COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program is underway and vaccinations are being offered on a limited basis for high-risk health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. However, supplies of the vaccine are expected to increase in the weeks and months to follow.

Essentia Health plans to follow Centers for Disease Control and state health department guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Waitlists are not part of either CDC or state health department guidelines at this time.

Essentia Health plans to accept all vaccine supply allocated by state health departments to provide to our patients. Potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine include fatigue, sore arms and low-grade fever. These are similar to side effects from other vaccines.

Questions on the COVID-19 vaccine:

How will I know when the vaccine is available to me?

Minnesota & Wisconsin

Essentia Health will notify patients via MyChart message when it is time for you to consider scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination. Individuals with a MyChart account will be able to schedule their vaccination right from their MyChart account. If you do not have a MyChart account, you are strongly encouraged to register for one by clicking here.

Essentia will also be utilizing recorded voice messages to reach patients using their preferred phone numbers when we are ready for you to set up your vaccine appointments.

Finally, this web site will continually be updated to include information about which groups are being vaccinated according to state department of health guidelines.

North Dakota

Essentia Health is expected to begin vaccinating the first priority of Phase 1B, those who are age 75 and older, beginning the week of January 18 at our 32nd Avenue Clinic in Fargo. We will begin notifying our patients utilizing MyChart messages and recorded phone messages as soon as we have received our allocation for vaccinations from the state of North Dakota.

Individuals with a MyChart account will be able to schedule their vaccination right from their MyChart account. If you do not have a MyChart account, you are strongly encouraged to register for one by clicking here.

It is expected to take several weeks to complete vaccination of Phase 1B, and Essentia Health may not be responsible for all of the groups in Phase1B. Some groups, like child care workers and school employees, may be vaccinated through public health.

Phase 1B (in order of priority):

Please check back often for updates.

When can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

How is it determined who can receive the COVID-19 vaccine while supplies are limited?

At Essentia Health, we are following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and the state health departments. For more information on these guidelines and to learn more about the vaccine, please see the below links.

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

If you have Allergies:

  • 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.

Post vaccination monitoring:

  • There will be a15-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
  • It is recommended to separate the COVID-19 vaccine from any other vaccine administration by 14 days

What can I do now to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine?

Register for MyChart, if you have not already done so. This will help you receive notification when it’s time for you to receive your vaccination. You can utilize MyChart to schedule your vaccination too. In addition, MyChart allows you access to your medical records, prescription refills, messaging with your provider, appointment scheduling and more.

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.

What do I need to think about post-vaccination?

Continue wearing a mask. It is not yet clear how long the vaccine provides protection. 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 required, 21 and 28-days apart, depending on the vaccine.