COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Essentia Health is following guidelines from state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Currently, everyone five years and older qualifies for the COVID-19 vaccine in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Safe and effective

Research and real-world monitoring show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalization from COVID-19. COVID vaccines are a highly effective way to protect yourself and others from the risks of COVID-19. Common side effects include fatigue, sore arm and fever. These are similar to side effects from other vaccines.

The nation’s leading health systems agree that the vaccine is safe and effective. Visit ourshot2savelives.org to learn more.

COVID-19 vaccination now authorized for children ages 5-11

We are excited to now be offering COVID-19 vaccine for patients 5-11 years old. The vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective for children. Scheduling vaccine appointments for 5-11 year old patients is available via MyChart or via phone at (833) 494-0836. Appointments are required and available at many Essentia Health clinic locations at this time. Continue to check for open clinic appointments as more will become available as supply is available from the state departments of health. Essentia Health pharmacies will not have COVID-19 vaccine for patients ages 5-11 years old at this time.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes boosters for individuals age 16 and older to strengthen immunity. Individuals ages 16 and 17 are authorized to receive the Pfizer booster only. 

The CDC approved a Moderna booster (half dose) under emergency use authorization at least six months after the initial two-dose series for those age 18+. The Pfizer single booster dose also is to be administered at least six months after the initial series.

A Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) booster has been approved by the CDC under emergency use authorization for all individuals 18 and older at least two months after an initial single dose.

'Mix-and-match' COVID-19 boosters

The CDC also authorized the use of “mix-and-match” booster doses.

A single booster dose of any of the available COVID-19 vaccines mentioned above may be administered as a booster dose following completion of primary vaccination with a different COVID-19 vaccine.

The eligible groups and dosing intervals for mixed booster doses are the same as the vaccine used for primary vaccination.

For example, those who received J&J as their primary vaccination may receive a single booster dose of J&J, Moderna (half dose) OR Pfizer-BioNTech at least two months after their primary vaccination.

Authorization for these mix-and-match booster doses drew CDC support because they elicited similar or higher immunological responses as compared to boosters matching the original vaccine series. No safety concerns were identified with “mixing” vaccine doses, making access to boosters easier, and increasing equity.

Schedule an Appointment

Schedule a vaccine appointment via our MyChart patient portal. You do not need to be a patient of Essentia Health to open a MyChart account. You also can call (833) 494-0836 to schedule a vaccine appointment. Additionally, Essentia Health pharmacies will offer vaccination opportunities for those 12 and older. Please bring your vaccination card to your second dose or booster dose appointment.

Separate from the booster approval, the FDA and CDC previously had approved a third dose of mRNA vaccine — Pfizer or Moderna — for moderately to severely immunocompromised people as soon as 28 days after their second shot.

Services: MyChart - Essentia Health

(SPEECH)
SPEAKER 1:

(DESCRIPTION)
Illustrations depict a COVID-19 newspaper headline, a cell phone app, and a calendar.

(SPEECH)
During this COVID-19 pandemic, Essentia Health is using MyChart to assist everyone in scheduling their first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

(DESCRIPTION)
The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle. A hand erases it. A man gets a vaccine. Thumbs up on a laptop.

(SPEECH)
Whether you are an Essentia Health patient or not, if you would like to receive your COVID vaccine from Essentia Health, we encourage you to register for MyChart for efficient scheduling of your vaccine.

(DESCRIPTION)
A cell phone, then a laptop.

(SPEECH)
Download the MyChart app from the app store or go to EssentiaHealth.org and click MyChart

(DESCRIPTION)
Each step of the My Chart process.

(SPEECH)
enter and activation code, or click sign up online. Complete the security check, then create a user ID and password. From there, you can complete the COVID vaccine form.

(DESCRIPTION)
A man shows a document to a doctor. The doctor holds a syringe next to a man on an examining table.

(SPEECH)
Essentia Health is following guidelines from our state health departments in distributing the COVID vaccine.

(DESCRIPTION)
A woman at a computer. A speech bubble with an exclamation point floats from her computer.

(SPEECH)
We will send you on MyChart scheduling ticket when you are eligible and the vaccine is available for you.

(DESCRIPTION)
An envelope on a laptop, a folder on a cell phone. A man gets a shot and gives a thumbs up.

(SPEECH)
The scheduling ticket prompts you to receive an alert through your email and MyChart inviting you to schedule your vaccine. Thank you.

Patients and community members can also call (833) 494-0836 to schedule a vaccine appointment if they meet their state’s eligibility criteria. Availability of appointments is dependent on vaccine supply at each location. Using MyChart to schedule is the preferred method to reduce wait times on the phone.

