We are committed to providing clear information to patients. Click the links below to learn more about frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the vaccines. 

We currently only offer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

For general COVID-19 FAQ, please click the link below.

Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan talks about vaccines with Dr. Mehta.

Distribution & Appointments

 

The Pfizer vaccine was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA on December 11, 2020, the Moderna vaccine was issued an EUA on December 18, 2020, and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was issued an EUA on February 27, 2021.

We currently only offer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

We will schedule patients based on vaccination eligibility, as defined by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), appointment availability, and vaccine supply. DPH guidelines require patients receive the vaccine in the state where they live or work. 

  • As of March 25, 2021, anyone age 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia.
  • The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is the only one currently approved for children age 16 and 17. 
  • All 16 and 17-year-olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Emory Healthcare now offers an online scheduling platform to make it easier to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Choose "Schedule an Appointment" to start.

Request an Appointment Button

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Need a Second Dose Only? 

If you received your first dose elsewhere and want to schedule your second dose with Emory Healthcare, please complete this form. Our team will contact you to coordinate an appropriate appointment time. Please do not self-schedule, as you will be turned away at the clinic.

With limited supplies, we cannot guarantee an appointment and encourage you to check other vaccination resources on the Georgia Department of Public Health's (DPH) website. Getting the vaccine is much more important than where you get the vaccine.

We cannot guarantee an appointment. If you do not get an appointment with us, please check other vaccination resources. Getting the vaccine is more important than where you get the vaccine.

Return to the COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Site or call 404-778-7777 to schedule another appointment.

Return to the COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling Site or call 404-778-7777 to schedule another appointment.

Patients do not have to pay for the vaccine. If you have insurance, we will bill your insurance company, but you will have no financial obligation. If you do not have insurance, the vaccine will be provided free of charge.

Yes – as long as you meet the eligibility criteria above, live or work in Georgia, and are an Emory patient, you may get vaccinated even if you do not have insurance.

Vaccine Basics

 

Several Vaccines are in the late stages of trials, with three granted FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA):

  • Pfizer Vaccine: Uses messenger RNA (mRNA) | Requires two doses/person, 21 days apart
  • Moderna Vaccine: Uses mRNA | Requires two doses/person, 28 days apart
  • Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (Janssen): Uses a modified adenovirus vector that does not cause infection | Requires a single dose
  • We currently only offer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines

Additional vaccines in late-stage clinical trials in the U.S. are:

  • Astra Zeneca
  • Novavax
  • Sanofi and Glaxo-Smith-Kline

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the first to use messenger RNA (mRNA). The mRNA in the vaccine contains the genetic code to make one of the spike proteins found on the surface of the coronavirus particle. Your cells will use that genetic code to make spike proteins that your immune system learns to recognize so that if exposed to coronavirus in the future, your immune system will react to it as well. The mRNA code is translated to make the spike protein without entering the cell nucleus, which is where your DNA is protected, so the mRNA in the vaccine never interacts with your DNA.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both include a piece of mRNA that contains the instructions to make the spike protein, as well as lipids (fats) that help protect the mRNA to enter cells, and salts and sugar that keep the vaccine stable. The formulations are slightly different; the complete ingredient lists for both are below:

  • In addition to the messenger RNA, the ingredients of the Pfizer Vaccine are: 4 different lipids (fats) ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), 2[(polyethylene glycol [PEG])-2000]- N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol); potassium chloride; monobasic potassium phosphate; sodium chloride; dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate; and sucrose.
  • In addition to the messenger RNA, the ingredients of the Moderna Vaccine are 4 different lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose.

The Johnson & Johnson Vaccine uses an adenovirus vector -- a virus that has been modified so that it cannot cause an infection in people – to deliver the instructions for making the COVID spike protein. It also contains the following sugars, alcohols, and salts: citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.

If you have a history of a severe allergy to any of the listed ingredients for a vaccine, you should not receive that vaccine. 

No. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain human cells or fetal tissue, and do not use human tissue in production. Some vaccines that include a live virus or part of a virus require that the virus be grown in a laboratory, often using human cells. Because the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines don’t include any part of the virus, this step is not needed.

Vaccine Effectiveness

 

All three of the vaccines that are currently available approached 100% efficacy in preventing hospitalization and death from COVID infection without significant safety concerns. They also all prevented a majority of symptomatic COVID infections, although it is difficult to compare that data because they weren’t studied head-to-head or even in trials done at the same time.

Current data indicates that the vaccines are very similar in how effective and safe they are. They all prevent hospitalization and death from COVID infection, which is critically important. Because they weren’t studied head-to-head with each other or in trials done at the time/location, it is harder to compare their efficacy at preventing mild to moderate COVID infection, although they all performed well.

Vaccine Dosing

 
  • Pfizer Vaccine: Requires two doses/person, 21 days apart
  • Moderna Vaccine: Requires two doses/person, 28 days apart
  • Johnson & Johnson Vaccine (Janssen): Requires a single dose

If you receive the Pfizer vaccine, your second dose should be scheduled three weeks, or 21 days, after the first dose. If you receive the Moderna vaccine, your second dose should be scheduled four weeks, or 28 days, after the first dose.

Try to get the second dose at the prescribed interval. If you receive your vaccine from Emory Healthcare, we will schedule your second appointment during your first dose appointment. If you cannot get it on that date, we will schedule you as close to that date as possible. You should not get your second dose sooner than recommended.

If you receive your vaccine from Emory Healthcare, we will schedule your second appointment during your first dose appointment.

We manage our vaccine supply very carefully and account for second doses before scheduling new appointments for first dose patients.

Vaccine Safety and Side Effects

 

All of the vaccines approach 100% efficacy in preventing death and hospitalization without significant safety concerns.

There were not large numbers of immunosuppressed patients in the vaccine clinical trials, but there is not concern about any specific safety risk in that group, especially since none of these vaccines include live virus. We also know that immunosuppressed patients are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19 infection. If you are immunosuppressed, we therefore encourage you to get a COVID-19 vaccine. See below for additional information if you are a transplant patient, and talk to your doctor if you have additional questions or concerns.

  • Emory Transplant Center recommends that our kidney, liver and pancreas transplant patients receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible. There is no need to contact our office to verify safety.
  • Emory Transplant Center also recommends our heart and lung transplant patients receive a COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible. However, heart and lung transplant patients should contact their transplant team BEFORE receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pfizer Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures below -94º Fahrenheit, or –70º Celsius
  • Once thawed, lasts for five days at average refrigerator temperatures

Moderna Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures below -4º Fahrenheit, or -20º Celsius
  • Once thawed, lasts for 14 days at average refrigerator temperatures

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

  • Shipped/stored at temperatures between 36° and 46° Fahrenheit, or 2° and 8° Celsius
  • Use by expiration date

Thus far, there have not been serious safety concerns. Side effects have typically been mild to moderate and include fevers, headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and pain, swelling, and/or redness at the injection site shortly after receiving the vaccine. They usually do not last more than 24-48 hours and are not dangerous. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, you can take ibuprofen or acetaminophen for symptoms as needed. Long-term side effects have not been reported with the vaccines.

Patients receiving the vaccine may experience side effects, including fever, fatigue, headache, and muscle and joint pain. These side effects can appear similar to the symptoms of COVID, but do not mean that the patient has COVID or is contagious. These symptoms are from the recipient's immune system responding and not from any infection from the vaccine.

Women who were pregnant or breastfeeding were not included in the initial vaccine clinical trials, although there are now ongoing studies that do include them. There are also now more than 44,000 pregnant women who have received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and registered with the CDC’s V-Safe reporting program, without any signal that there is a safety concern.

We are still awaiting additional data on safety and efficacy in these populations, but thus far there is no evidence of a specific safety risk, and we know that there are risks associated with having COVID-19 infection during pregnancy. Pregnant or breastfeeding women can therefore choose to proceed with vaccination, and should discuss any questions or concerns with their doctor.


Not everyone who had COVID-19 develops immunity, we don’t have a way to measure the quality of the immune response, and we don’t know how long immunity lasts. We recommend the majority of adults get vaccinated, even if they have had COVID-19.

We don't have data yet on how well the vaccine will work in patients with compromised immune systems, but there are currently studies ongoing to evaluate this. These vaccines do not contain the live virus, so there is no contraindication to receiving them if you are immunocompromised. Our transplant and oncology teams recommend that most of their patients get vaccinated.

If you are a cancer patient, we encourage you to pursue the COVID-19 vaccine. It is not necessary to contact the office to verify safety.

Patients receiving an anticoagulant (e.g., warfarin, rivaroxaban, apixaban, dabigatran, etc.) can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

If you are taking warfarin (coumadin), be sure that you are up-to-date on your INR monitoring and that your latest INR level is not above the therapeutic range before getting vaccinated. Contact your physician if you have any questions.

All patients on anticoagulants should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for approximately 5 minutes after getting the vaccine.

You should continue your medications without interruption while receiving the vaccination.

After you receive the vaccination, hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for 2-5 minutes. 

Patients with bleeding disorders can safely receive a COVID-19 vaccination if they follow the guidance below:

  • If you have hemophilia or severe von Willebrand disease where your factor activity levels are less than 10%, treatment to raise your factor activity to greater than 10% prior to your vaccination is recommended.
  • If you receive Hemlibra (emicizumab) for prevention of bleeding, no additional treatment is needed.
  • After your injection, you should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for approximately 10 minutes. Talk to your hematologist if you need additional guidance.
  • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a pegylated factor product, discuss the reaction with your hematologist prior to getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is an ingredient in both of these vaccines.

A current diagnosis or history of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is not a contraindication to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, as long as your platelet count is above 20,000 (see below).  Patients with ITP are encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’ve received treatments like rituximab or steroids, your immune response to the vaccine may be reduced.  However, it is still recommended that you proceed with a vaccine when available to you, rather than waiting a specified time after your last treatment. A reduced response to the vaccine is much better than no protection.

A platelet count greater than 20,000 is adequate for an intramuscular injection. If your count is above 20,000 but still less than 50,000, you should hold firm pressure on the injection site, without rubbing, for 5 minutes after vaccination.

If your platelets are less than 20,000, talk to your doctor about ways to increase your platelet count prior to receiving your vaccination.

After the Shots

 

The vaccines will cause the COVID-19 antibody test to become positive. The vaccines do not cause the COVID PCR (nasal swab) or rapid antigen tests to become positive.

Yes. The vaccine was highly effective in studies but not 100% effective. The vaccine doesn't work immediately, and we can't predict who will have a good immune response to the vaccine and who won't. Plus, we don't know how long immunity will last. Therefore, we need to continue practicing the 3Ws -- wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance, regardless of whether you've had the vaccine.  

We know the vaccine is not 100% effective, and if you get infected, you could spread COVID to others with or without symptoms. We also don’t know yet if it’s possible to shed virus from your nose and mouth without having symptoms after vaccination. Therefore, we currently need to continue practicing the 3Ws -- wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance, regardless of whether you've had the vaccine.  

You are considered fully vaccinated once you are two weeks beyond your final dose of COVID vaccine.  For the two-dose vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), you are likely to have some benefit earlier than that – infection rates start to look lower in those who are vaccinated within 2 weeks of their first dose – but maximal benefit comes after the second dose. 

We don't know yet—researchers will continue to collect data on study participants to determine if immunity decreases over time and if repeat vaccination is necessary.  

This will depend on how quickly we can get vaccines to everyone in the country and how many people get the vaccine. Therefore, we need to continue practicing the 3Ws -- wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance -- regardless of whether you've had the vaccine. There will be additional data on what percentage of the population is likely immune and what is happening with case rates in the coming months. 

V-Safe After the Vaccine Health Checker

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that 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 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.