Information about Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and Vaccination Distribution Plans, please visit Mass.gov and the CDC website. If you have a COVID-related appointment scheduled with us, you can print the Screening and Consent form (click on the link; below), fill it out, and bring it with you to the appointment.
WHAT IS THE LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT BOOSTER SHOTS?
CHC is monitoring the plan around boosters shots being reviewed by the FDA and CDC. We will continue to follow guidance as these organizations review and release recommendations. Click here for CHC’s most current information about booster shots.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINE?
Based on state guidelines for vaccine distribution and confirmed availability of vaccines, CHC is welcoming everyone in the community (12 years old or older) to come in for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients and community members are able self-schedule a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment at the following Community Health Connections vaccination sites:
- 375 Nichols Road in Fitchburg
- 175 Connors Street in Gardner
Please note: All current plans are subject to change due to the unprecedented experience of this pandemic and the current demand for vaccines.
HOW CAN I SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT?
- You can self-schedule your appointment through our website: https://www.chcfhc.org/schedule-an-appointment. On that page, you can also find full directions on how to do this in English and Spanish. You must be 18 years or older to schedule your own appointment.
- You can call us at 978-878-8100.
Please do not schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment if you had any other vaccinations within the past two weeks (14 days).
WHICH VACCINES DOES CHC HAVE?
CHC currently has the Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J/Janssen vaccines. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines need to be given in two (2) doses. Moderna’s second dose is given 28 days after the first dose. Pfizer’s second dose is given 21 days after the first dose. The J&J/Janssen vaccine requires only one dose.
To learn more about the Moderna vaccine, check out the CDC website for Moderna. To learn more about the Pfizer vaccine, check out the CDC website for Pfizer. To find out more about the J&J/Janssen vaccine, please visit the CDC website for J&J/Janssen.
MODERNA AND PFIZER ARE MRNA VACCINES. WHAT IS THAT?
mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to build protein that will trigger an immune response inside our bodies to fight an illness. While they are a new type of vaccine for most of us, mRNA vaccines been well researched, tested, and studied by scientific institutions for years. Here is an article from the CDC to learn more.
WHY IS THERE A 15-MINUTE WAITING PERIOD AFTER I RECEIVE MY VACCINATION?
This is a recommendation from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. They would like patients observed for 15 minutes after vaccination for signs of a severe allergic reaction. Because these are new vaccines, we don’t yet know whether there might be severe reactions. Though, if a severe allergic reaction is going to occur, it will usually begin within the 15-minute waiting period after a vaccination is given.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS FROM THE VACCINE?
Each vaccine dose can result in arm pain and swelling, fever, chills, muscle and joint pain, diarrhea, and headache. These are all indications that the vaccine is working within your body. The data so far shows that side effects were a bit more common following the second dose.
IF I HAVE SIDE EFFECTS OR QUESTIONS AFTER I RECEIVE THE COVID-19 VACCINE, WHO CAN I ASK?
The CDC has developed an app called V-safe. This is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. Using V-safe is voluntary and strongly encouraged.
V-safe will use text messaging and web surveys from the CDC to check in with vaccine recipients for health problems following their COVID-19 vaccination. The system also will provide telephone follow up to anyone who reports medically significant and adverse side effects.
If you do have severe side effects, you can also reach out to your medical provider. If it is a life-threatening emergency, call 911 or go to your local hospital.
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and Vaccination Distribution Plans, please visit Mass.gov and the CDC website:
What is novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?
As provided on Mass.gov: Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new respiratory disease, caused by a novel (or new) coronavirus that has not previously been seen in humans. Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Symptoms of this infection may appear 2-14 days after exposure and include:
- Fever, chills or shaking chills
- Signs of lower respiratory illness (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, lowered oxygen saturation)
- Fatigue, sore throat, headache, body aches/myalgia, or new loss of sense of taste or smell
- Other less common symptoms can include gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g. nausea, vomiting, diarrhea), rash, and inflammatory conditions such as “COVID toes”.
- In elderly, chronically ill, or debilitated individuals such as residents of a long-term care facility, symptoms of COVID-19 may be subtle – such as alterations in mental status of blood glucose control
However, it’s possible for people with COVID-19 to spread the virus to others up to 48 hours before they have symptoms. Visit the CDC’s resource on symptoms for more information.
If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, please contact your healthcare provider and a test site near you to schedule a test. You can also check your symptoms online.
You can call 2-1-1 to learn more about:
- COVID-19 prevention, symptoms, and treatment
- Information about testing
- Guidance for people planning or returning from travel
How does novel coronavirus spread?
Health experts are still learning the details. Currently it is thought to spread:
- via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes
- between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others, whenever possible. This is very important in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others. This helps reduce the risk of spread both by close contact and by airborne transmission.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid crowded indoor spaces and ensure indoor spaces are properly ventilated by bringing in outdoor air as much as possible. In general, being outdoors and in spaces with good ventilation reduces the risk of exposure to infectious respiratory droplets.
- Stay home and isolate from others while you are sick.
- Routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and take other steps to stop the spread at home.
Pandemics can be stressful, especially when you are staying away from others. During this time, it’s important to maintain social connections and care for your mental health time.
Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.
How is novel coronavirus treated?
Vaccines are currently being distributed through a phased distribution process. Most people with mild coronavirus illness will recover on their own by drinking plenty of fluids, resting, and taking pain and fever medications. However, some cases develop pneumonia and require medical care or hospitalization. Please click here for the . Please click here to view the CDC’s COVID-19 Home Care Instructions.
Please visit Mass.gov and the CDC website for more information: