COVID-19 Phase 1B Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Phase 1B Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions

What is Phase 1B of COVID-19 Vaccination?

Phase 1B refers to a defined group of individuals eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who comprises Phase 1B?

This group is comprised of:

  • People 65 years of age or older
  • The medically vulnerable at significantly higher risk with 2 or more conditions (including family caregivers of those medically vulnerable individuals, those 16 years of age or younger not eligible to receive the vaccine.)
  • Residents and staff of residential facilities for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Corrections officers and staff working in correctional facilities
  • First responders and health workers not already vaccinated

COVID-19 Vaccine Phases

When can members of Phase 1B receive the COVID-19 vaccination?

Individuals within Phase 1B are able to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. It is estimated that the first Phase 1B vaccinations will begin on January 26 and continue through March.

It is important to note that as of the time of this writing, North Country Healthcare anticipates receiving fewer than 400 doses of the vaccine, collectively, per week. As such, it will take time to vaccinate all those who are interested in receiving the vaccine. We are ready to serve our communities and are hopeful that the supply will improve, over time.

As of this writing, Androscoggin Valley Hospital will conduct vaccination clinics at the former Brown School, 190 Norway Street.

Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital will conduct vaccination clinics within its drive through structure behind the hospital.

Weeks Medical Center will conduct vaccination clinics at its main campus (173 Middle St., Lancaster) on Saturdays, and at its Whitefield Clinic (8 Clover Lane, Whitefield).

How do I get an appointment to receive my vaccination?

New Hampshire residents who meet the criteria of Phase 1B may register for the vaccine at vaccines.nh.gov. Those without an email address may call 211.

Patients of Coos County Family Health Services may call 603-752-2040 to be added to a waiting list to receive the vaccine.

Patients of Weeks Medical Center may call 603-788-5656.

It is important to note that as of the time of this writing, North Country Healthcare anticipates receiving fewer than 400 doses of the vaccine per week. As such, it will take time to vaccinate all those who are interested in receiving the vaccine. We are ready to serve our communities and are hopeful that the supply will improve, over time.

Where can members of Phase 1B receive the COVID-19 vaccination?

North County Healthcare will be providing vaccine clinics at:

  • Former Brown School, 190 Norway St., Berlin, NH
  • Drive-through structure behind Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, 181 Corliss Lane, Colebrook, NH
  • Weeks Medical Center, 173 Middle St., Lancaster, NH
  • Weeks Medical Center Whitefield Clinic, 8 Clover Lane, Whitefield, NH

If I live in any State other than New Hampshire, can I get my vaccine in New Hampshire?

No. Every state has been allocated vaccine by the federal government, solely for vaccination of
its own residents. However, North Country Healthcare continues to work with partners in Vermont
to see how we may be able to aid in the vaccination of such residents.

May I show up without an appointment and get vaccinated?

No. Due to a limited vaccine supply, there is only enough for those who have registered via
vaccines.nh.gov or by calling 211.

Why are there different phases of the COVID-19 vaccination?

The phases of vaccine distribution, which are consistent throughout New Hampshire, were determined by a number of factors including age and risk of infection. Administration of the doses to those who provide patient care was identified as being critical to best ensure that caregivers are available for patients and each other.

Why is it important to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Administration of the COVID-19 vaccine is an effort to build immunity to the COVID-19 virus, thus reducing its spread.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine administered?

The vaccine is administered as two injections into muscle. It is important that an individual receive
the second injection from the same vaccine manufacturer as was administered for the first
injection. The Pfizer vaccine is administered in two doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is administered in two doses 28 days apart.

How safe is the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccines have undergone clinical trials which tested for both safety and efficacy. The FDA has authorized use of the Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The FDA has authorized use of the Moderna vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Is the vaccine a live vaccine?

No. There is no live virus in the vaccine.

What is the efficacy of the vaccine?

Following two doses from the same manufacturer, recent clinical trials have shown the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be 95% and 94% effective respectively in preventing COVID-19.

If I already had COVID-19, should I still get a vaccine?

Even if you have recovered from COVID-19, you can still benefit from vaccination. There is evidence in hospitalized patients that the infection was so overwhelming that the immune response became exhausted and so immune memory to the virus was not created efficiently. Also, if you had a very mild infection, your immune system may not have reached the point of laying down immune memory. Therefore, vaccination could be beneficial, regardless of whether your experienced severe or mild disease.

What are common side effects of the vaccine? 

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Reactions at the injection site

What should I do if I experience side effects?

Call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital if you experience a severe allergic reaction.

If you experience non-emergent side effects which bother you or which persist, please contact your healthcare provider.

Track all side effects via CDC’s v-safe app, referenced below.

What should I alert the vaccine administrator to before I receive the vaccine:

  • Allergies
  • Fever
  • Bleeding Disorder / being on a blood thinner
  • Immunocompromised / on a medicine which affects your immune system
  • Pregnancy / planning to become pregnant (see below)
  • Breastfeeding
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
  • Have received the Influenza vaccine or any other vaccine within the previous 14 days

Should I receive the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

  • After an evidence-based review of all available data, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issued interim recommendations for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥16 years for the prevention of COVID-19 (CDC 2020) and the use of the Moderna-1273 COVID-19 vaccine in persons aged ≥ 18 years (CDC 2020).
  • ACOG recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination based on ACIP-recommended priority groups.
  • COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to lactating individuals similar to non-lactating individuals when they meet criteria for receipt of the vaccine based on prioritization groups outlined by the ACIP.
  • NCH highly recommends having a conversation with your obstetrics clinician.

If I receive the vaccine, should I still wear a face mask?

Yes, for several reasons:

  • The effect of vaccinations are not generally immediate.
  • It remains uncertain if the vaccines protect the recipient from the infection, or just the symptoms.
  • It will take several months to administer the vaccine to all those who wish to be vaccinated.

I got vaccinated. Now what?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is asking everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine to download and use their new app, v-safe. According to the CDC website, the app: uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 accine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. And v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

Where can I get more information?

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website

The NH Department of Health and Human Services website

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration website