Learn more about the new COVID-19 vaccine and its availability in Vermont.

The University of Vermont Health Network is proud to be working with local partners and the state of Vermont to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine across the state.

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Who Is Currently Eligible?

Last Updated January 15, 2021

The State of Vermont currently directs that all individuals who meet the State-identified Phase 1A criteria be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination. This includes health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. Read more about the vaccine phases and find out if you are eligible.

Below are some frequently asked questions to help you learn more about the vaccine. We will continue to post updates as more information becomes available.

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

This document has been developed by the UVM Health Network, based on the most up-to-date public health guidance, to respond to some of the common questions you may have relating to the vaccine and how it will be administered here.

Last Updated January 12, 2021

The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine became available in Vermont in mid-December 2020. Following guidance from the State of Vermont and CDC, the UVM Health Network is currently focused on frontline health care workers and people living in long-term care facilities. We have also begun to vaccinate community health care workers, and will work with local community health providers going forward to identify community health care workers in our health care service areas to receive the vaccine.

The general public will be prioritized based on criteria identified by the Vermont Department of Health and the CDC, with the goal of getting vaccines to all Vermont residents in 2021. We are not currently taking appointments or keeping a list of members of the public interested in receiving the vaccine. We appreciate your patience as we ensure those responsible for administering the vaccine and keeping Vermonters healthy can continue to do so.

For the most current Vermont COVID-19 vaccine information, including who’s eligible to get a vaccine now, which vaccines are available and more, visit the Vermont Health Department website.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are being developed rapidly to fight the pandemic, but in order to accelerate the process administrative barriers to progress were removed without cutting corners on safety assessments. Based on a standard and highly rigorous clinical trial assessment of the safety of vaccine in tens of thousands of volunteers, the FDA approved the emergency use of vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna, with other vaccines under review in the near future.

Yes, the CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. This is true if you were diagnosed in real time with COVID-19, or if you have a positive antibody test suggesting prior infection. While you may have some short-term protection after recovering from COVID-19, the duration of that protection is unknown. Current evidence suggests reinfection is rare within 90 days after initial infection. As a result, the CDC recommends that people who have previously had COVID-19 either get vaccinated immediately after their acute illness has resolved or wait 90 days to get vaccinated.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Yes. To change the course of the pandemic, it is critical that we continue to follow all of the preventative guidelines outlined by the CDC, local departments of health and state government in Vermont and New York while vaccines are administered. The virus is still with us, and because the country is early in the vaccination process, we do not yet know everything about vaccine-induced immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 including whether vaccination prevents not only severe disease but also contagious infection. Plus, we think vaccination and wearing masks can have additive benefits across the population in controlling this deadly pandemic. We all need to continue to wear masks, distance ourselves from others, wash our hands and strictly follow local guidance on gathering with others outside of our households.

While we have made progress in our understanding of this virus, we still have a great deal to learn about COVID-19. For example, we don’t know how long protection will last after vaccination. This is why it is important to measure long-term protection through additional clinical trials. The CDC confirms that we need more data on how long vaccination immunity lasts.

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means you can’t contract COVID-19 from the vaccine. The goal of each of the vaccines in development is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. At the same time, it’s important for you to know that it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

No, this is a myth. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months. Also, COVID-19 is associated with substantial immune system abnormalities that have led certain patients to develop autoimmune disease states. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe.

Based on what we know now, you may experience minor side effects after getting one or both doses of vaccine. The most common side effects that have been reported include a sore arm at the injection site, fatigue, headache, chills and possibly a fever. These should go away on their own in a day or two.

Currently, Pfizer is recommending that anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to ingredients in the vaccine should not get the vaccine because there is a remote chance that the Pfizer vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the vaccine. Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

This is not to be confused with common allergies such as food, pet, environmental, or non-serious reactions to vaccines in the past.

Yes, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) within the CDC recommend waiting to get the vaccine until 90 days after monoclonal antibody treatment to make sure they do not interfere with the ability of the vaccine to provide protection against COVID-19.

