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COVID-19 Vaccination Options & FAQs

Vaccination is the best way to avoid serious illness due to COVID-19. MaineHealth recommends that people age 5 and older get vaccinated as soon as possible. If you are eligible for a booster shot but have not yet received one, we encourage you to get one now. Boosters strengthen your immune system and provide an extra layer of protection. Stay up to date to help protect yourself, your family and your community.

Vaccination Scheduling Options:

Please review our vaccination appointment guide before you arrive.

Vaccine Eligibility

Who is eligible for COVID-19 vaccination?

People age 5 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

What is a third dose and who is eligible?

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. 

What is a booster dose and who is eligible?

Many available vaccines require boosters. Boosters help increase your immune response, which may decline over time. Everyone age 12 and older can get a COVID-19 booster. People age 18 or older can get a Pfizer, Moderna or J&J booster, regardless of their initial vaccine series type. Teens age 12–17 are eligible for Pfizer boosters only. Learn more about booster eligibility.

  • Teens age 12–17 are eligible for a booster 5 months after their second Pfizer dose
  • Adults age 18+ are eligible for a booster 5 months after their second Pfizer or Moderna dose or 2 months after their first J&J/Janssen dose

Who is eligible for a SECOND booster shot?

People at high-risk for severe disease, hospitalization and death from COVID-19 need increased protection. The CDC now recommends a second COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for people over age 50 and certain immunocompromised individuals under age 50.

  • People age 50 and older are eligible for a second Pfizer or Moderna booster shot 4 months after their first booster dose of any type.
  • Immunocompromised people age 12 and older who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who have a medical condition with an equivalent level of immunocompromise are eligible for a second Pfizer booster shot 4 months after their first booster dose of any type.
  • Immunocompromised people age 18 and older who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who have a medical condition with an equivalent level of immunocompromise are eligible for a second Moderna booster shot 4 months after their first booster dose of any type.
  • People age 18 and older who received an initial J&J/Janssen vaccine dose AND a J&J/Janssen first booster dose at least four months ago are now able to receive a second booster dose with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).

Are booster shots the same formulation as existing vaccines?

Yes. COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their primary series. Learn more about booster shots.

Am I still considered "fully vaccinated" if I don't get a booster shot?

If you are eligible for a booster shot but have not yet received one, we strongly encourage you to get one now. Boosters strengthen your immune system and provide an extra layer of protection. Learn more about booster shots. However, you are still considered "fully vaccinated" two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

Vaccination Appointments


How do I make a first dose appointment?

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.

What about the second dose?

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. 

How do I make a booster shot appointment?

  • Online self-scheduling for booster shot appointments is available at some MaineHealth locations.
  • We also offer booster shots on a walk-in basis at some locations.
  • You may also call 877-780-7545 to schedule a MaineHealth COVID-19 booster shot appointment at select locations.
  • 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.

  • 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


Are the vaccines safe?

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
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea

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.

If people are still being diagnosed with COVID-19, does that mean the vaccines are not effective?

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

Current COVID-19 infections are mostly among unvaccinated people. While a small number of fully-vaccinated people have also become infected, they usually have only mild symptoms. Unvaccinated people who become infected are experiencing:

  • More severe illness
  • More hospitalizations
  • Increased death rates

What if I am pregnant or breast feeding?

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for 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.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Can I get a flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time?

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.

Learn more about flu vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Which vaccine brand is better?

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. 

If I have already had COVID-19, should I get the vaccine?

Yes, you should be fully-vaccinated and boosted, 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 are fully-vaccinated and boosted, it is important to continue practices that help limit the spread of COVID-19. Wear a mask indoors in public if you are at a high-risk for severe illness or, if you are in a high-risk community.

Learn more about COVID-19 community risk levels.


Vaccine Access


What if I live in NH?

Can I get help with transportation to my vaccine appointment?

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced a free transportation option for Maine residents who need a ride to and from a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Learn more >
  • 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
If you live in Lincoln County and require transportation to the vaccine clinic in Boothbay Harbor, please contact LincolnCovidVaccine@MaineHealth.org.

How much does the vaccine cost? Do I need insurance?

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.

How can I get a copy of my COVID-19 vaccination record?

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:

  1. Complete our Authorization to Release Protected Health Information form
  2. 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.

Questions? Call 207-662-2211 Monday – Friday, 7:30 am to 4 pm or email MHMedicalRecords@mainehealth.org.


Vaccine Resources