COVID-19 Vaccine

At IU Health, we're committed to providing you the latest COVID-19 vaccine news and answers you need.

IU Health is working closely with state public health officials for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. We will provide the latest COVID-19 vaccine updates, answers and information for you and your family.

The Food and Drug Administration approved two vaccines in December for emergency use. The FDA gave emergency authorization to a vaccine from Pfizer on Dec. 11. It gave the same approval to a vaccine from Moderna on Dec. 18. Several more vaccines are in various stages of clinical trials.

Get answers to your COVID-19 questions below.

Latest Updates & Frequently Asked Questions

A vaccine from Pfizer received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Dec. 11. The FDA gave similar approval for a vaccine from Moderna on Dec. 18. The FDA grants emergency authorization to vaccines if they meet a strict set of safety standards.

Once approved, supplies of the vaccine will be distributed to the Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) and then to certain hospitals around the state.

Any Indiana resident age 70 and up is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

In addition, those who are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Anyone working in a healthcare setting or has close face-to-face interaction with patients
  • Those who handle infectious materials
  • Long-term care residents and staff
  • First responders, such as police and paramedics

If you are eligible for a vaccine, visit ourshot.in.gov to make an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment for a senior family member. Enter your ZIP code to find a map of vaccination locations.

You can also call 211 to make an appointment, and family members may call on behalf of seniors.

You’ll receive an email or text notification to provide additional details and complete your consent in advance. Complete this information before your appointment to avoid having to complete it in person at the clinic site.

You should bring a photo ID card and your insurance card to your appointment. The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost to you. You will not have to pay a fee or any other extra charge. We will collect insurance information to bill a small administration fee to your insurance company, but no cost will be charged to you.

You may want to coordinate with your employer to stagger time away from work and ensure appropriate staffing; potential side effects are mild and may be more apparent after the second dose.

When you arrive, tell the vaccine provider if you are ill or have ever had a severe allergic reaction.

While specific dates have not been announced, the state will continue to prioritize by age groups as more vaccine is available. People 70 years and older are eligible now, followed by people 60 years and older.

Vaccines likely will be broadly available to the general public late spring into early summer.

As we receive more information, we will keep you informed with the latest updates.

There is not a wait list for the COVID-19 vaccine. IU Health is following the state's vaccine distribution plan for who should receive the first doses, including healthcare workers, and long-term care residents and employees, and eligible Hoosiers.

Widespread public availability of the vaccine is expected by late spring or early summer 2021. Please continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands frequently. We will provide the latest updates on our COVID-19 Resource Center.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no cost to you. You will not have to pay a fee or any other extra charge. The federal government has arranged to buy the vaccine and provide it to every individual who wants it.

If you have insurance, bring your insurance card. We will collect the information to bill a small administration fee to your insurance company, but no cost will be charged to you.

If approved, the new vaccines will be given in two doses. People will get a second dose within 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for Moderna. Study participants reached full effectiveness seven days after the second dose.

You may not choose which vaccine you receive during your first appointment, and you will receive the same vaccine type during your second appointment. After your first shot, you’ll be given a vaccination card for your records. For safe keeping, consider taking a photo of the card on your mobile device. That way you’ll have your record handy and accessible for your second appointment.

Due to daily supply planning and logistics at each site, we cannot guarantee which vaccine an individual will receive at their first appointment. However, IU Health is confident that both vaccines are safe because of the FDA review and approval process—careful reviews of safety data from clinical trials demonstrate that after the second dose, both vaccines are 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 among adults at this time.

You will schedule an appointment for your second dose while at your first appointment. Keep this in mind when selecting a day/time for your first appointment. You need to be available to return to the same location 19-23 days after your first appointment (Pfizer vaccine), or 28 days later (Moderna vaccine).

IU Health is following the CDC’s recommended guidance for vaccination and history of allergies or severe allergic reactions.

  • If you have a history of allergies to oral medications, foods, pets, insects, venom, environment, latex, etc. you may proceed with vaccination; you will be observed for 15-30 minutes after vaccination.
  • If you have a history of any immediate allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies (including anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction), you may proceed with vaccination under caution; additional questions may be asked and additional waiting room/observation time will be required for 30 minutes.
  • If you have a history of allergy to any component of the vaccines, you should not get the vaccine at this time.
  • If you have been prescribed an EpiPen, but have not had an anaphylactic reaction requiring EpiPen use or ER treatment with epinephrine, you may choose to get the vaccine. Additional questions may be asked and additional waiting room/observation time will be required for 30 minutes.
  • If you have a severe allergic reaction, or an immediate allergic reaction of any severity, after receiving the first vaccine dose, you should not receive the second dose.