Pregnant and breastfeeding people were excluded from enrolling in the clinical trials of currently available COVID-19 vaccines. A small number of subjects became pregnant after trial enrollment and are being closely followed. As a result, neither vaccine has been fully studied in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. At the same time, pregnant people in the later stage of pregnancy can have more severe disease and pregnancy complications. Once people recover (and those people have antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 disease), there is no evidence the presence of those antibodies is harmful to the pregnancy or pregnancy outcome. As a result, the FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have suggested that pregnant and breastfeeding patients may choose to get the vaccine and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant and breastfeeding patients get a COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to defer pregnancy or breastfeeding to get a COVID-19 vaccine. In either case, if you have further questions you should consult your provider to discuss your options.

Here is some additional information from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/coronavirus-covid-19-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding.

If you would like to talk to a UVMMC OBGYN provider, please call (802) 847-9200 and a scheduled call or appointment will be provided.

We are still learning which vaccines protect which people, and how long they last. As a result, governments and companies around the world have invested heavily in developing multiple vaccines, to ensure that there will be a safe and effective vaccine – and enough doses – for everyone. Some of these vaccines are still in the middle of their clinical trials, and are not yet ready for FDA approval.

Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccines against COVID-19 were extensively studied in people with weakened immune systems. Yet, HIV and other conditions associated with a weakened immune system have been associated with higher risk of severe COVID-19. Since there is no expectation of lower vaccine safety among people with weakened immune systems, and greater risk of severe COVID-19, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends vaccination in people with weakened immune systems.

The first vaccine which is currently available, by Pfizer, and the second that is likely to be available, by Moderna, require two doses. Giving a second dose of a vaccine can boost immune response and improve the chances of protection from infection.  However, all vaccines do not work the same way, so other vaccines may not require two doses.

While vaccine development is typically a long and complex process over the span of multiple years, the COVID-19 vaccine development process was accelerated with significant government and private investments. One of the benefits of this worldwide focus is that multiple groups of scientists were working simultaneously on different approaches for a vaccine – and this is good news, because it means that there’s a greater likelihood of accelerating our response to the virus globally. Ultimately, the goal is to have a safe and effective vaccine for every person, regardless of age, demographics or underlying medical conditions.

More than 250 participants are currently enrolled in the AstraZeneca vaccination trial being conducted by the UVM Medical Center and UVM Larner College of Medicine. Learn more about the trial.

While the vaccine has been approved for emergency use in the United Kingdom, it is still being studied.

Multiple vaccines are in various stages of development, and clinical trials tell us how effective the vaccines are likely to be – and how long immunity will last. For several of the vaccines under development, we are still learning about their safety and efficacy, so it’s very important that the clinical trials continue throughout this process.

Out of an abundance of caution we recommend you wait 14 days after the receipt of any other vaccine before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is given 21 days after the first whereas the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days after the first dose. Both vaccines allow a few days’ of leeway in timing of the second dose, but since longer delays have not been studied they are not recommended. If you cannot plan to get the second dose within a few days of the recommended time it may be wise to defer until you can. You can talk with your doctor to weigh pros and cons of deferral versus unusual vaccine timing if special circumstances make it difficult for you to get either vaccine according to the standard schedule.

Cancelling your appointment is discouraged as it can cause wasted vaccine or other resources. If you absolutely need to cancel your appointment, please follow the below processes in order to re-schedule. Please note, your second vaccine has a very important timetable that must be maintained in order to ensure vaccine efficacy. Please make every effort to make your scheduled second vaccine appointment.

Cancelling First Vaccine Appointment:

  1. Click the cancellation link at the bottom of your appointment confirmation email.
  2. Confirm your cancellation by clicking confirm.
  3. Reach out to your manager to re-schedule you appointment time for a first vaccine.

Cancelling Second Vaccine Appointment:

(You are not able to reschedule a second vaccine appointment yourself and must follow the below process.)

  1. Click the cancellation link at the bottom of your appointment confirmation email.
  2. Confirm your cancellation by clicking confirm.
  3. Email wellness [at] uvmhealth.org with the following information:
    • Name
    • M#
    • Phone #
    • Date of first vaccine
    • Date of cancelled second vaccine appointment
    • Preferred date of re-schedule
    • Manufacturer of vaccine