COVID-19 vaccine. Contact your child’s healthcare provider to learn if they are vaccinating children.  

Retail pharmacies (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, Stop & Shop) can vaccinate children age 3 or older. Visit the websites of these pharmacies for more information. Please note that CVS Minute Clinics are not considered pharmacies, but healthcare clinics. CVS Minute Clinics can vaccinate children as young as 18 months.  

To find COVID-19 vaccines near you, visit Vaccines.Gov.  

When making an appointment, make sure that you choose the right vaccine for your child’s age. For example, some vaccines are for children age 6 months through 5 years. Other vaccines are for children age 5 through 11. 

10/31/2022

Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and recommended for children age 6 months and older.

The Novavax COVID-19 is authorized and recommended for children age 12 and older.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. You should get the vaccine that is recommended and available to you now.

If you have additional questions about which vaccine to get, please speak with your pediatrician.

08/30/22 

The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is authorized and recommended for people age 12 or older.  

6/21/2022 

The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. There have been reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining of the heart) in children age 5 or older following vaccination. These reactions are rare. Some studies show that the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis associated with COVID-19 vaccination—mostly in males between age 12 and 39—can be lowered by waiting longer between the first and second dose (e.g., up to eight weeks). 

Research also suggests that people who had COVID-19 have a higher risk for myocarditis than people who have not had COVID-19.

The CDC has more information on myocarditis and pericarditis after COVID-19 vaccination:  

The COVID-19 vaccines are being monitored for safety with the most intense safety monitoring program in US history. When considering the risks and benefits of COVID-19 vaccination, parents should consult with their pediatricians or healthcare providers. 

6/21/2022 

Yes. CDC recommends that children who have been sick with COVID-19 get vaccinated. Evidence shows that people can get more protection by getting vaccinated after being sick with COVID-19.  

6/21/2022 

The COVID-19 vaccines for children have the same active ingredients as the COVID-19 vaccines for adults. However, children receive smaller doses of vaccine that have been tested for them. Children should get the vaccine made for their age group.  

 

 6/21/2022 

Vaccines often cause our immune systems to respond in a way that shows the vaccine is working. This is healthy, normal, and expected. Children may experience a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches, but they should go away within a few days. Some children have no side effects from getting vaccinated. 

11/3/2021

No, please vaccinate your child as soon as possible with the type of vaccine and dose approved for the age they are right now. The sooner your child is protected the better it is for your child and their close contacts.

6/21/2022 

Children and adolescents can get their COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as other routine vaccines, including a flu vaccine.  

6/21/2022 

Yes. Children younger than age 16 will need to have consent from a parent or legal guardian for a vaccination appointment and will need to be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or other person who is age 16 or older. 

11/3/2021

No identification is necessary for you or your child to get vaccinated. The vaccination doesn’t cost anything. If you have a health insurance card, we ask that you bring it to the site. If you do not have a health insurance card, you or your child can still get vaccinated. Adding health insurance information to you or your child’s vaccine record is optional.

8/30/2022 

Studies of COVID-19 vaccines show that they offer protection against COVID-19, including protection against the Omicron variant. Experts expect that both vaccines will be very effective against serious illness, just like the COVID-19 vaccines for adults.  

10/31/2022

Children can get vaccinated as soon as they have completed their isolation period and are no longer experiencing symptoms. Anyone who has a current COVID-19 infection should wait until they have completed their isolation period and have recovered from their illness before getting vaccinated.  

11/12/2021 

Please consult with your healthcare provider or specialist team about whether a child who has had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) should get vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.  

In some cases, the benefits of getting vaccinated will outweigh the risks. For example, if a child has recovered from MIS-C, it has been 90 days since their MIS-C diagnosis, the onset of MIS-C occurred before any COVID-19 vaccine doses, and if they live in an area with substantial or high community transmission, the benefits of getting vaccinated may outweigh the risks of remaining unprotected against COVID-19.  

6/21/2022 

Consistent with the CDC’s prior recommendation for adults, CDC recommends that children age 6 months or older who have moderately or severely compromised immune systems receive an additional primary dose of vaccine 28 days after their second dose.  

 

11/12/2021 

No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, can cause female or male fertility problems. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Record

1/25/2022

  1. Paper Vaccination Card: When you get vaccinated, you’ll get a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you got and the date and location of your vaccination. You can use this card as a record of your vaccination.  
  2. SMART Health Card through the 401Health App: Rhode Islanders can also get a digital copy of their vaccination card with a QR code on it. When you travel to other states and countries or go to businesses or venues that require proof of vaccination, you can show your record with your QR code. The QR code can be scanned and will prove that your record is authentic. To get this digital record, download the 401Health app. In the app, select “My COVID-19 Vaccine Record.” Next, select “Add a COVID-19 Vaccination Record.” Follow the prompts to download your record.  
  3. Portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord: Rhode Islanders can also get a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine record through portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord. From this website, you can search for and print proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. Please note that only people who have received their COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island will be able to look up their vaccination record online.  

If you are having trouble finding your vaccination record or are not able to go online, you can call 401-222-8022 for help. You can also call your primary care physician to check your vaccine record.

11/22/2021

Please use the Immunization Record Correction form to add information or request a correction to a COVID-19 immunization record in the Rhode Island Child and Adult Immunization Registry (RICAIR). You can request a change for your record or for your child or person for whom you are legal guardian.

People who are living in Rhode Island but received their COVID vaccination(s) outside of Rhode Island can use this form to add their information to the RICAIR system. This includes immunizations received in other countries if the vaccine is on the World Health Organization approved list.

10/26/2021

If your vaccination record is missing or needs to be corrected, please fill out the record correction form at covid.ri.gov/recordcorrection.

Requests to change your name, address, phone number, email, and/or date of birth within your vaccination record require that you provide proof of your identity in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • A copy of ONE (1) government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, military identification, certificate of naturalization, or alien registration card; or
  • A copy of TWO (2) documents that provide both your name and current address, including a utility bill, bank statement, insurance, car registration, pay stub, etc. (photocopies or cell phone photos of the documents are acceptable)

Once your form is completed, please send it to the RI Child and Adult Immunization Registry (RICAIR) team for a record correction by email at [email protected] or by mail to RICAIR/KIDSNET Updates, 3 Capitol Hill, Room 302, Providence, RI 02908.

Booster Doses

9/24/2021

A booster dose is a dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who is already vaccinated and received protection from that vaccination, but that protection decreased over time.

9/14/2022 

“Bivalent” means these doses protect people against two strains of the virus that causes COVID-19, the original strain and the Omicron strain.  

The boosters we have used until September 2022 are called “monovalent” boosters, and only protect against the original strain of the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Right now, there are two bivalent boosters, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. The booster from Pfizer can be used by people age 5 or older. The booster from Moderna can be used by people age 6 or older. CDC recommends that everyone age 5 or older get an updated, bivalent booster at least two months after their last dose. This recommendation applies no matter how many booster doses a person has already received. For example, if you got your primary series and two booster doses, you should still get an updated booster at least two months after your last dose.

10/31/2022

Everyone age 5 or older who has already received a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

People age 5 or older should get a bivalent booster dose two months after their last dose. This could be two months after a primary series (the first two doses of Pfizer or of Modera) or after a prior booster dose. For more help with your recommended COVID-19 vaccination schedule, see CDC’s Vaccination Schedule.

COVID-19 vaccine recommendations are different depending on your age, health status, and when you were first vaccinated. If you have questions about your vaccination schedule, please speak with a healthcare provider. 

9/14/2022 

For most people, CDC recommends getting at least one booster dose after getting your primary series. We are going to keep learning about this virus and its variants and how well our vaccines work against the virus, so this recommendation may change. We know that the protection offered by the virus weakens over time. Booster doses work well to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.  

CDC recommends that people age 5 or older get one dose of an updated bivalent booster at least two months after their last dose of vaccine (either a primary series or a booster dose). This recommendation applies no matter how many booster doses a person has already received. For example, if you are receiving cancer treatment and got three doses of Pfizer for your primary series and then two booster doses, you should still get an updated booster at least two months after your last dose. 

10/31/2022

In general, people should get the same vaccine they got for their primary series.

People age 6 or older can get a bivalent booster from Pfizer or Moderna. People age 5 must choose the Pfizer bivalent booster—this is the only booster authorized and recommended for people age 5.

People age 18 or older who cannot or will not get an mRNA booster can choose Novavax’s monovalent COVID-19 booster.

In most situations, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are preferred instead of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine because of the risk of serious adverse events after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

If you have questions about which booster dose is right for you, please talk to a healthcare provider.  

11/1/2022

People age 5 or older should get a bivalent booster at least two months after their primary series or last booster dose.

People who recently had a COVID-19 infection may choose to wait three months before getting a bivalent booster.

11/1/2022

As with the primary series, if you tested positive for COVID-19, you must have met criteria to complete your isolation period before getting a booster dose. This means:

  • You have no symptoms, or your symptoms have improved and;
  • You are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and;
  • You did not have severe illness

People who recently had COVID-19 may choose to get their booster dose three months after infection.

If you are unsure, please talk with a healthcare provider to decide when you can safely get your COVID-19 vaccination or booster dose.

 

3/31/2022

The COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against emerging variants. However, scientists and researchers learned that protection from COVID-19 vaccines can decrease over time—especially in people age 65 or older. Getting a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine increases your protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. This is normal; there are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.

 

9/14/2022 

You can get a COVID-19 vaccine (including a booster dose) at the same time as most other vaccines including the flu vaccine.  

However, CDC recommends that male adolescents and young adult males who got the JYNNEOS vaccine for monkeypox may consider waiting four weeks before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions, please speak with a healthcare provider. 

11/30/2021

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19. These vaccines are some of the most important tools we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and its variants.  

Scientists and researchers learned that protection from COVID-19 vaccines can decrease over time—especially in people age 65 or older. Getting a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine helps increase your protection against COVID-19 and its variants. This is normal; there are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.

Building protection against COVID-19 is still important. As COVID-19 spreads, the virus has more chances to change and to create new variants, like Delta and Omicron. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can prevent new variants.

6/21/2022 

You can get a booster dose at any of the locations that offer COVID-19 vaccine. This includes provider offices and pharmacies. To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.Gov.   

 

2/1/2022

Yes. People who got their primary series outside the United States with a COVID-19 vaccine that is FDA-approved or FDA-authorized or listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) are eligible to receive an additional primary dose and/or a booster dose, according to the same guidance for people who received their primary series in the United States. 

Source: boosters [t.emailupdates.cdc.gov] and additional primary doses [t.emailupdates.cdc.gov] 

 

 

 

Additional Doses

3/31/2022

  • An additional dose is another dose of mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for people who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems and probably did not build enough (or any) protection against COVID-19 when they got vaccinated. Getting an additional dose can help them build more protection against COVID-19. CDC recommends people who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems consider getting an additional dose of mRNA vaccine at least 28 days after they complete the initial two-dose vaccine series of Pfizer or Moderna or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
  • A booster dose is another dose of vaccine for people who built enough protection after getting the COVID-19 vaccine but probably have reduced protection now that time has gone by (called waning immunity).  For more information, please visit covid.ri.gov/boosterdoses and CDC’s website.  

 

8/10/2022

People age 6 months or older who have moderately to severely compromised immune systems and who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series (Moderna or Pfizer), should receive an additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second dose. 

Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine is not authorized for use as a booster dose. People who get Novavax for their primary series are not eligible for a booster dose.  

CDC recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people get an additional dose of vaccine. 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 two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune system

People should talk with a healthcare provider about their medical condition and whether to get an additional dose of vaccine.

 

6/21/2022 

Eligible people should get an additional dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) 28 days after their second dose (or first dose of Johnson & Johnson).  

If you have questions about getting an additional dose, please speak with a healthcare provider.  

Per CDC:   https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/downloads/summary-interim-clinical-considerations.pdf 

 

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

3/24/2021

No. Vaccines do not cause COVID-19 disease. However, vaccines can cause your immune system to respond. This is a sign that the vaccine—and your body’s immune system—is working.  

We expect people to have symptoms after vaccination with any of the currently available vaccines. People may feel some soreness in their upper arms, some aches, fever, and fatigue. These symptoms may be more noticeable than those that occur with a flu vaccine. This is completely normal and they will clear up in a few days. Some people may experience no symptoms.  

8/10/2022

Safety is a top priority. COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in large clinical trials with people of different ages, races, ethnicities, and people with different health conditions to make sure they are safe. No steps involving safety have been skipped—COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same standards as other vaccines to make sure they are safe.   

The Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax COVID-19 vaccines are being evaluated by the most intensive safety monitoring systems in US history. There are systems in place to continue to ensure safety. 

Any healthcare worker who administers COVID-19 vaccine in Rhode Island must be enrolled in the State-Supplied Vaccine (SSV) program and trained based on CDC guidelines. 

2/1/2022

The COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized were tested in large clinical trials with people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as people with different underlying health conditions.   

Demographic and age information from Pfizer clinical trials can be found here, demographic and age information from Moderna clinical trials can be found here, and demographic and age information from the Janssen clinical trials can be found here.   

12/21/2021

No. If you got one dose of Johnson & Johnson for your primary series, you do not need to get re-vaccinated. You are still considered having “completed your primary series.” However, we strongly recommend getting a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine, like Pfizer or Moderna.  

5/10/2022 

Please speak with a healthcare provider about which type of COVID-19 vaccine is right for you.  

In most situations, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are preferred instead of J&J COVID-19 vaccines because of the risk of serious adverse events after J&J vaccination.  

People may still get J&J if they have an allergy to an ingredient in an mRNA vaccine. People may also get J&J if the choice is between getting J&J or not getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The benefits of getting vaccinated with J&J outweigh the risks of staying unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

5/10/2022 

People may still get J&J if they have an allergy to an ingredient in an mRNA vaccine. People may also get J&J if the choice is between getting J&J or not getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The benefits of getting vaccinated with J&J outweigh the risks of staying unvaccinated against COVID-19. 

9/20/2021

All syringes and needles used for COVID-19 vaccination are individually packaged, clean (sterile), and used one time only.  Once a needle has been used, it is properly discarded in a special container called a sharps disposal container. These containers are made of strong material so that sharp objects cannot poke through or leak and are labeled and color-coded. This process is repeated for every vaccination provided.

All healthcare providers who give out the COVID-19 vaccine in Rhode Island are trained based on CDC guidelines, which means they use techniques to maintain sterile supplies, keep vaccines at the right temperature, and make sure they are not expired. They wear masks, gloves, and other protective gear when giving out the vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine and Contraindications

3/24/2021

If you have allergies that are not related to vaccines (e.g., food allergies, pet allergies, latex allergies), the CDC recommends that you receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please discuss with a healthcare provider if you have any questions.   

If you have had an allergic reaction to other types of vaccines, CDC recommends that you speak with a healthcare provider about whether to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  

If you have had a severe allergic reaction or an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.  

If you have had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine (Janssen), you should not get the Janssen vaccine.  

Learn more about the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and their ingredients on the CDC website.  

If you have an allergic reaction to an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. Examples of allergic reactions include hives, swelling, wheezing, dizziness and weakness, and reactions that need to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or hospital care. 

If you are not able to get the second shot of an mRNA vaccine because you had an allergic reaction to the first shot, ask your doctor if you should get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine.  

For more information, please see CDC’s recommendations for people with allergies: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/allergic-reaction.html and https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/clinical-considerations.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/clinical-considerations.html 

2/1/2022

Yes. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get very sick with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting severely sick from COVID-19.  

You can learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding at the CDC website.   

8/4/2021

Yes, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine. We do not know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19, and data suggest vaccination offers protection against all current COVID-19 variants, including the Delta variant.

8/30/2022 

If you tested positive for COVID-19, you must have met criteria to complete your isolation period before getting vaccinated. This means:   

  • You have no symptoms, or your symptoms have improved and;  
  • You are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and;  
  • You did not have severe illness  

If you are unsure, please talk with a healthcare provider to decide when you can safely get your COVID-19 vaccination or booster dose. For more detailed quarantine and isolation guidance, please see RIDOH’s Guidance for People who Test Positive for COVID-19 or have been Exposed

9/14/2022 

Yes. According to CDC, it is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you have gotten another vaccine recently. You can get the COVID-19 vaccine and other routinely recommend vaccines, like the flu vaccine, at the same doctor’s visit.  

However, CDC recommends that any male adolescents and any young adult males who got the JYNNEOS vaccine for monkeypox may consider waiting four weeks before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions, please speak with a healthcare provider. 

If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, you should speak with a healthcare provider

Updated 7/16/2021

The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are monitoring reports of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) after receiving the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. GBS is a neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system damages nerve cells causing muscle weakness or—in the most severe cases—paralysis. Each year in the United States (US), an estimated 3,000 to 6,000 people develop GBS. It is typically triggered by a respiratory or gastrointestinal infection. Most people fully recover from GBS.

Reports of GBS after receipt of the Johnson & Johnson COVID‐19 vaccine in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are rare but do likely indicate a small possible risk of this side effect following this vaccine. Around 100 preliminary reports of GBS have been detected in VAERS after 12.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID‐19 vaccine administered. These cases have largely been reported about two weeks after vaccination and mostly in males, many age 50 or older. Available data do not show a similar pattern with mRNA vaccines (Pfizer‐BioNTech and Moderna), after more than 321 million doses administered in the US.

The risk of severe adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination remains rare. Everyone age 12 or older is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy and COVID-19 Prevention

3/31/2022

 

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized and approved for use in the US helped protect people against COVID-19, including severe illness, in clinical trial settings. So far, studies that have looked at how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world settings have shown that these vaccines are working well.

Research shows that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) work in the real world just like they did in clinical trials. They reduce the risk of COVID-19, including severe illness, among people who got two doses of mRNA vaccine by 90 percent or more.

Research also shows that COVID-19 protect against COVID-19 infections without symptoms (asymptomatic infections). COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the spread of disease overall, helping protect people around you.

9/14/2022 

All COVID-19 vaccines authorized or approved in the US (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, and Johnson & Johnson) protect against COVID-19 variants, but they may offer different levels of protection. For the best protection, you need to be up to date with your vaccine, meaning you’ve gotten all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including a booster dose if you are eligible. There are now updated, bivalent boosters that protect against the original strain of the virus that caused COVID-19 in the US as well as the Omicron strain. 

 

10/28/2021

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, highly effective against serious illness, and reduce the risk of infecting others. However, no vaccine can give you 100% immunity. Some vaccinated people experience vaccine breakthrough infections, meaning they get COVID-19 even though they are vaccinated. People with vaccine breakthrough infections may spread COVID-19 to others, but vaccinated people who are up to date with their vaccines and have a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19. Even when vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe symptoms than in people who are unvaccinated. Vaccinated people who get COVID-19 are less likely to need hospitalization or die due to COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated people who get COVID-19.

Studies so far show that vaccinated people are 8 times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death. Vaccines remain effective in protecting most people from COVID-19 infection and its complications. Visit CDC’s website for more information.

2/1/2022

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.  

Getting sick with COVID-19 offers some protection from a future COVID-19 illness. This is called “natural immunity.” The level of protection you get from being sick with COVID-19 depends factors like how serious your illness was, how long ago you were sick, and your age. 

People who get COVID-19 can get seriously sick and some have symptoms that can last for months. This is known as “long COVID.” 

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19 and are very effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives you a high level of protection without the risk of long-term symptoms from actual COVID-19 infection.   

8/30/2022 

COVID-19 spreads mainly through exposure with someone who is infected. People who are infected but do not show symptoms can also spread the virus to others. The best ways to prevent illness and death are to get vaccinated and avoid being exposed to the virus. 

Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you're still required to wear a mask: 

  • If a healthcare setting, business, private school, camp, or other entity requires it 
  • In public K-12 schools or institutes of higher education as required by the town, city, or school administration 

RIDOH recommends wearing a mask indoors near anyone you don’t live with if Rhode Island becomes an area with high community levels. 

If you choose to wear a mask, make sure it’s at least two layers thick and fits snugly but comfortably over your nose, mouth, and chin without any gaps. 

To learn more about masking guidance, please visit covid.ri.gov/masks 

 

8/30/2022 

For up-to-date guidance for people who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19, please see https://covid.ri.gov/prevent/precautions-if-youve-been-exposed 

If you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, take precautions regardless of your vaccination status or if you have had a previous infection. 

  • Monitor for symptoms for 10 days; 
  • Wear a high-quality mask for 10 days; and 
  • Get tested 5 days after exposure. 

You no longer need to quarantine if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, unless you’re hospitalized or a resident of a congregate care setting.  

If you’re hospitalized or a resident of a congregate care setting, such as a nursing home or assisted living facility, please see RIDOH’s COVID-19 Exposure, Quarantine, and Isolation Guidance by Population document or visit CDC’s quarantine and isolation page.  

5/10/2022

Yes, if you test positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home even if you’re vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine does not in any way interfere with PCR or rapid test results. If you test positive, please seek guidance from a healthcare provider.

Learn more about isolation

6/24/2021

Vaccinated persons should continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves and others, including following CDC travel guidance.

9/1/2021

People who completed a COVID-19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use or approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) do not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.

People who are partially vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine series authorized for emergency use or approved by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine series.

Please review the list of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by WHO and read more on WHO’s website.

11/24/2021

The World Health Organization (WHO) has authorized several COVID-19 vaccines for use.  For a list of these vaccines and more information, please see: https://covid19.trackvaccines.org/agency/who/

 

9/1/2021

People who completed or partially completed a COVID-19 vaccine series with a vaccine that is not authorized or approved by FDA or not authorized for emergency use or approved by WHO may be offered an FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine series.

Please review the list of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use by WHO and read more on WHO’s website.

9/2/2021

We can enter WHO-approved vaccinations for Rhode Island residents and people attending school in Rhode Island (with a Rhode Island school address) if they were received outside of the US into the Rhode Island Child and Adult Immunization Registry (RICAIR).

Non-WHO-approved vaccines can also be added, but the person is not considered vaccinated in the US. They should submit the record using the change request form: https://health.ri.gov/forms/records/COVID-Immunization-Record-Correction-Request.pdf.

For a list of WHO-approved vaccinations, please visit https://covid19.trackvaccines.org/agency/who/

 

COVID-19 Vaccine and Testing

5/10/2022 

No vaccine can give you 100% protection. Some vaccinated people experience vaccine breakthrough infections, meaning they get COVID-19 even though they are vaccinated. People with vaccine breakthrough infections may spread COVID-19 to others, but vaccinated people who are up to date with their vaccines and have a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19. 

If you tested positive for COVID-19, you likely have COVID-19 and you should isolate at home. Learn more at covid.ri.gov/whattodo. 

If you tested yourself with a self-test kit, you can report your result at: portal.ri.gov/s/selftest. Tell a healthcare provider about your positive test result.   

If you think your self-test result may be incorrect, you should test yourself again within a few days, with at least 24 hours between tests. If you would like to confirm your result by getting a PCR test, find a test site near you at covid.ri.gov/testing

COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment

2/17/2022

You do not need to wait to get vaccinated for COVID-19 after getting treatment for COVID-19.

3/31/2022

Yes. Evusheld is an antibody treatment made by AstraZeneca that can be used in certain adults and children as a preventive treatment. Evusheld is authorized for use by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You may be able to get this treatment if:  

  • You are age 12 and older and weighing at least 40 kilograms [about 88 pounds], and
  • You are not currently infected with COVID-19 and have not been recently exposed to someone infected with COVID-19, and 
  • You have a moderately to severely compromised immune system because of a medical condition or because you are taking a medication that impacts your immune system or you are getting a treatment that may prevent your immune system from responding to a COVID-19 vaccination, or
  • You have a history of serious negative reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine and/or component(s) of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

Please note: Getting Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in people who can and should get a COVID-19 vaccine. CDC recommends getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent infection, serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn whether Evusheld is right for you. To learn more, see the resources below:

COVID-19 Vaccine: Addressing Misinformation

There is a lot of information about COVID-19 vaccines. It can be difficult to know which sources of information to trust. Here are some suggestions for where and how you can look for accurate and trustworthy vaccine information.

6/10/2021

No. It is unclear how long immunity lasts after natural infection after recovering from COVID-19. However, people who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months. This is known as “long COVID,” which can happen to anyone who has had COVID-19 even if the illness was mild. Vaccination is the best protection.

8/12/2021

No. According to CDC, there is currently no evidence that any vaccines—including COVID-19 vaccines—cause fertility problems (problems getting pregnant or having a baby) in women or men. CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people ag 12 or older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant, or might become pregnant in the future.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant or breastfeeding.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Healthcare Providers and Professionals

Please see CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Healthcare Professionals.  

If you are a healthcare provider in Rhode Island who wants to administer COVID-19 vaccines, please visit covid.ri.gov/vaxproviders.

9/21/22

The most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect against severe illness, hospitalization, and death is to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations. Rhode Island regulations (216-RICR-20-15-7) require that healthcare workers or assisted living residence workers shall be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, meaning a person has received all recommended doses of COVID-19—including a booster dose when eligible—or wear a National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH)-approved N95 mask while working in healthcare facilities during a period in which the COVID-19 prevalence rate in the State is greater than or equal to 50 cases per 100,000 people per week.

For more information, please visit covid.ri.gov/vaxrequirement and read the Vaccination Requirement FAQs.

Storage and Handling 

11/16/2021

The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit has been updated with a COVID-19 Vaccine Addendum. The addendum provides information, recommendations, and resources to assist COVID-19 vaccination providers in properly storing and handling COVID-19 vaccines to meet the requirements of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. It also includes information on storage and handling best practices. Jurisdictions and providers are encouraged to sign up for email alerts on the Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit website to be notified when updates are made or are encouraged to check the website often. Information on COVID-19 vaccine storage:

• An unpunctured vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (adult formulation, for people age 12 or older) can be stored at frozen temperatures for up to 2 weeks and at refrigerated temperatures for up to 31 days. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (adult formulation) does not need to be stored in an ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezer.

• You can store COVID-19 vaccines in the same storage unit as other vaccines, as long as there is sufficient space and the unit has a digital data logger installed that has 24/7 temperature monitoring. Reach out to your Immunization Program representative if you have questions about the necessary specifications and data loggers

• You can order in increments of 5 doses (Johnson & Johnson), 6 doses (Pfizer-BioNTech adult formulation), 10 doses (Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric formulation for children age 5 to 11), or 14 doses (Moderna). The vaccine and the ancillary supplies for the number of doses you order will be redistributed by the Rhode Island Department of Health’s depot. They will be dropped off at your practice at a designated date/time by a courier. The vaccine will be packed in a cooler. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines can be sent in standard frozen temperatures if needed and must be noted by the practice. The Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric formulation will be redistributed at refrigerated temperatures. o You may also order the COVID-19 vaccine to be shipped to your practice directly, rather than delivered via courier. If you are interested in this option, please discuss with your Immunization Program representative

• If you are already enrolled and approved as a COVID-19 vaccine provider, you will order through OSMOSSIS. Orders are due on Tuesdays at 12 p.m. for the following week. If you are not enrolled as a COVID-19 vaccine provider or you are unsure on your status, please contact your Immunization Program representative. Resources related to vaccine storage

• Moderna vaccine

• Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

• Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine for children age 5 to 11

• Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine

1/11/2021

Emergencies such as equipment failures, power outages, severe weather conditions, or natural disasters usually happen without warning and may compromise storage conditions. Because of the limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially during early US vaccination efforts, it is critical that COVID-19 vaccination providers have plans in place for emergency situations. Some key issues to remember include:

  • Vaccines may remain inside a nonfunctioning unit as long as appropriate temperatures are maintained. Monitor your Digital Data Logger (DDL) to determine when additional action should be taken.
  • Having an on-site generator(s) prevents the need to transport vaccines to an alternative storage facility during a power outage.
  • Emergency situations can arise outside of normal business hours, so your office staff as well your facility’s building manager and/or security staff, if appropriate, should understand how to implement your emergency operation plans or access your facility if necessary.
  • Ensure your facility has the resources on hand to safely pack vaccines for transport during emergencies.

(Source: CDC