COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

What vaccines are currently available?

Visit the Centers for Disease Control for a list of vaccines and boosters available.

Appointments are encouraged.

MyOchsner users can check availability and schedule their vaccinations via MyOchsner. If you have never been to an Ochsner location before and do not have a MyOchsner account, you can sign up at my.ochsner.org or call 1-844-888-2772.

How can I access my vaccination and testing credentials?

How to Access in MyOchsner

Learn About Smart Health Cards

Please note you must download the latest version of the MyOchsner app to see the QR codes. If you received your COVID-19 vaccination at Ochsner, you can display a QR code in the MyOchsner app on your phone that you can use to show your vaccination status. Log in to the app, go to the menu at the top of the page, click on “COVID-19’’ under “My Record,’’ and click on the green button at the bottom of the page that says “QR codes.’’

I am pregnant/breastfeeding/undergoing fertility treatments, can I get the vaccine?

Following guidelines from the FDA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine, even patients who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The only medical contraindications to receiving this vaccine are severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or severe allergic reaction to components of this vaccine.

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine both strongly recommend vaccination for those who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Unvaccinated pregnant women face higher risk than vaccinated pregnant women.

Vaccines for Minors

Can my child get the vaccine without my knowledge? How do I give my consent?

  • No, as with any vaccination, it is required that a child under the age of 18 must have parental or guardian consent.
  • Consent can be provided through MyOchsner, during ePreCheck or in person at the vaccination location.
  • It is recommended that a child’s parent or legal guardian accompany their child during their vaccination appointment.
  • Please note; if your child does not already have a MyOchsner account, you must fill out a request form which has a turnaround time of 1 to 3 days.
  • If the custodial parent has a MyOchsner account, they can request access online using the form under the Main Menu >> Sharing >> Request Access.
  • If the custodial parent does NOT have a MyOchsner account, they can click here to sign up and put in a request. They will receive a notification and an email with this information as well.

My child has a specific medical condition. Can they get the vaccine?

  • Following guidelines from the FDA EUA, no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine. The only medical contraindications to receiving this vaccine are severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or severe allergic reaction to components of this vaccine.
  • It is important to have this discussion with your pediatrician to determine if this is the best decision for your child.

If my child already had COVID-19, do they still need the vaccine?

  • Yes, there is not currently enough information available to show how long a child is protected from being reinfected again.

Can my child get routine vaccinations (flu, tetanus, boosters) with, or within a short timeframe of, their COVID-19 vaccine?

  • The CDC now recommends that other vaccines can be given with the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • This includes the flu vaccine. Children ages 6 months and up are recommended by the CDC to receive an annual flu vaccination.
  • It is important that children who may have missed doses of routine vaccines during the pandemic complete or catch up with these routine immunizations.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine in kids? When should I call a doctor?

Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are relatively mild and similar to those experienced by adults and adolescents. These side effects include:

  • Arm soreness at the injection site
  • Low-grade fever
  • Fatigue

While extreme serious reactions to the vaccine are rare, you should seek medical care if:

  • Your child experiences a severe allergic reaction (call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room)
  • The side effects do not seem to be going away or are getting worse after a few days.

Should I give my child acetaminophen or ibuprofen before the vaccine?

  • We do not recommend pre-treating your child with pain or fever reducers because it may weaken your child’s immune response to vaccines.
  • After the vaccine, you may give your child a pain or fever reducers if needed.

If I had a strong reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine, is it more likely that my child will as well?

  • While every individual is unique, there are no indications that reactions run in families.

Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

Is the vaccine safe?

  • Following full approval from the FDA , no one is excluded from receiving the vaccine as there are no medical contraindications except for a severe allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its components.
  • Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, MyOchsner or the COVID hotline will automatically schedule the second dose at the same location with the appropriate length of time (21 or 28 days depending on which vaccine you receive) between visits.
  • Most importantly, all three vaccines have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective in preventing serious disease. All three vaccine have continuous and intense safety monitoring and more than over 346 million doses of COVID-19 have been given in the U.S.

I’m a patient coming to Ochsner for an appointment. What precautions is Ochsner taking to keep me safe during my interactions with providers, staff and my care team?

Ochsner takes the health and safety of our patients and staff seriously. The following precautions are in place:

  • Fully vaccinated staff will have identification of their vaccination status on their ID badge. Ochsner requires all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 29, 2021. Learn more.
  • All Ochsner staff regardless of location, role or vaccination status must be fully masked at all times while indoors at an Ochsner facility. This includes our corporate and non-clinical staff.
  • All staff are required to complete a mandatory training course on COVID-19 safety standards in the workplace.

How long will the vaccine last?

Since this is a novel virus, we are still unsure how long the vaccine antibodies will last. However, recent data indicate that the mRNA vaccines continue to have a strong response for at least 6 months post-vaccination.

What are the possible side effects of the vaccine?

  • Like the flu shot, the vaccine is administered into a large muscle in the upper arm. As is the case with any vaccine, allergic reactions may occur. Some may experience mild fever, soreness, muscle aches, headaches, chills, fatigue/tiredness, muscle or joint pain, redness and/or swelling at the site of administration. These are signs of an immune response to the vaccine and expected in some patients.
  • Based on data reported from the FDA emergency use authorization (EUA), possible side effects have been more prominent after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
  • If you have pain or discomfort, you can take your normal pain reliever or talk to your pharmacist about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  • To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, you can apply a clean, cool compress over the area. To reduce discomfort from fever, drink plenty of fluids.

I take aspirin daily as part of my health regimen prescribed by my doctor. I read that you shouldn’t take Tylenol, aspirin or ibuprofen prior to receiving the vaccine. Does that mean I can’t receive the vaccine?

  • We recommend that people continue their routine medications as prescribed by their physician which may include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), also known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). Patients who have one of the CDC-listed underlying medical conditions and are prescribed NSAID by their physicians, are not excluded and are encouraged to receive the vaccine.

What happens if I feel ill after receiving the vaccine?

While extreme serious reactions to the vaccine are rare, you should seek medical care if:

  • you experience a severe allergic reaction call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room
  • the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

Ochsner On Call can answer questions at 800-231-5257 or 504-842-3155

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.

Report side effects to FDA/CDC Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Reporting instructions are included in Fact Sheet you received when you got your vaccine.

Can I still become infected after receiving the vaccine?

  • The vaccine cannot cause you to test positive via nasal swab or saliva test. This is not a live vaccine and will not cause you to shed virus.
  • It takes four to six weeks to become fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer. Some patients may still become infected or develop symptoms following vaccination against COVID-19. No vaccine is 100% effective. Those that do get infected after vaccination, so called breakthrough cases of COVID-19, are more likely to have mild or no symptoms. Even with the more contagious Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccines have shown 90% effectiveness in preventing severe infections that require hospitalization.

Does the vaccine prevent me from getting it or spreading it?

  • That is the intent. Instead of traditional vaccines, which may use the virus itself, the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine will use a protein on the outside of the virus. This means the vaccine can’t cause COVID-19 in a person, because it’s not using the virus that causes the disease.
  • This stimulates your body’s immune system to mount a response as if it were a true infection, minimizing your risk of infection or disease burden should you encounter the same virus later. While there is evidence that people with breakthrough cases from the Delta variant can spread COVID-19 to others, those numbers overall are low.
  • However, in order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the vaccines, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.

Are there any restrictions, such as quarantining in place, after receiving the vaccine?

  • No, there are no restrictions after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, but you should continue to wear your mask, social distance and practice good hand hygiene.

What is the deferral period for potential blood donors who receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • No deferral is necessary for whole blood or platelet donors who received non-replicating, inactivated or RNA-based vaccines or the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Can individuals who have received the COVID-19 vaccine donate COVID-19 convalescent plasma (CCP)?

  • No. The FDA does not feel that it would be acceptable for these individuals to donate CCP. This is because it is not known yet if the CCP would be efficacious from a vaccinated person.

Will I still have to mask and social distance after I get the shot or am fully vaccinated?

  • Yes. Remember, it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until two weeks (14 days) after your second shot.
  • With the rapid rise in cases due to the Delta variant, the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status especially in COVID-19 hot spots. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, should I still get vaccinated?

  • Yes. There is not enough information currently available to say how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. In order to stop this pandemic, we need to use every tool available which includes the immunization, social distancing, handwashing and wearing masks.

Can I get routine vaccinations (flu, tetanus, shingles, pneumonia, etc.) with my COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes, there is no need to delay other immunizations after your COVID-19 vaccine.

If I am fully vaccinated and have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive, do I still need to quarantine?

  • If you are fully vaccinated and have been exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive, you are not required to quarantine unless you are symptomatic.
  • You should get tested 3-5 days after exposure and wear a mask indoors for 14 days post exposure, or until you receive a negative test result.

Vulnerable Populations

Are there studies out there showing its effects on fertility and long-term effects on babies born to mothers who got the vaccine while pregnant?

  • The claim circulating on social media that the COVID-19 vaccine causes female infertility is FALSE and is not supported by any research.

Read our blog for more information: https://blog.ochsner.org/articles/covid-19-vaccine-and-fertility

Are there any health restrictions that would prevent me from receiving the vaccine?

  • COVID-19 vaccination may not be for everyone. If you are unsure if you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, please call your healthcare provider to discuss the possible benefits and risks.

Should children get vaccine? What ages is the vaccine for?

  • Based on safety and efficacy data and the recommendations of the FDA and CDC, we recommend that eligible children and adults get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are able.
  • We understand that many people have questions about the vaccine, so recommend reaching out to your pediatrician to discuss the best decision for your child.
  • Individuals ages 6 months and above are eligible to receive the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. The dose amount for children age 6 months – 11 years is one third of the adult dose for ages 12 and above.
  • Ochsner will only recommend and administer vaccines that have been evaluated for safety, effectiveness and individual patient needs.
  • The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of forgoing immunization.
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