Do I need to be a resident of Florida to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Those seeking the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida will need to show proof of residency in order to get the initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
What is considered “Proof of Residency?”
1. An adult resident must provide a copy of his or her valid Florida driver license or a copy of a valid Florida identification card.
2. An adult seasonal resident who cannot meet the requirements of the above may provide a copy of two of the following that show proof of residential address:
a. A deed, mortgage, monthly mortgage statement, mortgage payment booklet or residential rental or lease agreement.
b. One proof of residential address from the seasonal resident’s parent, step-parent, legal guardian or other person with whom the seasonal resident resides and a statement from the person with whom the seasonal resident resides stating that the seasonal resident does reside with him or her.
c. A utility hookup or work order dated within 60 days.
d. A utility bill, not more than two months old.
e. Mail from a financial institution, including checking, savings, or investment account statements, not more than two months old.
f. Mail from a federal, state, county, or municipal government agency, not more than two months old.
g. Any other documentation that provides proof of residential address as determined by department rule.
Who should be vaccinated against COVID-19 infection?
Vaccination will be recommended for everyone with the above criteria, but supplies will be limited.
NCH Healthcare System will follow the guidance provided by federal and state authorities to prioritize groups for vaccinations. The guidelines have been developed by numerous national bodies, including the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
As availability improves, vaccines will be offered to all others in accordance to federal and state guidelines.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination?
The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine has been studied in over 30,000 people. Experimental vaccine data indicate 94.5% efficacy after two doses. Efficacy is the measure of effectiveness obtained from a randomized controlled clinical trial. Further details regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine, such as how long the vaccination offers protection, are not yet available.
Aren't masking, social distancing and self-quarantining reasonable alternatives to COVID-19 vaccination?
Given the extent of COVID-19 spread in the U.S., masking, social distancing and self-quarantining has not been enough to contain the pandemic nor have these public health measures been fully followed. Developing large-scale immunity in the community through vaccination is key to stopping the pandemic.
Everyone will need to continue to take precautions, such as masking and physical distancing, until the spread has stopped. Until then, COVID-19 spread can continue in the community from people who have or don't have symptoms.
A person can be contagious for as many as 14 days without symptoms. A person can develop symptoms but be contagious before symptoms start. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others, beginning two days before symptoms develop and up to 10 days after becoming sick.
Will my primary provider offer vaccination for COVID-19?
Your primary care provider will not offer vaccination for COVID-19 at this time. The COVID-19 vaccine will be available in a phased approach. The vaccination may be available to NCH primary care patients at some point in the future.
Can those who have had COVID-19 get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Yes. NCH recommends getting vaccinated for COVID-19, even in those who have had COVID-19 previously.
Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I got the flu vaccine?
Yes. NCH recommends all patients get the flu vaccine as well as the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.
Will persons who get the vaccine still have to wear a face mask?
Yes. While the vaccine is highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe disease, it is not 100% effective, and it is not yet known how well it prevents asymptomatic infection, or how long its effects will last. Since it is possible that a person vaccinated could get COVID-19 they could still spread the virus to another person. Everyone will need to continue taking precautions like masking and physical distancing until the spread has stopped.
Can a previously healthy older person get sick with COVID-19 after taking the vaccine? Do the benefits outweigh the risks in this population?
The vaccines are not 100% effective, but they are far better than not getting vaccine. The benefits certainly outweigh the risks in healthy older persons. One cannot get COVID-19 infection from the initial COVID-19 vaccines NCH will receive as they are inactivated vaccines and not live vaccines.
Can people with an egg allergy receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Neither the Pfizer/BioNTech nor the Moderna Inc. vaccine contain egg. The side effects for the COVID-19 vaccine are identical to the virus itself.
If people are vaccinated and develop side effects or symptoms, would they have to be tested for COVID-19?
Vaccine recipients will be provided with guidance on how to interpret side effects and symptoms, and what actions they should take following vaccination.
What are vaccines?
A vaccine stimulates your immune system to produce antibodies, exactly like it would if you were exposed to the disease. After getting vaccinated, you develop immunity to that disease, without having to get the disease first. This is what makes vaccines such powerful medicine. Unlike most medicines, which treat or cure diseases, vaccines prevent them.
What diseases can vaccine protect against?
