COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio closes mass vaccination sites across the state, more convenient options, such as walk-in appointments at pharmacies and local health clinics, are open for Ohioans.
Everyone 12 and older is now eligible to receive a shot.
Gov. Mike DeWine lifted most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on Jun. 2, allowing businesses to operate at full capacity. Businesses are no longer required to mandate masks. Ohioans fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can resume a normal lifestyle.
Below, Spectrum answers the pressing COVID-19 vaccine questions for the people of Ohio.
Where can I get the vaccine?
The state has hundreds of vaccine providers. Check here to find a location near you.
Many CVS and Walgreens locations are open for walk-in appointments. Also, many local health departments are offering vaccines without an appointment.
Ohio providers are operating mobile clinics for homebound seniors. A state program ensures there are opportunities at nursing homes for vaccinations for new residents, or for anyone who changes their mind after declining a vaccination.
How do you register?
The state’s vaccination portal can be accessed at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Residents can navigate to providers’ websites and book appointments directly from a number of vaccine providers.
I already had COVID-19. Should I get the vaccine?
Yes, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
People with active infections should wait until after meeting isolation criteria <need to hyperlink to official guidance here, but the state’s guidance recommends acting quickly to get vaccinated once you can exit isolation.
“If you have been released from the isolation period, and are in an eligible audience, you should consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine as vaccination clinics become available to you,” according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Can you get vaccinated during pregnancy?
Yes. Vaccines authorized in the U.S. for COVID-19, mRNA vaccines, and Johnson & Johnson’s adenovirus vaccine, are available to pregnant women, according to the CDC.
The trials that led to authorization of the coronavirus vaccines did not include pregnant women, but some women became pregnant during the trial and did not suffer complications.
Women who are pregnant are advised to talk with their doctor about the vaccine and other considerations regarding becoming pregnant during the pandemic. Pregnancy could increase the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
According to research published in JAMA Pediatrics, maternal antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 do transfer to babies. The study showed 87% of babies had detectable antibodies at birth in cases where the mothers in the study were found to have antibodies.
Can my employer require I be vaccinated?
Yes. Employers can require their employees to get vaccinated, but the government will not. Many employers are not expected to require vaccinations. Legal experts said in the event your employer requires vaccination, there may be exemptions for religious beliefs or disabilities.
Is it safe to visit family and friends once I’m vaccinated?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued updated guidance on May 16 stating that those who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can resume normal activities. Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after having their second Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after taking the one-shot Johnson & Johnson shot.
The guidance, however, stipulates that those who are not fully immunized should continue to practice social distancing and to wear masks.
During trials, Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines were more than 90% effective in preventing infection and even more effective in preventing serious illness and death. That means it is very unlikely, but by no means impossible, to contract the virus even two weeks after your second shot.
What’s the risk of side effects or allergic reaction once I receive the vaccine?
The most common side effects of mRNA vaccines are injection site soreness and redness, chills, body aches, fatigue and fever, according to the CDC. The side effects, if they are present, are more commonly intense after the second shot, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Hospital officials have recommended planning ahead to take a day off work, or potentially two or three, when you get the second shot.
According to officials, experiencing side effects is an indication the vaccine is producing the immune response that offers protection.
In rare instances, a vaccine recipient may have a severe allergic reaction. With epipens on hand, vaccine providers are monitoring everyone for 15 minutes after their immunizations, and those at greater risk are monitored for 30 minutes. If you have a history of allergic reactions, consider talking to your doctor about your particular medical history.
In even more rare instances, an allergic reaction may occur after an individual has left a vaccine clinic. Doctors said to seek immediate medical attention if you are having an allergic reaction.