COVID-19 General and Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

GETTING VACCINATED

Q. How can I get my COVID-19 vaccine? The vaccine is now available to all age 5 and older. URPG is offering a COVID Vaccination Clinic at the Barnett Road Medical Building, 4327 Barnett Road, through Entry C. The clinic will be open by appointment only; please call 940-764-5800 to schedule an appointment. United Regional will also give vaccines at various community events, listed on the My Shot webpage. There are also numerous pharmacies and other locations offering COVID vaccinations. To find the most convenient location for you, visit vaccines.gov.

Q. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Given the proven safety and efficacy, United Regional strongly encourages our community to get vaccinated. If you have concerns, speak with your health care provider.

Q. How much will the COVID-19 vaccination cost? There will be no out-of-pocket expense to the patient for the vaccine. Like other vaccination providers, United Regional will charge a vaccine administration fee to be billed to the individual’s private or public (i.e., Medicare/Medicaid/Tricare) insurance. If uninsured, United Regional will receive reimbursement from the federal government.

Q. How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need? The number of vaccine doses depends on which vaccine you receive. To get the most protection:

If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, you should get your second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot and for any additional doses or booster shots.

Q. Why is someone not counted as “fully vaccinated” until 14 days after their final dose? While receiving the final dose in a vaccination series (second dose of Pfizer or Moderna; first dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) is considered a series completion, the individual is still not considered fully vaccinated. It takes the body time to develop antibodies and build a threshold of protection from the virus. This is the same reason public health experts recommend getting flu shots in the fall – well before the height of flu season – or travel-related vaccines at least several weeks prior to the trip.

Q. Do I need to wear a mask when I receive a COVID-19 vaccine? Yes. In addition, patients and visitors (regardless of their vaccination status) must wear a mask at all times when present in our facilities, until further notice. Thanks for your cooperation as we do our part to keep each other and the community safe and healthy.

Q. If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine? Yes, vaccination is recommended regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection and thus persons with documented acute infection in the preceding 90 days may defer vaccination until the end of this period, if desired.

Q. I currently have COVID-19; can I receive the vaccine? You should wait to receive the vaccine until you have recovered from COVID-19 and quarantine has been discontinued.

Q. I previously received antibody therapy for COVID-19; can I receive the vaccine? Currently there is no data on safety or efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days to avoid interference of the treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.

Q. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine along with other vaccines? You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same visit, according to the CDC. You no longer need to wait 14 days between vaccinations. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.

Q. I have an underlying medical condition; can I receive the vaccine? The COVID vaccine may be administered to persons with underlying medical conditions, as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. The CDC has considerations for people with underlying health conditions. It is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying health conditions due to an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Q. Should I receive the vaccine if I have an immunocompromising condition or am taking immunosuppressive medications? Persons with immunocompromising conditions, or who take immunosuppressive medications or therapies might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Q. I’m pregnant/I recently had a baby. Can I still receive the vaccine? Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. A conversation with your healthcare provider might be helpful but it is not required before vaccination. Click here to watch a discussion on the subject between local physicians.

 

COVID VACCINE BOOSTER DOSES

Q. Do I need to get a booster after receiving my COVID-19 vaccine? As of October 21, 2021, the FDA has authorized and the CDC recommended a booster shot of COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations. For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

For those who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.

Talk to your health care provider about whether an additional dose is appropriate for you.

Q. When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups? Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster dose as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease.

Q. If we need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working? No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness and hospitalization. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

Q. Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster shot? Yes. Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

 

POST VACCINATION

Q. I’ve been vaccinated; do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing? After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you can resume many activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except:

Q. What are common side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? You may have some side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects include:

The following symptoms are NOT side effects of the vaccine.

 Q. How can I manage common side effects? If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area and use/exercise your arm. To reduce the discomfort from fever, drink plenty of fluids and dress lightly.

 

VACCINE DEVELOPMENT/APPROVAL

Q. What is an mRNA vaccine? The mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines, nor do they use an adjuvant to enhance vaccine efficacy. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein.” The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them. Next, the cell displays the protein piece on its surface. Our immune systems recognize that the protein doesn’t belong there and begin building an immune response and making antibodies, like what happens in natural infection against COVID-19. These vaccines do not enter the nucleus and do not alter human DNA in vaccine recipients. As a result, mRNA vaccines cannot cause any genetic changes.

Q. How effective is the vaccine? COVID-19 vaccination reduces the risk of COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. All COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use in the United States helped protect people against COVID-19, including severe illness, in clinical trial settings. So far, studies that have looked at how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions (vaccine effectiveness studies) have shown that these vaccines are working well.

Vaccine effectiveness studies provide a growing body of evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines offer similar protection in real-world conditions as they have in clinical trial settings, reducing the risk of COVID-19, including severe illness, among people who are fully vaccinated by 90 percent or more. In addition to providing protection against COVID-19, there is increasing evidence that COVID-19 vaccines also provide protection against COVID-19 infections without symptoms (asymptomatic infections). COVID-19 vaccination can reduce the spread of disease overall, helping protect people around you.

 

Click here for more information and for real-time Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) updates.

 

PATIENTS AND VISITORS INFORMATION

Q. Where should I go if I’m feeling sick? If you are sick, seek treatment by either:

Before you seek medical care, call ahead and let your health care provider know that you have symptoms of COVID-19. Adults with the following symptoms are advised to go to the Emergency Department:

Q. Is it safe to seek emergency care at United Regional? Do not allow fear of COVID-19 to put you or a family member in a potentially life-threatening situation by avoiding the Emergency Department.

Q. What if I have a non-emergency, minor condition? United Regional Physician Group offers convenient options for your minor medical conditions through the CarePlus Walk-in Clinic and virtual visits through MyChart. The same providers who work in the CarePlus Walk-in Clinic are the same providers who will be treating you during a Video Visit or E-Visit on MyChart from the comfort of your own home. Learn more about CarePlus and virtual visits by visiting https://urphysiciangroup.org/careplus-clinic/ or https://mychart.unitedregional.org/.

Q. How much is a telemedicine visit? Virtual visits cost from$0 to $40, depending on insurance. We will bill your insurance and send you a bill for any remainder balance/copay. Cash price for CarePlus virtual visits is $40. Telephone visits are billed to your insurance; price will vary depending on the complexity and length of visit. Most insurance companies are covering telemedicine visits during the public health emergency.

Q. Have the visiting hours been affected by COVID-19? To further protect the health of our patients, visitors, staff, and community – and to prevent the potential spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – United Regional first modified its visitor policy on March 18, 2020. For the latest information, please click here.

Q. Am I required to wear a cloth face covering as a patient or visitor to the hospital? Consistent with updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Regional began requiring patients and visitors to wear a cloth face covering on April 25, 2020. This includes during your appointment and in exam rooms unless instructed by a nurse or provider to remove it during a portion of the physical exam. For hospital patients, you may remove your mask while you are alone in your private patient room.

Q. Who can I call if I have questions? If you would like to talk to a nurse or doctor about the symptoms or treatment of COVID-19, please call your health care provider. If you do not have a provider, you may call our Call-A-Nurse hotline at 940-764-8570.

For questions about scheduling and appointments, you may contact 940-764-5200. Or you may click here for United Regional Health Care System’s phone directory.

Q. I’m feeling sick but not running a fever. Should I still come to my appointment? No. Patients who are experiencing any of the COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to come in for in-person visits, unless they are being seen for their symptoms. We are happy to complete your visit via a telephone or video visit, or reschedule your appointment for a later time.

Q. My family member was exposed to COVID-19 and was tested; we are waiting on results. Should I still come to my appointment? Anyone with pending COVID-19 results, or living with someone with pending results, will not be allowed in the facilities.

Q. How do I log into MyChart? Through MyChart, you can have online access to your medical record, schedule appointments, access test results, message your provider and pay bills. Visit https://mychart.unitedregional.org or download the MyChart app in the app store.

 

COVID-19 TESTING INFORMATION

Q. What type of test are you offering for COVID-19? The hospital and clinics of United Regional are using a test called PCR which detects tiny particles of the virus; existence of these particles means the person has an active COVID-19 infection. This test is considered the gold standard for diagnosing Covid-19.

Q. How do I get tested? We have made a simple chart to help you determine how best to get a COVID-19 test, depending on whether you are experiencing any symptoms and if you have a primary care provider.

Q. Where can I get tested? What are the hours? For patients with a provider order, testing is available at three convenient locations:

Q. Do I have to wear a mask to be tested? Please wear a mask during your visit to any United Regional location. A staff member will instruct you to pull the mask down while we collect specimens or when otherwise appropriate.

Q. How much is a COVID-19 test? Most insurance companies cover the cost of the test 100 percent. We do not collect any copays at the time of the test; any balance is billed to the patient at a later date. Cash price (for those without insurance) is $99. Patients can submit an application for financial assistance or work on a payment plan with our billing office 940-764-8242 if cost is a barrier.