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UNC Health is closely monitoring the situation regarding the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. As a precaution, we will follow the FDA’s recommendation and pause vaccinations using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until federal authorities are able to review data and provide further guidance. Patients who were scheduled to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at UNC Health vaccination clinics today will be offered one of the other vaccines where possible or rescheduled as necessary. Severe reactions are rare. Click here for information on when to seek medical care.

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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 70,000 people of all different races and ethnicities participated in the COVID-19 vaccine trials. Health professionals will continue to monitor the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness against the virus.

Certain groups are eligible now, but supplies are extremely limited.

All adults are currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Supplies are limited, and appointments are scheduled each week based on vaccines received from the state. Find out how to make an appointment here. Please note, individuals who are 16 and 17 years old are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and can call (984) 215-5485 to find a location with Pfizer vaccines available and to schedule an appointment.

You must make an appointment to receive a vaccine.

If you are currently eligible, you must schedule an appointment to receive a vaccine. Walk-ins are not accepted. Visit Get Vaccinated to learn more about making an appointment. Due to limited availability, appointments will fill quickly. You may check back on our website for open appointment times or visit the Department of Health and Human Services website to find another location. If you have questions about your appointment, see Appointment 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 COVID-19 mRNA vaccines do not contain “live” COVID-19 and cannot give you 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 – especially after receiving the second shot. 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. If you have a specific condition, discuss receiving the vaccine with your physician before scheduling your vaccination appointment. Get more information on specific conditions.

It is important to continue following all safety guidelines.

Continue wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, frequently washing your hands and staying home when sick. These are proven ways to slow the spread and will be essential to ending the pandemic, even as we begin to vaccinate. While studies show the vaccine is effective at protecting people from getting sick with COVID-19, there is currently no data that shows whether the vaccine will prevent vaccinated persons from spreading and/or infecting others with COVID-19. We also do not know how long the vaccines will protect people from becoming sick with COVID-19.

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