COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions & Responses

Renown Health is working with county and state health districts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on a plan to distribute the initially available, limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Washoe County Health District has received its first shipment of vaccines. The vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA and we are working closely with our local health departments to vaccinate healthcare workers at high occupational risk.  We will continue to partner with our local healthcare experts as more supplies of the vaccine arrive in our area to distribute the vaccine in a tiered approach based on priority groups.  We are hopeful we will have enough vaccine for everyone who wants it in 2021.  We encourage you to keep up-to-date on everything related to COVID-19 at our website.

The Renown COVID-19 Employee & Medical Staff Vaccination Program will be managed through EPIC MyChart. 

MyChart
MYCHART

New to MyChart? Sign up here or call our Customer Service Team at 775-982-2781.

Current Drive-Thru (by appointment only)
Hometown Health
10315 Professional Circle, Reno
Directions

Renown Employee & Medical Staff Vaccine Information

Renown Health is working with county and state health districts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute the initially available, limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. Renown Employees and Medical Staff: In appreciation of your service, Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine for you. Please log in to your MyChart account to schedule your appointment now. As of Tuesday, Dec. 29, appointments are available for limited supplies of the Moderna vaccine. This vaccine is not mandatory for employees, but is strongly advised.

Employee & Medical Staff Vaccine Drive-Thru

Your confirmed vaccination appointment in MyChart will include your scheduled time and location. Please do not arrive prior to your scheduled time.  Plan for a one hour vaccination appointment, which will include a 15-minute observation period after the receipt of the vaccine.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

Appointment Confirmation from MyChart
Print or show confirmation on your phone
Identification
ID (employee and/or driver’s license)
Your Consent Form
What to Wear
A mask and clothing that gives easy access to your arm
Allergy Needs
An EpiPen if you require one for allergies
For your 2nd vaccine dose appointment:
Bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (provided to you when you received your 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine) in order to valid which vaccine you have already received
Drive Thru showing a license

The drive-thru location is behind the Hometown Health Building

Directions: 10315 Professional Circle, Reno, NV

As with all vaccinations, there is potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. Please be sure to self-monitor your temperature, as you cannot work at or enter a Renown facility with a fever.

It is required that you return for the second dose at the optimal time frame, which will be indicated on your vaccination card. At a later date, and after the administration of the first dose has been documented, you will have the ability to schedule your second dose in MyChart.

Further Employee & Medical Staff Vaccine Information

Employee & Medical Staff Scheduling

Q. How do I schedule?

A. Appointments will be managed through MyChart.

Please log in to your MyChart account to schedule your vaccination appointment online. Plan for a 1 hour vaccination appointment, which will include a 15-minute observation period after receipt of the vaccine. 

We strongly suggest you schedule your appointment to occur after you complete your shift or work schedule to have time to rest. As with all vaccinations, there is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. Fever is not an infrequent side effect, especially on the second dose, so please be sure you self-monitor your temperature, as you cannot work at Renown with a fever.

You are advised not to receive the vaccine if:

• You are ill at the time of vaccination (fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea or acute illness).
• You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the previous 14 days.
• You have received any other vaccination in the last 14 days.
• You have a history of significant allergic reaction to this vaccine or any of its ingredients.

In your MyChart account, you will be able to print and sign the Consent Form. You will bring it to your prescheduled appointment along with a mask, your mobile phone; your Renown employee ID; your photo government ID; and your insurance card.

Q: What do I do if I’m having issues scheduling my vaccination appointment?

A: Please try the following steps:

  1. Please be sure to restart your device and complete a new login to your MyChart account.
  2. If you have issues setting up a MyChart account, call 775-982-2781 for assistance (24/7). Call volumes to our customer service team are high; please be patient.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Renown Health employees & medical staff

Q: Will Renown offer the COVID-19 vaccine to employees and medical staff?

A: Renown Health is working with county and state health districts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to distribute the initially available, limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines. We are pleased to provide Renown employees and medical staff with the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In appreciation of your service, Renown is covering the costs of the vaccine for its healthcare workers.

