What can I do to prevent getting COVID-19 until I can get the vaccine?
Practice social distancing, wear a mask when around others, wash your hands, avoid being around others who are sick, avoid large gatherings. For more information about protecting yourself visit the CDC’s website.
If I tested positive for COVID-19 in the past, do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who have already been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days may choose to delay getting the vaccine because getting sick with COVID-19 again is unlikely during that time. However, there is no harm in getting the vaccine if you have already had COVID-19. You may also choose to wait to get vaccine in order to allow those who are at a higher risk to be vaccinated first.
If the vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, how will I know when to get the second dose?
At the time of your injection you will receive a card with the date of your first dose, the name/manufacturer of the vaccine you just received, and the date on which you should receive your second dose. Your second dose of COVID-19 vaccine must be from the same product name/manufacturer as your first dose. We recommend when you receive your card, take a picture as a back-up, and add the date to your calendar.
If I receive the COVID-19 vaccine but my family has not, should I still wear a mask and practice social distancing to prevent bringing the virus home to my family?
Yes. Within households, use the same precautions you have always practiced to prevent COVID-19—wash your hands, self-isolate and get tested if you are sick, limit your interactions with those outside of your household, and wear a mask when with those outside of your household if social distancing cannot be maintained. When you are in public, be sure to continue to protect yourself by wearing a face covering, watching your distance, and avoiding crowds.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes! These vaccines have already been given to tens of thousands of volunteers and have been shown to be safe and very good at stopping them from getting sick with COVID-19. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. Phase 3 clinical trials involve tens of thousands of volunteers who were divided into two groups to get the vaccine or a placebo shot. They were then watched very closely for side effects and illness from COVID-19. Both the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines demonstrated safety in their Phase 3 clinical trials, with no serious adverse events reported among the tens of thousands who received the vaccines. The vaccine will also continue to be monitored to make sure that any rare problems are found as soon as possible and evaluated to see if they were caused by the vaccine. There have been two individuals vaccinated with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the UK who had history of severe allergic reactions to a vaccine in the past and had severe allergic reactions after receiving the Pfizer vaccine. It is advised that people with severe allergic reactions to injected or infused medications or vaccines be observed for a minimum of 30 minutes after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine infect me with the virus?
No. None of the vaccines currently being developed in the United States contain the virus, so there is no possibility of the vaccine infecting someone with the COVID-19 virus.
Will the vaccine make me sick?
No. The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus and cannot cause infection or COVID-19. Some people who receive the vaccine will develop arm soreness or redness, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue. These symptoms typically go away after a day or two.
How do I get the vaccine if I am in Phase 1a1 or Phase 1a2?
Vaccine is currently limited and will be offered in Phases. We are currently in the second Phase (Phase 1a2.) Vaccines were prioritized for health care workers that have direct patient exposure or exposure to infectious materials, long-term care facility staff and residents and first responders in the initial phase. Outpatient healthcare workers with direct patient exposure and mortuary service workers are now eligible to receive the vaccine. The Metro Public Health Department is reaching out to employers in eligible fields to organize vaccination appointments. Those employers who are in Phase 1A2 who have not been contacted can email email@example.com and provide the name of the organization, the type of business or organization, the total number of staff members and the total number of staff members who wish to be vaccinated. MPHD will then reach out to the employer to schedule vaccinations for the employees noted in the email. Those receiving vaccines through the employer will be required to show proof of employment, such as a work badge or check stub.
I am a volunteer that works at a hospital. Where do I go to be vaccinated?
If you are an employee that works or volunteers in a hospital and have direct patient exposure or contact with potentially infectious materials and have questions about receiving the vaccine, then contact your supervisor at the hospital.
I am an employer of healthcare workers, but we are not connected to any specific hospital. How do I get the vaccine to my employees?
Phase 1a1 groups not associated with a hospital will receive vaccine through events planned by their local or regional department of health. Please watch for communications about upcoming vaccination availability.
How do I know which “Phase” I am in so I know when I can get the vaccine?
The Tennessee Department of Health has provided a tool to help determine your vaccine Phase here: https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/eligibility/
We are following the vaccination plan developed by the Tennessee Department of Health, with the Tennessee State Government and the Tennessee COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Group, with “Phases” to help distribute the vaccine as fairly as possible. The “Phases” may change, but for now the first Phase 1a1 includes frontline hospital healthcare workers and staff with direct patient exposure or exposure to infectious materials, first responders with direct public exposure, and staff and residents of long term care and other congregate care facilities.
The next Phase 1a2 includes all other outpatient healthcare workers with direct patient exposure including outpatient health providers, outpatient primary care providers and staff, outpatient specialty providers and staff, pharmacists and staff, patient transport, outpatient therapists, urgent care providers and staff, environmental services with direct patient contact or contact to infectious materials, staff of dental clinics, and behavioral health providers. Phase 1a2 also includes mortuary services employees.
Additional Phases (1b, 1c, 2, 3, and 4) are still subject to change at this time. The different “Phases” are included in the following graphic:
I am 70 years of age or older. How do I sign up to receive a vaccine?
