COVID-19 Vaccine Information
We've started administering the COVID-19 vaccine to the public while following the guidelines developed by state and local public health departments. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently being administered to individuals over the age of 12. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is currently being administered to individuals over the age of 18.
Our goal is to vaccinate as many individuals as possible, as quickly as supply allows. In the meantime, we encourage everyone, including those who have received the vaccine, to wear a face covering, social distance and wash your hands frequently in order to help reduce your risk of COVID-19.
- The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being administered to individuals over the age of 16.
If you have a UnityPoint Health primary care provider and would like to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your primary care provider via phone or MyUnityPoint (our online patient portal) to schedule an appointment.
The COVID-19 vaccine is also available at certain pharmacies for eligible patients. Click here for a list of vaccination locations in Polk County.
- We are not accepting walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations at this time.
View the Latest Vaccine Fact Sheets
Learn more about the COVID vaccines that have been given Emergency Use Authorization.
Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Polk County Health Department
Dallas County Health Department
Iowa Department of Public Health
About the Vaccine
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. In order to receive Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, the vaccine must be proven safe and effective. The science is rooted in years of research, and every step of the vaccine process went through the same safety assessments as all other vaccines. We want our communities to know our clinical leaders and experts at UnityPoint Health have also thoroughly reviewed all the data surrounding the clinical trials of these vaccines.
How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child (12+ years)?
More than 2,000 12 – 15-year-olds were enrolled in the vaccine clinical trials. With continuous monitoring and millions of doses administered to adults over the past seven months, the vaccines have proven to be very safe. There are common, minor short-term side effects but nothing long-term has been identified.
Although children have significantly lower risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19, both severe disease and death can still occur. In addition, we know that some individuals have long-term illness associated with their initial COVID-19 disease, including children, so prevention of COVID-19 is key.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
What are the ingredients in the COVID vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccine is an mRNA vaccine. Unlike traditional vaccines, mRNA vaccines do not take a virus or germ, weaken it and inject in the body to illicit an antibody response. The vaccine will not put COVID in your body or alter your DNA in any way. Instead, the COVID vaccine teaches your body to make a protein. Your cells then make this protein, illicit an antibody response and protect you from getting COVID.
Ingredients for the Pfizer COVID Vaccine may be found on the EUA Fact Sheet.
Ingredients for the Moderna COVID Vaccine may be found on the EUA Fact Sheet.
Where can I find more information and/or data on the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccine?
Data for Pfizer and Moderna is publicly available through the FDA website, found on the Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet. Moderna EUA Fact Sheet.
What is the risk of potential side effects?
For more information on vaccine safety, speed of development and potential side effects of vaccination, we recommend reading the Pfizer EUA Fact Sheet and Moderna EUA Fact Sheet.
Will people need to mask after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?
After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, it's still important to follow all the guidelines we've come to know during the pandemic: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and stay home when you're sick. We don't know how long the immunity from the vaccine is going to last, and it's going to be a while before a large percentage of our communities get this vaccine.
Do I need a second dose?
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is one dose. Pfizer and Moderna are two doses. The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose at least 21 days after your first dose, and the Moderna vaccine requires a second dose at least 28 days after your first dose. These are the intervals utilized in the vaccine studies, so receiving your second dose close to the 21- or 28-day timeframe is advised.
The CDC states you can schedule the second dose up to six weeks after the first dose for both Pfizer and Moderna and still receive the full benefit of the vaccine. If your second dose is given outside of that six-week window, there is no need to restart the series. The second dose should be the same brand as the initial dose as there is not data to support interchanging brands. You will not be able to schedule your second dose appointment any sooner than the 21- or 28-day intervals.
Should I Get the Vaccine?
Should pregnant or nursing individuals receive the vaccine?
Pregnant and nursing individuals are eligible to receive the vaccine. They were excluded from the clinical trials in the development of this vaccine, so no information has been collected regarding its safety during pregnancy. However, our Women's Service Line supports the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the position the vaccine should be offered to pregnant and lactating individuals. You can learn more about the American Academy of Pediatrics considerations and recommendations regarding receiving the vaccine while pregnant or nursing.
It is important to know that being pregnant puts a woman at increased risk of more severe COVID-19 with an increase in ICU admission and ventilator use when compared to non-pregnant women in the same age group. The bottom line – it's a personal decision, so we recommend pregnant individuals contact their provider to discuss their individual situation. Also, the COVID-19 vaccine does not impact fertility.
View our helpful decision-making guide
Should I get the vaccine if I've had COVID-19?
Yes. Although people who've had COVID-19 have built up antibodies to fight future infection, we don't know how long that immunity lasts. We recommend that people who've had COVID-19 wait 90 days from their infection to receive the vaccine. One of the reasons for this is simply the supply of the vaccine. We want everyone in our communities to be able to get the vaccine.
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?
If you have severe anaphylaxis or an allergy to one of the components of this vaccine, please talk to your health care provider before getting this vaccine. For most people, even those with seasonal allergies or minor food allergies, it is safe and we highly recommend getting the vaccine.
Making a Difference - One Vaccine at a Time
History in the making as the COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UnityPoint Health campuses for our front-line team members. When it's your turn, we hope you'll roll up your sleeve, too.