Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Hamilton County Health Department COVID-19
FAQ and Appointment Information

Updated April 15, 2021


Who currently qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County?

COVID-19 vaccine appointments are for people who:

  • Meet the current age eligibility (16 and up for Pfizer, 18 and up for Moderna)
  • For minors (16 & 17) receiving the Pfizer vaccine, it is preferred that a parent/guardian is present, however they may come without a parent/guardian but will need their signed permission on their Vaccine Encounter form. If they are unable to print the form and bring it to their appointment, verbal parent/guardian consent will be required by phone.

How do I get notified when new appointment slots are added to the schedule?

Visit our Connect With Us page and subscribe to our email newsletter and social media accounts.

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

When new appointment times are added to the schedule, visit the Health Department’s Vaccine webpage HERE, click the first and second dose appointment tab, choose an available time, and sign up.

For assistance making your appointment call:      

  • Appointment line: 423-209-5398
  • Bilingual COVID-19 hotline: 423-209-8383
  • Para reservar su cita de la vacuna contra COVID-19, visite la página web en español, haga clic aqui o llame al centro de llamadas al 423-209-5384.


What do I need to know before scheduling my appointment?

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

  • Severe allergies or previous reaction to a vaccine
  • 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
  • Have received another vaccine within 14 days
  • Are currently in isolation for COVID-19


What should I know for the day of my appointment?

  • Do not arrive more than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • Wear appropriate clothing to get a shot in upper arm
  • For minors (16 & 17) receiving the Pfizer vaccine, it is preferred that a parent/guardian is present, however they may come without a parent/guardian but will need their signed permission on their Vaccine Encounter form. If they are unable to print the form and bring it to their appointment, verbal parent/guardian consent will be required by phone.
  • Print and complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Encounter form for both first and second dose appointments. Click here to download the form: 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 an instant appointment?

Unfilled vaccination appointments at the Health Department’s vaccination sites serve as “instant appointments.” People who are eligible to receive the vaccine (16+ for Pfizer and 18+ for Moderna) are able to drive up to one of the Health Department’s vaccination sites between 9AM and 3PM to receive an “instant appointment” if slots are available. People must drive to the vaccination site to check for “instant appointment” availability. There is no guarantee a drive-up appointment will be available at that time, as they are provided on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Instant appointments do not affect wait times for those with pre-scheduled appointments. People with appointments will be seen in their scheduled time slots.


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). This date is not an appointment. Patient must schedule a second dose appointment on or after this date. 


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

Visit and enter your zipcode 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. 

Does the Health Department provide free transportation to their COVID-19 vaccination sites?

To schedule your free transportation to either our Tennessee Riverpark or Carta Bus Barn please call 423-209-8383. 

Where are Hamilton County Health Department vaccination sites located?

  • Tennessee Riverpark: 4301 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37406
  • CARTA Bus Barn: 1617 Wilcox Boulevard, Chattanooga, TN 37406
  • Enterprise South Nature Park: 190 Still Hollow Loop, Chattanooga, TN 37416

What information do I need to know before, during, and after my appointment? Where can I download the handouts given out at the vaccination site?

Visit and click on the Handouts tab.

Do I need to accompany my 16 or 17-year-old to their vaccine appointment?

It is preferred that a parent/guardian is present, however 16 & 17-year-olds receiving the Pfizer vaccine may come without a parent/guardian but will need their signed permission on their Vaccine Encounter form. If they are unable to print the form and bring it to their appointment, verbal parent/guardian consent will be required by phone.

If I traveled elsewhere to receive my first dose of the vaccine, will I be able to get my second dose at the Health Department vaccine site?

The Hamilton County Health Department only receives second dose shipments to match our first doses, so if someone travels to another county to get their first dose of the vaccine out of Hamilton County's current phase, they will need to return to that county to get their second dose. There are some situations in which we will accommodate second dose appointments for people who did not receive their first dose with us. Questions about eligibility may be directed to our hotline at 423-209-8383.

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 and instructed to schedule a second appointment on or after the due date listed on the card. This card is a reminder of the date, so you must make a second dose appointment when appointment slots become available.

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

If people receive their COVID-19 vaccine in Hamilton County and lose their vaccine card, they can call the Health Department’s COVID-19 hotline at 423-209-8383 for guidance.

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

Why should I consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine? 

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best and safest way to become immune to COVID-19. Getting the vaccine will help your immune system build protection against the virus in case you are exposed in the future.


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

Yes! These vaccines have already been given to tens of thousands of volunteers and have been shown to be safe and very good at preventing them from getting sick with COVID-19. They 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? 

You may have some side effects which are normal signs that your body is 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.  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.


After receiving the vaccine, when will I be immune from COVID-19? 

We have learned from clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people who took the vaccine that the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94.5% at preventing illness from COVID-19 after 14 days from the second dose of vaccine. It is recommended that you get both doses to have the best protection against the virus. 


Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA? 

No. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.  mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.


Will the COVID-19 vaccine infect me with the virus? 

No. None of the vaccines currently being developed in the United States contain the virus, so there is no possibility of the vaccine infecting someone with the COVID-19.


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 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.  You may delay getting the vaccine for 90 days after your diagnosis because getting sick with COVID-19 again is unlikely during that time.  If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.


After I receive the COVID-19 vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask? 

No. It will still be important to continue to follow public health recommendations to protect yourself and others.  This includes wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowds and washing hands often.