COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ

Scroll to the bottom for links to FAQs from other organizations.

Are we mandated to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
No, there is no mandate to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by the City or EMS Department.
Will COVID-19 vaccinations cost me anything?
No, COVID-19 vaccinations are paid for by the taxpayer for all residents. Career employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will not be compensated for their time unless they are on a scheduled shift at time of vaccination and receive permission from their supervisor to addend the clinic with a scheduled appointment.
Will I receive compensation for my time since I must schedule my appointments for when I am off duty?
NO, you not receive compensation for the time to receive your vaccination.
Can I just swing by and receive the vaccine?
NO, all persons receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will receive an invitation through the VAMS system and must follow the link and directions to register and schedule an appointment time.
How long will it take to receive my vaccination?
Since these vaccinations are appointment based you should plan for 30 – 60 minutes in addition to your travel time. This includes a required 15 minute (or 30 minute) post vaccination hold and health check.
Are EMS providers considered healthcare providers in the CDC ACIP Tier1a recommendations?
Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?
Not at this time. As EMS has been recognized and prioritized as a health care provider these initial vaccines are being distributed according to pre-established distribution plans.
If I choose not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine now, can I receive it at a later date?
Yes, but please understand that at a later time you will not have priority and will be making an appointment along with the general City workforce. After that time we expect additional vaccines to be available in pharmacies, physician offices, public vaccination clinics and through other health organizations.
If I opt to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as part of the Tier1a priority group, do I need to receive a second dose at a specific time?
Yes, the initial COVID-19 vaccinations that have been presented to the FDA for EUA* both require a second dose at a prescribed interval.
Can I receive the flu shot and COVID shot together?
No. The COVID-19 vaccinations have not been approved for co-administration. The recommendation on January 3 is that Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine not be administered within 14 days of another vaccine and another vaccine not to be administered within 14 days of either of these vaccines.
I am pregnant. Can I be vaccinated for COVID-19?
The ACOG recommended the week of December 14 that they see no reason to withhold COVID-19 vaccinations from pregnant or lactating women.
Can I register a family member as part of this priority group?
Unfortunately no.  At this time, Tier 1a vaccination recommendations do not include family members. However, if your family member is a health care provider then they should be eligible to be vaccinated through their employers’ plans.
I haven't received a flu shot yet. Which vaccine should I receive first, COVID-19 or flu?
Each person’s health is defined by many factors. It would be best to consult with your PCP to determine the sequence best for your individual health case.
I am a volunteer EMS provider. Am I eligible for the Tier 1a priority COVID-19 vaccinations?
Absolutely, all EMS providers affiliated with the Department of EMS are eligible and encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This includes all active EMS volunteer rescue squad personnel, EMS career personnel and Fire Department personnel. First consideration is provided to those providers that work in the presence of aerosolizing procedures and who regularly transport patients to the hospital.
My child is at high risk. Can I bring them with me to also receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
At this time the FDA has not recommend that children under 16 receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Additionally, the Tier 1a priority for healthcare providers does not include family members.
Will I receive a reminder to receive my second dose?
Yes, you should receive an email from VAMS/CDC within 24 hours of receiving your first dose to schedule your second dose. You can log into your VAMS portal 24 hours after receiving your first does and schedule your second dose even if you do not receive this email. You vaccine card indicates the date you should schedule for.
The reminder email from VAMS/CDC for my second dose has a different date from my vaccine card and instructions.
Follow the date you were provided on your vaccination card and instructions. The date VAMS is providing is the earliest possible date, not our prescribed date.
There are no appointments available for my second dose on the date provided, what should I do?
We are working on this and know it is an issue. We have a list of all persons who received their first dose and should be present for their second dose at these clinics. Please search for the clinic using zip code 23451 as sometimes it will show additional appointments. If you cannot schedule an appointment come to the clinic anyway. We will validate your first appointment date and provide your second dose if it is the indicated second appointment clinic.
Where do I go to receive my second dose?
All clinics have been moved to our mass vaccination site at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. You should receive an email reminding you of your appointment and directions to the VBCC. Even if this email indicates to go to EMS Station 8, come to the VBCC.
I missed all the clinics initially set up for EMS providers, what do I do now?
Follow the directions provided by your supervisor to request a vaccine. While we cannot guarantee you will be able to schedule an appointment at a specific clinic anymore we will provide you a priority mechanism to register and schedule an available appointment at our mass vaccination site by searching zip code 23451. You may go to any available clinic in the nation or healthcare provider/pharmacy offering this vaccine.
What happened to the drive in clinics?
We simply needed more capacity and are following our plan that accelerated with additional vaccines becoming available. That you for making that method a success and they may return as the scale changes.
Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I receive for my second dose?
For full protection and under EUA your second dose must be provided on the recommended return date and with the same vaccine as your first dose.
How are adverse reactions reported, and what do I do if I have an adverse reaction after I receive the vaccine?
The CDC is planning to use a system called V-Safe, which is used for receivers of the vaccine to self-monitor and report any side effects using a smartphone or mobile app. V-Safe feeds its data to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) for reporting adverse effects.
I have already had and recovered from a COVID-19 infection, do I need to receive a vaccination for COVID-19.
The CDC recommends that persons that have recovered from a COVID-19 infection receive the COVID-19 vaccinations approximately 90 days after recovery to ensure adequate future immune response.
How long will the protection with the vaccine last?
The hope of the scientific community is that it would be a year. The expectation is that it will be shorter. The reality is that we don’t know at this time as the vaccines have only been in phase III trials since this summer. More time and research is required to observe and each vaccine candidate may and most like will have differing protection profiles and duration of protection.
Will I still need to wear a mask after being vaccinated?
YES, you must still follow all executive orders, protocols and infection control measures. The vaccine has been shown to be highly effective in preventing symptoms of disease but it is still unknown whether it prevents acquisition of the virus or transmission of the virus.
Do I still need to do my daily COVID-19 screening self report in the app prior to duty/work each shift after being vaccinated?
YES, reporting is mandatory and must still be completed prior to each shift even after being vaccinated.
Can I receive the vaccine if I am sick?
That decision should be made in conjunction with your healthcare provider. At the Public Health clinics the VAMS system requires a prescreen (the same questions you complete for your daily COVID checks prior to reporting to work and a temperature check). Those that do not pass the health screen will not be allowed into the clinic and will need to reschedule their appointment. We expect that you will want to keep our vaccinators (your coworkers and neighbors are staffing these clinics) safe.
Can I receive the vaccine if I have been advised to quarantine or isolate?
NO – that is contrary to isolation and/or quarantine. We expect that you will want to keep our vaccinators (your coworkers and neighbors are staffing these clinics) safe. Get well, schedule another appointment and then come see us.
Is there anything else I should know?
Everything is subject to change.

ACIP – Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
FDA – Food and Drug Administration
EUA – Emergency Use Authorization
CDC – Center for Disease Control
HCP – Helath Care Provider (includes EMS providers)
VAMS – Vaccine Administration Management System

Also see these SARS-CoV-2 vaccination FAQs from other credible sources:

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