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Vaccine Information

The approval of multiple safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 is a turning point for our country as we still grapple with this pandemic. The beginning of vaccine distribution and the hard work of scientists should inspire hope. But, we are by no means finished with this pandemic. Masking, distancing and testing are still critical to saving lives.

Below you will find information on state and local vaccine distribution plans as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

Important Vaccine Information

The currently available COVID-19 vaccines are being administered in phases to ensure that the most at-risk and vulnerable populations receive it first. There are several sources for COVID-19 vaccines, including County health departments, hospitals and medical systems and retail pharmacies. 

Check with your local county health department or vaccine provided to see what phase they are in. Please note that some counties and providers may be in different phases. 

You should pre-register with a vaccine provider to be contacted for an appointment when you are eligible and there are available doses. The two currently offered vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) require two doses, several weeks apart. Ensure that you schedule your second dose when you receive your first dose.

State and Local Vaccine Distribution Plans and Information

See here for the state’s vaccine distribution plan

See here for the state's COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard

Contact the State Health Department at: (410) 767-6500 or 1-877-463-3464 

See below for a list of county-level information pages about COVID-19 vaccine distribution:

Anne Arundel County 
Preregister by visiting:
For more information and FAQs visit:
Phone: (410) 222-7256

Prince George’s County 
Preregister by visiting:
For more information and FAQs visit:
Phone: (301) 883-6627
A COVID-19 Vaccine Registration Hotline is live for seniors and others who need assistance with pre-registering for a vaccine appointment. To access the hotline, dial 311 and press #. Only those who need assistance with pre-registering should call the hotline.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make a COVID-19 vaccine(s) available. Vaccines undergo a series of rigorous clinical trials using thousands of study participants to generate data and other information for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine their safety and effectiveness to approve or authorize for emergency use. Following approval or authorization, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events or possible side effects. Visit the CDC’s website for more information about ensuring the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.—including information about specific vaccine monitoring systems

Is a COVID-19 vaccine necessary?

COVID-19 infections can be a minor hindrance or lead to severe disease or even death. There are many reasons to get vaccinated. Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

Why would I need a vaccine if I can do other things — like social distancing, washing my hands and wearing a mask — to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Is the vaccine free? 

Yes. You should not have to pay anything out of pocket to get the vaccine, although you will be asked for insurance information. If you don’t have insurance, you should still be given the vaccine at no charge.

How long will it take to work?

You won’t get the full protection from the Pfizer vaccine until about a week after the second dose. Vaccine efficacy reaches 52% ten days after the first dose. A week after the second dose, vaccine efficacy rises to 95%. 

What are the side effects?

Few vaccine recipients have reported any serious health problems other than allergic reactions. The side effects, which can resemble the symptoms of Covid-19, last about a day and appear more likely after the second dose. Other side effects can include headaches, chills, and muscle pain.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding women take the vaccine?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult with their obstetricians and pediatricians about whether to get the vaccine.

What if the second dose is not taken on time?

Patients should get Pfizer’s second dose three weeks after the first and Moderna’s four weeks later. The vaccine is less effective with just one dose. It is unclear how much less effective the vaccine is with just one dose, which is why it is highly recommended patients receive both doses.

Do individuals still need to wear a mask after being vaccinated?

Yes—at least until scientists have more data. Public health officials estimate that 70 to 75% of the population needs to be vaccinated before people can start moving freely in society again. 

What can I do to help protect myself from getting COVID-19 until I can receive a vaccine?

You should cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, avoid close contact with people who are sick, stay 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands often. Get more information about these and other steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Marylanders are encouraged to visit to learn more.

Will an influenza (flu) vaccine protect me from COVID-19?

Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19. However, flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization and death. Getting a flu vaccine this fall will be more important than ever, not only to reduce your risk from flu but also to help conserve potentially scarce health care resources.


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