While masking requirement for those fully vaccinated has been lifted for outdoors and most indoor locations, please know that masking is still required at all times at all MaineGeneral facilities. Hospitals follow stricter requirements from state and federal regulators to prevent infection. Thank you for understanding.
MaineGeneral is pleased to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at all primary care practices. You do not have to be a patient of MaineGeneral to get a vaccine at these locations, but you do have to call for an appointment. See guidance in the next section below on booster shots.
Patients can also get their COVID-19 vaccinations at their regularly scheduled appointments.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended, administration of a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for certain individuals. The U.S. CDC recommends:
Many individuals who are now eligible to receive a booster shot received their initial vaccine early in the vaccination program and will benefit from additional protection. With the Delta variant’s predominance in Maine and continued high numbers of daily cases of COVID-19 cases, a booster shot will afford protection against severe disease in those populations who are at high-risk for exposure to COVID-19 or complications from severe disease.
If you have had your COVID-19 vaccination(s) but lost your card, call MaineGeneral's Community Health Department to request a new card: (207) 872-4102.
Please review the Emergency Use Authorization information from the US FDA for more information on the vaccines.
We will have printed sheets with this information at the clinic, but we ask that you are familiar with this information beforehand.
When will I be able to get vaccinated?
MaineGeneral is following the Maine CDC vaccination guidelines. Currently, Pfizer vaccine is available for those age 12 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available for people age 18 and older.
How will I know when I can schedule my vaccination?
The MaineGeneral webpage (www.mainegeneral.org/covid
) will always have the most up-to-date information. We also will post new information as it becomes available on MaineGeneral’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/MaineGeneral
How do I register to get the vaccine?
You can make an appointment at any MaineGeneral Primary Care Practice to receive a vaccine. You can also find pop-up clinics here on this web page.
Can I make an appointment through my MaineGeneral Primary Care office?
Yes. See the listing above for your practice and phone number to make your appointment.
I don't have insurance. Can I still get vaccinated?
Yes. We are not billing insurance for the service.
How is the vaccine given?
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is similar to the process of getting a flu shot, except that we are undertaking an unprecedented process to get the vaccine to every person who wants it as soon as we can.
The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. If you are getting your vaccine, please follow instructions carefully to make sure you get your second dose in the appropriate timeframe.
You will need to mask the entire time you are at the vaccination clinic and answer COVID-19 screening questions. Come to get your vaccination wearing a light-fitting shirt so our medical staff can comfortably provide your shot in your upper arm.
You must stay at the location you receive your vaccination at for 15 minutes to be observed after you receive your injection. We want to make sure you do not have any immediate and potentially dangerous reactions. During this time, you will receive your vaccination card which you must keep and provide when you arrive for your second dose.
How do I get my second dose of vaccine?
A second dose of vaccine is currently required for the Pfizer and Moderna brand vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose. Your second dose, if you are getting Pfizer or Moderna, is scheduled when you schedule your first dose.
Where can I find information about the COVID-19 vaccines?
There’s helpful information on the Maine CDC site
and from the US CDC
How safe are the vaccines?
The COVID-19 vaccines granted emergency use authorization due to this pandemic for use in the US will help keep you and your family safe. Medical experts went through a transparent and rigorous process to review the vaccines before they were granted emergency use authorization by the FDA for use.
The vaccines were created relatively quickly compared to past vaccination efforts, but the technology used has been in development for some time. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use a technique developed in 2008 at the University of Pennsylvania called modifying messenger RNA. The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in December 2020 for these vaccines. The technology Johnson and Johnson is using – called adenovirus vector – also is not new. They have been studying the same technique for Ebola. COVID-19 allowed Johnson & Johnson to use this technology for the vaccine it developed.
Before being granted Emergency Use Authorization, Pfizer had 44,000 people in its study, Moderna 30,000 and Johnson and Johnson had 43,000.
We now have months of data and millions of people in the US and around the world who have received the FDA EUA-approved vaccines. New data show that the effectiveness of the vaccines is very high.
The sooner our community gets vaccinated in a large number, the sooner we can return to normal.
Even after you get the vaccine, you must follow the effective public health measures to protect yourself and others. Continue to practice social distancing, wear a face covering in public, wash your hands and stay home when you are sick.
I have some concerns about getting the vaccine. What should I do?
You should talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your health status and whether you should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The virus and vaccination options continue to evolve. We are in a much better position now than we were a year ago. We know the best strategies to stem the pandemic are masking, social distancing, hand hygiene and staying home if you are ill. Vaccinations are another key element we need to adopt to get ahead of this pandemic.
Should I get one vaccine over another – Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson?
