Facts About COVID-19 Vaccine


Thank you for choosing Medicap Pharmacy to get your COVID-19 vaccine.
You are helping to protect yourself and those around you from COVID-19.

Please continue reading for instructions for the day of your appointment.


FAQ About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Why is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine paused?

The CDC and FDA are recommending that we pause vaccinations with this vaccine until data from these reports can be reviewed.  The CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday 4/14 to further review these cases.


Out of 7 million doses of this vaccine that have been administered, there have been 6 reports of a rare type of  blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia). All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.


People who have received this vaccine and develop severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination should contact their health care provider. 


Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given.


If you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to the pharmacy at #(insert number) and ask to speak with one of our pharmacists.

What does an appointment with Medicap Pharmacy mean?

Booking an appointment with Medicap means that you are committing to receive the vaccine at our pharmacy, and we are reserving that dose just for you. Please keep your appointment once it's confirmed. If you have to cancel, please give us as much notice as possible so we can find another person to use the dose before it expires.

If there is more vaccine, why aren't more tiers opening up in Polk County to get my shot?

Our vaccine supply is allocated by the state and remains limited. We will not open up additional eligibility until at 70% of the previous stated (listed above) tiers receive at least their first dose. If supply of the vaccine from the state increases, we will open to additional tiers faster.

Can a first dose be used as a 2nd dose?

Doses are allocated to us by the county as either first or second doses. First doses are to be used for first doses as much as possible. And for second doses, we are only allocated enough second doses to cover any first doses that our pharmacy administered. And even though patients can receive a second dose anywhere, right now, we simply aren't allocated enough doses to be able to provide second doses to patients that received them elsewhere. Occasionally, we get an extra dose or someone cancels their appointment. In this case, we can attempt to fill in and provide a second dose to someone who received their first elsewhere but this instance is fairly rare. Unfortunately, current demand for both first and second doses far outweighs supply. Until vaccine supply increases, our locations only have enough vaccine allocated to each location to provide second doses for patients that received a first dose at our pharmacy. If you have questions about your second dose and timing, please reach out to the vaccine provider that gave your first dose.

What if I don't receive my 2nd dose in the suggested timeframe?

Evidence shows that receiving the 2nd dose up to 42 days after the first dose is still appropriate and provides an effective vaccine. We know Polk County Public Health Department has a plan in place for Polk County residents looking for their 2nd doses. We are confident people will get their 2nd dose, it just may be delayed.

Do I need to call the pharmacy to schedule my 2nd dose vaccination?

No. If you received your first dose at Medicap Pharmacy, you will receive an email, text or phone call to schedule your 2nd vaccine dose. While your vaccine card indicates a specific date for your next vaccine, receiving the 2nd dose on that EXACT date may not be feasible. For the Moderna vaccine, it is recommended the 2nd dose is as close to the time frame as possible. For the Moderna vaccine, the 2nd dose time frame is 28 days. While there may be a delay in receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, please be assured that the timing of  the second dose will not compromise the effectiveness of the vaccination and there is no need to start the series over again. While it remains important to get your second dose of the Moderna vaccine, fortunately, individuals receive significant protection against the COVID-19 virus within 10 days of receiving the first dose.

Do I need to receive the same brand of vaccine for my 2nd dose?

Yes. You must receive the same brand (Moderna or Pfizer) for your 2nd dose. 

Who is eligible for the vaccine currently?

Currently we are accepting limited appointments (based on vaccine availability) for COVID-19 vaccines for all Iowans age 18 and older.


How do I sign up to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Once the vaccine is available in your county, the public health department or your Medicap Pharmacy will publish the link. This link is how you will schedule your appointment.


If there is something wrong with the form or I can't schedule an appointment, should I call the pharmacy?

No. If all of the time slots are grayed out, or if the "No slots available" message is displayed or if the calendar is disabled or the form doesn't allow submissions- this means that we are out of vaccine and cannot schedule any appointments. Do not call the pharmacy - this is how our scheduling program works. We cannot schedule appointments when we are out of vaccine. We ask you to be patient and continue to check back periodically as additional appointments will be added as vaccine becomes available.

Should I call the pharmacy to get signed up for vaccine?

No.  By calling the pharmacy, it is taking our pharmacists away from filling prescriptions and administering the vaccine to others. The best way to learn how or when you can get signed up is to visit our website our your county's public health website.

Can I sign up on a waiting list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No.  There are no waiting lists.  The vaccine is available by appointment only and based on vaccine availability, depending on the county.

Why am I having issues when I am trying to get signed up?

We ask people to continue to have patience with us and the process as there is still a lot more demand than supply. We are working extra hours to administer the vaccine as quickly as possible to as many people as we can. We look forward to the day when we will have ample supply and be able to give a vaccine to everyone who wants one. Until then, please continue to check our website or your county's website when it is your turn to receive the vaccine.

What does an appointment at Medicap mean?

It is an acknowledgement that you have a reserved vaccine dose at our pharmacy and there is no need to book an appointment at other vaccine providers.  If for some reason our vaccine supply is short, we will give you priority with our next shipment and honor your appointment reservation.

Do I need to worry about being able to get my 2nd dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

No. If we administer the 1st dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, we will make sure that you get both a 2nd dose and an appointment time. There is no need to call the pharmacy and schedule a 2nd dose appointment. DO NOT use the same link to schedule your 2nd dose as you used for the first dose, please wait to be contacted by the pharmacy on instructions for your 2nd dose. Our pharmacy will contact you about 3-5 days prior to the appointment to give you information on how to schedule the 2nd dose.

Can the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you can catch it more than once. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection will last.

Can my child get vaccinated for COVID-19?

No. More studies need to be conducted before COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for children aged 16 and younger.

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe. People who get COVID-19 can have serious illnesses, and some have debilitating symptoms that persist for months.

Why do I need two COVID-19 shots?

Currently authorized vaccines, and most vaccines under development, require two doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the  immune system recognize the virus, and  the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.

Will the shot hurt or make me sick?

There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19. Side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.

What side effects can I expect?

Common side effects include pain at the injection site, headaches, feeling tired, muscle aches, joint pain, and a low-grade fever. These side effects are from your body making a good immune response and should only last 1-2 days. They are more common in people 18-55 years old and less common in people older than 55 years old. You can take over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol and ibuprofen to help with the side effects.

Will there be long-term side effects?

We do not know if there will be long-term side effects yet. However, we believe the risk of long-term side effects is low because the mRNA used in the vaccine only lasts for two minutes in the body and is then broken down.


What about the reports of Bell’s palsy?

There were three cases reported in the Moderna vaccine trial and four cases reported in the Pfizer vaccine trial. The incidence of Bell’s palsy in the general population is 15-30 cases per 100,000 people. So, the number of cases reported in the trials is similar to what we would expect in the general population and they were most likely not caused by the vaccine.

What should I do if I experience a bad reaction?

Bad reactions to vaccines are rare but can happen. They are most likely to happen within a few minutes after getting a vaccine. Some examples of bad reactions include fainting and anaphylaxis which can include hives and trouble breathing. We are asking you to stay at the pharmacy for 15-30 minutes after your injection so we can monitor you for reactions and take action if necessary.

What should I do if I experience a bad reaction later on?

If you experience a bad reaction after leaving the pharmacy, contact emergency medical services if necessary.

The people in the study were only followed for two months. How do we know it’s safe?

Monitoring the safety of vaccines will not stop. The clinical trials will continue for at least two years and the CDC and FDA have ways to monitor side effects of the general population which include VAERS and v-safe.

Can the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

No. The concern has come from the claim that the spike protein made by the body after getting an mRNA vaccine is similar to Syncitin 1, which is a protein in the placenta, and antibodies would attack the placenta. However, they are not similar enough. There has not been a higher rate of birth defects or abortions in people with COVID-19. There were also some people in the Pfizer and Moderna trials have gotten pregnant. There were few adverse effects for pregnant people in the study and all occurred in the placebo group.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated.  However, if they have questions, they should have a discussion with their healthcare provider.  There are limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for women who are pregnant.  While studies have not yet been done, based on how the mRNA vaccines work, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant women as they do not contain live virus and cannot give someone COVID.  They do not interact with genetic material DNA as the mRNA does not enter the nucleus of the cell and cells break apart the mRNA quickly.  Additionally, pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness if they develop COVID-19. This is a personal choice and pregnant women should have a conversation with their healthcare provider.  There are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production.  mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfed infant.  Women who are breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated but should also have a conversation with their healthcare provider and child’s pediatrician.

What is VAERS?

The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) has been around for many years. It is a way for healthcare providers to report adverse events to the CDC and FDA. If you do experience a bad reaction or have to be hospitalized for any reason after getting the vaccine, let your pharmacist know. We are required to report to VAERS if either of these things happen.

What is v-safe?

V-safe is a smart-phone based tool used to monitor side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. After enrolling, you will receive text messages that will take you to an online survey to ask about side effects you may have. These text messages come daily for the first week after your vaccine, then weekly for the next 5 weeks, and then final check-ins at 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months after your final dose. If you do have side effects that impact your life, you may receive a phone call from the CDC so they can learn more.

We encourage all of our patients to enroll in v-safe. It is the easiest and fastest way for us to learn about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines.

How can I enroll in v-safe?

Get more information at your vaccine appointment or go to vsafe.cdc.gov to enroll. Visit this website for more information.

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html

COVID-19 Administration Fee - Click here for more information