Q: How will Renown manage the COVID-19 Vaccination Program process?

The Renown COVID-19 Vaccination Program will be managed through EPIC MyChart to assure notification, consent, scheduling, reminders and documentation for vaccine distribution, as well as to post to Web IZ Nevada’s Statewide Immunization Information System. All who are interested in receiving the vaccine through Renown will need to enroll and obtain an EPIC MyChart account. You may enroll today at www.mychart.renown.org. You need not have a Renown provider to enroll. Please enter your demographic data and communications preferences (email, cell phone) in to your account. If you have issues obtaining an account or passwords, the MyChart service desk can be reached at 775-982-6686 and is now available 24/7.

Q: Which vaccine will Renown receive?

A: We have given the Pfizer vaccine, a mRNA vaccine, to many of our Tier 1 employees and physicians who scheduled their first dose. This vaccine was the first to be issued Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. Appointments for the available, limited supplies of the Moderna vaccine began Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Q: Will the vaccine be mandatory for Renown employees?

A: No. However, it is strongly advised.

Q: As an employee or staff member will I have to pay for the vaccine?

A: No, Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine for our healthcare workers (paid and unpaid). It will be offered free of charge to you.

Q: How many shots will I need to get?

A: Most of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in phase 3 clinical trials in the U.S. require two consecutive shots, 3 or 4 weeks apart, for the vaccine series. Other COVID-19 vaccines may use one shot. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine require two doses in the vaccine series. It is required that you return for the second dose at the appropriate interval at the same location. At a later date, and after the administration of the first dose has been documented, you will have the ability to schedule your second dose in MyChart.

Q: Can I schedule my appointment during the work day?

A: We strongly suggest you schedule your appointment to occur after you complete your shift or work schedule to have time to rest. As with all vaccinations, there is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. Fever is not an infrequent side effect, especially on the 2nd dose, so please be sure you self-monitor your temperature, as you cannot work at Renown with a fever.

Q: How long will the vaccine appointment take?

A: Plan for a 1 hour vaccination appointment, which will include a 15-minute observation period after receipt of the vaccine. 

Q: Where is the vaccine given?

A: The vaccine is currently being administered at Hometown Health, 10315 Professional Circle, Reno, NV at the drive-thru site in the back parking lot.

Q: What do I need to bring with me to my vaccine appointment?

A: Please bring the following to your prescheduled appointment: 

  • Printed and signed medical consent form from your MyChart account
  • Your Renown employee ID
  • Your photo government ID
  • Your insurance card

You will need to wear a mask. Be sure your shirt provides easy access to your arm.

Q: If I get the vaccine do I still need to wear a mask/and practice social distancing?

A: Yes. Vaccines may boost your immune system so it is ready to fight the virus if you are exposed, but it is not yet fully understood whether vaccinated people might still be able to transmit the virus. Initially, we will not have enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone who wants the vaccine, and the virus will still be transmitted. Therefore, you will still need to wear a mask and follow other precautions such as practicing social distancing and frequently washing your hands to help reduce your chance of being exposed to and spreading the virus. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19 and help stop the pandemic.

Q: If I get the vaccine do I still need to follow all of the Renown COVID-19 policies?

A: Yes, your choice to get the vaccine is a personal one and does not impact how you are expected to behave with regard to our COVID-19 policies. 

Q: If I get the vaccine will I be assigned to COVID-19 patients?

A: Receiving the vaccine will have no impact on your work assignments.

Q: Can I get the vaccine if I am not feeling well?

A: If you are not feeling well, it is recommended that you wait until you are feeling better to get the vaccine. If you have scheduled an appointment to receive the vaccine and are not feeling well on the day of vaccination, it is best to reschedule the vaccination.

Q: Could I have an adverse reaction or side effect from the vaccine?