Third COVID-19 dose approved for those with compromised immune systems

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently updated information about an additional third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for people with compromised immune systems.

Recent data shows this third dose of the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will help protect individuals with compromised immune systems.

Essentia Health is contacting patients who qualify for this third dose and encouraging them to schedule appointments for a vaccine. If you have not been contacted but qualify as immunocompromised, please contact Essentia to schedule an additional dose of vaccine.

It is likely that people who received a Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also will eventually need an additional dose. Because the Janssen vaccine wasn’t given in the United States until 70 days after the first mRNA vaccine doses (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), the data needed to make this decision aren’t available yet. These data are expected in the coming weeks. With those data in hand, CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Janssen booster shots.

Frequently Asked Questions

As COVID-19 vaccination continues, we've put together some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, current vaccine availability and more below.

About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The vaccine has undergone highly rigorous testing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that has ensured its safety and millions of people have now received these vaccines worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is continuing to closely monitor for any rare side effects that should be further evaluated.

If you have specific concerns about your health conditions and whether the COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for you, please consult with your health care provider.

Is the vaccine effective?

Yes. The Moderna vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty) are more than 90% effective in preventing people from becoming ill with COVID-19 when you receive both doses of the two-dose vaccines. Essentia is also using the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine in some locations, depending upon availability, for those who request it. It has an efficacy rate of 85% for preventing severe illness.

How does the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine work?

The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. That means it uses a modified version of a different, harmless virus to deliver important instructions to our cells, according to the CDC. The vaccine triggers our immune system to produce antibodies to fight off what it thinks is an infection, teaching our bodies to fight off a future COVID-19 infection.

What information do you have about the risk of clotting that has been reported with the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine?

Use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine was temporarily paused to evaluate reports of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. According to the CDC, this adverse event is occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old.

After an extensive risk/benefit analysis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine resumes. The CDC says the benefit of vaccination outweighs the potential risk of harm to patients overall.

Patients have the option of requesting Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine where it is available, based on availability at Essentia Health’s vaccine sites. It's important to note that the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) do not carry an increased risk of these dangerous blood clots. The Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be available at all our vaccination sites so the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine would not be the only option offered.

How does a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine work?

Watch the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine patient education video learn more about what it is and how it works.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19 so a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19. There are short-term and mild side effects that have been shown to resolve without complication or injury in rates similar to some existing vaccines. Keep in mind that these side effects are one way your body shows it is responding to the vaccine.

If you had the virus and recovered will you still be able or need to get the vaccine?

Yes, you are still able, and should get the vaccine. If you have a known exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or an active case of COVID-19, it is recommended that vaccine administration is deferred until your quarantine period has ended to avoid exposing others during your vaccination visit.

What information do I need to know before receiving my COVID-19 vaccine?

If you have Allergies:

  • The CDC considers a history of the following to be a contraindication to vaccination with both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines:
    • Severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components
    • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or any of its components (including polyethylene glycol [PEG])*
    • Immediate allergic reaction of any severity to polysorbate (due to potential cross-reactive hypersensitivity with the vaccine ingredient PEG)*
    • * These persons should not receive mRNA COVID-19 vaccination at this time unless they have been evaluated by an allergist-immunologist and it is determined that the person can safely receive the vaccine.
Ingredients: mRNA, lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

The CDC considers a history of the following to be a contraindication to vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Severe allergic reaction (such as anaphylaxis) or an immediate allergic reaction – even if not severe – to any ingredient in the Janssen vaccine.
Ingredients: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine only: Use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine was temporarily paused to evaluate reports of rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following the administration of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. According to the CDC, this adverse event is occurring at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old.

After an extensive risk/benefit analysis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine resumes. The CDC says the benefit of vaccination outweighs the potential risk of harm to patients overall.

Post vaccination monitoring:

  • There will be a 15-minute observation period for those vaccinated (any non-severe allergy history or no allergies)
  • For those with history of severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis from any source or an immediate reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, the observation period should be 30 minutes. See more information here.

These patients should discuss with their providers to weigh personal risks/benefits:

  • Patients who are pregnant or lactating/breastfeeding
    • Routine pregnancy tests not recommended
  • Patients who are immunocompromised (Due to any cause, such as immunosuppressive medications, HIV/AIDS or other immunocompromising conditions)
  • Patients with a history of anaphylaxis to vaccines or injectable medications
  • Patients with a history of immediate allergic reactions to vaccines, injectable mediations or any ingredient of the vaccine (including polyethylene glycol and polysorbate).

