Everyone in North Carolina 16 and older (Group 5) is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We answer some common questions.  

How soon will I get my shot?

Please be patient. Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is far greater than the number of doses available. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services determines how vaccines are distributed.  Novant Health teams will continue to work around-the-clock to activate wait lists and add appointments as more doses become available.

How do I get in line for the vaccine?

All Novant Health vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ins – as supply allows. We do encourage people to make an appointment, but if someone has an unexpected free hour at work or finds themselves in the area, we invite them to pop-in and get their vaccine. Click here for a list of locations.

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Can people 16 and 17 get any vaccine?

At the time, only the Pfizer vaccine is available to that age group.

Will I have a choice of which vaccine I receive?

When scheduling, all patients are able to view which brand is available on a given day or time and can select their appointment time, accordingly. If your vaccine requires two doses, you’ll make the appointment for the second vaccine when you receive the first.

That said, public health experts say we should worry less about which vaccine we receive and focus on just getting vaccinated as soon as more doses are available.

“What’s most important is that enough people get the COVID-19 vaccine. I would not split hairs about which product you’re getting,”  said Dr. David Priest, Novant Health senior vice president and chief safety and quality officer. “If you have the opportunity, get one.”

Don’t forget: You are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after the Pfizer or Moderna second dose or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine.

Can I take acetaminophen before the shot to ward off a sore arm?

If you experience arm soreness, chills or a headache, experts recommend taking acetaminophen or NSAIDs to alleviate symptoms. However, taking these medications prior to vaccination (in order to prevent post-vaccination symptoms) is not currently recommended, as it’s not yet known if it could interfere with the vaccine-induced antibody responses.

Finally, because vaccinations continue, we all need to keep wearing masks, be socially distant and continue frequent handwashing.