COVID-19 Vaccine Information
To protect yourself, your loved ones and your community, all individuals 12 and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you're ready to schedule a vaccine, please see our scheduling information below to begin.
Certain immunocompromised individuals can now receive a third vaccine dose, as outlined by the CDC. Our teams are working to reach out to immunocompromised patients. At this time, online scheduling is not available for third vaccine doses.
Please call your primary care provider if you have any questions or to schedule your appointment.
If you're uncertain about the vaccine, please scroll to the bottom of this page to see common questions answered by UnityPoint Health experts. All patients and visitors over the age of 2 must wear a mask when coming to a UnityPoint Health facility. Para la versión en español, haga un clic aquí.
Vaccine Facts Sheets & Approvals
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ
How long does the COVID-19 vaccine last?
Duration of protection from the vaccine will be better defined over time but is known to be at least six months at this time.
What should I expect during my COVID-19 vaccine?
If you're wondering about how to prepare for your vaccine, including information about taking over-the-counter pain medications, read How to Prepare for a COVID-19 Vaccine.
Can the vaccine protect me against the delta variant?
Although the vaccines do not completely eliminate the risk of infection, that risk is greatly reduced, even for the variants. That, in turn, greatly reduces but does not eliminate the risk of transmission to others. In addition to protecting others, the three COVID-19 vaccines have continued to hold up well against COVID-19 variants in preventing severe disease, hospitalization and death.
What's the difference between full FDA approval and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
For a vaccine to receive full FDA approval, the FDA must review extensive data and conduct its own analyses of the safety and effectiveness. In addition, the FDA performs a detailed assessment of the clinical data, manufacturing processes, including inspections of the manufacturing facilities. Alternatively, Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) quickly provides access to medical products in certain emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The FDA makes EUA-approved products available to the public based on the best available evidence, without waiting for all evidence that would be needed for full FDA approval. To learn more, please visit the FDA's website.
Why should I get vaccinated if I still need to mask?
While we know masking is effective in reducing COVID-19 transmission, vaccines provide a stronger level of protection at work and when out in your community. Given the current level of COVID-19 disease in our communities, multiple
layers of protection are needed. You can track the level of spread in your area with the help of your local health department or the CDC.
Do I need a booster vaccine shot?
The FDA and CDC authorized the administration of an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to immunocompromised individuals as outlined by the CDC. This is only approved for individuals who have received two doses of the Comirnaty (Pfizer) or Moderna COVD-19 vaccines. If you received Johnson & Johnson, you are not eligible for an additional dose at this time. Contact your primary care provider's office, if you have a qualifying condition and would like to schedule an appointment.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Since COVID-19 is a new virus, we understand you may have questions about COVID-19 vaccine safety. It's important to note that the FDA established rigorous safety requirements for these vaccines, and tens of thousands of individuals participated in the clinical trials. Even though the virus itself is new, the science behind the vaccines is not new—it is rooted in years of research, and every step of the vaccine process went through the same safety assessments as all other vaccines. Finally, we want our community to know that our clinical leaders and vaccine and infectious disease experts thoroughly reviewed all data surrounding the clinical trials of these vaccines, and they support vaccination to help stop the pandemic. For more information on vaccine safety, we recommend visiting the CDC website.
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.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine free?
What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccine?
The only charge for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is an administrative fee, as the vaccine is being provided to us at no cost. The administrative fee is to cover costs we incur such as staffing, supplies, etc. This administrative fee will be billed to a patient's insurance company. Most insurance providers are covering the full cost of the administrative fee so there is no final patient cost/responsibility. For uninsured patients, we will bill the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund, and we anticipate they will pay the cost in full. We recommend you contact your insurance carrier to determine your exact coverage.
COVID Vaccine Administration
|Per Dose/one injection
Ingredients for the Comirnaty (Pfizer) COVID Vaccine may be found on the Fact Sheet.
Ingredients for the Moderna COVID Vaccine may be found on the EUA Fact Sheet. Ingredients for the Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine may be found on the EUA Fact Sheet.
What are the potential side effects?