In addition to risk-based phases, Tennessee’s vaccination prioritization plan also includes phases based on age groups. Those 70 years of age or older can register for an appointment to receive a vaccine from the Metro Public Health Department. To register for an appointment, those 70 or older can go (HERE) or call 615-862-7777 for assistance in registering for an appointment. After registering, the recipient will receive the location and timeframe for their appointment. All vaccinations will be done by appointment, and those who show up to a vaccination site without an appointment will be turned away.
If all vaccination time periods are filled, those 70 and older who would like to be vaccinated can be added to a waitlist. As more vaccination time slots open, those on the waitlist will be contacted for appointments.
What are co-morbidities and how do they factor into when I receive the vaccine?
Within all vaccination categories, those with certain conditions are prioritized based on co-morbidities or “underlying health conditions”; that is, age 65+, current cancer treatment, chronic kidney disease, COPD, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI 30+), serious cardiac disease, or diabetes. For phase 1c, you need to have 2 or more from the list made up of the same conditions as above (except that 65+ is not one of them), plus sickle cell, cerebrovascular disease, immunocompromising disease, dementia, and liver disease, with 65+ being a priority among those who qualify.
What falls within “critical infrastructure” that’s listed in Phase 2a?
Tennessee includes the following among its critical infrastructure workforce (in addition to health care workers): public transportation, transportation of goods, public utilities, the postal service and funeral homes and crematoriums.
I am not in Phase 1a1. How do I get on the list to receive vaccine?
There is no list for vaccine distribution. Vaccine will be distributed in “Phases” according to the TN Vaccination Plan. When the time for your phase arrives, more information will be available.
Who decides the Phases and how the vaccine is distributed?
The Tennessee Department of Health, in partnership with the State Government and the Tennessee COVID-19 Pandemic Vaccine Stakeholder Group, has developed a vaccination plan based upon the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine and the CDC’s Playbook for Jurisdictions. You can read Tennessee’s Vaccination Plan and find more information about COVID-19 vaccines here.
Why am I not in a higher priority phase and eligible to receive vaccine sooner?
Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan is based upon the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Framework for the Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine, the CDC’s Playbook for Jurisdictions, and has been vetted with a diverse stakeholder group of more than 30 partners statewide who represent the interests of millions of Tennesseans. While vaccine supplies are limited, the plan focuses on providing vaccines to those at highest risk of becoming infected with the virus and suffering from life-threatening disease. We will work as quickly as possible to provide vaccines to individuals according to the phased approach set out in the State’s plan. As vaccine supplies become increasingly available, we look forward to accelerating through our priority Phases, to cover the maximum number of Nashvillians in the shortest time possible.
Should I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I fall into the Phase 1a1 population and I am pregnant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to non-pregnant people based on what we know now. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for other adverse outcomes, such as preterm birth. Currently there are no studies on safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women to inform vaccine recommendations. ACIP has stated that pregnant and lactating women may receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Should I receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine if I am planning to get pregnant?
There is no recommendation for pregnancy testing before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after a COVID-19 vaccination. Is there any reason to choose one vaccine over another if I am pregnant or breastfeeding? At this time, we only know specifics around the Pfizer vaccine, although it is likely that some vaccines will have advantages over others in specific populations. ACIP has advised that pregnant and lactating women may receive the Pfizer vaccine. Should I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I am breastfeeding? There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding people or the effects of mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) on breastfed infants. 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., healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated. Who will be eligible to get the vaccine? Phase 3 clinical trials are ongoing and will determine which vaccines will be appropriate for public use. As of December 2020, only one vaccine in Phase 3 clinical trials has enrolled children and none of the trials currently involve women who are pregnant. Other restrictions may be identified based on data resulting from the Phase 3 trials. Last updated: 12/16/2020
When should pregnant women be vaccinated?
Pregnant women were not included in the studies on these vaccines. The vaccine is thought to be safe and effective in pregnant women and pregnancy is not considered a contraindication. Neither the CDC nor TDH have included pregnant women in the list of high risk pre-existing conditions. Based on this pregnant women should be vaccinated when their job Phase is reached. Metro receives vaccine from TDH based on the states vaccine allocation plan and is expected to work within that framework.
I have heard the vaccine is not recommended for children under the age of 16. Will children under the age of 16 have the option to be vaccinated?
To date the FDA has issued emergency use authorization for only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in individuals 16 years of age and older. There are other COVID-19 vaccines in development and pending authorization. Tennessee’s Vaccination Plan is subject to change based on availability of COVID-19 vaccines and recommendations for their use. Monitoring Side Effects after Vaccine I heard there is a monitoring program for COVID-19 vaccines? How can I participate in this program? It’s called V-SAFE, and it’s a smart-phone based monitoring program. It uses text messaging and web surveys to check-in with vaccine recipients after vaccination. Participants would report side effects and health impact events after the COVID-19 vaccination. Depending on your answer, someone from CDC may call to check on you and gather more information. V-safe will also remind you when it’s time to receive your second dose if one is needed. Before receiving the vaccine, you will receive an information sheet from your healthcare provider with v-safe information and a link to register.