Massachusetts has started to vaccinate against COVID-19. Here is what you need to know.
NOTE: COVID-19 vaccines are now open to:
- All of Phase I
- Phase II, Groups 1 and 2, including:
- Massachusetts residents age 65+.
- Residents and staff of public and private low income and affordable senior housing.
- MA residents with two or more medical conditions, including moderate to severe asthma, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes. Learn more.
- Beginning March 11, educators (K-12 employees, early childcare, and school staff) will be eligible for the vaccine.
For more information:
Massachusetts DPH: Where and when you can get your vaccine
Trust the Facts. Get the Vax
Center for Disease Control (CDC): Facts about COVID-19 and the vaccine
Lowell Community Health Center: Vaccinating health center patients and public
Lowell General Hospital: Vaccinating hospital patients and public
Wellforce Vaccine resources and tools
Vaccine Information Flyers (click to view and download PDF)
This program is supported by funds from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
NOTE: On February 28, the CDC authorized the single-dose Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use the US. We will provide updated information as the vaccine becomes available in our area.
Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Know What’s True and False About Vaccines
Talking Points: COVID-19 Vaccine
Printed Text From Vaccine Information Flyers
We now have two vaccines to protect us from COVID-19. Here are the facts you need to know.
Both vaccines are safe and effective.
The vaccines—one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna—are 94-95% effective. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the vaccines for emergency use and found no serious safety concerns. Doctors and independent experts confirmed they meet high safety standards.
Both vaccines are free.
The federal government will cover the cost of your vaccine. Providers may charge you a fee to give the vaccine, but health insurance will likely cover it.
You will need two doses.
You will get two doses of vaccine, three to four weeks apart.
You CANNOT catch COVID-19 from the vaccine.
There is no live virus in the vaccine, so you cannot catch COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.
You may feel side effects.
Like other routine vaccines, you may get a sore arm, fever, headaches, or tired after getting vaccinated. These are signs that the vaccine is working.
People at highest risk get the vaccine first.
The first doses are going to high-risk workers in healthcare settings. Everyone will be able to get vaccinated when we have enough doses. Go to www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine to find out when you can get the vaccine.
Some people should not get the vaccine.
You can get the vaccine even if you have had COVID. Children under 16 cannot receive a vaccine (the Pfizer vaccine is for ages 16 and up and Moderna for ages 18 and up). You should tell your vaccine provider if you have a fever, have a history of severe allergic reactions, have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners, have immunity problems, or are pregnant.
Stay safe after the vaccine.
After you get the vaccine, wear your mask, stay six feet apart, and keep gatherings small for those who have not been vaccinated.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?
COVID-19 can cause serious illness or even death. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get the virus, you could spread it to friends, family, and others around you, even if you have no symptoms or mild symptoms. All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be very effective at preventing COVID-19. Even if you still get infected after you get vaccinated, the vaccine may keep you from getting very sick.
Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No, the vaccine does not cause COVID-19. None of the approved COVID-19 vaccines contain the virus that causes COVID-19. It does take a few weeks after vaccination for your body to build up antibodies to protect you from the virus. That means it is possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID- 19 just before or just after getting the vaccine and still get sick.
Will the vaccine hurt me or make me sick?
Some people might get sore muscles, feel tired, or have mild fever after getting the vaccine. These reactions mean the vaccine is working to help teach your body how to fight COVID-19 if you are exposed. For most people, these side effects will last no longer than a few days. If you have any concerns, call your doctor or nurse.
Should I get vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?
Yes, you should still be vaccinated because you can become infected more than once. Although you may have some short-term natural protection (known as immunity) after recovering from COVID-19, we do not know how long this protection will last. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have symptoms that continue for months. If you have had COVID-19, ask your doctor, nurse, or clinic when you should be vaccinated.
When can I get the vaccine?
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has set up a timeline for the vaccine, with three phases, starting with health care workers and older/sicker people and ending with the general public. Go to www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine to find out when you can get the vaccine. Once the vaccine is available to the general public, public vaccine clinics will be available on the CDC’s interactive website: www.vaccinefinder.org. The state of Massachusetts also has vaccination sites open. To sign up, you can visit mass.gov/COVIDVaccineMap.
Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
No. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States.
What vaccines are available?
As of early February, there are two vaccines available: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Both were approved by the FDA for emergency use. Medical experts on the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup confirmed the vaccines met standards for safety.
Who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Before getting a vaccine, tell your vaccine provider if you:
- Have a history of severe allergic reactions
- Have a fever
- Have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
- Are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
- Are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are lactating
- Have received another COVID-19 vaccine.
You should not get the vaccine if you have had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or to any ingredient in the vaccine. The vaccines contain the active ingredient, messenger RNA (mRNA), along with fat, salts, and sugars to protect the mRNA and help it work better in the body. You must be at least 16 years old to get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 18 years old to get the Moderna vaccine.
How long do I have to wait between the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses to be given 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses to be given 28 days apart.
Do I still need to wear a mask and socially distance after getting the vaccine?
Yes. It is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask over your nose and mouth, washing your hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from people who do not live with you. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
Know What is True and False About the Vaccine
False: It was rushed and is not safe.
True: Researchers took no safety shortcuts with the vaccine. Large studies show the vaccine is safe.
False: It changes your DNA.
True: It is impossible for the vaccine to change your DNA.
False: It can give you COVID-19.
True: The vaccine does not contain a live virus strain. It cannot give you COVID-19.
False: It contains egg protein.
True: The vaccine does not contain egg protein and can be given to people with egg allergies.
False: It causes severe side effects.
True: For most, the vaccine causes mild side effects that resolve in a few days.
False: It makes women infertile.
True: There is no evidence that the vaccine causes infertility.
False: It contains a microchip or tracking device.
True: There is no microchip or tracking device in the vaccine.
Talking Points on the COVID-19 Vaccine
These may be helpful in talking with clients, staff, patients, and others who may have questions or concerns about the vaccine.
Both vaccines are safe and effective. The two available vaccines—one from Pfizer and the other from Moderna—are 94-95% effective.
Both vaccines are free. The federal government covers the cost of the vaccine.
You will need two doses. You will get two doses of vaccine, three to four weeks apart.
You may feel side effects. Like other routine vaccines, you may get a sore arm, fever, headaches, or tired after getting vaccinated. These are signs that the vaccine is working.
You CANNOT catch COVID-19 from the vaccine. It is not possible because it does not contain a live virus.
Everyone will get a vaccine, but people at highest risk get it first.
Everyone will be able to get vaccinated when we have enough doses. It is hard to wait and be patient, but the state will let us know when people can expect to get the vaccine. Here is a website with the latest information on when and where you can get it: mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.
Some people should not get the vaccine.
Children under 16 cannot receive a vaccine (the Pfizer vaccine is for ages 16 and up and Moderna for ages 18 and up). You should tell your doctor or vaccine provider if you have a fever, have a history of severe allergic reactions, have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners, have immunity problems, or are pregnant. You can get the vaccine even if you have had COVID.
The vaccine DOES NOT change your DNA, contain egg protein, make women infertile, or contain a microchip or tracking device. These are false stories being spread to scare people.
You still need to stay safe after the vaccine.
It is important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic After you get the vaccine, you still need to wear your mask, stay six feet apart, wash your hands, and keep gatherings small for those who have not been vaccinated.