General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Covid Q: How will we know when to get the vaccine?

Asked by Jeruba (52854points) December 18th, 2020
54 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

I’ve read lots of articles, CDC FAQ pages, etc., and I can find answers to everything but this:

How will the vaccine come to us ordinary folks? How does it get offered preferentially so those most at risk do get it first? My husband and I, for example, are in pretty high-risk categories. But is anybody really going to offer it to us earlier rather than later? or at all? How do we become eligible?

How will we know when it’s our turn?

Will our names be on a list? Will there be a letter, a phone call, an email? Will CVS and Walgreens just open them up like flu shots? Will we have to apply to our doctors or clinics or insurance companies?

Will we have to fight for it? beg for it? pay extra for it?

I just want to know how distribution and administration work after they get through the front-line ranks.

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JLoon's avatar

Good question. I’m guessing most of us will need a doctor’s order to sort out priority.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I urge you to contact your doctor. Let him know all the things you’ve written here about why you are high risk. Your doctor will direct you.

raum's avatar

Also curious which one is better?

JLeslie's avatar

I think people in high risk categories will have to be pro-active. I would hope cardiologists and endocrinologists would be on top of the information for your state since a lot of their patients are high risk. If you use one of those specialties they might be a source of information. Also, your state health department website. I’m watching the local news and local periodicals for information. Once it seems most healthcare and long term facilities have been vaccinated I’ll start getting serious about trying to get a shot for me.

My parents were already notified, I think by their doctor. I don’t know if they received a letter or phone call. I’ll have to ask the details. My mom told me she was given information just a few days ago, because a month ago I had asked her if she can get the vaccine sooner through military care. My mom initially thought they wouldn’t have a better chance that way, but looks like she might be wrong. They get their healthcare at Walter Reed so it is a different situation than the private sector I would guess. My parents are retired though, so I don’t think they’re in the first round.

Jeruba's avatar

I’m hoping someone who actually knows the answer will see this Q in General. I simply want to know if they will come to us (and if so, how) or we have to proactively go after them.

It seems to me that if it’s in everybody’s interests to have as many people vaccinated as possible, they’ll want to make it as accessible as flu shots. I just want to know what the plan is.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba Just keep in mind the states are organizing who gets what how and when, so probably the answer for your Q is a state level answer. Unless, Biden changes that aspect of the distribution. Call the office of your Governor.

gondwanalon's avatar

I got a notification from “My Chart” that I will receive a message when to get the SRAS CoV-2 (China Virus) vaccination (with the Trump vaccine). Likely this spring.

janbb's avatar

Doing some research, this seems like it is the best information out there so far. Even though it doesn’t specifically answer your question because it seems they don’t know yet, I think this site will tell you:

My DIL is getting her first shot today.

@raum I don’t think we’ll have a choice of which to get. It will be whatever is made available to you.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Jeruba A very similar question was asked a few days ago by @canidmajor with some factual answers. I’m not sure they will give you the facts you’re looking for. I’m sorry. I’m on mobile and cannot link to it. It’s in General.

kritiper's avatar

The news media will let you know.

janbb's avatar

@kritiper Or the state website as I posted above.

kritiper's avatar

@janbb It might be easier to just watch the news…

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’ve been notified by my pharmacy, CVS, they will be distributing the vaccine.
I think since they know what medications I’m on – - they can deduce my risk level and notify me.

si3tech's avatar

I think you’ll know when the vaccine is avaible in your area.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@si3tech vaccine is available in my area, for Hospital staff and next long term care units. Then month first responders….

Caravanfan's avatar

It varies region by region. At the moment only high risk people are getting it. My advice is to call your health system and find out. There may be information on your county website as well. But it’s still a bit early.

Jeruba's avatar

Thanks for sharing facts rather than guesses or speculation.

I don’t watch TV news, but I did check CDC, state, and county websites, local newspapers, New York Times, etc.

I’m not asking if it’s my turn yet or how soon it will be. I’m asking how I will know when it is my turn: do I have to apply, or will someone notify me? That’s the basic question.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba Yes, some of us understood that. As it said in my California government link, they are still working things out so I think the web site will tell you when and how when they know. Or yes, you can check with your insurer but they may not know yet how you will be notified. For my DIL, her appointment was set up by the hospital she works at.

JLeslie's avatar

I asked my mom and they received a message through the patient portal from their GP.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
anniereborn's avatar

@SergeantQueen From what I have read, getting a vaccination does not mean it’s time to toss out the masks.

