Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Sanford Health is committed to helping you get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
With safety as our top priority, we encourage you to get a COVID-19 vaccine with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as soon as one is available to you. If you have any questions or concerns, explore our COVID-19 vaccine FAQs below.
Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment
All residents of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota ages 16 or older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Individuals under the age of 18 are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time. To schedule an appointment, we ask that you call (877) 701-0779 or your clinic. They can confirm vaccine availability at your local clinic or vaccine center.
If there are no appointments available at your preferred location, fill out our registration form. We’ll notify you when an appointment becomes available for you to get your vaccine.
We’re offering COVID-19 vaccines without an appointment at select walk-in locations:
1321 W. 22nd St.
Sioux Falls, SD 57105
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sanford Ninth Street Special Care Unit
600 N. 9th St.
Bismarck, ND 58501
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Who Can I Contact for More Information?
If you have questions about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please call (877) 701-0779. We’re available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you have general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please call the Sanford Health Nurse Line. My Sanford Nurse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Can I make my own vaccine appointment or get one at my clinic?
How do I notify my provider that I’ve been vaccinated?
If you’re a Sanford Health patient and receive the vaccine through us, that information will be automatically updated in your record.
If you received your COVID-19 vaccine at a non-Sanford Health location, please send a My Sanford Chart message to your provider and attach a picture of your vaccination card. Or email us and include:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- A picture of your vaccination card
This will ensure your medical record is updated with your vaccination status, date of vaccination and the type of vaccine you received.
If you don’t have your vaccination card available, please send a My Sanford Chart message or email us and include the following information:
- First and last name
- Date of birth
- The date(s) of your vaccination
- Type of vaccine you received
- The state and location where you received your vaccine
- Please indicate if you received your vaccination at Indian Health Services or Veterans Affairs (VA)
What should I do before my vaccine appointment?
Make sure you’re ready for your appointment. At your appointment, remember to cover your mouth and nose with a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others. Learn more about protecting yourself from COVID-19 during visits to the doctor or a pharmacy.
What will happen at my vaccine appointment?
You will receive a vaccine card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it and where you received it. You will also get a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you got. Each COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine.
You will be observed on-site for 15 minutes after you receive the vaccine. During this time, we’ll help you schedule your appointment for your second dose. We’ll also give you information about v-safe, a free smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. Learn more about v-safe.
Should people who are pregnant or breastfeeding get the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women. We don’t know if the vaccine will work as well in these groups or if there will be increased risks to mom or her baby. That’s why it’s especially important to be informed before making a decision./p>
Here are the facts:
- Those who are pregnant face a higher risk of birth complications, hospitalization and death from a COVID-19 infection.
- The COVID-19 vaccine prevents 9.5 out of 10 COVID-19 infections.
- Pregnant women experience the same vaccine side effects as others, including fever. Tylenol can be used during pregnancy for a high fever according to the CDC.
You may choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have certain risk factors, such as if you:
- Work in health care
- Interact with a lot of people
- Are overweight
- Have a chronic medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
- Have a high rate of COVID-19 cases in your community
- Are part of a racial or ethnic minority group
Talk to your health care provider about your risk factors to make a decision.
If you’re currently breastfeeding, experts say there’s no reason to think that the vaccines affect the safety of your breastmilk. There is also evidence that antibodies from the vaccines do pass from your breastmilk to your baby. This may help protect your baby from infection.
Who shouldn’t get the vaccine?
These groups shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Children under the age of 16 (Pfizer) or 18 (Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) will not be given the vaccine at this time. Clinical trials to test the vaccine in children are ongoing.
- People who have had an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components, including polyethylene glycol (PEG).
- People who have had an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate.
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should not receive additional doses of either of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.
- People who have had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.
Can I go back to normal after getting the vaccine?
It will still be important to follow CDC guidelines after you get your COVID-19 vaccine, particularly with face masks. Please keep wearing a mask, washing your hands and practicing social distancing.
After your first dose, it is possible to contract COVID-19 and spread to others because this dose only starts to build protection. Your second dose will achieve 95% efficacy.
Because the vaccine does not provide 100% protection against the virus, we still recommend that everyone who receives the vaccine continue to wear a mask and take precautions.
Do I need to start over if I miss my appointment for the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?
You won’t need to start over. Instead, you’ll need to reschedule your appointment for the second dose as close as possible to the recommended timing of 21 days for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine.
Do I need to wait to get a mammogram after getting vaccinated?
All vaccines can cause swollen lymph nodes as a side effect. Women who get a mammogram shortly after a vaccine can have swollen lymph nodes show up on their mammogram, which can trigger follow-up tests.
If you received a COVID-19 vaccine within four weeks of your scheduled mammogram, contact your Edith Sanford Breast Center to discuss your appointment options.
Some women may elect to delay their mammogram until after they receive their final COVID-19 vaccine dose. However, if you are concerned about swelling or lumps, you should contact your physician right away.
About the COVID-19 Vaccine
Why get vaccinated?
Vaccines help keep you healthy by reducing your chance of being infected by a serious or deadly virus. They use your body’s natural defense system (immune system) to help you safely develop immunity against a disease. Plus, vaccines protect you when you get vaccinated as well as others in your family and community by stopping the spread of diseases.
What are the ingredients in the vaccine?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine includes the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate and sucrose.
The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine contains the following ingredients: mRNA, lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate and sucrose.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine includes the following ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80 and sodium chloride.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which work by giving instructions (mRNA) to your immune cells. The vaccine tells the cells to make a harmless protein called a spike protein, which mimics the protein that is found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Your immune system then recognizes the protein doesn’t belong in your body and will make antibodies to get rid of it. Through this process, the mRNA vaccine teaches your body to fight off any future COVID-19 infections.
mRNA vaccines can’t give you the COVID-19 virus. They also do not affect or alter your DNA in any way. Instead, the vaccines work with your body’s natural defense system to safely build up protection against the COVID-19 virus.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. It uses a modified version of a different virus as a vector, or carrier, to deliver instructions to cells. These instructions tell your cells to make a spike protein similar to the protein found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Your immune system will then recognize these proteins and make antibodies against them. These antibodies will know to target the COVID-19 virus if you are exposed in the future.
Viral vector vaccines are safe because they can’t combine with a person’s DNA. It is also impossible for these vaccines to infect you with COVID-19.
What should I know about the current COVID-19 vaccines?
There are currently three vaccines that have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the United States. These are the Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses given a few weeks apart. The first dose of a vaccine kick starts an immune response. It is the body’s first opportunity to make antibodies that recognize and attack the virus. The second dose helps the body produce more antibodies and a stronger immune response.
In the studies for Pfizer’s vaccine, the first shot is about 52% effective in preventing COVID-19. The second shot increased that effectiveness to 95%. The Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, starting from 14 days after the second dose.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be given 21 days apart, and Moderna shots will be given 28 days apart.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine requires a single dose and offers the most protection starting 14 days after vaccination.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Safety is our top priority. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be very safe and effective in preventing illness, hospitalization and death.
Before any vaccine receives approval for widespread use, it must be supported by research data. All vaccines approved for emergency use have undergone rigorous testing as directed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure safety and effectiveness.
As of April 16, Sanford Health has administered more than 250,000 vaccines with a significant adverse reaction rate of only .01%. This means there have been very few negative reactions among those who have received the vaccine.
For some, the COVID-19 vaccine may cause mild side effects. This isn’t a bad thing. Side effects show the vaccine is working and your body is building an immune response. The most common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are injection site pain, soreness and swelling. These side effects will typically resolve after one or two days.
Can I get the vaccine if I have already had and recovered from COVID-19?
A COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. You will not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.
However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to stop isolating. Find the criteria here.
How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
At this time, there is no out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine. Private insurance companies and government insurance programs like Medicare will fully cover the cost.
What does it take to reach herd immunity?
When a virus cannot spread because a large portion of the community is protected against it, this is called herd immunity. To achieve herd immunity, the majority of the population needs to be vaccinated against a virus. This protects those who are vaccinated as well as people who are unable to receive the vaccine or who do not respond to a vaccine, such as someone with a compromised immune system or an allergy to ingredients in the vaccine.
What are the long-term effects of the vaccine?
At this time, there is no data about potential long-term side effects. However, it is extremely rare for vaccines to have negative long-term side effects that appear beyond the FDA’s required two-month monitoring period. All trials go through the monitoring period before they can get EUA.
What is v-safe?
V-safe is a monitoring program created by the FDA and CDC. After you get the vaccine, you’ll receive a card that includes information on how to register for v-safe. You will need your smartphone to use the tool.
V-safe uses text messages and web surveys to check in on your health after your vaccination. Through the tool, you can quickly report side effects and get reminders on when you need a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you opt-in to the program, you will get daily health check-ins for the first week. After that, you’ll get health check-in alerts at three, six and 12 months after your final dose.
What can I do now to prevent getting COVID-19 while I wait for the vaccine?
Stopping a global pandemic takes everyone working together. You can help prevent getting and spreading COVID-19 by wearing a mask to cover your mouth and nose when you are around others, practicing social distancing, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands often, avoiding touching your face, and staying home when you are sick or have symptoms.
How long do I have to wait to get the COVID-19 vaccine after I received a different vaccine?
If you’ve received another vaccine in the last two weeks, you will need to wait 14 days before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you should wait at least 14 days before getting another vaccine.
If I’ve gotten COVID-19 antibody therapy, do I need to wait to get the vaccine?
Yes. If you’ve received COVID-19 antibody therapy in the last 90 days, you need to wait at least 90 days before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.