IMPORTANT INFORMATION RELATED TO COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS)

All St. Louis County offices are open to the public. Currently, the COVID-19 Community Level is high in St. Louis County, which means facemasks are recommended inside St. Louis County buildings (and all indoor public places.)

 



 

Vaccine FAQs

St. Louis County Public Health, along with hospitals, pharmacies, tribal health, the State of Minnesota, and several other health systems, are administering COVID-19 vaccines. Below are answers to the questions we hear most about vaccine appointments and the vaccines themselves.

How/where can I get vaccinated?

Any Minnesotan age 5+ is eligible now to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

To make an appointment, we encourage you to contact your medical provider or pharmacy, or visit St. Louis County Public Health vaccine registration . Find other vaccine options near you through the State's vaccine locator.

 If you still have questions please call the St. Louis County COVID information line at 218-625-3600.

 


The COVID-19 vaccination is free to any eligible person who wants it.

What options are available to get my child vaccinated?

Currently there is no vaccine approved for children ages 0-5.

Youth ages 5-17 can receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. A smaller dose version is approved for ages 5-11, and the full dose version is approved for ages 12+. This is a two-dose vaccine, spaced 21 days apart.COVID-19 Vaccine for Children and Teens / COVID-19 Updates and Information - State of Minnesota (mn.gov) Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine booster is now available for 12-17 year olds.

FDA Vaccine fact sheets:

Pfizer for 12 years of age and older (fda.gov)

Pfizer for 5 - 11 Years of Age (fda.gov)

Note:  A parent or guardian must accompany the juvenile to the vaccine clinic to sign the consent for vaccination and screening form.

o   An exception will be made for anyone under age 18 who answers “yes” to any of the following questions:

1)      Are you living apart from your parents/guardian and managing your own financial affairs?

2)      Are you currently or have you ever been married?

3)      Have you given birth to a child?

If the answer to all three of these questions is no, the minor must have a parent/guardian consent to the vaccination.

How long does the vaccine last?

After receiving a COVID-19 vaccination, protection against the virus may decrease over time. Data show that a booster given 5 months after the primary series increased the immune response for people who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and 2 months after the initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

You may request to receive a different booster than the vaccine you initially received. (For instance, if you received the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson initially, you may request to receive a Moderna booster.) Learn more about booster shots.

What does "Up to date" mean for COVID vaccinations

Up to date means a person has received all recommended doses in their primary series of COVID-19 vaccine, and a booster dose when eligible.

Stay Up to Date with Your COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC

Who can get a booster?

Boosters are now recommended for everyone age 12+. The timing depends on what kind of COVID-19 vaccine you received initially. You should get a COVID-19 booster 5 months after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or 2 months after your initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Note that the Pfizer booster is the only booster currently approved for 12-17 year olds.

Use St. Louis County Public Health vaccine registration  to register for a booster.

 

What is the difference between a third dose and a booster?

For people with compromised immune systems, the first two doses may not provide adequate protection against COVID-19. A third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) is identical to the first two doses. The CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This includes people who have:
•    Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
•    Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
•    Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
•    Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
•    Advanced or untreated HIV infection
•    Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
 

If you are immunocompromised, talk to your healthcare provider about your medical condition and whether getting a third dose is appropriate for you and when you may need an additional booster.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People | CDC

 

What is St. Louis County’s role in COVID-19 vaccine administration?

Local Public Health is one of multiple health systems working in partnership to administer the vaccine. 

As has historically been the role of Public Health, we are working to ensure underserved populations who are eligible for the vaccine receive it. 

If you still have questions about vaccine appointments, please email vaccinescheduling@stlouiscountymn.gov or call 218-725-5210.

I did not receive a confirmation email when I tried to register. What should I do?

You most likely are scheduled, so please do not schedule yourself again. To confirm, please email us at VaccineScheduling@StLouisCountyMN.gov and let us know which clinic date and location you tried to sign up for (ex. Eveleth Curling Club, 3/31/2021). We can search your name in our system to confirm that you are signed up. If you do not hear back from us before your appointment time, please still go to the clinic.

How do I make an appointment for my second dose?

If you received your first dose at a St. Louis County Public Health clinic, we will send you an email a few days before you are due for your second dose. Usually this email comes the weekend before you should go in. Be sure to check your junk folder if you do not see the email. If you have not received an email by Monday of the week that you are due, please call 218-726-2623. 

I received an email to schedule my second dose, but have a conflict that day. Can I reschedule?

Yes. We recommend you reschedule as close to the recommended second dose date as possible. Even if several weeks or months have passed since you were due for your second dose, you can (and should!) still get it for maximum protection against COVID-19.

When rescheduling, email us at VaccineScheduling@StLouisCountyMN.gov and provide the following information:

  • Which vaccine you received for your first dose (Pfizer or Moderna)
  • When you got your first dose, and
  • Which city you received your vaccine in (Duluth/Hermantown, Eveleth, Virginia, Hibbing, etc.)

If you received the Moderna vaccine, you should wait at least 28 days (4 weeks) in between doses. If you received the Pfizer vaccine, you should wait at least 21 days (3 weeks) in between doses.  We do not recommend scheduling your second dose for more than 2 days in advance of when you are due.


