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COVID-19 vaccines

Millions of people have been safely vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccination is safe and effective, and it will help us get back to doing the things we love. The COVID-19 vaccines are designed to prevent COVID-19 and are our best hope for ending the pandemic.

Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Schedule online through Mercyhealth MyChart or call your primary care doctor's office or 888.396.3729.

Any patient under the age of 18 must have a parent present to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 boosters

Updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters are now available for everyone 12 and older.

What is a bivalent COVID-19 booster?
Bivalent means the booster includes protection from two COVID strains: the ancestral strain (the same formula as the original vaccines) as well as the more recently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

Why should I get another booster shot?
The updated bivalent COVID-19 boosters help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination and provide broader protection against the newer BA.4 and BA.5 variants. It’s especially important to get one if you’re 65 and older or have a health condition that puts you at risk from COVID. Getting boosted greatly reduces your risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death. All COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized in the US are proven to be safe.

Who is eligible for the bivalent booster?
You’re eligible for a booster if you have completed your primary COVID-19 series and if it has been at least two months since your final primary dose or last booster. Individuals 12 and older can receive the updated Pfizer bivalent COVID-19 vaccine and adults 18 and older are eligible to receive the updated Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster. In addition, individuals who recently had a COVID-19 infection may consider delaying any COVID-19 vaccination, including the bivalent booster vaccination, by three months from symptom onset or positive test (if infection was asymptomatic).

What does it mean to be up-to-date on your COVID boosters?
For everyone 12 and older, you are considered up to date once you have received an updated bivalent booster.

Get your COVID-19 booster
Appointments are required by scheduling through Mercyhealth MyChart or by calling (888) 396-3729. If you have a COVID vaccine card, please bring it with you to your appointment.

Javon Bea Hospital–Riverside
8201 E. Riverside Blvd., Rockford, IL
Pulmonology department
Thursdays, 9 am-noon
Pfizer only

Mercyhealth Terrace
510 N. Terrace St., Janesville, WI
Surgery department
Wednesdays, 7-10 am
Pfizer only

Mercyhealth Hospital and Medical Center– Walworth
Hwys. 50 and 67, Lake Geneva, WI
Pharmacy
Moderna: Mondays and Wednesdays, 9 am-5 pm
Pfizer: Thursdays and Fridays, 9 am-5 pm
Appointments at this location are required by calling (262) 245-2319, ext. 0.

Mercyhealth Pharmacy–Woodstock
2000 Lake Ave., Woodstock, IL
Moderna: Thursdays
Pfizer: Wednesdays
Appointments at this location are required by calling (815) 337-7100.

View booster eligibility and timing.

Find other booster shot locations.

Frequently asked questions

Should I get vaccinated for COVID-19?

The vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, you can also help protect people around you.

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.

Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help protect them from getting COVID-19, spreading the virus to others and getting sick if they do get infected. While COVID-19 tends to be milder in children than adults, it can make children very sick, require hospitalization and some children have even died. Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness compared to children without underlying medical conditions.

Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at risk of getting very sick if infected. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available to children ages 5 years and older.

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 or even years.

Why do I need multiple COVID-19 shots?

Currently authorized Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two initial doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. We have found that a booster shot is also needed for most people as the protection that was given by the first two doses starts to decrease over time.

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.

Are there long-term side effects from COVID-19 vaccine?

Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. The good news is, at least 8 weeks’ worth of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than 8 weeks after vaccination.

How do I know if COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races and ethnicities. There were no serious safety concerns. CDC and the FDA will keep monitoring the vaccines to look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.

How do I report problems or bad reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

All recipients who receive the vaccine should enroll in v-safe. This is a smartphone tool you can use to tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you report serious side effects, someone from CDC will call to follow up. You will be given instructions for how to enroll when you receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

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