Are the COVID-19 Vaccines Safe?

Yes, the vaccine is safe and effective. The FDA carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. Vaccines must complete three phases of testing through clinical trials involving thousands of patients to receive Emergency Use Authorization.

The clinical trials included tens of thousands of people across gender, age, race and ethnicity. Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines showed effective results with only mild to moderate side effects. The data was also made public. This allowed our team of experts to review the results, confirming it is safe.

The vaccine is for patients 16 years and older.

Though the COVID-19 vaccines were developed and approved very quickly, it’s important to note that the clinical efficacy and quality of the product was not compromised. The COVID-19 vaccines are some of the most effective vaccines we’ve ever seen. Through the collaborative efforts of national and international organizations, many efficiencies were developed in the coordination of the process.

Some of these include:

  • The technology does not require months of virus growth in the lab.
  • Because COVID-19 was widespread, a large number of clinical trial participants were quickly enrolled within weeks instead of months or years.
  • The vaccines were manufactured "at risk." This means the vaccines were manufactured while awaiting FDA approval so it could be shipped to hospitals within hours. Typically manufacturing that many doses would happen after approval.

These efficiencies helped to reduce the time it required for hospitals and other healthcare facilities to receive the vaccine.

What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Getting a vaccine is important for your own health because it will help keep your from getting COVID-19, and a vaccine is a safer way to help build protection against the virus

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be some of the most effective vaccines ever developed. The Pfizer vaccine is more than 95% effective with two shots taken 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is more than 94.1% effective with two shots taken 28 days apart. The data shows effectiveness across all adult age groups, genders, races and ethnicities.

No. The vaccines do not contain live virus.

Both vaccines can cause mild to moderate symptoms. The side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar to what we see with other common vaccines. The majority of side effects last less than a week and can include soreness at the shot area, headache, mild fever, muscle and joint pain, and short-term fatigue. There have been no reports of adverse effects beyond this time period.

If you develop symptoms within 48 hours after your vaccination, but they resolve within 24 hours of starting, no action is needed. If symptoms last beyond 24 hours, please stay home and contact the IU Health Covid-19 Virtual Screening for evaluation.

Because the virus is dangerous and easily spread, getting the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible is the safest choice for most people. However, as there are no studies involving this vaccine among pregnant people, the exact recommendations for these individuals are not yet clear. This is standard for any new drug and is not due to any particular concern with this vaccine.

IU Health, along with experts from the CDC, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) agree that pregnant individuals should have access to the COVID-19 vaccines. They recommend that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult with their doctors on the right course of action.

The CDC also says pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness and death compared with non-pregnant individuals of reproductive age. Pregnant people with COVID-19 also might be at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant individuals without COVID-19.

The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine report that there is no reason to believe that these vaccines affect the safety of breastmilk. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus, so there is no risk of infecting your baby. Because mRNA is fragile, it is very unlikely that any part of the vaccine gets into breastmilk.

When we have an infection or get a vaccine, our bodies make antibodies to fight the infection. Antibodies can pass into breastmilk and then to the baby, and may help prevent infections.

IU Health supports the recommendations from the CDC, ACOG and other groups referenced above. IU Health recommends that people who are pregnant or breastfeeding consult with their doctors on the right course of action for them. If eligible pregnant or breastfeeding individuals choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, they may do so at an IU Health or Indiana Department of Health vaccination site.

It is important to continue wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing even though you or someone close may have received the vaccine.

Your body begins to build immunity after the injection, so it can take a few weeks to reach full effectiveness. We also don’t know how long the immunity from this vaccine lasts.

Therefore, these measures should continue to be taken until we have more information about this and until the majority of the population is vaccinated.

Watch: IU Health Experts Answer COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

IU Health experts address a number of topics including vaccine safety, efficacy and who will get the first doses.

Dr. Douglas Webb, an infectious disease expert, and Dr. Chris Weaver, executive leading IU Health vaccine planning, answer the latest questions. (Video was originally published Dec. 11 before first vaccine was approved).

Latest COVID-19 Vaccine News

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