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COVID-19 vaccine

Call 978-937-6023 to schedule your COVID‑19 vaccination

Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health will NOT be offering COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 at this time. However, the Chest and Immunization Center at Lowell General Hospital does offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 12 and up.

COVID-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Pediatric Vaccine (kids age 5-11)

The vaccine’s safety was studied in a clinical trial for children ages 5 through 11 and to date no serious side effects have been reported in those who received the vaccine.

Yes. The vaccine appears to be as effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection as in adults.

In this age group, it is a smaller dose – about 1/3 of that for people 12 and up. But like teens and adults, kids will get two shots at least 21 days apart.

There is a lot of good data to show the benefit outweighs the risk, for a variety of reasons. Not only does it protect children as well as it does adults, but it also decreases the transmission to other people, reducing everyone’s overall risk and helps us all get our lives back to normal. Children have now taken on an increased role as vectors of the virus.

It’s the same with children and adults. If the child has had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a known component of these vaccines (which is very rare), consult your healthcare provider before getting the child vaccinated. But it is otherwise proven to be safe and effective.

Side effects are generally mild to moderate in severity. Most common are pain at injection site, fatigue, fever and headache. These are similar to the ones observed in those 12 years of age and older, occurred within two days after vaccination and resolved within one to two days. 

In trial data, these symptoms were less severe and less frequent than in teens and adults, possibly due to the smaller dose.

No. In fact, kids are far more likely to get myocarditis as a symptom of COVID. As a vaccine side effect, it’s extremely rare in kids – about 50 per million in young adults – and when it does happen is easily treated and generally does not result in long term complications. In general, myocarditis for any reason is less common in this younger age group and we suspect this may be true of vaccine related myocarditis as well.

Yes. We have a long history of kids getting lots of vaccines all at the same time.

What we are seeing is an increased risk of kids getting COVID over the general population and other age groups. People under 18 are currently accounting for about 1 of every 4 cases, and while teenagers comprise a majority of those infections, kids under 12 are still 1 of every 10 cases.

It is less dangerous than for older adults, but it’s still dangerous and some kids who do get it are experiencing long term complications. The American Society of Pediatrics has data showing that there have been more than 6 million infections in children, including 1.3 million since the beginning of September. We are also seeing more kids hospitalized, and in very rare cases, children have died.

There is evidence of additional benefit to getting the vaccine on top of the natural infection. Children just have to be off isolation and no longer infectious before getting the vaccine.

Some primary care providers are offering the vaccine to their patients. You can also check with your local pharmacy chain or visit https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ to find a vaccination site near you.

 

Vaccine Boosters and Third Doses

No. Booster doses are not permitted for people under 18 years of age.

No. Third doses are not permitted for people under 12 years of age.

Everyone Ages 18 and Older Can Get a Booster Shot

The following should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least 6 months or more after their second dose of mRNA vaccine:

You may get a booster if you are:

  • Ages 18 years and older

Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States

Everyone Ages 18 and Older Can Get a Booster Shot

The following should get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose at least 2 months or more after their initial dose of J&J/Janssen vaccine:

  • People aged 18 years and older

Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can be used for the booster dose.

All currently available COVID-19 vaccine series (one shot of J&J/Janssen or two shots of Pfizer or Moderna) continue to offer strong protection against severe COVID-19 disease. Recent studies have shown that protection against the virus may decrease over time, particularly in certain populations, such as the elderly. In order to increase protection to those most vulnerable, a booster dose was recommended for certain higher risk groups.

  • Additional dose after a primary series: An additional dose of vaccine is administered when the immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient. For example, a third dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for certain immunocompromised patients.
  • Booster dose: Initial immune response to a primary vaccine series is thought to be adequate (for example, in immunocompetent individuals). But an additional dose of vaccine is administered when the initial immune response to a primary series is likely to have waned over time.

Yes. To date, the side effects reported after a booster dose for all US-authorized COVID-19 vaccines seem to be similar to what people experienced after receiving doses 1 and/or 2. Pain at the injection site was the most commonly reported side effect. Most symptoms were mild to moderate and resolved within 3 days.

No. Pfizer or Moderna recipients who are severely immunocompromised should have already received a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days or more from their second dose of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine. If you have not done so, you should do so now. An additional booster dose after that third will not be due until 6 months after your third dose.

If you received Pfizer as your initial series, you should get a third dose of the same dosage at least 28 days after your second dose. If you received Moderna as your initial series, you should get a third dose of the same dosage (not the booster half-dose) at least 29 days after your second dose. If you received the J&J/Janssen vaccine initially, you should get your booster dose at least 2 months after your first shot.

While the booster dose of the vaccine may provide added protection, it is still recommended that you continue to follow state and local guidance as it relates to wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, hand hygiene, etc.

Lowell General Hospital is offering FIRST DOSE Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinations only at our Chest and Immunization Center located at the Lowell General Hospital Saints campus. We are not offering booster doses to the public at this time, but these are widely available at local pharmacies. You can check https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ to find a vaccine clinic more convenient to you.

No. You do not need a doctor’s note to receive a booster dose. You may be required to attest that you meet eligibility criteria to receive a booster.

We encourage you to bring your original vaccine card or documentation but it is not a requirement.

Yes. It is okay to get the influenza vaccine with any other recommended vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine.

At this time, the CDC has no specific recommendations for this particular clinical scenario due to lack of data. But they are collecting data as quickly as possible to be able to answer this question with more certainty. That being said, we know that overall the likelihood of re-infection after being infected with COVID-19 is low and it becomes even lower if you were fully vaccinated prior to being infected. This is because it is likely that the infection acts as a natural “booster” of your immune system, hence further prolonging protection against re-infection. We also know that to date there has been no reports of re-infections in individuals who were fully vaccinated and then developed breakthrough COVID-19 infection. Based on this it is reasonable to wait at least 90 days after COVID-19 breakthrough infection and/or until more data becomes available.

The FDA and CDC now allow for the receipt of any brand of vaccine as a booster for those who are eligible, regardless of the brand of the primary series. There are no clinical trial data to inform which combination is most effective.

  • Women under 50 requesting a booster dose of J&J/Janssen should be counseled about the risk of TTS and offered mRNA vaccine. They may choose to proceed with J&J/Janssen.
  • Men under 30 requesting a booster dose of mRNA vaccine should be counseled about the risk of myocarditis and offered J&J/Janssen vaccine. They may choose to proceed with mRNA vaccine.

A mix-and-match approach is only approved for the booster dose. Second doses of mRNA vaccine should be the same brand as the first. Third doses for the immunocompromised should be the same dose as the first.

 

Vaccination

Lowell General Hospital and Circle Health will NOT be offering COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5-11 at this time.

We are currently offering the COVID vaccine at our Chest and Immunization Center for those ages 12 and above. We encourage parents/guardians of children ages 5-11 to visit the City of Lowell’s vaccination center at 40 Old Ferry Road in Lowell, or one of many local participating pharmacies.

Please visit the city’s website https://www.lowellma.gov/1523/COVID-19-Vaccine for information on vaccine locations for the 5-11 age group at the Old Ferry Road. Information about additional vaccination sites outside of Lowell can be found online at https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/.

We are currently providing the Pfizer vaccine for anyone age 12 and older at our Chest and Immunization Center.

Please note that the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for use in people ages 12-17, and so we therefore provide the Pfizer vaccine for those patients.

Two doses for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 21 days apart.

It is a best practice to wait 15 minutes after the dose is administered and to be observed to make sure there are no adverse reactions. Serious reactions are very rare, however this is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended precaution.

No, you will not receive a bill for the COVID-19 vaccine.

For those enrolled with a health plan carrier, we will submit a claim for the cost of the administration of the vaccine. Your health plan will not enforce any cost-sharing back to you.

You are not required to have health insurance to receive the vaccine.

At Lowell General Hospital, we continue to require our employees, patients and visitors to be screened at the entrance to our hospital and to wear a face mask at all times even if fully vaccinated.

The CDC updated its guidance:

If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings. However, in areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if they are fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask, until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider.
  • If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).

You can take Tylenol (acetaminophen) and Motrin (ibuprofen) after receiving your vaccine. Any swelling or inflammation at the injection site can also be relieved by taking an antihistamine like Benadryl.

Two weeks after receiving your second dose of Pfizer.

You must wait to get the vaccine until after your quarantine period has ended to ensure you do not spread the virus to others. Please cancel your appointment and reschedule for after your quarantine period has ended.

Yes. The CDC recommends that even people previously infected with COVID-19 be vaccinated. This is because the immunity from vaccination appears to be more reliable than the immunity from natural infection. You can choose to delay your vaccination until 90 days after your infection, because you can be fairly confident your immunity from the infection will last that long. Please wait until you have been released from isolation from your COVID-19 infection before going to a vaccination site.

Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. One study showed that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than 2 times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.

The Circle Health and Lowell General Hospital Infectious Disease doctors are favor of pregnant women getting the COVID-19 vaccine and there is science and data to back that up.

We know COVID-19 is bad in pregnancy. It has increased risk of poor outcomes for the mother and an increased risk of premature delivery of the child. Studies looking at vaccination in pregnant women show no increased risk. Pregnant women get vaccines all the time. The benefits outweigh any risks. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s an even better time to get it before you have to worry about vaccination during pregnancy. There is no evidence the COVID vaccines have any effect on fertility.

Watch our COVID-19: Vaccinating Our Community Videos and learn the Top Three Things to Know about Pregnancy, Pediatrics and the COVID-19 Vaccine. 

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, go here.

Yes. Pregnant individuals are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19. For this reason, the CDC, Society for Maternal- Fetal Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend that pregnant individuals have access to COVID-19 vaccines. A conversation with your obstetrical doctor or nurse might help you make a decision. For more information, visit the CDC website here.

Yes. The CDC and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine report that there is no reason to believe that the COVID vaccine affects the safety of breastmilk.

The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding

For more information, go here.

Yes. There are no known reactions or interactions between oral medications and the COVID vaccines.

Oral steroids suppress the immune system and may somewhat decrease the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine. If you are prescribed these currently by your physician you should not stop them unless otherwise instructed. The benefits of treatment with the steroids likely outweighs any possible risk from mildly decreased effectiveness of the COVID vaccine.

If you have normal symptoms of allergies (itchy eyes, runny nose, etc.) it is fine to get vaccinated. If you become extremely ill (symptoms other than you normally have with your seasonal allergies), you should not get the vaccine and make sure you speak with your physician.

No, you won’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

 

Appointments

Individuals age 12-17 years old need to present a consent form completed by a parent/guardian/legally authorized representative. This form can be found here: MA Consent and Screening Forms for People Under 18 Years of Age.

Please note that the Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine approved for use in those aged 12-17 years old, and the only one we are currently administering. 

Bring your driver’s license or state-issued identification, and health insurance card. If you are 12-17 years old, you will need to present a consent form completed by a parent/guardian/legally authorized representative. This form can be found here: MA Consent and Screening Forms for People Under 18 Years of Age.

Our goal will be to get you through the entire process in about 30 minutes. This includes a mandatory observation period after you receive the COVID vaccine.

Please make every attempt to make the appointment you've scheduled for both doses. If you need to cancel, please call Lowell General Hospital Central Scheduling at 978-937-6023.

Yes, you may schedule your second dose appointment at our Chest and Immunization Center. Please remember to bring your vaccination card to your appointment.

 

When You Arrive at the Chest and Immunization Center

There is plenty of FREE parking at the Saints Campus in the parking garage or in the lot in front of the main entrance.

The Lowell General Hospital Saints Campus is located on the Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) bus route. We are served by Route #2 (Belvidere), stop #3.

For non-English speaking community members, we will have interpreter services present to help answer any questions, along with virtual translation assistance.

The Chest and Immunization Center is handicapped accessible and staff are available to assist with wheelchair access.

 

After I get the COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC has updated its guidance for When You've Been Fully Vaccinated

If you’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should get tested 3-5 days after your exposure, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should also wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until your test result is negative. You should isolate for 10 days if your test result is positive.

We encourage all patients to hold onto the CDC issued card we will provide you. Your vaccination administrations will be transmitted to the Massachusetts Immunization Information System, MIIS. Your physician and other providers are able to look up your immunization history through this secure portal.

We suggest you take a photo of your card in case you misplace it in the future. 

Yes, you should take any of your medications as regularly prescribed.

Yes, as long as the cortisone shot is not given in the same spot at the vaccine, a localized cortisone injection is very unlikely to impact how effective the COVID vaccine is in boosting your immune system.

If you are feeling well, there is no reason you can’t continue your regular activities after receiving the COVID vaccine. You may experience some soreness at the injection site, so you may want to take it somewhat easier than usual. If you experience side effects like fever or fatigue, this is normal and you should plan on taking it easy until you feel better.

Yes, you can go to the dentist, doctor appointments, etc. It is safe to resume all normal activities that you were doing prior to vaccination unless specifically directed otherwise by your physician.

Keeping You Connected!

There are a number of ways to stay up to date with Lowell General Hospital. Learn more about the latest health updates on COVID-19, nutrition and wellness information available in our health library, and current hospital news and resources.