Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are now available in North Carolina, and this is an important step to helping us beat this virus and return to normal. We know many people have questions about the vaccines. We encourage you to explore the site to learn all about vaccine safety and science, as well as when, where, and how to get a vaccine.
Here’s some information to get you started.
This information is subject to change and updated regularly.
COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
The COVID-19 vaccines went through every stage of clinical trials. More than 100,000 people of all different races and ethnicities participated in the COVID-19 vaccine trials. Since the vaccines became available, there has continued to be close monitoring of their safety and effectiveness.
Walk-ins are accepted, but making an appointment is the best way to get a shot.
UNC Health’s vaccination clinics accept walk-in appointments, as we encourage more North Carolinians to get their shot. That includes our largest vaccine clinic at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill, which will accept walk-ins from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. based on availability. Making an appointment online or on the phone is still the best way to get a shot, but anyone 18 years old and older can now walk in to a UNC Health vaccine clinic to get vaccinated. Call (984) 215-5485 for more information.
You will be monitored for a reaction afterward.
Everyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of allergy history, is monitored afterward to make sure he or she doesn’t have a reaction. A small number of patients report feeling lightheaded, nauseous or fainting immediately after receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. Please let the person who is administering your shot know if you’ve had a history of fainting with needles.
If you have a history of fainting with needles or a fear of shots, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends doing the following:
- Have a beverage or snack before getting your vaccine.
- Breathe slowly and deeply before getting the vaccine and think of something relaxing.
- Sit or lie down after you receive your vaccine.
There is no cost to patients to receive a vaccine.
The vaccine is free to all patients (you will not be charged). If you’re insured please bring your insurance card to your appointment. You do not need to bring a photo ID.
UNC Health will never ask patients for personal information such as social security numbers, bank accounts, or other financial data.
COVID-19 vaccines are not for sale, and no one representing themselves as having vaccines for sale is a legitimate representative of UNC Health or the UNC Health Alliance.
COVID-19 vaccines do not cause COVID-19, but you may experience side effects, which are normal.
The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. Instead of exposing the body to a weakened version of COVID-19, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines that send cells a tiny genetic message, or instructions for the body to make a protein that triggers an immune response. The Johnson & Johnson shot uses a weakened common cold virus, called an adenovirus, as a vehicle to deliver a single coronavirus gene into human cells. The adenovirus has been genetically modified so that it cannot duplicate itself, or make more virus in the body It cannot give you a cold or COVID-19. After receiving the vaccine, your arm may be sore, red or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Other side effects may include a headache, fever, chills or muscle aches. These side effects are considered normal, and a sign that the COVID-19 vaccine is working to protect you.
Even if you already had COVID-19, you should still get a vaccine.
The CDC, NCDHHS and UNC Health recommend all eligible individuals receive the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of their prior infection status since the vaccine may produce longer lasting immunity. However, people who recently have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should NOT come to a medical facility to receive a vaccine until they are past their infectious period (i.e., for outpatients, 10 days after onset of symptoms plus 24 hours without a fever OR if there were no symptoms, 10 days after first positive test). If you were diagnosed with COVID-19 and received treatment with a monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma, the CDC advises to wait for at least 90 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. This is because these antibodies in these treatments could theoretically interfere with the vaccine.
Certain groups of people should discuss the vaccine with their physician before receiving it.
Most patients can receive COVID-19 vaccines safely. At this time, the vaccine is not available for children under the age of 12. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a history of serious allergic reactions, especially to vaccines, you may wish to talk to your healthcare provider before you schedule a vaccination appointment. Get more information on specific conditions.
It is important to continue following all safety guidelines.
It takes time for your body to build up protections against COVID-19 after your vaccine. If you get a two-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), you are considered to be fully protected from COVID two weeks after your second dose. If you get a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson), you are considered fully protected two weeks after your vaccine. The CDC has issued guidance for what people who are fully vaccinated can do. In general, fully vaccinated people can be indoors and outside without a mask, if they choose, except in certain places such as healthcare, childcare, and correctional facilities.