How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine in Ohio

Posted on 06/14/21 by Emily Paulin

Virus Outbreak Vaccine Ohio

En español | Who can get vaccinated now?

    Where can I get vaccinated?

    • Local vaccination sites, including local health departments, hospitals, health centers, independent pharmacies and local vaccination events. Ohioans can register with the state’s centralized Vaccine Management System (VMS), which serves as a single location to confirm vaccination eligibility, identify nearby providers and schedule vaccination appointments. All of Ohio’s vaccine providers are expected to use the VMS, or have a system that interfaces with the VMS, to schedule appointments. Alternatively, use the state's online vaccine locator tool, searchable by zip code or county, to find a provider and schedule a vaccination appointment directly. Some sites are taking walk-ins, no appointment necessary.
    • Mass vaccination sites and mobile clinics are operating in different regions of the state. Visit this page for the location, opening date and sign-up details for each site/clinic.
    • Through your employer or living facility. Ohioans who were prioritized for a vaccination because of their job, such as a teacher, or where they live, such as a nursing home resident, may be able to get vaccinated through their workplaces or the facilities where they reside. Check with your employer or residence before scheduling an appointment.
    • County developmental disability boards are reaching out to families of individuals who are eligible due to a qualifying disability. If you have not been contacted, reach out to your county’s board to schedule a vaccination.
    • At home, if you are unable to leave your home to get a vaccination. Contact your Area Agency on Aging at 866-243-5678 to coordinate an appointment.
    • The state’s COVID line 833-427-5634 can help you find a provider or make an appointment if you are having trouble booking an appointment online or don’t have computer access.
    • The federal government’s vaccines, lets you search for vaccination sites by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
    • Many transit agencies are offering free or discount rides to and from vaccination sites. So are Uber and Lyft. Book a ride through their mobile apps or online. 

    AARP recommends that you ask your doctor about the safety, effectiveness, benefits and risks of the coronavirus vaccine. Older adults, especially those with underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk for hospitalization and death from COVID-19.

    What should I bring to my vaccination appointment?

    Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Officials recommend that you bring a driver’s license or another state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, and your health insurance card, if you have one. You will not be charged, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccination.

    If you are prioritized because of an underlying medical condition or based on your work, you may need a note from your doctor, a pay stub or badge, or some other form of proof. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says to wear a mask at your appointment. 

    How will residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities get vaccinated?

    Most residents and staff of long-term care facilities in Ohio are being vaccinated through a federal program that contracted with CVS, Walgreens, Absolute Pharmacy and Pharmscript to administer COVID-19 vaccines via free on-site clinics. Apart from a very small number of outstanding clinics, the program is complete. 

    To ensure long-term care facilities still have access to COVID-19 vaccines — for new residents or staff, or for residents and staff who were initially hesitant to receive the shots — the federal government is continuing to allocate vaccines to pharmacies partnered with long-term care facilities. 

    Which vaccines require a second shot? 

    The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. 

    Providers in Ohio will aim to schedule your second dose at your appointment for your first dose, or potentially even earlier. The state may send you a postcard or text message reminding you to get your second dose based on data that vaccine providers are required to report.

    Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot. Federal officials warn that the vaccine has been connected with rare, severe blood clots in a small number of recipients, especially in women age 50 years and younger.

    It’s not yet known how long immunity from a coronavirus vaccination lasts and whether it needs to be administered on a regular basis like a flu shot.

    Do I have to pay for the vaccination?  

    You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccination. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself. Providers can recoup a fee for administering the shot, but not from consumers. They would be reimbursed by the patient’s insurance company or the government (in the case of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and the uninsured, for example).

    Scammers are purporting to offer COVID vaccinations and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP's Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.

    What should I do with my vaccine card? 

    You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.  

    You may need your vaccine card for certain kinds of travel or other activities, so keep it in a safe place. You can take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. Experts say that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft. If you lose your card or did not receive one, contact your vaccine provider or your local health department to get a copy. 

    When will kids be able to get vaccinated? 

    Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for those age 12 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said he expects that all kids will likely be eligible by early next year. 

    Should I still wear a mask after getting vaccinated?   

    It takes two weeks to build immunity after the single-dose shot and after the second dose of the two-dose shots. After that, the CDC says, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors and outdoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by state and federal law and local business and workplace requirements.

    The CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask on planes, buses and trains and other shared transport while traveling into, within or out of the United States, and while at transportation hubs like airports and stations.

    Helpful resources

    • Local health departments can provide information on where to get vaccinated in your area. The state is encouraging Ohioans to sign up to receive vaccine updates from local health departments, if available.

    This guide, published Dec. 18, was updated June 14 with new information on free and discounted rides to and from vaccination appointments.


    Also of Interest

    This story is provided by AARP Ohio. Visit the AARP Ohio page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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