Thanks to vaccines, children and adults are protected from numerous diseases like chickenpox, hepatitis, mumps, diphtheria, polio, varicella (zZoster), pneumococcal pneumonia, and the flu, and we eliminated smallpox totally.
Are vaccines safe?
Making sure vaccines are safe is a priority. The CDC and FDA take many steps to make sure vaccines are very safe, both before and after the public begins using the vaccine. The COVID vaccines NCH will likely receive have been studied in over 30,000 test patients each and found to be safe. Like any medicine, vaccines can cause side effects such as a low-grade fever, or pain and redness at injection site. Mild reactions go away within a few days on their own.
How to a find a schedule for vaccines recommendations for children and adults?
Due to the COVID pandemic, there is a large number of children and adults who have missed their recommended vaccines. For a schedule of recommended childhood vaccinations (birth-18 years), visit 2021 Recommended Vaccinations for Infants and Children.
Click here for an adult vaccination schedule.
Is the annual flu vaccine still recommended?
Yes, seasonal Influenza vaccination is recommended for all people six months and older every year. If you have questions about which vaccine is best for your family, talk to your doctor or other health care professional. More information on approved flu vaccines for the 2020-2021 flu season, and age indications for each vaccine, visit the CDC website.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine made differently than the flu vaccine?
In the past, vaccines have utilized weakened versions of a virus or specific pieces of a virus to stimulate immunity. In these vaccines, the virus has been manipulated to stimulate the immune system -- but it has been altered to ensure it does not make the patient sick. There are some COVID-19 vaccines under development that follow this method of providing immunity to disease.
There is another method being researched by leading pharmaceutical companies that uses messenger RNA or mRNA methods to provide COVID-19 disease immunity.
Both vaccines use a synthetic mRNA, a molecule that tells cells how to build proteins. With it, cells are tricked into producing proteins usually found in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and stimulate the immune system, without making patients sick, to provide protection against infection.
The mRNA vaccines seem very hopeful and highly effective. The mRNA are also very quick and easy to produce. Where other types of vaccines take weeks of lab work, mRNA molecules can be assembled and placed in a vaccine within days.
The companies that have developed the COVID-19 vaccines will work with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek emergency use authorization approval to distribute the vaccines.
What is Emergency Use Authorization?
An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to make medical products available for use, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Under an EUA, FDA may allow the use of previously unapproved medical products, vaccines, diagnostic tests, or medications to treat life-threatening diseases or conditions when there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.
Once submitted, FDA evaluates an EUA request, taking into account the totality of the scientific evidence about the product that is available to FDA.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines rigorously tested?
Yes. Clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in over 30,000 study participants to generate the scientific data and other information needed by FDA to determine safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to the rigorous standards set forth by the FDA. For more information on the COVID vaccine and the FDA’s EUA process, please click here.
What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
The current vaccines that are near ready to seek EUA require two doses about a month apart. Some of the reported side effects include pain at the injection site, fatigue, muscle aches and headache. In general, vaccine side effects are short lived and far less serious than the disease it provides protection against.
Will NCH employees be required to take the vaccine? What about the seasonal workers?
The vaccine is not being required at this time, though it is strongly recommended for all healthcare workers for their protection, and the protection of NCH patients.
As we receive the vaccine allocation, the administration of the vaccine will be prioritized by healthcare worker COVID-19 risk level as recommended by the CDC and Florida Department of Health.
Healthcare workers who have the most frequent and longest exposure to COVID-19 will be vaccinated first.
All employees will be still be required to follow PPE protocols.
Eventually, like the flu vaccine, a COVID-19 vaccine may be required for all staff.
There have been many questions surrounding bed capacity at NCH and we want to assure the community that our hospitals are prepared in that regard. Under normal, typical operations, NCH has 715 total beds available with 48 of those being designated as critical care beds. However, in the event that NCH had to enact its emergency COVID surge plans, we have the capability of expanding to 1000 total adult beds with 143 of those being designated as critical care.
It is important to continue to be diligent with wearing a mask. We have seen the results at our healthcare system when we follow the proper process and continue to social distance, wear our PPE and wash our hands. Please encourage your fellow community members to follow these practices and continue to be diligent to help avoid the spread of this virus.
Community members can call their primary care physician to schedule COVID-19 testing or call the Florida Department of Health in Collier County, 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., to learn about other local testing sites. Their phone number is 239-252-6220. For the most recent list of testing sites, please click HERE.