FAQ

Getting Vaccinated

Finding an Appointment

How do I get an appointment?

There are many places to schedule an appointment, including Oakland County, the State of Michigan, local pharmacies, hospitals, community clinics, and more. You can visit the Get Vaccinated page to find providers with appointments near you.

I am immunocompromised. How do I get a third dose of vaccine?

If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised due to a medical condition or receive immunosuppressive treatments, you may receive a third dose of mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose. Conditions or treatments include but are not limited to:

  • Received an organ or stem cell transplant
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress immune response
  • People with certain chronic health conditions (such as Chronic renal disease, Type I diabetes, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis)

Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if an additional dose is appropriate.

The additional vaccine dose should be the same product as the initial 2-dose vaccine series unless the original product is not available. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. Read more here.

You can visit any vaccine provider for a third dose. Many doctor’s offices, clinics, and pharmacies offer COVID-19 vaccines.

I am not immunocompromised. How do I get a booster dose?

Federal health officials announced that anyone who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be able to get a booster eight months after their second dose pending approval by FDA and CDC. The Health Division is developing plans to roll out the booster to Oakland County residents beginning late September or early October contingent upon guidance.

Who is administering the vaccine?

Organizations across the state are working hard to vaccinate Michiganders. As a result, there are many places to look when scheduling an appointment, including Oakland County, the State of Michigan, local pharmacies, hospitals, community clinics, and more.

Will I be informed of which vaccine I will receive?

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.

How much does the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to all residents for free.

How do I cancel or reschedule my vaccine appointment with Oakland County Health Division?

Please call the Oakland County Health Division Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533.  Indicate if you are canceling/rescheduling your first or second dose appointment.  Nurse on Call is available Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Are there vaccines for children and teens?

Children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19.

Current safety and efficacy testing of the vaccines for children ages 2 to 11 years may lead to authorization of one or more of the COVID-19 vaccines for younger kids in the months ahead.

Are there incentive programs available to MI residents?

Michigan has launched Michigan.gov/Vax2Win to share information about local and state organizations and businesses offering giveaways and incentives during COVID-19 vaccine clinics.

Special Accommodations

Can the County transport me to my vaccine appointment?

Oakland County and SMART have teamed up to provide easy access to COVID-19 vaccinations for those who need transportation to and from their scheduled vaccine appointment at an Oakland County Health Division vaccine clinic.

Any resident with transportation needs should call 1-800-848-5533 to schedule their transportation to and from the clinic when they receive their confirmation email for their scheduled vaccine appointment. Health Division staff then contacts SMART to arrange transportation directly with the client.

How is Oakland County accommodating seniors who cannot stand in line?

At each vaccine clinic site there are staff available to assist those who need special accommodations.

After your Appointment

Once you get your first shot, how long should you wait before getting your second shot?

The earliest you can receive your second dose is 21 days for Pfizer and 28 days for Moderna.

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

No. Vaccines currently being used 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 receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, CDC recommends everyone regardless of vaccination status to wear a mask indoors in public, in crowded outdoor settings, and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

How do I obtain a new COVID-19 vaccination card if I misplace mine?

If you are an Oakland County resident who has lost your vaccination card, the Oakland County Health Division is able to provide you with your Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) record, which will have documentation of your COVID-19 vaccine(s).  Requests should be made in person at either the North Oakland Health Center (1200 N Telegraph, Building 34 East, Pontiac, MI 48341) or the South Oakland Health Center (27725 Greenfield Rd, Southfield, MI 48076).  Appointments are not needed, but please bring a photo I.D.

As of August 19, 2021, anyone 18 years or older, who has immunization records in the Michigan Care Improvement Registry (MCIR) will be able to locate their immunization record in MCIR themselves if a record exists and matches their government issued ID (ex: MI Secretary of State Driver’s License or ID card, or USA Passport). The portal can be found online at www.michigan.gov/immunize or at Michigan.gov/MiImmsPortal.

Vaccine Safety

General Safety

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?

Yes. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines since they were authorized for emergency use by FDA. These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

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.

Can the vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being used 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 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.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine FDA approved?

On August 23, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first ever COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty, in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine safe for me?

If I am pregnant or breastfeeding, is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

If you are hoping to become pregnant, or are currently pregnant, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) strongly recommends that all eligible persons receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series,  You CAN also continue breastfeeding after being vaccinated.

If I have a pre-existing condition, is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

People with pre-existing conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions.

If I am taking prescription medication, is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Talk to your healthcare providers for advice. Inform your vaccination provider about all your allergies, health conditions, and medications.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine help me even if I have 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.

Additional Information

How is Oakland County working to achieve vaccine equity?

The Health Division will continue to prioritize vaccination of individuals who live and work in Oakland County based on highest risk including older adults, disability/medical conditions, essential/frontline workers and communities who many have more difficulty accessing vaccine.

Is it safe to travel if I’m not vaccinated yet?

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, you should get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.

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. CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance in outdoor areas of a conveyance when traveling.

Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).

Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel. Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.

Why is the United States planning to offer COVID-19 vaccine boosters? If we need a booster dose, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?

The COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, COVID-19 constantly evolves, and public health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. For that reason, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for a booster shot so vaccinated people maintain protection over the coming months.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 vaccine booster doses

Why are some people able to receive an additional dose now?

Sometimes people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough (or any) protection when they first get a vaccination. When this happens, getting another dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease. This appears to be the case for some immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines. CDC recommends moderately to severely immunocompromised people consider receiving an additional (third) dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least 28 days after the completion of the initial 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.

In contrast, a “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity). HHS has developed a plan to begin offering COVID-19 booster shots to people in the coming months. Implementation of the plan is subject to FDA’s authorization and ACIP’s recommendation.

Click here for more information about COVID-19 vaccine additional doses and booster doses