To date, vaccines (including the ones used in the US) have been given to 476 million people worldwide, and mostly Pfizer and Moderna to 130 million people in the United States. Current information from the vaccine reporting systems indicate that these vaccines are safe and effective.
There is no difference currently in the US as to whether you should receive Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson except for your age. All three vaccines are FDA EUA-approved for 18 years old and older, with only Pfizer for 16 years old and older.
Does the vaccine alter our DNA?
No, none of the vaccines alter one’s DNA.
What are the impacts of the vaccine on fertility and pregnancy?
There are no adverse effects on fertility from the vaccines under Emergency Use Authorization in the US that we have seen. Active data gathering on pregnant patients continues, so that we can understand better if a risk were to exist. Pregnancy, though, is a risk factor for a more severe form of COVID-19 infection. We do ask that pregnant women talk to their doctors so that they can make an informed decision based on their individual risk factors around COVID-19.
Are there side effects from the vaccine?
Most people experience very little or no side effects after their first dose of the vaccine. The most common side effects after the first dose of the vaccine include sore arm at the vaccination site, fatigue, headache and body aches. If you do have side effects, they usually start 6-10 hours after you received the shot and typically last one to two days. Side effects after the second dose of the vaccine may be more common and uncomfortable than those experienced with the first dose. They include the same symptoms as what you may experience with the first dose and, also, fever and chills. If you do have side effects, they usually start 6-10 hours after you received the shot and typically last one to two days. You may consider limiting activities (for example, missing work) on the day after your second shot. While side effects can be an indication that your immune system is doing what it is supposed to do, the vaccine is working equally well to protect you whether you have side effects or not.
Long-term effects of these vaccines is still under evaluation yet no current data has shown any long-term negative effects. On the other hand, we have good data that long-term effects of COVID-19 infection may include a variety of ongoing issues of different systems in your body, some minor and some much more significant.
Learn about common side effects on the US CDC web page
What medicine can I take to manage my side effects?
Some people like to take Tylenol (also known as acetaminophen) or Advil (also known as Motrin or ibuprofen) to prevent or help relieve the side effects. Both of these medicines work well at relieving these side effects. However, there is some concern that these medications may decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine, especially when taken before the vaccination. We have very little data to guide us on this question and we do not know for certain whether taking these medications will decrease the effectiveness of the vaccine. If they do, it is likely only a small decrease in effectiveness. If you want to take medicine for your side effects: 1. Don’t routinely take these medicines preventively before the vaccine. 2. If you take these medicines for other reasons, it’s okay to continue them. 3. Manage your symptoms with rest and fluids, and only take the medicine for discomfort if your symptoms are severe enough to do so. 4. If you need to take these medications, use acetaminophen or ibuprofen every six hours if needed, at the usual dosage specified on the package.
Am I immune from COVID-19 after my shot?
Evidence suggests that about 67% of people have immunity three weeks after their first dose. You will reach your maximum immunity two weeks after your second dose of the vaccine, meaning excellent protection against severe disease and death from COVID-19. The vaccine will likely decrease infection and transmission as well, but may not completely prevent infection and transmission. For this reason, you should continue to follow all the effective public health measures such as masking around others and keeping a six-foot distance whenever possible.
What should I do after I am vaccinated?
After you complete both doses of your Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you should still physically distance, avoid large gatherings, and wear a mask in public areas. We don’t yet know if after vaccination you can transmit the infection even though you do not have symptoms.
After being vaccinated, will I test positive for COVID-19?
Having completed vaccination, you will not test positive with the common tests used to diagnose COVID-19 (so-called PCR or Rapid/Antigen tests). However, you may test positive for “antibody” tests as these are looking for evidence of the immune response your body creates after the infection or vaccination. Please contact your doctor or visit the US CDC website (www.cdc.gov
) if you have any other questions about your vaccination.
Do the vaccines wear off over time, will we need to get booster shots?
We do not know yet how long the vaccinations last, yet our best scientists working on the pandemic believe the vaccines are effective for at least a year. We do anticipate booster shots may be necessary, including if we need booster vaccinations in order to stem off another epidemic because of COVID-19 variants. It’s important to know that all viruses create variants, some of the variations are favorable to the virus, and some are not. The research of the effectiveness of the individual vaccines against the individual variants is still evolving, and most likely some may convey a benefit a bit better than others depending on the specific variant, yet we expect that all will have some benefit against the variants overall. The best course of action to stem this variant blossoming as well is to get vaccinated.
If I had COVID-19 already, should I still get vaccinated?
The CDC advises people who have had COVID-19 to still get vaccinated because there is little data about how long you are immune from the virus. Evidence shows you will not be hurt by getting the vaccine. Currently, the CDC is advocating for a 90-day window between your COVID infection and receiving COVID vaccination.