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 Pfizer or Moderna 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)
The vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson does NOT require two doses. It is a single shot.
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.
On April 7, the state of North Carolina opened up access to everyone of age who wants to get the vaccine.
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 several places to get the vaccine.
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 provider below.
MECKLENBURG COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
Public Health is administering vaccinations by appointment only at: Bojangles Coliseum, 2700 East Independence Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28205 and at StarMed Healthcare, 4001 Tuckaseegee Road, Charlotte, NC.
GET AN APPOINTMENT:
Click here to schedule an appointment online or call 980-314-9400 Option 3 to schedule a first-dose appointment.
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.
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.
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.
Click here, answer a few questions and then follow the steps to get an appointment.
Many local pharmacies are also providing the vaccine. Click on their logos to be taken to their vaccine info page.
HELPFUL SEARCH TOOLS
www.VaccineFinder.org will allow you to search by your zip code for sites that have the vaccine in stock. You can see which vaccine is available, ie Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. The site will link to the vaccine provider's appointment site.
www.VaccineSpotter.org is a tool to help you track down COVID-19 vaccine appointment openings at your state's pharmacies. Updated every minute. Rather than searching around on each pharmacy's website, it automatically scans the pharmacy websites and shows you any available appointments it can find. Note: largely searches national chain pharmacies -- locally owned pharmacies may not appear in search results.
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.