The COVID-19 Vaccine

Erie has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available for all current Erie patients who are age 65 and older, healthcare workers, or frontline essential workers.

If you meet these requirements, call 312-666-3494, Option 5, to schedule an appointment.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for people with or without insurance.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Erie.
Erie is currently using the COVID-19 vaccine made by a company called Moderna. After you receive the first dose, you will need to come back to Erie at least 28 days later to receive the second dose. While you might receive some protection 10 days after the first dose, the vaccine isn’t fully effective until two weeks after the second dose. Your appointment for the second vaccine dose will be scheduled at the end of your first appointment. 

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

At this time, Erie has COVID-19 vaccine appointments available for all current Erie patients in Tiers 1A and 1B. This includes:

  • Patients who are health care workers (this includes home health care workers/aids, and staff in all roles in residential therapeutic settings)
  • Patients age 65 and older
  • Patients who are frontline essential workers, including:
      • ride share drivers
      • grocery store workers
      • teachers and school staff
      • factory workers
      • first responders
      • grocery store workers
      • teachers and school staff
      • public transit workers
      • manufacturing
      • food and agriculture
      • government workers
      • more detailed list can be found here

If you meet these requirements, call 312-666-3494, Option 5, to schedule an appointment!

Update on COVID-19 vaccine availability for people under age 65 (who are not frontline essential workers):

Governor Pritzker announced that the State of Illinois would be able to move onto vaccinating people under age 65 with certain pre-existing health conditions (he refers to this group as "Tier 1B+" - though the CDPH and Erie refer to this group as "Tier 1C"). However, there are still tens of thousands of people in the Chicago area in Tiers 1A and 1B who still need to be vaccinated. Erie is anxious to be able to vaccinate our patients who are under 65 years old and have certain health conditions. However, we are following the guidelines of our local public health departments who are not yet vaccinating people in Tier 1C (or "1B+") just yet. We do not have enough vaccine available to begin vaccinating people in this next tier just yet. Erie hopes we will move to this group soon, and we promise to let our patients and communities know when appointments for people Tier 1C are available.

How well does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

Data from clinical trials shows that Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines were 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. The vaccines were effective for everyone 16 years of age and over, and all genders, races and ethnicities. This is very good news!

I'm worried about getting the vaccine.

We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated. This is the first time we’ve been faced with a situation like this in our lifetimes. And there have been times throughout history where our government and healthcare system has abused communities of color. All of this can lead to mistrust and concern.

In this moment, we believe that COVID-19 vaccination is the best tool to help stop the pandemic, keep people from getting sick and dying, allow us to spend time with our loved ones again, re-open schools and businesses, and go back to our normal way of life. Getting vaccinated yourself protects people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Once you and your friends and loved ones are vaccinated and the rate of COVID in the community have decreased, it will be possible for you to finally spend time with them again without fear or risk of spreading the virus.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine safe?

Yes, clinical trials have shown the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be safe. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were tested on nearly 75,000 people, and none of the people who got the vaccine during the trials had any major side effects. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and FDA will continue to closely study the results of all vaccine trials before approving any vaccine for use.

10% of the Pfizer vaccine trial participants were Black, 26% were Hispanic/Latinx and 5% were Asian. 10% of the Moderna vaccine trial participants were Black and 20% were Hispanic/Latinx.

Will I need more than one shot?

Yes. Both the vaccine created by Pfizer and the vaccine created by Moderna require two doses. Erie is using the Moderna vaccine. After you receive the first dose, you will need to come back to Erie at least 28 days later to receive the second dose. While you might receive some protection after the first dose, neither vaccine is fully effective until one or two weeks after the second dose.

What side effects might the vaccine cause?

The most common side effects reported by people who received the COVID-19 vaccine so far are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Pain or swelling at the site of the injection (upper arm)

Most people report that the side effects are more noticeable after the second dose. Any side effects typically go away after a day or two.

When will I be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

It will take a long time to create and distribute enough vaccines to protect the more than 300 million people living in the United States. Some people will have to wait longer than others since the vaccine will be given to groups at different times based on their risk.  The vaccine was first available to healthcare workers who treat people with COVID-19, and are at the highest risk of catching the virus themselves. It is now starting to become available to people age 65 and over and essential workers. Erie is following the guidance of our local public health departments, and will contact you when we have vaccine available for you and your family.

This seems too fast. How was a vaccine developed so quickly?

The COVID-19 vaccine development process included all the usual safety steps – none were skipped. The process was quicker than we’re used to for a few main reasons:

  • Scientists and public health experts around the entire world focused their efforts on the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. This has not happened in our lifetimes!
  • Companies produced millions of vaccine doses at the same time as the clinical trials were happening – this way, we would not need to wait to actually make the vaccines at the end of the safety tests.
  • Scientists didn’t have to start from scratch. They used what they learned from previous coronavirus outbreaks like SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012 to help figure out the science behind how the COVID vaccine works.
Can't I just skip the vaccine and wait until enough other people are immune?

COVID-19 can be serious, and even deadly, and there is no way to know how the virus will affect you. And even if you catch the virus and don’t get very sick, you could still spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. COVID-19 has proven to have much more serious symptoms than the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine is by far the safer bet.  Public health experts say that it would be well after 2021 for enough people in the US to become naturally immune to COVID-19, and that without a vaccine, hundreds of thousands more people will die.

I have allergies. Should I still get the vaccine?

The only people who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine are people with a history of severe allergies to its ingredients. Anyone with a history of severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) can still receive the vaccine but will be monitored for 15 minutes longer after vaccination to ensure they are safe. People with mild to moderate allergies to food, the environment or medications are still highly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. If you have further questions, talk to your healthcare provider.

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Please call your healthcare provider to talk about what is best for you.

I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get the vaccine?

Yes, you should. After you have recovered from COVID-19, scientists do not yet know how long you are immune from catching COVID-19 again. The vaccine will be your best protection.

If I get the vaccine can I stop wearing a mask and social distancing?

Even if you get vaccinated, we will all need to continue wearing a mask and social distancing for a while. We know that the vaccine protects you from getting sick from the virus that causes COVID-19, but we don’t yet know if it prevents you from spreading the virus. As more and more people get vaccinated, other safety measure may be able to be dialed back.

Will you have to be a US citizen to get the COVID-19 vaccine at Erie?

No. Erie provides all of our care, including the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available, regardless of a person’s immigration status.

What will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for everyone, with or without insurance.

How can I find out when Erie has a vaccine available for me?

Please check our website often! We will update it as we learn more about when vaccines will be available for our patients. Please also make sure Erie has your current email address. We use email to provide updates about vaccine availability and other important services.

But please know: If you have the opportunity to get the vaccine from somewhere else – like a hospital, other healthcare provider, or your employer – before you hear from Erie, take it! We want our patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they are able to.  

Stay informed with news and more

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.