COVID-19 vaccine info for individuals

Vaccine hotline: Recorded message with current vaccine information – 952-563-4960

Thank you for your interest in the COVID-19 vaccine

For the week of January 18, Bloomington Public Health has allocated all current vaccine supply for a health care vaccination clinic.

Because there are limited doses of vaccine available, the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed in phases. The first doses are for those most exposed to COVID-19, including health care workers and people who live and work in long-term care facilities.

Other groups that will get the early vaccine doses include frontline essential workers, adults 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. All Minnesotans will eventually have access to the vaccine. 

Information is constantly changing for COVID-19 vaccines. The best place to stay informed about vaccine availability is through the Minnesota Department of Health’s website at blm.mn/vaccine. You may also call the Minnesota Helpline at 800-657-3504.

Thank you for your patience as we move through the distribution process in Minnesota.

Vaccine FAQ

How is the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed in Minnesota?

Even though two vaccines have been authorized for emergency use, it will take time before everyone can get it. Health providers need to vaccinate hundreds of millions of people in the United States alone, so it will be a long process to make, distribute, and give that many doses of vaccine.

The goal for the first, limited doses of COVID-19 vaccine is to protect those who are exposed to COVID-19 every day because of what they do, who they care for, or where they live. With this in mind, the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine (Phase 1a) are being given to people working in health care settings and people who live and work in long-term care facilities. Other groups that will get early vaccine doses include frontline essential workers, adults 65 years and older, people with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.

There’s no list Minnesotans need to join in order to receive a vaccine. People eligible for the first vaccinations will be contacted by their employers or their long-term care facility. The Minnesota Department of Health and health care providers will never contact you and ask for personal information or credit card information in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine. We will provide updates when the vaccine is available to more people and how they can get it.

Infographic

This infographic is a timeline showing the phases that will be followed in rolling out COVID-19 vaccinations. 

  • Phase 1a includes health care personnel and long term residents. An indicator tells us that "we are here," in phase 1a.
  • Phase 1b includes adults aged 75+ and frontline essential workers. 
  • Phase 1c includes adults aged 65 - 74, people aged 16 - 64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.
  • The general public is shown to be next in line, after phases 1a, 1b and 1c.

Additional information in the graphic:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases.
  • All Minnesotans will have access to a vaccine. 
  • (Regarding Phases 1b and 1c) More details coming for who is included in these groups. 
  • Last updated 12/22/20.

Is the vaccine safe? 

Having a safe and effective vaccine is the top priority. The manufacturers must present data that shows the vaccine is safe and that it works before it is approved for general populations. This data is reviewed by scientific groups at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and other groups look at available information about a vaccine and make informed decisions about the risks and benefits of using it.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine be required?

Minnesota will not require COVID-19 vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use under an Emergency Use Authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. You have the right to refuse or accept the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Bloomington Public Health Division strongly encourages you to get the COVID-19 vaccine if it is available to you. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect you, your family, coworkers, friends, and the larger community.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that have been authorized for use require two doses about a month apart. As of December 21, there are two COVID-19 vaccines in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States, one of which needs two doses to be effective, and the other uses one dose.

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The federal government covers the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine; it will be provided to people at no cost.

Providers will be able to charge an administration fee. You may be asked for your health insurance information when you get the vaccine. However, this is for the provider’s reimbursement only. There is no cost to you.

Will the vaccine be live or inactivated?

Messenger RNA vaccines – also called mRNA vaccines – are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. They teach our cells how to make a protein—or even a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.

How do I get on a list for the vaccine?

Currently, there’s no list that Minnesotans need to get on to get a vaccine. The first group to be vaccinated in phase 1, known as phase 1a, will include health care workers and long-term care residents. Since phase 1a is based on employment and where people live, people in this category will be contacted by their employer or long-term care facility to let them know when the vaccine is available. The priority groups for phase 1b and 1c have yet to be determined but may include essential workers and older adults.

In later phases, the vaccine will be available at settings like your pharmacy or primary care clinic and you will be able to make an appointment to get it. For more on Minnesota’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, visit: blm.mn/vaccine.

If I’ve already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated.

However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to stop isolation.

Additionally, evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.

How long does it take after getting the COVID-19 vaccine until you have protection? 

Two doses are needed for the two COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The time between the doses depends on the vaccine you are getting. The Pfizer vaccine must be given 21 days (three weeks) apart and the Moderna vaccine must be given 28 days apart (four weeks).

It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, the same product for each dose, and that the doses are given at the correct time. The vaccine is only fully effective with both doses of vaccine. If someone only gets one dose, they may not be protected (immune) against COVID-19. It is okay if you get the vaccine within four days of the 21 or 28-day mark (depending on which vaccine you get). If it is more than four days after the appropriate interval, you should be sure to get the second dose as soon as you can.

After the second dose, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection, so it’s about six weeks total from the first vaccine dose to when you should be fully protected.

Will there be different strength levels for different age groups, similar to the flu shot? 

Each vaccine authorized for use is a single strength vaccine and should be used for the recommended age groups, that is, individuals 16 years of age and older with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and individuals 18 years and older with the Moderna vaccine.

What if I have a weakened immune system? 

COVID-19 vaccines may be given to people with underlying medical conditions provided they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. While people in this category may receive the vaccine, they should be aware of the limited safety data. Visit the CDC’s website to learn more.

Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received two doses of the vaccine?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic. This includes wearing a face mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others.

Minnesota Department of Health FAQ video

Information on Moderna vaccine

As of December 2020, two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign has begun in Minnesota for first priority groups. The City of Bloomington’s Public Health Division will provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine as a registered vaccine provider through the Minnesota Department of Health.

Learn more about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: