Updates

February 25, 2021: 

At this time, HUHS does not have a supply of vaccine to provide to all of our Phase 2 eligible patients. We have lists of all our patients and which categories they fall in. As Massachusetts announces the timing for different groups to receive the vaccine, we will reach out to you via email, secure message, text, or phone with our recommendations, including when and where you should be vaccinated. Because of this, we do not need or have a waiting list. In order to ensure that all our patients are getting the same information, please do not call or secure message your doctor. We will communicate with our HUHS patients directly when vaccine is available to them.

Because some state-run vaccination clinics in the region may have a higher supply than what HUHS may receive, we strongly recommend you visit https://www.maimmunizations.org/ to try to arrange for a vaccination.

Priorities for distribution of the vaccine are established by the State and Federal Government. Harvard University will follow these standards: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-vaccination-phases.


Eight Things to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

Adapted from 8 Things to Know about the US COVID-19 Vaccination Program found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website

  1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top government priority.
  2. COVID-19 vaccination, 2 doses, will help protect you from getting COVID-19. 
  3. There is currently a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, but supply will increase in the weeks and months to come.
  4. As of December 18th, 2020 the CDC and the State of Massachusetts recommend COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
  5. Similar to other vaccines, you may experience some side effects after receiving the injection. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection.
  6. The cost of the vaccine is covered by the government.
  7. The first COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Moderna vaccine was just approved on December 18th. Many other vaccines are still being developed and tested.
  8. COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Q. When will HUHS have the vaccine?

A. Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) has applied for and been accepted to receive the vaccine, and we have recently received a small number of doses. 

HUHS will be following the guidelines established by the State of Massachusetts for administering the vaccine to the Harvard community. We are currently in Phase One of distribution.

Q. When will I be vaccinated? Can I get on a waitlist?

A. HUHS is not taking reservations or scheduling appointments for COVID-19 vaccination at this time. HUHS will be following the guidelines established by the State of Massachusetts for administering the vaccine to the Harvard community. We are currently in Phase One of distribution.

Q. Will I be contacted once I'm eligible to be vaccinated?

A. As we receive doses, we will provide communication and outreach directly to those individuals in our community who meet the prioritization criteria established by the State. HUHS will notify you about which phase of the vaccination program you will be in (Phase Two is for patients with particular qualifying conditions; Phase Three is for the general public).

Q. Can I get the vaccine early if I have a qualifying condition?

Please review the webpage provided by the State regarding People with Certain Medical Conditions

Q. Will I be required to get the vaccine?

A. At this time, it is not a requirement but we would strongly recommend that you receive the vaccine when it is available to you.

Q. What should I expect after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

A. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

As with most vaccines, the common side effects are pain and swelling on the arm where you got the shot. You may also have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. These side effects usually go away in a few days.

The vaccine is given in two doses, either 3 or 4 weeks apart, depending upon the vaccine we receive. It is expected that you will receive both doses and we are assured that we will have the second dose available when you are ready.

Further information can be found on the CDC website about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine and on this CDC handout

Q. Can I Stop COVID-19 testing once I've been vaccinated?

A. No. All community members with a regular on-campus presence are expected to continue with their COVID-19 testing cadence at this time.

Q. How do vaccines work?

A. While there are many different types of vaccines, most vaccines work by imitating an infection. This helps the body understand how it would fight off the virus if you were ever exposed. When you receive a vaccination your body will produce different types of cells and antibodies that fight off the imitation. They will leave behind what is sometimes referred to as “memory cells." These cells will remember how to fight off the infection. Oftentimes it can take a few weeks for your body to go through this process, so make sure to get your vaccinations when recommended. 

What this means for the COVID-19 Pandemic:
It will be important that as many people as possible receive a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes widely available to the general public. Once a vaccine is produced it may not be available to all people at the same time. It will be necessary that everyone, even vaccinated people, continue to wear masks properly, socially distance, and limit person-to-person interactions until we are told otherwise by public health professionals. Getting vaccinated will not give people a free pass to socialize, as they may have still been exposed and could potentially pass the virus on to others around them. While the news about the COVID-19 vaccine is a positive one, we still have a long way to go. Please stay vigilant in your preventative behaviors.

Q. How do I find credible information about vaccines on the internet?

A. There is a lot of information on the internet about vaccines. It can be hard to untangle sometimes, especially if you’re unsure what to look for. Here are some tips:

Q. Where can I get additional information?

A. There is extensive information on the CDC website about the vaccine