Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Everyone ages 6 months and older is eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. A booster dose is recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older. The vaccine and booster can protect you, your family and your community.
Patients with My Sanford Chart
Log in to My Sanford Chart. Select Visits in the header and then click the Schedule an appointment button. You will see an option to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination.
If you’re scheduling for a minor, you must have proxy access to their account. Learn more.
If you don’t have a My Sanford Chart account
Walk-in COVID-19 Vaccine Locations
COVID-19 vaccines are offered without an appointment at select locations. We strongly encourage you to schedule your vaccination through My Sanford Chart or by calling (877) 701-0779.
Vaccines for Children Ages 6 Months to 11 Years
Children receive the same vaccine as adults but in a smaller dose.
Pfizer: The Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 6 months and older and is the only manufacturer whose vaccine is approved for children ages 6 to 11.
Children ages 6 months to 4 years receive a three-dose vaccine series:
- Second dose is given three to eight weeks after the first dose.
- Third dose is given at least eight weeks after the second dose.
Children ages 5 to 11 years receive a two-dose vaccine series and a booster dose:
- Second dose is given three to eight weeks after the first dose.
- A booster dose is also recommended at least five months after the final dose of your initial doses.
Moderna: The Moderna vaccine is approved for children ages 6 months to 5 years old.
Children ages 6 months to 5 years old receive a two-dose vaccine series:
- Second dose is given four to eight weeks after the first dose.
Vaccine Boosters and Extra Shot Recommendations
If your initial doses were the Pfizer vaccine:
- People ages 5 years and older should receive an additional dose at least four weeks after they receive the second dose of the Pfizer primary series. And a booster dose at least three months after their additional dose (total of four doses).
- People ages 12 years and older should receive a second booster dose at least four months after their first booster (total of five doses).
If your initial doses were the Moderna vaccine:
- Children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years should receive an additional dose at least four weeks after they receive the second dose of the Moderna primary series.
- People ages 18 years and older should receive an additional dose at least four weeks after they receive the second dose of the Moderna primary series. They should also receive a booster at least three months after their additional dose and a second booster at least four months after their first booster (total of five doses).
If your initial dose was the Janssen (J&J) vaccine:
- People ages 18 years and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) at least four weeks after their first dose of Janssen (J&J). They should also receive a booster at least eight weeks after their additional dose and a second booster at least four months after their first booster (total of four doses).
Children and Adults Ages 5 and Older
If you’re not immunocompromised and your initial doses were the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna):
- Children between the ages of 5 and 17 should receive a Pfizer COVID-19 booster at least five months after they received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine for their primary series.
- People ages 18 and older should get a booster dose if it has been at least five months since they received two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
- A booster dose for children ages 5 and younger who received the Moderna vaccine is not recommended at this time.
If your initial dose was the Janssen (J&J) vaccine:
- People ages 18 and older should get an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) booster dose at least eight weeks after they received one dose of the Janssen (J&J) vaccine.
Older Adults Ages 50 and Older
A second booster dose is recommended for adults ages 50 and older who are not immunocompromised at least four months after receiving their first booster.
Most Sanford Health locations carry the Pfizer vaccine. Call (877) 701-0779 to check if the Moderna or Janssen (J&J) vaccine is available at a location near you and to schedule an appointment.
Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Do I need an additional dose if I’m immunocompromised?
If you’re immunocompromised, you should receive an additional dose of the same brand of COVID-19 vaccine that you received for your initial doses.
If you received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), receive a third dose at least 28 days later to get full protection. If you received the Janssen (J&J) vaccine, get an additional dose at least 28 days after receiving your primary dose.
Who qualifies to receive an additional dose?
An additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for certain patients. People at a higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19 due to moderate or severe immune system problems should get an additional dose.
- Taking immune-suppressing or biologic drugs
- Ongoing cancer treatment
- Had an organ transplant
- Had a stem cell transplant in the last two years
- Primary immune deficiency diseases such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome
- Advanced or untreated HIV
- High-dose steroid use (more than 20 milligrams of prednisone, 3 mg of dexamethasone or 80 mg of hydrocortisone each day)
What’s the difference between an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a vaccine booster?
An additional dose is given to someone who is less likely to have a strong immune response after their initial doses. This is most common in immunocompromised patients.
A booster is given to someone who had a proper immune response to a vaccine for enhanced protection, which may decrease over time.
Boosters are recommended for everyone ages 5 and older who have received two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
What’s the difference between a homologous and heterologous booster dose?
A homologous booster uses the same vaccine product [Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (J&J)] for the booster dose as it did for the initial doses.
A heterologous booster dose, also known as a mix-and-match booster, uses a different vaccine product for the booster dose than it did for the initial doses.
When and where can I receive a third dose?
Sanford Health is now offering third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to qualifying patients. You can receive a third dose anytime as long as it is 28 days after your second dose.
Please bring your vaccination card to your appointment.
What do I do if I lost my vaccination card or need a replacement of my record?
If you received your vaccination at Sanford Health, you have these options:
Option 1: Print your vaccination record from My Sanford Chart.
- Log in.
- In the menu, select Health Summary under My Record.
- Select the Immunizations tab and click View Details under your COVID-19 vaccine listing.
- This will display all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine you have on file. Click the printer icon in the upper right corner to print a paper copy or select Print to PDF for an electronic copy.
Option 2: Print your record from your state’s Department of Health.
Option 3: Contact your region’s Sanford Health Release of Information:
Option 4: Call your primary care provider and ask them to provide your vaccination record.
If you received your vaccination at a non-Sanford Health location, you can contact the site or clinic where you received your vaccination or print your record from your state’s Department of Health.
How can I update my medical records to include my COVID-19 vaccination?
To add your COVID-19 vaccination to your medical records, please call your primary care provider.
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 to prepare for my appointment and what can I expect?
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 the different types of COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.
- Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you have an underlying health condition, learn what you need to know about the vaccine.
After your vaccination, you’ll get a card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you got it and where. You’ll 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’ll also 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.
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.
I just received a different vaccine. Do I have to wait to get my COVID-19 vaccine?
You don’t have to wait or space out your vaccinations. We can now give COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day.
I’ve recovered from COVID-19. Do I need to get the vaccine?
You should get vaccinated even if you’ve already had COVID-19. You will not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.
Anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they meet the criteria to stop isolating. Find the criteria here.
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.
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 (J&J) 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.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine change my DNA?
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 don’t affect or alter your DNA in any way. They also can’t give you the COVID-19 virus. Instead, the vaccines work with your body’s natural defense system to safely build up protection against the COVID-19 virus.
The Janssen (J&J) 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 three vaccines available, including vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen (J&J). The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have received full approval from the FDA. The Janssen (J&J) vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses given a few weeks apart. The first dose of a vaccine jump-starts an immune response and fires up antibody production. This is the body’s first opportunity to recognize and defend against the virus, but it is possible to get COVID-19 between your first and second dose. The second dose helps the body produce even more antibodies and strengthens the immune response.
Pfizer vaccines are given 21 days apart, and Moderna shots are given 28 days apart.
The Janssen (J&J) vaccine requires a single dose.
Do I have to pay for my COVID-19 vaccination?
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.
How long will I have protection from COVID-19 after I’m vaccinated?
At this time, we don’t know for sure how long vaccinated individuals will be protected from COVID-19.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
Research shows that the COVID-19 vaccines effectively protect you from getting sick with COVID-19, including its variants. If you’re vaccinated, you’re more protected against contracting or getting seriously ill and dying from COVID-19.
We don’t know how effective the vaccines are against new variants that may develop in the future.
Studies have shown some decline in vaccine effectiveness over time. Boosters are an effective way to improve your immunity and offer nearly immediate protection.
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. All vaccines approved for use have undergone rigorous testing as directed by the FDA to ensure safety and effectiveness.
Can I get COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine?
Getting the vaccine helps protect you from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19, but no vaccine is 100%.
For the best protection, get all of the recommended doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. There have been breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated people contracting COVID-19, but these cases are a small percentage of the overall vaccinated population.
It’s also possible to get sick with COVID-19 just before or after vaccination. It typically takes around two weeks to get full protection after getting vaccinated.
While experts learn more, it’s still important to wear your mask in public if you’re in an area of high transmission. Also, keep washing your hands often and social distancing.
Are the vaccines safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the CDC all recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future.
Pregnant people are at a higher risk of COVID-19 complications, including:
- Early (preterm) birth
- Needing intensive care and a ventilator
- Serious illness and death
A COVID-19 vaccine will help prevent or decrease the harm of contracting COVID-19. These vaccines cannot give you the illness.
People who are pregnant experience the same vaccine side effects as others, including fever. According to the CDC, Tylenol can be used during pregnancy for a high fever.
If you’re currently breastfeeding, experts say there’s no reason to think that the vaccines affect the safety of your breast milk. There is also evidence that antibodies from the vaccines pass from your breast milk to your baby. This may help protect your baby from infection.
What should I know about the vaccines and the COVID-19 variants?
The COVID-19 vaccines offer protection from severe illness and death due to COVID-19 or its variants. Getting vaccinated will prevent or decrease the severity of an infection from many variants, including delta and omicron.
If you do contract COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, you’ll likely have an asymptomatic or milder case. You’re also less likely to be hospitalized or die from the COVID-19 virus and its variants.
Who shouldn’t get the vaccine?
These groups shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine:
- Children under the age of 5 (Pfizer) or 18 [Moderna and Janssen (J&J)] 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 (J&J) 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 are the side effects of 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.
Are the vaccines safe for children?
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine went through rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness. Research shows the vaccine can help prevent severe illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19.
The vaccine doses are adjusted to be age-appropriate. Children ages 5 to 11 are given a lower dose than the vaccine used for older children and adults.
The side effects are minimal and similar to the side effects a child may experience from other vaccinations.