Last updated: September 24, 2021
CDC Approves Pfizer Boosters For Select Adult Populations
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved third Pfizer doses (boosters) for certain adults six months following their second Pfizer vaccination. The approval paves the way for boosters for people:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings
- People aged 18–64 years with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting
At NorthShore, in line with the original COVID-19 vaccination rollout, we will focus on vaccinating our own team members first to be able to provide uninterrupted quality care to our communities in this time of need. Immediately following this effort, we will invite eligible patients to schedule an appointment to receive a booster at one of our COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
If you or a loved one are eligible to receive a booster immediately, please consider other non-NorthShore locations including retail clinics (Walgreens, CVS and others).
To learn more about this development, reference the CDC guidelines here.
View information on Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and vaccine consent documents.
Back to school looks different this year, we’ll get you there safely!
Schedule your child’s back to school physical with your NorthShore pediatrician today. You can also schedule COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 12-17 at a nearby NorthShore Vaccine Clinic - now open in many pediatric locations.
Find a Vaccine Clinic
COVID-19 Vaccination Program | Scheduling is Fast and Easy | What to Know Before You Schedule | What to Know Before You Go to Your Appointment | 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 now vaccinating everyone aged 12 years and older.
- Parents or legal guardians of minors (i.e. all patients under 18 years-old) must physically accompany the minor to the vaccination appointment and provide consents for care for vaccine to be administered.
- Only Pfizer has been approved for use in individuals between the ages of 12-17.
Scheduling is Fast and Easy
- Self-schedule via your NorthShoreConnect patient portal. Don't have an account? Sign up today to schedule your vaccine appointment, for assured future access to your vaccine records and more!
- Call 847.982.5000 to reserve your time.
- Or book your appointment today through your doctor’s office!
What to Know Before You Schedule
- Parents or guardians of individuals (all those under 18 years-old) must physically accompany the minor to the scheduled appointment and provide consents for care and vaccination. Vaccines cannot be provided to minors without onsite parental or legal guardian authorization.
- Your second dose will be automatically scheduled for the same time, date and location 21 (Pfizer) or 28 (Moderna) days following your first dose.
- You are not fully vaccinated until 14 days after your second dose. Please commit to come to your second dose appointment specially reserved for you.
- The CDC has lifted its original imposed grace period between receiving COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing and may even be co-administered.
- Please review the Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 vaccines documents.
What to Know Before You Go to Your Appointment
- If you are experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms or have had a high-risk exposure and have not met the quarantine and recovery criteria period, please cancel your appointment
- If you have an active COVID-19 infection, you may receive the COVID-19 vaccine following 10-days of isolation and the resolution of symptoms (including being fever-free for 24 hours).
- If you have had a high risk COVID-19 exposure (defined as: either yourself or the person confirmed with COVID-19 infection were unmasked, within six feet, and you were exposed greater or equal to a total of 15 minutes over a period of 24 hours), you may receive the COVID-19 vaccine following 14-days of quarantine from the exposure.
Is one COVID vaccine better than another?
No. All vaccines are approved by the FDA are safe and effective against the SARS Co-V 2 virus (COVID 19). At this time NorthShore is administering the Pfizer vaccine per the FDA and CDC recommendations.
Will I be charged for my COVID-19 vaccination?
There’s no charge for COVID-19 vaccinations or their administration. Those without health insurance can get vaccinated without out-of-pocket costs. If you believe you have been charged for your vaccine, please contact our Billing Customer Service office at 847.570.5000.
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.
Vaccine FAQs for Minors
My child has severe allergies. Is it safe for them to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
In general, it is safe for a child with severe food, venom, or medication allergies to receive COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, the COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use in 12-year-olds and older is the Pfizer vaccine. Children allergic to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine should not receive the vaccine.
In addition, NorthShore University HealthSystem is conducting a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored clinical trial investigating how patients with histories of severe allergies react to the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. This trial is open to participants age 12 and older. Participants will be observed for 90 minutes by an allergist after vaccine administration. If you are interested in participating in this clinical trial, please reach out to your allergist or email email@example.com.
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Information
Is NorthShore administering Johnson & Johnson?
NorthShore currently is providing only the Pfizer vaccine. While Johnson & Johnson has been newly approved for general use, NorthShore has not been provided and therefore is not administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines at this time.
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.