A: There is a potential for injection site reactions (redness, swelling and pain) as well as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and/or joint pain. These are common adverse reactions seen with other vaccines. There may be other reactions that are not currently known. If you experience common side effects from the vaccine it is still necessary to receive the second dose for the vaccine to be effective. Additionally, the CDC and FDA is encouraging people to report possible side effects to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When an individual receives the vaccine, a v-safe information sheet should be provided explaining how to enroll. Those who enroll in v-safe will receive text messages instructing how problems or adverse reactions after receipt of the vaccine can be reported.

Q: Where can I go for more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine?

A: There are several resources, including the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination at cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.html.

Second Doses of the COVID-19 Vaccines

Q: I received the 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but have not received a Ticket to Schedule in my MyChart account. Will I receive one?

A: Tickets are being added to MyChart now. If you have not received a Ticket to Schedule for the 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, please contact 775-982-2781 for assistance (24/7). Call volumes are high, please be patient.

Q: I received the 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and scheduled my appointment, but I do not have a Consent form under the Letters section of MyChart.

A: If there is not a Consent Form in your MyChart account, you will be provided one at the Drive Thru event to review and sign.

Q: I received the 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Reno Livestock Events Center. Can I return to that site for my 2nd dose?

A: No. Renown’s drive thru vaccination site has moved to the back parking lot at Hometown Health, 10315 Professional Circle, Reno, NV.

Q: I received the 1st dose of the Moderna vaccine, when will I receive a Ticket to Schedule in my MyChart account?

A: When appointments for the 2nd dose of the Moderna vaccine are available, you will receive a Ticket to Schedule in your MyChart account. Please enter your demographic data and communications preferences (email, cell phone) in your account, and under Settings/Notifications on your cell phone, be sure to turn on “Allow Notifications” for the MyChart app. Once the Moderna 2nd dose vaccination event is scheduled, you will be notified through MyChart, receive a Ticket to Schedule and be able to schedule an appointment through MyChart. Please be aware that it may be a couple of weeks before this event is scheduled. If there is no current schedule of appointments in your MyChart account, there are no appointments currently available.

Q: I changed my mind. I’d now like to receive the vaccine. Can I still obtain it through Renown?

A: If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, please register for Renown EPIC MyChart at mychart.renown.org. Please enter your demographic data and communications preferences (email, cell phone) in to your account, and under Settings/Notifications on your cell phone, be sure to turn on “Allow Notifications” for the MyChart app. Once a new vaccination event is scheduled, you will be notified through MyChart, receive a Ticket to Schedule and be able to schedule an appointment through MyChart. Please be aware it may be several weeks before these events are scheduled, as they are dependent on additional vaccine being received through the County. If there is no current schedule of appointments in MyChart, there are no appointments currently available.

Q: I didn’t receive the vaccine yet. Can I get my 1st dose of the Pfizer vaccine at this event?

A: No. This event is for 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine only.

Q: May others in my household receive the vaccine now?

A: Our goal is for all who are interested in vaccination to receive the vaccination. However, at this time, in alignment with national, state and local guidelines, vaccines have only been available through Renown to Medical Staff, employees, students and volunteers. If others in your household are interested in receiving the vaccine when their Tier is available, please have them register for Renown EPIC MyChart at mychart.renown.org.

Q: Must I get the vaccine if I work at Renown?

A: No. The vaccine is not mandatory for Renown physicians and employees, but is strongly advised.

Q: Is there a charge to me for this vaccine?

A: No. Renown is covering all costs of the vaccine for our healthcare workers.

Q: Can you tell me what’s in the Pfizer vaccine, and more about it?

A: Yes. More information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/index.html

Renown Employee Famly Members

Q. When will the COVID-19 vaccine be offered to family members of Renown employees?

A. Our goal is to offer the vaccine to all immediate family members of Renown employees, who are interested in receiving it, as soon as possible. Renown continues to follow and monitor all state, local and CDC guidelines for vaccine distribution based on priority tiers. At this time the CDC has not classified immediate family members of healthcare employees as a top tier priority group, although the guidelines are changing on a daily and weekly basis, based on the supply of vaccine allocations. We will continue to keep you updated.

General and Community Vaccine Information

General COVID-19 Vaccine Questions

Q What is a vaccine?

A: Vaccines currently prevent millions of deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles and influenza. Vaccines work by training and preparing the body’s natural defenses —the immune system—to recognize and fight off the viruses and bacteria they target. If the body is exposed to those disease-causing germs later, the body is immediately ready to destroy them, preventing illness. Vaccines are also critical to the prevention and control of infectious-disease outbreaks.

Q: Is a COVID-19 vaccine necessary?

A: COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2) can be an asymptomatic or mild illness in some or lead to severe disease or even death in previously healthy people. Many treatments and medications are being studied, but there is currently no cure. Prevention is key. Public health officials and medical experts believe vaccination may be an important step in helping to prevent or lessen the effects of this illness and its potentially devastating consequences.

Q: Are COVID-19 vaccines undergoing testing in clinical trials?

A: Yes. The vaccine candidates are undergoing clinical trials like all other vaccines. Clinical trials are research studies performed on people that evaluate a medical, surgical or behavioral intervention. They are the primary way that researchers find out if a new treatment –like a new drug, vaccine or medical device –is safe and effective in people. Currently, clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in thousands of study participants to generate scientific data and information for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine their safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to rigorous safety standards. 

Q: How many COVID-19 vaccines are under development?

A: Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are under development. As of December 28, 2020, in the United States, three vaccines have begun large-scale phase 3 clinical trials (testing the vaccine on large groups of people to evaluate safety and effectiveness). More information on the side by side comparisons can be found here.

Q: Isn’t it unusual for vaccines to be developed this quickly?

A: In this unprecedented pandemic, vaccine development is time-dependent, and so scientists and funding have come together to move vaccine candidates through the process for preclinical and clinical assessment, including animal and human trials, under the federal government operation known as Operation Warp Speed. This has enabled researchers to advance into phase 3 clinical trials (testing the vaccine on large groups of people to evaluate safety and effectiveness) in six months instead of the typical two years. More information about OWS can be found at: hhs.gov/coronavirus/explaining-operation-warp-speed/index.html.

Q: Are any COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA?

A: Both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines have been submitted to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). A decision from the FDA is expected in the next week. Pfizer’s vaccine has been approved and is now being implemented in the United Kingdom.

Q: What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

A: The FDA can issue EUA during a public health emergency to allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases. For the FDA to issue EUA, safety and efficacy must be demonstrated, and certain criteria must be met, including that there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine be safe and effective?

A: The FDA is responsible for making sure that, just like any other medications, any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and they work. The EUA will not be provided if the FDA feels that the vaccine is unsafe.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women? Breastfeed women?

A: There are no contraindications for pregnant women, women planning a pregnancy or women lactating. However, there is limited information on pregnant or lactating women who received the vaccine. We encourage you to speak with your OB/GYN provider prior to receiving your first dose out of an abundance of caution. 

Q: Is one of the COVID-19 vaccines better than the other?

A: This is not known at the moment. However, Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines–the first two vaccines that are likely to receive EUA–have both been shown to be effective and they have the same mechanism of action. The FDA applies the same stringent review process to all vaccines regardless of manufacturer. FDA approval or authorization of a vaccine means that the agency has determined, based on substantial evidence and a stringent review process, the vaccine is safe and effective for its intended use. More information is available here.

Q: How much will a vaccine reduce the risk of COVID-19 and its complications?

A: The FDA guidance expects that an authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine would prevent disease or decrease its severity in at least 50 percent of people who are vaccinated. In some cases, COVID-19 vaccines may protect against severe infection, but not necessarily prevent mild or asymptomatic infection. If this is the case, an infected person could still spread the virus. This is why it is expected that even after a vaccine becomes available, people will need to continue wearing masks, practicing hand hygiene and physical distancing measures for some time. More on the FDA guidance can be found here.

Q: When will a vaccine be available?

A: Once a vaccine is authorized under the EUA or is approved and recommended by the FDA, the states will receive an allocation of vaccine from the federal government. In Nevada, the vaccine will then be distributed in a manner that is fair, ethical, equitable and timely for Nevadans. It has been reported that the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed is aiming to deliver millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine by January 2021. This timeframe depends on several factors, including the FDA’s authorization. It is expected that initially, there will be a limited supply of vaccine.

Q: Will the vaccine be available to everyone in Nevada?

A: The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is collaborating with health systems about the use of initially available limited supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and will provide guidance on the prioritization order of who will receive the vaccine. This will be based on available quantities, high-risk locations of work and certain other risk factors, and recommendations and guidance for public health agencies. The CDC has provided guidance to initially focus on:

  • Healthcare personnel likely to be exposed to or treat people with COVID-19, nursing home residents and others in institutional settings;
  • People at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions;
  • People 65 years of age and older;
  • Other essential workers.

COVID-19 Vaccine for Patients and our Communities

Q: Will Renown offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients?
A: Renown will follow the state’s and CDC’s recommendations for prioritization of vaccine administration, which will be based on vaccine supply and other factors.

Q: Will Renown offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our Hometown Health members and broader communities?
A: Yes, we hope to do so once there is sufficient supply.

Clinical Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine a “live” virus vaccine?
A: Not at present. The vaccines that are expected to be the first to receive EUA from the FDA, do not contain live virus. If at a later stage weakened live virus vaccines are offered, we will specifically inform you about this. For information about vaccine types visit: vacines.gov/basics/types.

Q: How soon do antibodies form after getting the vaccine (i.e., how soon after getting vaccine am I protected)?
A: It usually takes about one to two weeks for immunity to develop following vaccination, but the specific timeline for any COVID-19 vaccine will depend to some extent on which type of vaccine it is.

Q: Have clinical trial participants experienced adverse events or side effects from the vaccine?
A: In clinical trials, the vaccine has been found to be well-tolerated. The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity, and short-lived. Noted adverse effects were injection site redness, pain and swelling, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, nausea, muscle pain and joint pain. Fever is not an infrequent side effect, especially on the 2nd dose, so please be sure you self-monitor your temperature, as you cannot work at Renown with a fever.

Q: If I had COVID-19 antibody test and have antibodies, do I still need to get vaccinated?
A: At the moment the answer is YES. There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. While vaccine trials are being completed, it will be important for scientists to continue learning about COVID-19, particularly whether people who got sick with COVID-19 can be re-infected. The current vaccine trials will include immunizing people who have never been infected with SARS-CoV-2 as well as those who have been previously infected. We will soon know whether vaccination of those who have been previously infected affords more complete or longer lasting protection than those who have been previously infected but haven’t been vaccinated. If you have concerns about receiving the vaccine you should contact your primary care provider.

Q: If I had COVID-19 and recovered do I need to get the vaccine?
A: There is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Until we have a vaccine available and understand more about natural immunity to COVID-19, it is not known whether people who had COVID-19 should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you have concerns about receiving the vaccine you should contact your primary care provider.

Q: Can I get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine on the same day?
A: It is not currently recommended to get the flu shot and the COVID-19 vaccine on the same day. Clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccines did not include testing safety of getting the flu vaccine on the same day so it is best to talk to your health care provider about how far apart they should be spaced.

Q: Does the COVID-19 vaccine take the place of the pneumonia vaccine or the flu vaccine?
A: No, the COVID-19 vaccine does not take the place of the pneumonia vaccine or the flu vaccine. It is a good idea to be up to date on pneumonia and flu vaccines in addition to COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider regarding which vaccines are recommended for you.

Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women? Breastfeeding women?
A: Not at the moment. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended that you do not receive the vaccine. In early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults participated. However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. Based on data from the expanded clinical trials, groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future. More information will be available from the vaccine manufacturers.

Q: Can children receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Not at the moment. In early clinical trials for various COVID-19 vaccines, only non-pregnant adults at least 18 years of age participated. However, clinical trials continue to expand those recruited to participate. The groups recommended to receive the vaccines could change in the future. As of now, it is recommended that children do not receive the vaccine. More information will be available from the vaccine manufacturers.

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