COVID-19 & Vaccine FAQ

COVID-19 Vac­cine Infor­ma­tion & Questions

Updat­ed Octo­ber 25, 2022

Biva­lent Boost­er Vac­cine Gen­er­al Information

The FDA approved omi­cron-spe­cif­ic boost­er dos­es of both Pfiz­er and Mod­er­na vac­cines. These new biva­lent boost­ers often referred to as updat­ed boost­ers” are tar­get­ed against the Omi­cron vari­ants that have been dom­i­nant through most of 2022. These new vac­cine boost­ers are a response to the need to have vac­cines more tar­get­ed toward cir­cu­lat­ing strains of COVID. 

Mod­er­na’s biva­lent boost­er is for patients age 6 and up who have received a com­plete ini­tial vac­cine series (at least 2 dos­es of Mod­er­na or 2 dos­es of Pfiz­er or 1 dose of J&J or 2 dos­es of Novavax or 2 dos­es of any WHO-approved vac­cine series out­side of the coun­try.) Any­one age 6 or old­er seek­ing a Mod­er­na boost­er will receive this updat­ed biva­lent booster. 

Pfiz­er’s biva­lent boost­er is for patients age 5 and up who have received a com­plete vac­cine series (at least 2 dos­es of Pfiz­er or 2 dos­es of Mod­er­na or 1 dose of J&J or 2 dos­es of Novavax or 2 dos­es of any WHO-approved vac­cine series out­side of the coun­try.) Any­one age 6 or old­er seek­ing a Pfiz­er boost­er will receive the updat­ed Pfiz­er biva­lent booster. 

Biva­lent Boost­ers are now avail­able at our Duly Health and Care vac­cine clin­ics. Sched­ule your boost­er online today: 

Duly Patient Vac­cine Sched­ul­ing (Ages 6mo+)

New Patient Vac­cine Sched­ul­ing (Ages 6mo+) 

When can our patients receive the biva­lent boost­er vaccines? 

Patients are eli­gi­ble to receive a biva­lent boost­er dose of mRNA vac­cine if they are ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed, meet the age cri­te­ria, and it has been at least 2 months since their last dose of any COVID vac­cine, pre­vi­ous boost­ers includ­ed. If patients have already received all dos­es of the COVID vac­cine for which they were eli­gi­ble — they can and should still get a boost­er dose of these new biva­lent vaccines.

What if a patient recent­ly had COVID? 

If a patient was recent­ly infect­ed, they like­ly have sig­nif­i­cant anti­bod­ies against cir­cu­lat­ing vari­ants. For this rea­son, patients can wait up to 90 days after their COVID infec­tion to receive biva­lent boost­ers but do not have to. Patients can get these boost­ers at any time after recovery. 

If I am a patient that has nev­er been vac­ci­nat­ed, can I receive the new biva­lent vaccine? 

At this time, biva­lent vac­cines are NOT indi­cat­ed for the pri­ma­ry vac­cine series and can­not be used in this way. Patients have to receive a com­plet­ed vac­cine series of the orig­i­nal vac­cines pri­or to these boost­ers. This is the cur­rent guid­ance from the CDC and FDA.

What about the biva­lent vac­cine for chil­dren under the age of 12? 

It is rec­om­mend­ed that chil­dren age 5 and old­er receive one updat­ed biva­lent boost­er if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vac­cine dose, whether that was their final pri­ma­ry series dose or a mono­va­lent booster.

If a child under the age of 5 years old has not yet received a 3rd dose of the COVID vac­cine, they should not wait. There is no imme­di­ate time­line for the expect­ed approval of pedi­atric dos­es of biva­lent boost­ers for this age group. Chil­dren should con­tin­ue to be vac­ci­nat­ed with boost­ers cur­rent­ly avail­able and, when biva­lent boost­ers become avail­able, they will be able to receive these as well.

Can patients get their COVID boost­er, flu shot, mon­key­pox vac­cine, Pre­vnar 20, etc. all on the same day? 

Yes, they can. There is no need to space these vac­cines out, nor is there a require­ment to get them in a cer­tain order. 

When should patients get their influen­za vaccines? 

Flu shots are now avail­able for patients at Duly. The opti­mal time for an influen­za vac­cine is gen­er­al­ly Octo­ber and into Novem­ber so the peak effect is felt when we antic­i­pate influen­za cas­es to peak.

Do Duly providers rec­om­mend mix­ing vac­cines to improve immu­ni­ty against COVID? 

The most impor­tant thing you can do to pro­tect your­self is to get the vac­cine and boost­ers, includ­ing a sec­ond boost­er if recommended. 

You can learn more about mix­ing and match­ing COVID here.

Who should get the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • The COVID-19 vac­cine is rec­om­mend­ed for all indi­vid­u­als 6 months and up. Appoint­ments are avail­able in Glen Ellyn, Lisle and Tin­ley Park. 
  • A COVID-19 biva­lent vac­cine boost­er is rec­om­mend­ed for every­one ages 5 and old­er at least 2 months after their ini­tial pri­ma­ry series or mono­va­lent boost­er. Those ages 5 – 11 that are mod­er­ate­ly or severe­ly immuno­com­pro­mised should receive an addi­tion­al dose of the Pfiz­er vac­cine 28 days after their ini­tial dose.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Mild side effects, such as those list­ed below, occur com­mon­ly and typ­i­cal­ly resolve with­in 24 – 48 hours of the vac­ci­na­tion admin­is­tra­tion. Com­mon side effects of the COVID-19 vac­cine include:

  • Pain or swelling in the arm that received vaccine
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tired­ness
  • Headache

These typ­i­cal side effects can be treat­ed with rest, hydra­tion and Tylenol or ibupro­fen. Patients should call their doc­tor if they feel that their side effects are becom­ing severe.

Aller­gic Reac­tions: Those with a known his­to­ry of aller­gic reac­tions to injectable med­ica­tions or vac­ci­na­tions should con­sult with their pri­ma­ry care provider or an aller­gist before receiv­ing the vac­cine. The CDC rec­om­mends that patients who have an aller­gic reac­tion to the first dose of the COVID-19 vac­cine should not receive the sec­ond dose. If you have ques­tions regard­ing your vac­cine options, please con­tact your pri­ma­ry care provider or the Duly Health and Care Aller­gy, Asth­ma and Immunol­o­gy department.

Onsite Safe­ty Mon­i­tor­ing: All patients will be mon­i­tored for reac­tions to the vac­cine for 15 min­utes. Those with a his­to­ry of severe aller­gic reac­tions will be mon­i­tored for up to 30 min­utes. If you expe­ri­ence a reac­tion after leav­ing your appoint­ment, seek med­ical atten­tion immediately.

Fol­low-up Check-ins: Patients who receive the vac­cine will be pro­vid­ed instruc­tions on how to report side effects. A MyD­MGHealth account will allow you to fill out check-in ques­tion­naires to report any health con­cerns fol­low­ing your vaccination.

Is the vac­cine safe for preg­nant women, nurs­ing moth­ers, those with a his­to­ry of aller­gic reac­tions or those who are immunocompromised?

Women who are preg­nant, try­ing to con­ceive or breastfeeding

Clin­i­cal tri­als did not study this demo­graph­ic. Recent data has sug­gest­ed that those who are preg­nant could expe­ri­ence more severe reac­tions to side effects of either vac­cine1. Reach out to your med­ical provider to help you make an informed decision.

Those with a his­to­ry of severe aller­gic reactions

Those with a known his­to­ry of severe or mild imme­di­ate aller­gic reac­tions, espe­cial­ly to injectable med­ica­tions or vac­ci­na­tions, should con­sult with their aller­gy and immu­nol­o­gist or pri­ma­ry care provider before receiv­ing the vaccine.

Those with a his­to­ry of severe aller­gies unre­lat­ed to vac­cine ingre­di­ents and med­ical provider approval will be mon­i­tored for 30 min­utes after receiv­ing the vac­cine instead of the stan­dard 15 minutes.

Those who are immunocompromised

Due to lim­it­ed data, it is rec­om­mend­ed for those who are immuno­com­pro­mised to con­sult with their doc­tor before receiv­ing the vaccine.

Your med­ical provider will help inform you about the lim­it­ed data sur­round­ing vac­cine research and those who are immuno­com­pro­mised. Your provider may have spe­cial instruc­tions for you fol­low­ing the vac­cine to help ensure your safety.

Who is con­sid­ered immunocompromised?

  • Can­cer patients
  • Those who have had a bone mar­row transplant
  • Those who have had a sol­id organ transplant
  • Received stem cells for can­cer treatment
  • Those with genet­ic immune deficiencies
  • Those with HIV
  • Those who chron­i­cal­ly use oral or intra­venous cor­ti­cos­teroids or immunosuppressants

If I have had COVID-19 or have test­ed pos­i­tive for COVID-19 anti­bod­ies, should I get the vaccine?

  • It is high­ly encour­aged that those who have had COVID-19 receive the vac­ci­na­tion series to help avoid rein­fec­tion. The length of nat­ur­al immu­ni­ty ranges depend­ing on the per­son. The vac­ci­na­tion series will help extend your immu­ni­ty and lessen your risk of COVID-19 diag­no­sis and severity.
  • For the safe­ty of oth­ers, those who cur­rent­ly have COVID-19 should wait the rec­om­mend­ed 14 days of iso­la­tion before con­sid­er­ing a vaccine.
  • Recent evi­dence has sug­gest­ed a low­er prob­a­bil­i­ty of rein­fec­tion with­in 90 days of COVID-19 infec­tion. As a result, those with a recent COVID-19 diag­no­sis may choose to delay their vac­ci­na­tion series.

How long does the vac­cine pro­vide pro­tec­tion? What we know so far…

The COVID-19 vaccine’s length of immu­ni­ty is still being deter­mined due to lim­it­ed data. It is rec­om­mend­ed that those with COVID-19 anti­bod­ies from pre­vi­ous ill­ness still receive the vac­ci­na­tion series since it is still unknown how long nat­ur­al immu­ni­ty lasts.

Does the vac­cine pro­tect me from alter­nate strains?

While data is lim­it­ed, researchers believe that the COVID-19 vac­cines will cov­er the alter­nate strains of the virus that have appeared around the world. Ear­ly find­ings sug­gest that COVID-19 muta­tions are show­ing con­sis­tent results as those already cov­ered by the exist­ing vac­cine1. Addi­tion­al research will help sci­en­tists adjust the vac­cine as nec­es­sary in the future.

What is the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 Vac­cine is pro­vid­ed at no cost by the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. Duly Health and Care will bill your cur­rent insur­ance for the admin­is­tra­tion of the vac­cine. Please check with your health plan by call­ing the num­ber on the back of your insur­ance card for any ques­tions pri­or to your appoint­ment. If you are unin­sured, the admin­is­tra­tion of your vac­cine may be cov­ered by the Health Resources and Ser­vices Admin­is­tra­tion’s Provider Relief Fund.

COVID-19 Ques­tions

How are COVID-19 Omi­cron and its sub­vari­ants transmitted?

COVID-19 is spread in three main ways:

  1. Breath­ing in air when close to an infect­ed per­son who is exhal­ing small droplets and par­ti­cles that con­tain the virus.
  2. Hav­ing these small droplets and par­ti­cles that con­tain virus land on the eyes, nose, or mouth, espe­cial­ly through splash­es and sprays like a cough or sneeze.
  3. Touch­ing eyes, nose, or mouth with hands that have the virus on them.

Omi­cron vari­ants spread more eas­i­ly than ear­li­er vari­ants of the virus that cause COVID-19.

Regard­less of vac­ci­na­tion sta­tus, the Omi­cron vari­ant can be spread to oth­ers whether or not they have symp­toms and can cause rein­fec­tion even after recov­ery from COVID-19.

What are the symp­toms of Omi­cron and its subvariants?

Symp­toms may appear 2 – 14 days after expo­sure to the virus. Symp­toms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Short­ness of breath or dif­fi­cul­ty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Mus­cle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Con­ges­tion or run­ny nose
  • Nau­sea or vomiting
  • Diar­rhea

Data sug­gests that symp­toms from the Omi­cron vari­ant are less severe, but more data is need­ed to ful­ly assess the sever­i­ty of ill­ness and death asso­ci­at­ed with this variant.

I’ve been pre­scribed Paxlovid and am hav­ing a hard time find­ing a phar­ma­cy to dis­pense it. Can you give me some guidance? 

Much of what the gov­ern­ment allo­cates has been dis­trib­uted to com­mer­cial phar­ma­cies like CVS, Walgreen’s and in some cas­es Wal­mart. Inquire about avail­abil­i­ty at your local store. Then let your Duly provider know which phar­ma­cy and they will call it in for you. 

This track­er may also be helpful. 

I have ques­tions about Paxlovid. Where can I find more information?

The FDA has pub­lished some help­ful FAQs

And here’s a link to Pfizer’s Fact Sheet

Can I be test­ed to see what vari­ant I have?

Duly does not offer that test­ing- it is done ran­dom­ly at a state lev­el for trend­ing pur­pos­es. Duly does par­tic­i­pate in this state testing.

CDC COVID Data Track­er: https://​covid​.cdc​.gov/​c​o​v​i​d​-​d​a​t​a​-​t​r​a​cker/

Are home tests accu­rate? Do I need a PCR test to con­firm the result of my home test?

The home test can be con­sid­ered reli­able, and a PCR test is not need­ed to con­firm a positive.

CDC COVID Self-Test­ing Infor­ma­tion: https://​www​.cdc​.gov/​c​o​r​o​n​a​v​i​r​u​s​/​2​0​1​9​-​n​c​o​v​/​t​e​s​t​i​n​g​/​s​e​l​f​-​t​e​s​t​i​n​g​.html

At-home COVID advice lists OTC rec­om­men­da­tions to pre­vent severe COVID for adults. Are there any rec­om­men­da­tions for chil­dren (pedi­atric patients)?

Yes. Per our physi­cians, vit­a­mins C & D and zinc are rec­om­mend­ed. Par­ents can dis­cuss prop­er dos­ing with their phar­ma­cist for children.

What are the new quar­an­tine guidelines?

The guide­lines for quar­an­tine are chang­ing quick­ly. Please find the lat­est CDC guid­ance for quar­an­tine here: https://​www​.cdc​.gov/​c​o​r​o​n​a​v​i​r​u​s​/​2​0​1​9​-​n​c​o​v​/​y​o​u​r​-​h​e​a​l​t​h​/​q​u​a​r​a​n​t​i​n​e​-​i​s​o​l​a​t​i​o​n​.html

Addi­tion­al Sources