Side effects are common, but generally mild to moderate
and occur within the first few days of getting the vaccine. For more information on vaccine safety, speed of development and potential side effects of vaccination, we recommend reading the Comirnaty (Pfizer) Fact Sheet, Moderna EUA Fact Sheet, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen EUA Fact Sheet. All materials were created by the FDA and
include the latest information.
Do I need a second dose?
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is one dose. Comirnaty (Pfizer) and Moderna are two doses. The Comirnaty (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 Comirnaty (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.
Why should I get the vaccine if I'm pregnant or nursing?
The CDC also says pregnant people are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 when compared to non-pregnant people. COVID-19 during pregnancy can also increase the risk for preterm birth. Due to the support from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, we recommend all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. All data indicates the vaccine is very effective and safe during pregnancy.
View our helpful decision-making guide
Why should I get the vaccine if I've had COVID-19?
If you've already had COVID-19, your body may have built up antibodies to fight future infection. Immunity following infection appears to be long lasting. However, how protected you may be against variants varies. Research from the Rockefeller Institute and the University of Washington shows receiving the vaccine after having COVID-19 substantially enhances your immune response –up to 50-fold –to COVID variants.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have allergies?
If you have severe anaphylaxis or an allergy to one of the ingredients of the COVID-19 vaccine, please talk to your health care provider. For most people, even those with seasonal allergies or minor food allergies, it is safe, and we highly recommend getting the vaccine.
I am undocumented/do not have an ID Card. Can I get the vaccine?
Yes, even if you cannot provide proof of residency or state identification. All people in the U.S. – regardless of their immigration status – will be able to get vaccinated at no cost.
Learn more about the treatments available for those who have COVID-19:
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment (bamlanivamimab)
UW Health and UnityPoint Health–Meriter have received a limited supply of bamlanivimab, an investigational therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients.
The medication was recently granted Emergency Use Authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Bamlanivimab is currently authorized by the FDA for patients who meet the following criteria:
- Have positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing.
- Are 12 years of age and older and weigh at least 88 pounds.
- At high risk for progressing to severe COVID-19 and/or hospitalization. This includes those who are 65 years of age or older, or who have certain chronic medical conditions.
The treatment is available to all members of the community who meet criteria and all eligible patients will have an equal chance of receiving the drug. UW Health will administer doses on behalf of both Meriter and UW Health.
Bamlanivimab is not authorized for patients who are hospitalized due to COVID-19 or require oxygen therapy due to COVID-19.
To ensure equitable distribution of the limited supply of this medication, UW Health and Meriter will use a nationally recognized allocation framework designed to provide fair access to scarce COVID-19 medication. This allocation framework is grounded in two public health ethical obligations: the duty to steward scarce resources to promote the public's health, and the duty to lessen the impact of social inequities on COVID-19 outcomes in vulnerable communities. The framework was created by ethicists, legal scholars, public health and disaster medicine experts and diversity and inclusion experts.
To learn more about this treatment, or to inquire about eligibility, people should call the UW Health bamlanivimab screening hotline at (608) 720-3319. The hotline is staffed Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 5pm.
While the safety and effectiveness of this investigational therapy continues to be evaluated, bamlanivimab was shown in clinical trials to reduce COVID-19-related hospitalization or emergency room visits in patients at high risk for disease progression within 28 days after treatment when compared to placebo.
Convalescent Blood Plasma
UnityPoint Health – Meriter partners with the American Red Cross to deliver convalescent plasma to current COVID-19 patients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization of convalescent plasma from people who have fully recovered from COVID-19. Current hospitalized patients with serious or life-threatening COVID-19 infections or those deemed at high risk are eligible to receive the plasma.
Recovered COVID-19 donors have antibodies in their plasma that neutralize the virus. Donated plasma from healthy donors who have recovered from COVID-19 is a promising treatment for patients with COVID-19 infections. At this time, convalescent plasma is in high demand, so we highly encourage healthy, COVID-19 recovered individuals to consider donating via the American Red Cross.
Some patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 may be treated with Remdesivir. We identify eligible patients and treat them with Remdesivir on a first come-first go basis. As with all care, our physicians evaluate each patient's case, create treatment plans specific to each person, and prescribe medications that are clinically appropriate for each individual.
Making a Difference - One Vaccine at a Time
Our favorite kid asks our top doctor some important COVID-19 vaccine questions.