How are vaccines being distributed?

Supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine at the local level are extremely limited.  Hospital Systems and local health departments are receiving limited doses from the state.  CVS and Walgreens are receiving doses from the state to vaccinate residents of nursing homes.

As improvements are made in the distribution plan by the federal government, the supply of vaccine will increase as will the number of providers. There may also be large vaccination sites established. The goal is that residents should have multiple options through which to receive a vaccine.

How do I sign up for Save Your Spot?

Click on the blue box on the home page that says ‘Complete Form: Save My Spot’ and answer each question by clicking on the appropriate circle or typing in your information.  Make sure to click on the green button at the bottom right when you are finished with your answers.

Why are you asking for my race on the Save Your Spot form?

Oakland County uses this information to assist in understanding how information about the COVID-19 vaccine is being disseminated throughout the county and among different communities. 

This information is provided voluntarily; if you are not comfortable providing it, you can choose the “prefer not to answer” option and this will not affect your ability to sign up for the program. 

What happens after I sign up on the Save Your Spot form?

Your information is kept in a confidential database.  Once the State of Michigan informs us of the number of doses that we will be shipped the following week, we will begin to schedule appointments.  We will invite people signed up on the “Save Your Spot” list by eligibility and time of sign-up.  Once notified you will have 48 hours to make your appointment. You will be able to call or make an appointment or online.  This invitation to make an appointment is non-transferrable and we ask that you not share it with other residents. These appointments may be at our drive through or at a single day large vaccination site.

Will I be informed whether it is the Pfizer Vaccine or the Moderna Vaccine?

Yes.  Wherever you receive your vaccine they will inform you what type it is, provide you information, and schedule your second dose at the appropriate time.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Yes. The mRNA vaccines are especially safe: among the tens of thousands of people enrolled in the Phase III mRNA-Vaccine Clinical Trials, none have experienced severe adverse reactions. This is unheard of for vaccine clinical trials.

Vaccines are traditionally developed from one of several methods: (1) “live-attenuated” virus, made from virus that has been altered to decrease its virulence (harmful, infectious potential); (2) killed virus; (3) purified portions of virus, such as surface proteins.  The mRNA vaccine contains none of those components, only the “message” used for our cells to produce a single protein to stimulate our immune system. These mRNA vaccines are the safest in vaccine history to date.

Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

Will the vaccine be safe for people with pre-existing conditions?

Adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. However, they should be aware of the limited safety data on the safety of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in this population.

Will the mRNA vaccine alter my DNA?

No. mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.

Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

Will the vaccine be free? Will it be administered through Oakland County? How will you notify when the vaccine is available? Will you let us know which company it will be from?

OCHD will be administering the vaccine, while pharmacies and hospitals may assist. Cost will not be an obstacle to anyone receiving the vaccine.

Information about vaccine availability is updated regularly on this webpage, and anyone can receive updates from OCHD by registering their email address.

What type of effects have been noted for people on medications, such as blood thinners? Is there data to suggest that there will be an effect resulting from the COVID-19 vaccine?

Unfortunately, there is very limited data on the vaccine at this point. OCHD is awaiting that information and will provide it when it becomes available.

How many people are in a Phase III Trial getting tested?

Thousands of people. Vaccines aren’t able to move to the next phase until they meet those specific numbers that include different age groups as well as people who fall in different races and ethnicities, so that they meet the demographics of what the United States looks like.

Can the vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. The goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Will I have a positive COVID-19 test after getting the vaccine?

No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.

If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Do I still need to wear a mask even after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection provided by the CVOID-19 vaccines under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.  Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before changing recommendations on steps people need to take that slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  Getting a COVID-19 vaccine together with following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

For more information, visit considerations for wearing masks.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine help me even if I’ve already been infected with COVID-19?

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they had COVID-19 before.At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity to COVID-19 may not last very long. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

What happens to the leftover COVID-19 vaccine doses at the end of each day?

Once the COVID-19 vaccine doses are thawed from cold storage and the vial has been pierced, they must be administered within six hours. It’s a “use it or lose it” scenario. Each day, Oakland County Health Department brings the precise number of vials, which are labelled as containing five doses, to its drive-thru vaccination locations to match the number of appointments scheduled. It is not unusual to have a few vials from which the public health nurses are able to draw six doses instead of five, leaving a few doses left over at the end of the day. Also, on occasion, a person does not show up for their appointment. In order to utilize these leftover doses instead of throwing them away, Oakland County Health Department identifies a few essential workers at the county who are on campus that day and calls them over to the Health Department in order to receive the leftover doses. This ensures no vaccine is wasted.