COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs
Vaccination is the best way to avoid serious illness due to a COVID-19 infection. MaineHealth doctors recommend that people age 5 and older get vaccinated as soon as possible.
People age 5 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.
- People over the age of 18 are eligible for the the Pfizer Age 12+, Moderna and J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.
- People age 12-18 are eligible for the Pfizer Age 12+ vaccine. Permission from a parent or guardian is required.
- People age 5-11 are eligible for the Pfizer Age 5-11 vaccine. Permission from a parent or guardian is required.
- Pfizer Age 12+ Vaccine Fact Sheet
- Pfizer Age 5-11 Vaccine Fact Sheet
- Moderna Vaccine Fact Sheet
- J&J (Janssen) Vaccine Fact Sheet
Third doses are for seriously immunocompromised people age 5 and older. The CDC recommends a third vaccine dose for seriously immunocompromised people (for example, if you have had an organ transplant or are receiving active cancer treatment). This recommendation is based on evidence that suggests immunocompromised people may not have gotten enough of an immune response from just two doses and will be better protected by a third dose.
- MaineHealth practices are currently giving third doses to those who need them. If you are seriously immunocompromised and have not already been contacted, please call your MaineHealth primary care provider for more information.
Many available vaccines require boosters. Booster doses help increase your immune response, which may decline over time. The CDC has announced booster shot recommendations for all three COVID-19 vaccine brands now available in the United States.
Who is eligible for a booster shot?
Everyone age 12 and older can get a COVID-19 booster shot. Eligibility varies by age and vaccine brand.
- Teens age 12–17 are eligible for a booster 5 months after their second Pfizer dose
- Adults age 18 and older are eligible for a booster:
- 5 months after their second Pfizer or Moderna dose
- 2 months after their first J&J/Janssen dose
- 5 months after their second Pfizer or Moderna dose
Do I have to stay with the same vaccine brand for my COVID-19 booster?
No, per CDC guidelines, if you are age 18 or older your booster dose can be different from the vaccine brand you originally received. Teens age 12–17 are only eligible for a Pfizer booster.
Age 12 and older: Visit one of our walk-in vaccination clinics anytime within the posted hours for your first COVID-19 vaccine dose. We'll help you schedule your second dose appointment while you are there. Online scheduling is also available at some locations.
Age 5-11: MaineHealth is offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments for children aged 5-11 at some of our pediatric practices. Online scheduling is available here.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require a second dose. If you receive one of these vaccines at a MaineHealth clinic, we will help you schedule your second appointment while you are still in the clinic. You will need to return to the same location for your second dose.
MaineHealth is offering COVID-19 booster shots by appointment only. Some locations may have limited availability for booster shot appointments because of the need to provide care for patients with other health care needs.
Though you may have received your initial COVID-19 vaccine doses at a MaineHealth vaccination clinic, consider alternate locations for your booster shot. For example, pharmacies across the state are now offering COVID-19 vaccination and booster appointments. MaineHealth recommends that you get a booster at any location convenient to you. View a list of Maine vaccination sites.
- Online self-scheduling for booster shot appointments is available at some MaineHealth locations.
- You may also call 877-780-7545 to schedule a MaineHealth COVID-19 booster shot appointment at select locations.
If you are unsure whether you should receive a booster, contact your primary care provider to discuss your situation and determine if a booster dose is right for you.
About the Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. MaineHealth doctors recommend that you get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Common Side Effects
Some people have no side effects. Others have reported common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination, such as:
- Swelling, redness, and pain at injection site
- Muscle pain
More serious side-effects are extremely rare. The risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 infection is much greater. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety.
The vaccines are extremely effective. Studies show they are:
- 99% effective in preventing deaths
- 90% effective in preventing hospitalizations
- 65% - 95% effective in preventing infection
The current rise in infections is mostly among unvaccinated people who have been diagnosed with the Delta variant. While a very small number of vaccinated people have also become infected with the Delta variant, they usually have only mild symptoms. Unvaccinated people who become infected with the Delta variant are experiencing:
- More severe illness
- More hospitalizations
- Increased death rates
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
Did you know?
- There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people.
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time. If you are not yet fully vaccinated for COVID-19, do so as soon as you can, and ideally get a flu vaccine by the end of October.
Right now, the soonest available vaccine is the best vaccine. All three vaccines have been shown to be very effective at preventing serious illness due to COVID-19.
If you are age 18 or older, we can't predict which vaccine will be available at your vaccine appointment. People under the age of 18 will receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Scientists are still studying how long COVID-19 protection lasts after vaccination. After you are fully recovered from your illness, vaccination can help protect you from getting sick again.
It is thought that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.
If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Learn more about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination.
How long does it take for the vaccine to become effective? Do I still need to wear a mask after that?
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
After you get the vaccine, it is important to continue practices that help limit the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors in public to protect yourself and others from the highly-contagious, Delta variant.
The Memorial Hospital COVID-19 vaccination clinic is open to residents of any state. Appointments are not required, but may be requested by calling 603-356-0673, option #2 or visiting Vaccine.Mainehealth.org.
- NH Clinic Location: 2779 White Mountain Highway, North Conway (next to Citizens Bank)
- Clinic Hours: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 am to 4 pm (walk in or request an appointment in advance)
- You must have a vaccination appointment before requesting a ride.
- Face masks are required.
- Rides are available for appointments scheduled Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am - 4:00 pm.
- You must call 1-855-608-5172 at least 48 hours before your scheduled appointment time, to reserve a ride
The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost. A fee for administration of the vaccine will be billed to your insurance carrier with no out-of-pocket cost to you. Please bring your insurance card to your appointment. If you are a Medicare or Medicare Advantage patient, please bring your Traditional Medicare ID (the red, white, and blue card) to your appointment.
We will give you a COVID-19 vaccination card at the vaccine clinic, after you are vaccinated. It is important to keep this card in a safe place. Consider taking a picture of it with your mobile device. If you lose it, and need proof of vaccination:
- Complete our Authorization to Release Protected Health Information form
- Return the completed form via e-mail, fax or mail
- Email: MHMedicalRecords@mainehealth.org
- Fax: 207-761-3092
- Mail: MaineHealth, Health Information Management Department, 301C US Route One, Scarborough, ME 04074
Note: You will not receive a new CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. You will receive a record of your recent immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine. This is an accepted record of vaccination status.