Information you need
Care Ring is not able to offer the
COVID-19 vaccine directly to our patients, but we've assembled some helpful information for you, all in one place, to answer your questions.
How does the vaccine work?
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.
The COVID-19 vaccine works using messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control - MORE INFO)
Is it safe and effective?
The vaccines were built upon years of work to develop vaccines for similar viruses.
Tested, safe and effective. More than 70,000 people volunteered in clinical trials for two vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) to see if they are safe and work to prevent COVID-19 illness. Volunteers included Black/African Americans, Hispanics/LatinX, Asians and others.
To date, the vaccines are 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no serious safety concerns noted in the clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure the vaccines are safe and can prevent people from getting COVID-19. Like all drugs, vaccine safety continues to be monitored after they are in use.
IMPORTANT: you must get 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for it to be the most effective. For the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose. When you get your first dose, you will receive an appointment date for your second dose. (Source: FDA - MORE INFO)
You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. You may have temporary reactions like a sore arm, headache or feeling tired and achy for a day or two after receiving the vaccine.
INFORMACION EN ESPANOL
(Source: NC Dept of Health and Human Services - MORE INFO)
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Currently, the Pfizer-made vaccine is approved for use in people age 16 and up, and the Moderna-made vaccine is approved for use in people age 18 and up. No vaccines are yet available for children under the age of 16. (Source: CDC - MORE INFO). Pregnant and breastfeeding women can also get the vaccine - read more about considerations for this group HERE.
Proof of US citizenship is NOT required to get the vaccine.
Due to limited supplies, the vaccine is being given out in phases, to the groups most at risk of catching and/or having severe health effects or dying from COVID-19.
NOTE: You must wait for the group you are in to be authorized before you can get the vaccine.
Groups 1 & 2 below are currently being vaccinated in North Carolina. Each state determines when they are "ready" to go to the next group.
Group 1: Health care workers & Long-Term Care staff & residents
Health care workers with in-person patient contact
Long-term care staff and residents—people in skilled nursing facilities, adult care homes and continuing care retirement communities
Group 2: Older adults - ELIGIBLE NOW
Anyone 65 years or older, regardless of health status or living situation
Group 3: Frontline essential workers -
ELIGIBLE MARCH 10 (teachers eligible FEBRUARY 24)
The CDC defines frontline essential workers as workers who are in sectors essential to the functioning of society and who are at substantially higher risk for exposure to COVID-19. These are workers who must report in-person to work and who work in these 8 sectors: critical manufacturing, education, essential goods, food & agriculture, government & community services, healthcare/public health, public safety, and transportation.
Group 4: Adults at high risk for exposure and increased risk of severe illness, other types of essential workers
Anyone 16-64 years old with high-risk medical conditions that increase risk of severe disease from COVID-19 such as cancer, COPD, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes, among others, regardless of living situation
Anyone who is incarcerated or living in other close group living settings who is not already vaccinated due to age, medical condition or job function
Essential workers not yet vaccinated. The CDC defines these as workers in transportation and logistics, water and wastewater, food service, shelter and housing (e.g., construction), finance (e.g., bank tellers), information technology and communications, energy, legal, media, public safety (e.g., engineers) and public health workers
Group 5: Everyone who wants a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination
Where & how can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
GREAT NEWS -- THE VACCINE IS FREE TO EVERYONE, NO MATTER WHAT!
In Mecklenburg County, there are a few healthcare providers that are giving vaccines.
Care Ring is not able to directly provide vaccines at this time, but is working closely with those that are to ensure our patients get the vaccine when their group is eligible.
You can schedule a vaccine appointment with any organization below, but please note two things:
1) If you manage to get appointments with more than one organization, PLEASE CANCEL ANY APPOINTMENTS YOU AREN'T GOING TO USE so others can take your spot, and no vaccine doses go to waste.
2) You must get your second dose of the vaccine with the same organization that gave you the first dose -- you'll get that second appointment date when you get your first vaccine.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
Public Health is administering vaccinations by appointment only at Bojangles Coliseum, 2700 East Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28205.
GET AN APPOINTMENT:
Eligible individuals can click here to schedule an appointment online or call 980-314-9400 Option 3 to schedule a first-dose appointment.
Due to the limited vaccine supply, appointments may not be available. Please check back for updates.
No walk-ins are accepted. Instructions for your second dose will be provided at the appointment for your first dose.
Email MeckCVMS@mecknc.gov or call 980-314-9400 Option 3 with questions.
They are offering the vaccine by appointment at some of their locations, and at large vaccination events held at venues like the Charlotte Motor Speedway & Bank of America Stadium. They will also be scheduling smaller events within underserved communities with no appointment required. You don't need to be an existing Atrium Health patient to get the vaccine from them.
If you are eligible now for the vaccine:
Call 704-468-8888 or schedule online through these steps:
Step 1: Log in to MyAtriumHealth.
If you don’t have an account, sign up now. You don’t need to be an Atrium Health patient to make an account.
Step 2: Click on Schedule COVID-19 Vaccination.
Step 3: Click on COVID-19 Vaccination or COVID-19 Vaccine Event.
Step 4: Answer a few quick questions. Then schedule both doses in MyAtriumHealth.
Not eligible for the vaccine yet? Get notified when you are!
Go to their COVID-19 vaccine prescreen tool, and answer a few quick questions.
They’ll use the information you provide to contact you when you can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
They are offering the vaccine by appointment to current Novant Health patients at some of their locations. Novant Health also plans to open two mass vaccination sites in Charlotte (details to come), as well as holding smaller, pop-up vaccine clinics at local churches, Charlotte schools and Novant community clinics to better reach those in underserved communities. Appointments for these clinics are required and can be scheduled through Novant.
If you are now eligible for the vaccine:
Click here, answer a few questions and then follow the steps to get an appointment.
Not eligible for the vaccine yet? Get pre-registered:
Click here, preregister to learn your eligibility group, and be notified via your MyChart account when you can schedule your appointment.
Can I stop taking precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing once I have the vaccine?
Unfortunately, not yet.
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making the decision that people can stop taking these precautions. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth
Stay at least 6 feet away from others
Avoid poorly ventilated spaces
Wash your hands often
Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.