Delay vaccination:

  • Patients who have received antibody therapy (mAbs or convalescent plasma): Should defer for 90 days
  • Known exposure to SARS-CoV-2: Defer until quarantine period has ended to avoid exposing others during vaccination visit

Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

Who is eligible for the newly approved vaccine Comirnaty?

Comirnaty is the product name of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine initially provided under emergency use authorization (EUA). Effective Aug. 23, Comirnaty is an FDA-approved vaccine for preventing COVID-19 in individuals ages 16 and older. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine remains available under EUA for patients 5 to 15.

Who is eligible for a third dose of vaccine?

The FDA on Aug. 12 amended the EUA for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to allow for the use of an additional dose only in certain individuals whose immune systems are compromised. Essentia is working to contact eligible patients. If you believe you may be eligible or have questions, please contact your trusted health care provider.

When will I be eligible for a third dose of vaccine?

All adults age 18 and older who have completed a two-dose series of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago are eligible for a booster dose.

Can caregivers of patients with compromised immune systems receive a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty)?

Essentia Health care teams are not providing third doses of COVID-19 vaccines to anyone without a compromised immune system who meet the qualifications. However, we are preparing to distribute third doses for all who qualify for them as soon as we receive the approval from the FDA and guidance from the CDC.

Do I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Under the Cares Act, your COVID-19 vaccination will be at no cost to you, even if you’re uninsured. Essentia Health strives to give our patients the best health care and customer service, and we want to help you understand the cost of your care.

The COVID-19 pandemic and related government actions have caused confusion about what health care costs are covered by insurance plans. Essentia Health is following the changing regulations to ensure that we are coding and processing our bills correctly.

Your insurance plan and your insurance provider determine what you pay as a deductible, co-payment or coinsurance on any claim, including those related to COVID-19, its symptoms and its treatment. If you have questions about your insurance coverage and your share of medical bill charges, please contact your insurance plan’s customer service line.

We want to help you understand your Essentia Health bill and explain any charges for your care. If you have questions or difficulty understanding your statement, please call us at (800) 985-4675 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

A photo ID is required. Optional: A smartphone to sign up for v-safe, a new vaccine safety program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Patients under 18 must also bring Unaccompanied Minor COVID Vaccine EUA Acknowledgment and GCA form signed by a parent/guardian to their vaccination appointment. Note that only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for minors age 12-18. Minors under the age of 12 are not able to receive either vaccine.

How long before a coronavirus vaccine takes effect?

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine.

What happens if I have a reaction after vaccination?

If you have a reaction following the vaccine please report through CDC’s v-safe program, which you can download to your phone. If you’re having any reaction concerning to your health, seek emergency care.

If you have a severe reaction while receiving the vaccine, we have onsite protocols to support vaccine-related reactions. For patients with severe or immediate reactions to the first dose of the vaccine, consider follow-up with an allergist or your primary care provider prior to the second dose.

If I only receive the first vaccine in the two-dose series, is it still somewhat effective?

Two full doses are needed for full effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine requires only a single dose.

When will I receive my second dose?

Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine require a second dose to be fully effective. While it has been recommended to receive this second dose at either 21 days after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine or 28 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided guidance that it is safe and effective to receive the second dose of the vaccines up to 42 days after the first dose. The Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine requires only a single dose.

Can a different manufacturer be used for the first and second dose?

No. The products are not interchangeable. You must use the same product for the first and second dose.

What do I need to think about post-vaccination?

Medications, such as acetaminophen or NSAIDs, can be taken to treat post-vaccine symptoms, if medically appropriate for you. Also, remember that two doses are recommended for both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine. While it has been recommended to receive this second dose at either 21 days after the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine or 28 days after the first dose of the Moderna vaccine, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has provided guidance that it is safe and effective to receive the second dose of the vaccines up to 42 days after the first dose. The CDC offers guidance on safe activities following full vaccination.

How can I view proof of vaccine or test results?

Patients can now find completed COVID-19 Immunization documentation and COVID-19 test results in MyChart. Simply log in to MyChart or use the MyChart mobile app, and access the report under MENU then select COVID-19 to download a report.

*Information found here was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, guidelines, recommendations and medical understanding may have changed since the original publication date.

Get Connected to MyChart

Start the process of getting your COVID-19 vaccination whether you're a current patient, or new to Essentia Health.

Log In Sign Up

Like most websites, we use cookies and other technologies to keep our website reliable, secure, and to better understand how our site is used. By using our site, you agree to our use of these tools. Learn more.