Getting the Vaccine
Who can currently get the vaccine?
PCC Community Wellness Center is currently vaccinating:
- PCC Patients who are 6 months and older, AND
- Non-Patients 6 months and older who live in our service area neighborhoods including Austin, Belmont Cragin, Bellwood, Berwyn, Cicero, Dunning, Garfield Park, Hermosa, Humbolt Park, Lawndale, Maywood, Melrose Park, Montclare, Oak Park, and West Town.
Which vaccines does PCC provide?
PCC is providing two vaccines and booster doses (including bivalent boosters):
Primary series (first shots):
- Pfizer: 6 months and older; two doses
- Moderna: 6 months and older; two doses
How can I get the vaccine at PCC?
Vaccination is by appointment only. Patients who are interested in vaccination should call PCC’s COVID-19 Hotline at 773-295-3347, or their primary clinic site. English or Spanish is available.
Can I get a booster dose at PCC?
Booster doses are available for individuals ages 5 and older. They can be given two months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
Boosters are especially recommended for those that received Moderna and Pfizer and are:
• Ages 65 and older
• Live in long-term care facilities
• Ages 18-64 with underlying medical conditions (including pregnancy, overweight, and people who ever smoked)
• Ages 18 and older who are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their job or living situation
More Information About Boosters:
- Please bring your COVID vaccine card to vaccine appointments, so we can update it.
- If you do not have a vaccine card, bring any proof of vaccination you have, including a printout from your pharmacy or other healthcare provider office.
- Illinois residents without printed proof of vaccination can go to Vax Verify to look themselves up and print their record.
Can I get a third dose of the vaccine?
Third doses of Pfizer or Moderna are available for immunocompromised people (people with specific conditions that weaken their immune system).
- Please contact your healthcare provider or call our COVID-19 Hotline at 773-295-3347 to find out if you qualify.
- You should receive the same brand as your received with the first shots.
- The third dose should be given 28 days or more after the second dose.
Are walk-in appointments available at PCC Community Wellness Center?
At this time, we are doing all COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters are by appointment only.
How much does the vaccine cost? Do I need health insurance?
Currently, the vaccine itself will not cost anything.
You do not need to have insurance to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
When scheduling the appointment, we will still collect insurance information (if you have insurance), as some commercial insurance companies may charge a co-pay for vaccine administration, but not for the vaccine itself. If you do not have insurance, have a sliding-fee-scale, Medicaid, or Medicare – this will not affect you.
Who should NOT receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
There are very few individuals who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If in doubt talk with your primary care provider. Below are the only reasons to not get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Pfizer and Moderna vaccine: People under 6 months old cannot get the vaccine at this time.
- People with a severe allergy (like anaphylaxis) to the vaccine or any of its components.
- If you have a history of severe allergies (like anaphylaxis) to a vaccine or injectable medication, you should consider delaying vaccination until more is known.
I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19, can I still get the vaccine?
Yes, you can still get the vaccine, but you should wait until your recommended isolation period is complete. This is so you do not infect anyone else while traveling to clinic or being inside the clinic. For reminders on isolation recommendations after symptom onset or COVID-19 positive test, click here.
Can you become infected with COVID-19 between the vaccine doses?
It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid crowds, wash your hands often, continue following quarantine recommendations and travel ordinances.
If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your provider if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called “natural immunity,” varies from person to person. It is uncommon for people who do get COVID-19 again to get it within 90 days of when they recovered from their first infection. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are working to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Safety, Side effects, and Effectiveness
What are common side effects of the vaccine
- Pain at injection site
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Injection site swelling or redness
Most of these symptoms are quite common.
What are side effects of the second dose?
Based on the study data, some individuals may have somewhat increased symptoms with the second dose compared with the first. These symptoms should still be manageable with simple over-the-counter interventions such as Tylenol or ibuprofen.
How effective are the COVID-19 Vaccines?
Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19.
Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill or hospitalized, even if you do get COVID-19.
Some people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will still get COVID-19 because no vaccine is 100% effective.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. That means it is possible a person could still get COVID-19 before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.
Is the vaccine safe for pregnant or breastfeeding people to get?
In short, pregnant or breastfeeding people may choose to get the vaccine, but these populations were not included in the Phase 3 clinical trials of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Since they were not included in the clinical research trials, we do not have vaccine research data for pregnancy and lactation.
Despite the absence of research data, vaccination is strongly recommended in pregnancy. This is because pregnant women in general appear to be at higher risk of complications if they contract COVID-19 than the general population.
Things to consider:
- The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine strongly recommends vaccination and inclusion in vaccine trials. This organization is the leading professional society focused on pregnancy.
- Make sure to discuss this with your prenatal care provider if you have pregnancy or breast feeding concerns.
What if you’re asymptomatic and don’t know you’re COVID-19 positive and you receive the vaccine? What will happen?
CDC is recommending even those who have had COVID-19 and have antibodies receive the vaccine, so this is not a problem. If you find out you’re positive with COVID-19 after your first dose, we ask that you wait until your isolation period is complete prior to getting your second dose.
Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.
Since scientists have been researching mRNA vaccines for decades, why has there never been one approved until now?
We are fortunate that recent advances over the past few decades allowed this mRNA technology help us develop COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccines developed are shown to be very effective and the development process did not compromise safety. Additional vaccines for rabies, Zika and influenza remain under development and it is likely we will see other mRNA vaccines approved in the near future.
About the COVID-19 Vaccines
How does the mRNA vaccine work?
The mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. They are not a live virus vaccine and they do not contain the actual COVID-19 virus. They teach our cells how to make a protein that starts an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real COVID-19 virus enters our bodies.
Can the vaccine change your DNA?
No. Neither mRNA nor viral vector vaccines can change or interact with your DNA in any way
The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. This means the mRNA cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease. Viral vectors also do not become incorporated into your DNA. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect against future infection. That immune response and making antibodies is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?
No. None of the recommended COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to have a positive COVID-19 test?
The vaccine will not cause a positive COVID-19 diagnostic test (PCR or antigen).
Vaccination can influence the results of certain COVID antibody tests.
Why do I need to get two doses of the mRNA vaccine?
There are some viruses and bacteria that we vaccinate against where one dose of the vaccine is not enough to provide full immunity (or prevent the illness if you were exposed to it). With two doses, the first dose allows your immune system to react to it once, create some memory and, when exposed to it a second time, it really develops that full, long term memory.
Is the vaccine preservative free?
The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are all preservative free. Other than the mRNA or viral vector, vaccine components are all the same
Will this vaccine protect against the new strains we are seeing?
Scientists are working to learn more about these variants and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against them. These variants seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on health care resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths. Currently, all approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. appear to remain very effective against all COVID-19 variant strains.
Do I need to continue wearing a mask, physical distancing, and obeying travel recommendations after I receive both doses of the vaccine?
It will depend on what activity you’re doing. Fully vaccinated individuals can:
• Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by specific workplace guidance, government guidance, or while on public transportation (like flights, trains, buses, rideshare)
• Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
• For up to date CDPH travel recommendations, click here.
But remember, fully vaccinated people should continue to get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
If you are immunocompromised, please talk with your healthcare provider to discuss these recommendations in more detail.
Depending on the level of community transmission, vaccinated people may not have to wear a mask in indoor public setting. Currently, Illinois and Chicago have high enough numbers of new COVID cases that vaccinated people are advised to continue wearing masks in indoor public settings.
- When COVID cases decrease, vaccinated people will only have to wear mask indoors in certain situations, including in healthcare facilities, at airports and on airplanes, and on public transportation
- Vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors
If someone is vaccinated, can they still be a carrier of COVID-19 and give it to other people?
Vaccinated individuals are much less likely to be infected, but they can still be infected. If they do get infected, they are almost always less sick. Studies show that vaccinated people who are asymptomatic have lower amounts of virus, so are less able to infect other people. Still, it is possible for vaccinated people to infect other people, especially unvaccinated people; so it is still important for unvaccinated people to continue to be very careful in wearing a mask and social distancing.
When are the vaccines considered fully effective?
Protection begins building soon after the first dose. Maximum protection is achieved two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Important Links and Resources:
CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Information
V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker
CDC Ensuring the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States
Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Webpage
Illinois Department Of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccination Plan
Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine Page
Chicago Department of Public Health COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs