Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 

Hamilton County Health Department COVID-19
FAQ and Vaccination Information

Updated July 20, 2021

 

Who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County?

Anyone 12 years of age or older may receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Jansen) vaccines are licensed for those 18 years of age and older.

Children ages 12-17 may come to one of the Health Department's vaccination events without their parents if they have a pre-signed vaccine encounter form and their parents or guardians are available to give consent over the phone. To print and complete the encounter form before your arrival, visit vaccine.hamiltontn.gov and click on the "handouts" tab. 



How can I receive updates from the Health Department?

Visit our Connect With Us page to subscribe to our email newsletter and social media accounts. You may also regularly check our online vaccination event calendar at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov as new vaccine clinics are added regularly. 

 

How can I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a Hamilton County Health Department vaccination site?

Currently, no appointment is necessary at Health Department vaccination events. You may arrive at any time during event hours and get in line for the vaccine. 


What do I need to know before coming to a vaccination event?

You may want to consult with your doctor before getting vaccinated if you: 

  • Have severe allergies or previous reaction to a vaccine
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

If any of the below apply to you, do not come until the condition is resolved.

  • Have a fever or are ill
  • Are currently in isolation for COVID-19


Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I need other vaccines? Yes.

COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing.  This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines on the same day, as well as co-administration within 14 days.

 

What should I know for the day of my appointment?

  • Wear appropriate clothing to get a shot in upper arm
  • Children (12-17) receiving the Pfizer vaccine may come to the vaccination site without their parents if they have a pre-signed vaccine encounter form and their parents or guardians are available to give consent over the phone.
  • Print and complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Encounter form for both first and second dose appointments. Click here to download the form: https://bit.ly/3fgXIsX. Forms are available on-site, but bringing a completed form to the vaccination site will accelerate the process.
  • Be prepared to wait 20 minutes after shot
  • Be prepared for the entire process to take an hour or more

 

What is a Vaccination Record Card?

When patients receive their first dose with the Health Department, they will receive a Vaccination Record Card with the following important information.

  • The vaccine manufacturer
  • The date the first dose of vaccine was given
  • The date the second vaccine dose is due (if Pfizer or Moderna). Your second dose should be given on or after this date, but not before.  

 

Where can I find a list of all locations near me offering the COVID-19 vaccine?

Visit https://vaccinefinder.org/search/ and enter your zip code for a full list of providers and pharmacies offering the COVID-19 vaccine.



How many people have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County?

  • The Health Department updates their Vaccine Data Dashboard each Wednesday, click here
  • The Tennessee Department of Health updates county-specific data daily, click here and scroll to the bottom. 

 

What if I do not have transportation to get to the Health Department's Tennessee Riverpark vaccination site?


Free transportation to the Health Department’s TN Riverpark vaccine sites is available Monday - Friday. Please call 423-209-8383 to schedule an appointment. *Transportation is based on availability. 


Where are Hamilton County Health Department vaccination sites located?

  • Tennessee Riverpark: 4301 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406
  • The Health Department offers "pop-up" vaccination events across the county. Visit the google calendar at vaccine.hamiltontn.gov so see where we are today. 


Where can I download the Vaccine Encounter Form and the other handouts distributed at the vaccination site?

Visit vaccine.hamiltontn.gov and click on the Handouts tab.


Do I need to accompany my child (12-17 years of age) to their vaccine appointment?

Children ages 12-17 may come to the vaccination site without their parents if they have a pre-signed vaccine encounter form and their parents or guardians are available to give consent over the phone.




How do I know when to get the second dose of my vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is a two dose series given 21 days apart and the Moderna vaccine is a two dose series given 28 days apart. After you receive the first dose of the vaccine, you will be given a vaccine record card. You can receive the second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine on or after the date listed on your Vaccine Record Card.


I lost my COVID-19 Immunization card. How do I get a replacement?

 To request a record of your immunization, call the Tennessee Department of Health at 615-741-7247 or click here: bit.ly/tnrecord.

For additional assistance, call our COVID-19 hotline at 423-209-8383.



Where can I find educational flyers and handouts to share with my community group or church congregation?

Visit the Health Department’s Print Resource page.


What do I need to know about COVID-19 variants? 

Viruses can mutate or change. The CDC is monitoring variant strains of the COVID-19 virus, such as those identified in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil. Specifically, they are looking at how easily they spread, their detection on testing, the severity of their illness and their responsiveness to vaccine.  So far, studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway. (Source: Health Department physician Dr. Boaz)


Do I need to quarantine following an exposure to COVID-19 after being vaccinated? 

If you are vaccinated and:

  • 2 weeks have passed since receiving your second dose
  • you do not have any symptoms

You are considered immune and quarantine is not recommended.  You should meet these 2 criteria; otherwise you should follow quarantine guidelines.  Persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following exposure. Source: CDC


What is the benefit of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?  Should I wait to get the vaccine? 

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine now is the best and safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how the disease will affect you. If someone gets infected, they could spread the disease to family, friends and others around them.  When a large segment of the population is immune to the infection, then “herd immunity” develops and that stops the infection from passing from one person to another.

 

The COVID-19 vaccines were approved so quickly.  Are they safe?  Yes.

The COVID-19 vaccines meet the same rigorous safety and effectiveness standards by the FDA as all other types of vaccines in the United States.  In addition, the vaccines are being rigorously monitored for safety on an ongoing basis. 

 

What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine? Will it make me sick? 

The body starts building protection to COVID-19 after vaccination.  Some people may have some side effects after receiving the vaccine, which are normal signs that the body is building protection to COVID-19.  Others may not have side effects, but the body is still building protection. The local side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the injection site.  Other reactions are fever, chills, tiredness, headache, body aches and flu-like symptoms.  Serious adverse events are rare, and a small number of people have experienced blood clots after receiving the Jansen COVID-19 vaccine.  V-Safe is a CDC smartphone-based tool where people can report any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

How do the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines work? 

These vaccines work by giving your body the recipe to make the protein that is on the outside of the coronavirus.  When your body sees that protein, it will make protective antibodies to it.  Later, if the body sees the real virus, it will remember seeing that protein and destroy the virus before it has a chance to make you sick.

 

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines are very effective, especially in preventing severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.    A person is considered fully vaccinated if 14 or more days have elapsed after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 14 or more days after the one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

 

How will the COVID-19 vaccines affect my body? 

The COVID-19 vaccines work by helping your immune system build protection against the virus in case you are exposed in the future.  The COVID-19 vaccines do not enter the nucleus of your cells and do not change or interact with your DNA or reproductive system in any way.  The vaccines do not contain the live virus, so they cannot infect you with coronavirus. 

 

Do I have to get both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?  

The current recommendation is to get both doses to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer. The second dose of COVID-19 vaccine should be from the same product/manufacturer as the first dose. 

 

If I am a young, healthy adult, do I need to get vaccinated?  Yes.

Young, healthy adults are also at risk of getting COVID-19.  Even though young adults may not experience symptoms or may have mild symptoms if they get COVID-19, they are at the same risk for long-term symptoms from having had the infection.  Young adults are also just as likely as older people to spread the infection.  They should get vaccinated to protect themselves and others they may be around, such as family, friends and co-workers, etc., some of whom may be at higher risk of infection with coronavirus.


If I am pregnant, should I get vaccinated?  Yes.

Pregnant women are considered at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Since COVID-19 vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women, they are encouraged to consult their medical provider. 


If I have a chronic medical condition or am immunocompromised, can I get the vaccine?  Yes.


People with chronic medical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, Bell’s palsy and Guillain-Barre’, may get the vaccine.  People with immunocompromising conditions may get the vaccine, but may not mount the same level of protection in response to the vaccine as those who are not immunocompromised.    The COVID-19 vaccine will not interfere with medications.

 


If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?  Yes.


Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.  If someone was treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, or if there is a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19, consideration should be given to waiting 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. 


 


If I have allergies, can I get the vaccine? Yes.

The vaccine does not contain eggs, latex or preservatives.  People with allergies to foods, such as peanuts and shellfish, pets, venom or environmental agents or oral medications may receive the vaccine.


Who should not receive the vaccine?

Someone should not get the vaccine if they are allergic to any of the vaccine components or if they had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.