COVID-19 Vaccine

Last Updated: March 9 at 10:22 a.m. PT

At Banner Health, we want to make sure that we are providing you with the information you need to stay informed about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine.

The state and county health departments are leading the COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Banner will participate in this process by administering the vaccine at several Banner Health locations. We understand that there is a lot of interest in receiving the vaccine, so we appreciate your patience as we continue to work through distribution.

Health care workers and other priority groups have been receiving the vaccine since December. States and counties continue to expand vaccination efforts to include additional priority groups based on demand and vaccine supply. Qualifications for each phase are determined by state and county health departments. Please visit your state and county health department websites or contact them directly to learn what phase they are currently in for the vaccine. If you now qualify for vaccination, those health department websites will provide you with scheduling links or phone numbers to various vaccination sites so that you can schedule your appointment. Most locations require a scheduled appointment and walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is our way out of this pandemic and a return to a more normal way of living, and we are thrilled that you want to do your part by getting vaccinated. Please be patient as we work through vaccination appointments as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that the vaccine is in high demand and appointments may book up quickly. Check other vaccination sites if your preferred location does not have any appointments available.

We thank you for your continued diligence to stay healthy and safe. Please remember to distance from others and wear a mask when you are out in public. These behaviors will continue to be important in the coming months as the vaccine is slowly made available to all those who would like it.

Additional prioritization resources by state:

What brand of vaccines are available in the U.S.?

In December the Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.  The vaccine is a 2-dose series, administered either 21 days (Pfizer-BioNTech) or 28 days (Moderna) apart. If it’s not possible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose can be administered up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. The 2-doses must be from the same manufacturer.

In February the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is a single-dose shot.

The FDA, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and Banner’s team of experts have all reviewed the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines and recommend their use in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.

If you would like to learn more, please visit the CDC web site.

What COVID-19 vaccine should I get?

You should get the vaccine that is available to you in your area. One brand of vaccine is not recommended over others at this time, and all three COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to be highly effective against COVID-19 infection severe enough to require hospitalization or death. 

Is the vaccine effective against the new variants of COVID-19? 

Health officials have confirmed that the U.K. variant is prevalent throughout the United States, and the South African variant was also identified in the U.S. Both strains have also shown to be more contagious. While research is ongoing, vaccines appear to be effective against the variants evaluated and are highly recommended.

Learn more about the COVID-19 variants from the CDC.

Who is eligible to get the vaccine?

Many states and counties have started moving into the next phases of distribution. Those who qualify for each phase differ between states and counties. Please visit your state or county health department websites or contact them directly to learn what phase they are in and if you qualify to receive the vaccine at this time.

Learn more about the CDC recommendations for who will receive the vaccine, and when

When will the vaccine be available to the general public?

Once the identified priority groups are vaccinated, it will then be offered to the general public. We will share more details when we have them to keep you informed.

I already had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?

Vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.

Can a COVID vaccine infect me with COVID-19?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently available under EUA and those in development in the U.S. do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. In addition, the vaccines do not have any fetal cells or eggs in them, and they are all free of preservatives.

What types of vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson? 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA vaccines—also called mRNA vaccines. mRNA (messenger RNA) tells our cells to make a portion of the viral spike protein which is the portion of the virus used to infect our cells. This triggers an immune response to the viral spike protein thus offering protection when exposed to the SARs-CoV2 virus. The vaccine’s mRNA does not last long in our bodies and can’t be incorporated in our DNA.

The Janssen (J&J) vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. The cell displays the spike protein on its surface, and our immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.

How did the vaccine-development process move so quickly?

It’s true it can take years, sometimes decades, to develop a vaccine. One reason COVID-19 vaccinations were developed rather quickly is that there was funding on a global scale for their development. COVID-19 vaccines were also being given top priority over almost all other products in the pipeline.

What kind of side effects can I expect?

Most common side effects are redness and pain at the injection site as well as fever, chills, muscle aches and headaches that lasted up to a day and half. It is not recommended to take over-the-counter medicines before your vaccination to ward off any potential symptoms; there is a lack of information on impact of use on vaccine-induced antibody responses.

Can my allergy shots affect my COVID-19 vaccination?

Allergy shots should not influence your ability to respond to the vaccine immunologically.  We would recommend that you schedule your vaccination and allergy shots at least a day apart to make sure any side effects can be accurately attributed and to ensure any local swelling at allergy shot injection site is resolved.

I am fully vaccinated. What precautions do I still need to take?

The CDC just released the first set of recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated. These recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings. An individual is considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the 2-dose series of the Pfizer of Moderna vaccine or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

According to the CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

They are also recommending that vaccinated people continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing and follow other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They are also recommending that fully vaccinated individuals:

  • Continue to avoid medium and large gatherings
  • Get tested if you start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

Learn more about the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated individuals

Once I receive the vaccine do I still need to practice social distancing and wear a mask?

Yes. Experts are still learning about the protection that this vaccine will provide, so even if you receive the COVID-19 vaccine it is very important that you continue covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing your hands often and staying at least 6 feet away from others. 

Learn more from the CDC's Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccination