All three currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines are very effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalization, and death.

News and Events, Health and Wellness

What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

M Health Fairview is currently giving COVID-19 vaccines to all people age 12 and older. Check out our helpful guide for answers to frequently asked questions about the new vaccines.

  • September 29, 2021
  • By Staff Writer

M Health Fairview is currently providing COVID-19 vaccines to all people age 12 and older. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 30, we are also providing booster doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to certain high-risk groups. Scroll down for more information.

We currently offer three options to get a vaccine, including appointments at primary care clinics, appointments at our vaccine hub sites, and walk-in visits at our retail pharmacies. You do not have to be a current M Health Fairview patient to get the vaccine from us. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please review our frequently asked questions below. Check back often for updates and answers on this page. If you continue to have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, we encourage you to speak with your primary care provider.

How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

M Health Fairview current offers three options to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Please note: Individuals that are 12 to 17 years of age must receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

  1. Appointments at most retail pharmacies.
    Our retail pharmacies are now scheduling appointments for vaccinations. Call your local pharmacy to ask about schedules for your vaccination. Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available at most locations.

  2. Appointments at a vaccine hub site.
    To schedule an appointment at a hub site listed below, please log onto your MyChart or call 612-336-2690, option 1. Only the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are offered to patients at the following hub sites.

    M Health Fairview Clinic - Midway
    M Health Fairview Clinic - Brooklyn Park
    M Health Fairview Clinic - Oxboro
    M Health Fairview Clinic - Woodwinds

  3. Appointments at some primary care locations.
    Some M Health Fairview primary care clinics have the COVID-19 vaccine available for patients during scheduled appointments. Please ask your provider about the options during your visit.

Some COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. Please choose a first appointment that allows you to return exactly 21 days (Pfizer/BioNTech) or 28 days (Moderna) later at the same location depending on the vaccine. Your second vaccine appointment will be scheduled when you receive your first dose, if a second dose is needed.

How can I get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, to allow for use of a single booster dose in certain high-risk groups. 


The booster vaccinations are a wonderful opportunity to provide additional immune protection to those whose immune systems are particularly vulnerable, or those at most risk of exposure. This does not mean that your initial vaccination is not working. Data shows that the COVID-19 vaccines – no matter the manufacturer – are still providing excellent protection from both getting the coronavirus and becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. 

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 30, M Health Fariview will start offering booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to the following groups: 

  • People 65 years and older.
  • Residents in long-term care settings.
  • People ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
  • People ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions (refer to CDC: People with Certain Medical Conditions).
  • People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of where they live or work.

To be eligible to receive a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, six months must have passed since your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. If you received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you need to do nothing at this time. Additional information will be shared with you on Moderna and/or Johnson a& Johnson vaccine boosters when it is available. 

If you have a condition that is not outlined above and believe you need a booster, please consult with your healthcare provider.

I am immunocompromised. Can I get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

We are now offering third doses of the of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to immunocompromised patients who previously received these vaccines. If you already received the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, no further action is needed at this time. Qualified patients can schedule their third dose vaccine appointments via MyChart or you can walk in to one of our retail pharmacies to receive the vaccine – no appointment needed. If you are an existing patient who is immunocompromised, you will also receive an invitation to schedule your vaccine appointment via MyChart message or mail.

Will insurance cover the COVID-19 vaccine?

We are not charging for the COVID-19 vaccine itself at this time. We do charge, however, for the administration of the vaccine. The charge for the first administration or a single-dose vaccine is $44. The charge for the second administration is $74. Your insurance will be billed for administering the vaccine and covered by insurance companies with no out of pocket costs to the patient. 

What should I expect at my COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

You will be greeted by a healthcare professional who is an experienced vaccinator.  They will ask you some basic questions regarding your health, and have you complete a consent form. 

The COVID-19 vaccine will be injected into your upper arm, so plan to wear a short-sleeved shirt.  The vaccinator will fill out a vaccine card for you to take with you; please bring that same card back for your second dose if you are receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. If you are receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you will be scheduled for the second dose during your first vaccination appointment. 

After receiving the vaccination, you will be asked to wait nearby for a 15-minute observation period to monitor you for immediate adverse reactions.

If you have a history of allergic reactions to a vaccine, you will be asked to wait nearby for a 30-minute observation period. Our vaccinators are prepared to respond to adverse reactions during the observation time. They will have access to EpiPens and guidance on how to care for individuals experiencing reactions.

If you have questions, be sure to ask your regular care team before you arrive. If you are pregnant, lactating (nursing) or have a weakened immune system, review special details about the vaccine on the COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

All patients will need to provide a completed consent form to receive their vaccine. If you are 12-17 years old, you will need to provide a consent form (links below) that is signed by your parent or guardian at your appointment. If a parent will come with you to your appointment, you can complete the form at that time. If you are age 18 or older, you can do this at your appointment or fill it out ahead of time and bring it to your appointment. Find the consent formhere. It is also available in the following languages:ArabicAmharicChineseHmongKarenOromoRussianSomaliSpanish, and Vietnamese.

Please also review the following vaccine fact sheets for more details about the vaccines:

The vaccines do not provide immediate immunity. Though all three vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalization and death, it takes time for your body’s immune system to build defenses after you receive your full dose of the vaccine.

You need two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose. You must get the second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine 21 days after the first dose, and the second dose of the Moderna vaccine 28 days after the first. If you are receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you will be scheduled for the second dose during your first vaccination appointment. 

These vaccines are not interchangeable. For example, you should not mix a first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine with a second dose of the Moderna vaccine. If you received the Pfizer vaccine during your first appointment, then you should also get the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine during your second dose so that the vaccine is fully effective.

Why should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

While we have made some progress in the fight against COVID-19 with public health measures like masking and social distancing, widespread vaccination is the only way that we can stop the pandemic. Not only does getting the vaccine protect you against severe illness from COVID-19, it also reduces the chances that you will spread it to others, including your family and friends. 

Is it safe to receive a COVID-19 vaccine? How effective are they?

For decades, vaccines have been important tools in our fight against diseases, including the flu, measles, polio, and chicken pox, among others. While we have made some progress in the fight against COVID-19 with public health measures like masking and social distancing, widespread vaccination is the only way that we can stop the pandemic. Not only does getting the vaccine protect you against severe illness from COVID-19, it also reduces the chances that you will spread it to others, including your family and friends. 

The COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are safe and highly effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19, hospitalization, and death due to the disease, according to results from large clinical trials that involved more than 100,000 people.

All three vaccines have received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, now also known as Comirnaty, was given FDA approval for people 16 years old and older.

Before the vaccines received authorization for use, clinical trial results for all three vaccines were reviewed by FDA experts, an independent panel convened by the FDA, and a group of independent experts retained by the companies involved.

Our team of experts at M Health Fairview have been following the science and data closely and we strongly encourage people to get the first vaccine offered to you, no matter which kind of vaccine it is. Getting the vaccine will protect you and your family while helping prevent the spread of this disease. COVID-19 can cause death or serious health problems, even in young, healthy people. The risk of getting the virus and suffering serious side effects is greater than the possible risks from receiving the vaccine.

How do the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines work and how many doses do I need?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not use live or weakened versions of the coronavirus causing COVID-19. Instead, these vaccines have genetic material called mRNA or “messenger RNA” that is taken from the virus. Once injected, this material tricks our bodies into producing a protein unique to the virus. When our immune systems detect this protein, they then create cells that recognize and destroy it. These immune system cells remain in our bodies for long periods, giving us protection against the virus.

Both vaccines come in two doses. People receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will need a second dose 21 days after the first, while those who get the Moderna vaccine will need a second shot 28 days later. The second dose must be completed with the same vaccine brand as the first dose. Both doses are important to ensure full protection. Two weeks after the second doses, both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to be more than 94 percent effective.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can be used by people ages 12 and older, while the Moderna vaccine is for people ages 18 and older.

If you are immunocompromised or at higher risk, you may qualify for a third booster dose of these vaccines. Please review the information in this FAQ about booster doses to find out whether you are eligible.  

How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine work?

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine comes in a single dose – unlike the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which both require two doses several weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson shot uses a “vector vaccine” method. Vector vaccines use another weakened virus – in this case, it’s an adenovirus called Ad26 – to deliver genetic material that tricks your body into making a protein which stimulates your body’s immune response. It is not possible to get COVID-19 or a sickness caused by the adenovirus through this vaccine.

What are the side effects?

You may have some side effects after getting vaccinated. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. These side effects include mild to moderate flu-like side effects, including a headache, fatigue, chills, fever, and muscle and joint soreness. Most of these symptoms ended three days after the vaccine, or earlier.

Cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell are not side effects of the vaccine. If you experience these symptoms, monitor your symptoms to see if they become worse and seek the advice of your healthcare provider if they do. While it’s not possible to get COVID-19 from any of vaccines, you may have been exposed to the virus before receiving your vaccine.

Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccines? Do any of them use a live virus?

It is not possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccines. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines use only genetic material from the coronavirus causing COVID-19 while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine delivers that genetic material using a weakened adenovirus (Ad26).

What if I miss my second dose of the vaccine?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are not fully effective unless you receive both doses. The first dose of the vaccine triggers your immune system response and the second dose completes the process so that you have the best-possible protection. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose for full effectiveness. Please visit one of our retail pharmacies to receive your second dose if you missed your previously scheduled second dose.

Can I get my second dose at an M Health Fairview location if I got my first dose elsewhere?

Yes, M Health Fairview will provide the second dose of the same vaccine if the patient has their vaccine card from their first dose. 

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines?

If you have ever had an allergic reaction to any ingredient that is in a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you should not get that vaccine. If you experienced an allergic reaction after the first shot of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you should not receive a second dose of that vaccine.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injections and are unsure, the CDC recommends checking with your doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

What should I do if I have an adverse or allergic reaction to the vaccine?

You may have some side effects after getting vaccinated. The side effects may feel like the flu and may last for a few days. These side effects are normal and are signs that the body is building protection from the virus.

There is a very small chance that the vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction – often within a few minutes to one hour after getting the vaccine. Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of your face and throat
  • A fast heartbeat
  • A bad rash all over your body
  • Dizziness and weakness

If you think you’re having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the place where you received the vaccine, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. If redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours – or if your side effects are worrying you, or do not seem to be going away after a few days – call our Fairview Nurse Advisors line at 1-855-324-7843.

Visit this CDC website for more information about what to expect after getting your COVID-19 vaccine, or consider downloading and using the CDC’s smartphone app, V-safe After Vaccine Health Checker, to track and report side effects, receive personalized health checks, and get second dose reminders. The CDC recommends patients and providers report adverse or allergic reactions to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

I am young and healthy and at low risk for COVID. Why should I get the vaccine?

Even younger people can have severe complications from COVID-19, although their risk is not as high as older people or those who have serious health conditions. The more people who get the vaccine, the closer we can get to reaching herd immunity. Herd immunity is when most people are immune to a disease, meaning they can’t get it, because they received the vaccine or have already had the disease and cannot get it again, at least for a while. Herd immunity can stop or slow the spread of disease.

If I had COVID-19 should I get the vaccine?

Yes. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 produce antibodies that offer some protection against the virus, but the COVID-19 vaccine offers more protection than natural immunity. Natural immunity alone is less than half as effective as natural immunity plus vaccination. Research has found that natural immunity also fades faster than vaccine immunity, and one-third of people who get COVID-19 never develop protective antibodies or immunity.

If I’m pregnant or lactating, should I get the vaccine?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that people who are pregnant, lactating, or considering pregnancy receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination is the best protection against potentially serious complications from a COVID-19 infection. Evidence has suggested that pregnancy increases a person’s risk for getting a more severe form of the virus and needing hospitalization. Data from the CDC shows no increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes among those who receive the vaccine.

Do I have to continue wearing a mask after I get the vaccine?

Yes. Everyone should wear face masks, wash their hands frequently, practice social distancing, and take other safety steps until more people have received the vaccine, the number of COVID-19 cases nationwide is no longer at pandemic levels, and we understand more about how long these vaccines will protect us.

Should I be tested for COVID-19 prior to receiving the vaccine?

No, you do not need to get a COVID-19 diagnostic or antibody test before getting the vaccine.

What about breakthrough infections? Why should I get a vaccine if it’s still possible to get COVID-19?

Like other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines are not 100 percent effective, and there is a small chance someone who is fully vaccinated may still get a breakthrough case of COVID-19. Some studies suggest the chance of getting a breakthrough infection is 0.05%. In Minnesota as of Sept. 20, only 23,330 breakthrough cases have been reported among the roughly 3.1 million people fully vaccinated, a rate of .749%.

However, the chances for a severe infection, hospitalization, or death are much lower for vaccinated people. If a vaccinated person gets COVID-19, the symptoms are likely to be less severe than in an unvaccinated person. Current studies show that vaccinated people are five times less likely to get infected and 10 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death, according to the CDC.

People who get breakthrough infections can spread COVID-19 to others. Studies are underway to find out how contagious people who have a breakthrough infection are, and for how long. The Delta variant is more contagious than previous kinds of COVID-19, but studies so far show that the vaccines used in the United States are still effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

People who are already immunocompromised because of another illness are at higher risk for a breakthrough case, even if fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends that they take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people until told otherwise by their doctor or healthcare professional.

What should I do if I get breakthrough COVID-19?

Breakthrough infections are rare. If you think you may have COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, we recommend that you get diagnostic testing. If positive test results confirm that you have a breakthrough case, you should isolate at home from others for at least 10 days after the first day of symptoms or the first positive test to minimize the chance of spreading the disease, while continuing to monitor your symptoms. People who are immunocompromised or experience a severe case should isolate at home for 20 days after the first symptoms appear or after the first positive test.

If you are concerned that your COVID-19 symptoms are worsening, please contact your medical provider. Learn more about symptoms and when to seek help.

If I test positive on a COVID-19 antibody test after the 10-day isolation period, am I still contagious?

No, unless you had a severe infection requiring hospitalization and/or are immunocompromised.