If you still have questions about vaccine appointments, please email vaccinescheduling@stlouiscountymn.gov or call 218-726-2623.
 



 

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccines have undergone rigorous safety testing. Scientists from the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have reviewed all information from the testing process and determined the vaccine to be safe.

All the usual steps have been taken to make sure the COVID-19 vaccines are safe. To speed up the development of the COVID-19 vaccine, drug manufacturers built upon previous research, used new and faster methods, and was able to begin making the vaccine in advance.

Experts continue tracking vaccine safety information once vaccines are given in real-life conditions to make sure they are working as expected.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccine safety, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination | CDC

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

The most common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines are mild and temporary. They include fatigue, headache, and muscle aches. You may experience some or none of these side effects. When mild side effects occur, they are a normal sign your body is building protection to the virus. If these minor side effects occur, it’s most likely a day or two after getting the vaccine, and go away in a few days. It is more common to experience these side effects after the second dose.

Because a very small percentage of people who’ve received the vaccine have experienced an allergic reaction, individuals are asked to wait for 15-30 minutes at the vaccination site to be monitored by medical staff so they could be treated if necessary. 

Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine | CDC

How does the vaccine work?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines and requires two doses. You will get one shot, and then a second shot at least 21-28 days later (depending on if the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine is used.)  It is necessary to get both doses of the same vaccine to be fully protected. These vaccines do not contain any live or dead COVID-19 virus. Instead, it uses spike protein RNA, which teaches the immune system to recognize the COVID-19 virus and destroy it before it can infect you.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. This means it uses a modified version of a different, harmless virus to deliver important instructions to our cells. It then use the cell’s machinery to produce one COVID-19 virus protein known as spike protein. The spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. After vaccination, you body's immune system recognizes this protein and blocks the virus from infecting you.

The CDC recommends those starting their primary series or getting boosters get Pfizer or Moderna, (though Johnson & Johnson may still be used in certain situations.) You should receive the same mRNA vaccine product for both doses of a two dose primary series. You may use a different vaccine product for your booster than you received for your primary series.

Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC

Moderna COVID19 vaccine fact sheet

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for ages 12+

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for 5 - 11 Years of Age

Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

Do I have to get vaccinated?

An employer may require that their workers be vaccinated. Check with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you.

We strongly encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Getting vaccinated helps protect you and your family, co-workers, residents, patients, and community.

Will I ever have to prove I’ve been vaccinated?

Your vaccination status is your personal data and providers are not able to provide this information to others. However, this information will be available to you to provide to others as proof of vaccination, should an employer or others require this and you are willing to provide your personal vaccination history. No one else is legally able to access your personal vaccination data.

Like all personal health information, COVID-19 vaccination status is protected by federal and state law. Your COVID-19 vaccination status will be entered into the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection. You will also get a card documenting that you received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Some employers, business, and entertainment venues require proof of vaccine as do certain modes of transportation (certain airlines) and in order to enter some foreign countries. The white COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that you received at the time of vaccination is proof that you were vaccinated. You can also request your vaccination records from MDH: Find my Immunization Record .  Another way to access your immunization records is to download the Docket app from the App store or Google Play

Can I get vaccinated if I'm pregnant/breastfeeding?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that all eligible persons ages 12+ including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series.

ACOG recommends that pregnant and recently pregnant people up to 6 weeks postpartum receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine following the completion of their initial COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series.

 

 

COVID-19 Vaccination Considerations for Obstetric–Gynecologic Care | ACOG

COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Would Like to Have a Baby | CDC

 

 

If I’ve had COVID, do I still need to get vaccinated?

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection to your immune system. People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19, even in people who have already been sick with COVID-19.

Does the vaccine cause infertility or sterility?

There is no evidence the vaccine can cause sterility or infertility. There is also no biological mechanism that would lead to sterility or infertility in COVID-19 vaccine recipients. This myth originated from unscientific sources and hypotheses not supported by scientific fact.

COVID-19 Vaccines for People Who Would Like to Have a Baby | CDC

Do I need to get a booster?

A booster is recommended for everyone ages 12 years and older after they have completed their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. Children ages 12 to 17 years old can only get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot. Adults age 18+ should get a booster dose, and either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred.

Will the vaccine change my DNA?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. The mRNA in these vaccines directs the production of specific proteins that your immune system will recognize as viral proteins and subsequently generate a protective immune response. Neither the mRNA nor protein has the ability to change your genome and does not enter the nucleus, where the DNA is located.

Does the vaccine contain a microchip or tracking device?

No. This is myth that has circulated on the internet. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and can prevent you from getting a severe case of COVID-19. 

Why should I trust the government on this?

St. Louis County Public health, like all public health agencies, provides unbiased information and resources to residents of the county we serve. COVID-19 vaccines have been produced by non-governmental private companies, and the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines has been monitored by an independent monitoring board. In addition, public health experts at universities, and medical and pharmacy practitioners have uniformly recommended COVID-19 vaccinations for all eligible populations to combat this deadly disease. 

We encourage you to check with your health care provider to ensure you are getting accurate and up-to-date vaccine information from a credible source.


Want to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines?