COVID-19 Vaccination Expansion | COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling | Vaccine FAQs | Additional Vaccine Options | NorthShore Virtual Townhall Meeting | Why I'm Vaccinating | COVID Community Checkup | Vaccine News | Social Media Posts
COVID-19 Vaccination Program
NorthShore is currently vaccinating healthcare workers and patients age 18 years and over as vaccine supply allows. We will have information about vaccinating children age 16-17 at a later date. At this time NorthShore is only administering Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. We have not administered any Johnson & Johnson doses. Please see the FAQ's below for more information about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
We continue to notify our NorthShore patients who are eligible by email/text with instructions to answer a few questions in advance of scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. If you have not set up your NorthShoreConnect patient portal account, please do so here and follow the online instructions.
If you are unable to sign up for NorthShoreConnect please contact our Covid-19 community helpline at 847.982.5000 to schedule an appointment.
For Swedish Hospital patients, please visit the Swedish Hospital COVID-19 Vaccine website for more information.
While awaiting your vaccination, please remember to stay safe and follow safety precautions, including wearing face masks, frequent hand washing, maintaining physical distance, and avoiding large gatherings.
COVID-19 Vaccination Scheduling
When you are able to schedule an appointment through NorthShoreConnect, we will present day/time options available in NorthShore’s regional COVID-19 vaccine clinics.
At this time our hospitals and physician offices are unable to accept phone calls to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
General Vaccine and Vaccination Information
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. While the vaccine doesn’t contain either live or dead virus, you may develop “flu-like” symptoms such as tiredness, fevers or headaches after receiving one or both doses of the vaccine but these usually resolve within three days.
If someone has previously had COVID-19, should they get the vaccine?
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection is possible, people may be advised to get a vaccine even if they have been sick with the virus before. If you have had a previous COVID infection, you should wait at least 10 days since your symptom-onset or test date with resolving symptoms before receiving the vaccine.
I’ve heard the vaccine may cause infertility. Is that true?
This is a myth. There’s no data to suggest the COVID vaccine causes infertility. There also has been no changes to fertility rates in people who’ve had COVID and have recovered. A few other myths about the vaccine also are unfounded: The vaccine does not insert a “chip” or permanent marker in your genetic material. Both vaccines are mRNA and will naturally degrade over time like other mRNA your body makes. And the vaccine can’t give you COVID.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Information
Per an FDA and CDC joint statement, the IDPH, Cook County Health and Chicago Department of Health have paused the distribution of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine after reports of six people experiencing rare blood clots within two weeks of receiving the one-dose vaccine. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we expect more information from the CDC this week. In the meantime, we want to share some guidance with you all.
Has NorthShore administered the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?
No. We are only using the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Please continue to encourage patients and team members to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. We have not received any Johnson and Johnson vaccine and will follow CDC guidance if we do receive it in the future.
Are these blood clots common?
No. The blood clot, called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, is a very rare clotting disorder that affects the head and brain. Additionally, the impacted patients also experienced thrombocytopenia or low levels of blood platelets.
Vaccine Information for Cancer/Immunocompromised Patients
Additional guidelines are provided and referenced from The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and The National Cancer Care Network (NCCN).
Will my chemotherapy or other medication which affects my immune system decrease my response to the COVID-19 vaccine? What about for bone marrow transplant patients?
Because any vaccine relies on the immune system to create the protection against the infection, it is possible that people who are immunocompromised or have a weakened immune system may not have as good of a response to the COVID-19 vaccine. However, in the vaccine administered groups, participants who developed COVID-19 infection had much milder disease. Thus, it is possible that if you receive the vaccine, you may not be fully protected from infection; however, if you develop an infection it is likely to be much milder than without the vaccine. It is not specifically known if patients receiving/who have received a bone marrow transplant would have a different response, and this should be discussed with your transplant physician.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause any harmful effects on my cancer?
This is unknown, but experience with many other vaccines indicates this is quite unlikely. However, because there are significant risks to cancer patients with COVID-19 infection there is likely to be more benefit from the vaccine than any risk to making the cancer worse.
Potential vaccine side effects and allergic reactions
What insights can you provide on any potential vaccine side effects for various populations—including the elderly and younger children?
We currently only have safety data from the short-term duration of the study trial. This means that we don’t know all of the potential side effects of the vaccine, particularly long-term side effects. We do know that the following have been reported as possible side effects which can last up to a week after receiving the vaccine:
- Pain and redness at the injection site
- Feeling tired and run down a day after receiving the vaccine
- Headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pains, or fever
- Possible allergic reaction in individuals with known allergies
These symptoms are a sign that your immune system is mounting a response to the vaccine which is good, and is to be expected in an immune response. Remember: these symptoms are expected side effects and aren’t allergies. You should complete the two-dose vaccination series.
What do we know about allergies to vaccines, and the COVID-19 vaccine in particular?
Anaphylaxis after vaccination can be seen with any vaccine or medication. However, it’s rare and often occurs in patients with no prior history of allergic reaction. The risk for anaphylaxis to vaccines has been reported to be approximately one in every million doses. To put this in perspective, the risk of anaphylaxis to penicillin is much higher—approximately one out of 2,000-10,000 courses of treatment.
What precautions are recommended?
Because rare cases of anaphylaxis to vaccines happen, it’s recommended that vaccines be administered in settings equipped with epinephrine and medical personnel trained to treat allergic reactions. With 21 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine expected to be distributed in the coming weeks, we may see some allergic reactions. That’s why a 15-minute post-observation period is recommended for everyone who is vaccinated at this time. Anyone with a history of anaphylaxis, the observation period will be extended to 30 minutes. Please keep in mind that this a new vaccine and a constantly evolving situation.
What if I have a reaction that isn’t anaphylaxis? Could it be an allergy to the vaccine itself?
If you experience hives or itching, shortness of breath, runny nose, congestion, tongue or throat discomfort, these symptoms need to be further discussed with an allergist to determine the best next steps. If you experience any of these type of symptoms, we’ll refer you to NorthShore allergists so you can follow up within 7 days so any additional guidance regarding administration of the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine can be incorporated into your care.
Additional Vaccine Options
We encourage you to sign up at all area locations that offer vaccination to increase your chances of getting vaccinated as soon as possible.
Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website for more information.
NorthShore Virtual Town Hall Meeting
On Tuesday, February 16th, NorthShore University HealthSystem held a virtual town hall meeting. Lakshmi Halasyamani, MD, Chief Medical Officer shared her information about how the COVID-19 vaccination works, statistics on how Illinois’s rollout is going and a Q and A session with questions from the community. Watch the archived live stream below.
Why I'm Vaccinating