Dutchess_III's avatar

When the time comes I’m sure the drug stores will advertise, just like they do for the flu and shingles shots.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Well if the vaccines work that means I don’t need a mask. I’ll be all set then.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Fauci says we should be good by next fall.

Caravanfan's avatar

@SergeantQueen You still need a mask until the “all clear” whistle is blown. I explained why in another thread.

SergeantQueen's avatar

? What thread? Not trying to be rude but that sounds so stupid. Vaccines should mean I am good. Maybe I will wait until the vaccine is better then.

anniereborn's avatar

@SergeantQueen I think we all know what you are getting at. But you will still have to wear them if you want to go inside a public place.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Ok well. It isnt me being sarcastic just genuinely confused

SergeantQueen's avatar

But I’ll just wait to get vaccine then

JLeslie's avatar

^^Wear a mask, because the scientists want to confirm you can’t still get others sick even once you are vaccinated (highly doubtful, but it is a remote possibility).

Plus, we need to still promote mask wearing until the majority of people are vaccinated. One way to promote wearing masks is by it being a social norm and expectation.

Plus, wearing a mask helps others feel comfortable. I have friends who have had covid and they still wear masks because the person next to them in the grocery store doesn’t know they had it, they don’t want other people to be worried.

Also, keep in mind you are not over 90% protected from the virus until 2 weeks after the second shot and the scientists are still evaluating how long the protection lasts.

We are still in an experimental phase really, there are still variables we don’t know, because so little time has passed.

SergeantQueen's avatar

oh jeez

We are still in an experimental phase really, there are still variables we don’t know, because so little time has passed.

Then I will for sure wait. I dont want weird side effects. This sounds scary. Nah, I guess I will stick to a mask.

JLeslie's avatar

@SergeantQueen Side effects have been being evaluated for many months and now hundreds of thousands of people have been vaccinated. What I wrote above has nothing to do with side effects nor is it anything new that you didn’t already know regarding side effects. Covid vaccine testing is less than a year old, you know that already, why would what I wrote change your mind?

The research for this type of science and vaccine has been going on for years.

Caravanfan's avatar

It appears that that thread is being edited, so I will respond again.
First of all, and most importantly, get the vaccine as soon as it is offered.

The reason why you have to wear a mask is that the vaccine is NOT 100% effective in preventing the disease—it’s 90%. Also, it is not known if you can still get asymptomatic exposure and can spread the bug.

Lastly, nobody knows who has had the vaccine and who has not, so we do not want a culture of some people walking with masks and some people without masks. So until the all clear whistle is blown, wear a mask.

But bottom line is get the vaccine as soon as you can. It literally is the only thing that can save us.

I had my first dose and had zero side effects.

Dutchess_III's avatar


janbb's avatar

MY DIL had her first dose too and only the usual sore arm today.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right on!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m not the least bit scared of the vaccine.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I found this article that seemed like it should have answered your question, but it lacks the type of specifics I think you want to hear. I, like you, also would love to know specifics. I still linked the article, because it does talk about how vaccine providers will need to sign a document agreeing to follow the guidelines, and that poses the question how will pharmacies necessarily know if you have preexisting conditions? How will people prove it? Based on their meds? I don’t take meds for my heterozygous blood clotting gene or my intermittent high BP or my leaky heart valves.

It also talked about an effort to get to minority groups that are higher risk. How do people prove that? Will my husband get priority for being Hispanic? Seems to me what puts minorities in a higher risk group is their jobs, health status, and living conditions, not their actual race or ethnicity. This is one of the pitfalls of grouping people by minority group rather than circumstance.

From what I gather from the articles is health systems, our doctors, and the media will be letting us know who’s turn it is. People said the same above. I wouldn’t be surprised if my congressman’s office emails me as well, which they have done for covid information before. I don’t remember if I signed up, or if they pull my email from the state information.

I also heard in an interview on TV that people will have to make an appointment for a shot since there are all of these cold storage processes. I assume whatever facilities have the vaccine, a doctor, a pharmacy, a lab, a local clinic, they will likely screen us to determine if we are eligible at that time. The screening might be online or with an appointments person.

That’s what I could gather after googling a bit and hearing more about it on TV.

Jeruba's avatar

Echoing @Caravanfan (above), I want to say these parts again in boldface:

“it is not known if you can still get asymptomatic exposure and can spread the bug” (meaning that you could be immune and still be a spreader)


“nobody knows who has had the vaccine and who has not” (meaning that no-maskers might not have been vaccinated)

and I for sure do not want those who have been vaccinated (or, equally, those who haven’t) to have to wear a special sign, a button, a numbered ID card, a tattoo, or anything else to set them apart. Nor do I want to stand in line at the supermarket with non-mask-wearing shoppers and cashiers who say they’ve been vaccinated.

So let’s just wear the mask. When it’s time to stop, someone will tell us. One thing we do not want is to have to do this all over again. Right now, Americans are dying at the rate of about one a minute; nearly 10% of the American population has died. Don’t let’s anybody fool around with this or fail to take it seriously.

jca2's avatar

@SergeantQueen Plus, many stores and public places will still require you to wear a mask so plan to continue to wear one without complaint.

janbb's avatar

@Jeruba FYI Just found this information about NJ’s roll out and notification plan. I’m sure something similar will get you notification in California. Earlie on the web site they listed the phases that vaccinations will be offered in:

“The Health Department will announce an online portal to enable the various groups in the initial phases and eventually the general public to find a vaccination site and register and schedule an appointment. Some vaccination sites may offer walk-up/on-site registration as well.

More Information About New Jersey’s Vaccination Plan

The Department of Health has a COVID-19 Vaccination webpage that includes FAQs, the COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, and a new “Vax Matters” newsletter with information about the vaccine and vaccine distribution.

The Department is finalizing a public dashboard which will show doses administered and some demographic information. Data will be updated weekly and refined over time.”

JLeslie's avatar

Received an email this evening from my congressman with information about the vaccines.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Here is something from the LA Times about rolling out the vaccine in California. Basically, there are no dates yet for when people will get the vaccine. There are too many variables.

I realize this time in isolation has been very trying. It has been especially hard on people who are fragile. I understand that we all want peace of mind and answers to our questions. We may have to be patient just a bit longer. I believe that in order to give yourself just a smidgeon of peace, @Jeruba, it would not hurt to call your doctor’s office and inquire as to how they expect the vaccine roll out to proceed and whether you can expect a call from them alerting you to your turn in line. They may know, or they may tell you that it’s unknown at this time. In either case, the call will have been worth it. It is action, and action has a way of calming our anxieties.

I am sorry that I cannot give you definitive information at this time. It’s my understanding that definitive information doesn’t actually exist yet for anyone but the most frontline health workers.

janbb's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake I agree with you and it was pointed out on the NJ site I referenced above that they cannot give a timeline yet since they don’t know how much of each vaccine they will obtain.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I just came from getting the first dose of the vaccine. I work at the Dept. of Health and was eligible. There was paperwork asking if I’d ever had a reaction to any vaccine. I received the shot it felt like any other shot and was not cold. Then they made me sit for 15 minutes to be sure I was OK. Finally, I made an appointment for 3 weeks to receive the second shot.

I am very excited about this! I will update tomorrow with any other news about side effects.

Caravanfan's avatar

Hey Jake
Just saw this. Congrats and be safe!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Saw what?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@Jeruba I want to also explain how I came to get the shot today. I found out I was eligible about 2 weeks ago, but there were absolutely no details about the timing. My boss called me after lunch to tell me I would receive it today. I rushed to the clinic. That’s the process that I bet is being played out all across the country right now. There is a method, but there is madness in it as well. They vaccinated my division today. A great many people do direct care with patients. To make the roll out less chaotic, they vaccinated the whole division including those of us who are trainers and other support staff.

And I’m honestly quite emotional right now. I feel so damn lucky to have received the vaccine so early.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Dutchess_III That he got his first shot.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

It’s been 16 hours since I received the first dose of the vaccine. My only side effect is a sore arm. Nothing else to report.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jeruba I just signed up with my state for text messages regarding the vaccines. It asked me for my zip code also so I get state and local information. I tried to search your CA government site to look for something similar, but didn’t find it readily. If you would be interested in receiving that sort of thing I would guess CA has something similar seeing how your governor is very technology oriented regarding tracing.

Response moderated
Pandora's avatar

I know my doctor sent out notifications for people who are high risk and over 65 can book appointments now but it won’t be available to Feb. And those under 65 who are high risk will be allowed to get on the list if the doctor thinks it’s necessary that they get the shot or maybe denied for now if the shot can be a high risk for them. And I think the state is trying to get all first responders shots asap but no date when that will begin.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Pandora It depends on your state.

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