COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all eligible Ohioans ages 12 and older
Thanks to increased vaccine supply, Ohioans ages 12 and older can now get vaccinated without an appointment at Walgreens, CVS, Kroger or neighborhood pharmacies during regular business hours. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and no-cost for Medicaid members. Just ask for your COVID-19 Vax on the Spot!
Members can get a ride to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment at no cost. Call (866) 642-9279 two days before your appointment to schedule your ride. Transportation specialists are available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information on scheduling rides, visit the transportation page.
Individuals ages 12 to 17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is approved for ages 12 and older. Individuals ages 12 to 17 must have parental consent for any vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to the vaccination appointment.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all eligible Ohioans ages 12 and older who choose to receive the vaccine. Use the Ohio Department of Health's COVID-19 Vaccine Checklist to help you plan for your vaccination and understand what to expect after you receive the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated can resume activities that they did prior to the pandemic. Learn more about what you and your child or teen can do when you have been fully vaccinated.
You are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, or
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you don't meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 Vaccine Town Halls
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) hosted a series of Town Halls in February and March 2021 to provide reliable, trustworthy information about COVID-19 vaccines. Medical experts, community leaders and public health professionals answered common questions and debunked COVID-19 vaccine myths.
Things you need to know about the COVID-19 Vaccine:
Safety: The vaccines are safe and effective. Your safety is the top priority of researchers and manufacturers who created the COVID-19 vaccine. Clinical trials, FDA evaluation, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) review were part of the development process. Only the COVID-19 vaccine can protect against the virus. Other vaccines will not protect you.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for individuals 12 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for adults 18 and older.
On April 13, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommended a temporary pause in using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC and FDA lifted the pause on the vaccine on April 23, 2021 based on the recommendation from the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP). Providers were permitted to resume administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccines in Ohio. View the Ohio Department of Health's news release for additional information.
Number of doses: The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine require two doses to offer full protection. They are given several weeks apart. The first vaccination primes the body's immune system and helps it recognize the virus. The second vaccination strengthens the immune response.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose to offer full protection.
Cost: The vaccine is free for all Ohioans regardless of the type of insurance you have or if you don't have any insurance. If you choose to get the vaccine, you will not have to pay.
Where Can You Locate Vaccine Providers?
The Ohio Department of Health has developed a search tool for Ohioans to use to find a vaccine provider near them. Ohioans can visit: https://vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ to find a vaccine provider near them. It is searchable by ZIP code and county, and only displays those providers currently receiving vaccine shipments. Click here for help using the vaccine provider search tool.
Continue to protect yourself and others by:
- Staying home as much as possible.
- Washing your hands often.
- Wearing a mask that covers the mouth and nose and practicing social distancing.
Stay up to date on Ohio’s COVID-19 response and vaccine program at: coronavirus.ohio.gov
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get vaccinated?
COVID-19 continues to spread in Ohio. COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people.
The COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 and to decrease the severity of illness in people who catch the virus that causes the disease.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes, the vaccines are safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a process for ensuring that all vaccines are safe before they can be used in the United States. All vaccines made available have undergone clinical trials and approval for both safety and effectiveness.
Can children get the vaccine?
There are no COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for children age 11 or younger. COVID-19 vaccination of young children is not currently recommended because of limited data on the vaccine safety and efficacy, although studies are ongoing. Children should still make sure they are up to date on their other important life-saving immunizations.
The following websites have helpful info and tools to help you find out where to get a vaccine:
You can also learn more from health care providers, state and local health agencies, and pharmacies through public announcements and traditional and social media sources.
How many doses are needed to be effective?
It is recommended to confirm with the vaccine administrator which manufacturer was administered and how many doses will be necessary. Upon receipt of the initial dose, it is also recommended to request a completed COVID-19 vaccination record card for your personal records. Vaccination providers must complete these cards with accurate vaccine information (i.e. vaccine manufacturer, lot number, date of first dose administration, and second dose due date) and give them to each patient who receives the vaccine to ensure a basic vaccination record is provided.
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 70,000 participants between the two studies. Although the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed recently, the technology used in mRNA vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, has been studied for decades. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 85% effective in phase 3 clinical trials at preventing severe COVID-19 illness. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses the traditional virus-based technology for delivery of the vaccine.
How much will the vaccine cost?
There will be no cost to you for the COVID-19 vaccine.
What are the side effects of receiving the vaccine?
During the FDA's review and approval process, safety and effectiveness are evaluated. After getting vaccinated, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. Most side effects are generally mild and last a few days.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was previously paused due to blood clots in individuals after receiving the vaccine. What symptoms should I look for if I have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
If you received the vaccine within the last month, be aware of any symptoms you develop. If you develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, shortness of breath (or any other symptoms that you think might be related to your vaccination) within three weeks after vaccination, you should seek medical treatment from your doctor, go to an urgent care clinic, or go to the emergency room. Let the doctors know you were recently vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
If you received the vaccine more than a month ago, your risk of developing these clots is extremely low.
Did the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause impact the use or distribution of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?
No. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not seeing any of these rare side effects. They are both still available.
Did the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause impact the number of vaccines available in the U.S.?
There are two other vaccines that are currently still available in the U.S. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause is not expected to impact short-term supply significantly.
Can I get COVID-19 infection directly as a result of receiving the vaccine?
No. The live COVID-19 virus is not present in any vaccine currently available and there is no risk from becoming infected as a direct result of receiving the vaccine. After getting vaccinated, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The most common side effects are pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. In addition, you may have fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. Most side effects are generally mild and last a few days. Contact the 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line if you have questions about your symptoms. The number is on the back of your member ID card.
Will I still need to wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash my hands, and limit my exposure to others after I get a vaccine?
The CDC generally recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases. They include:
- Wash your hands often with plain soap and water. The CDC recommends washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Learn more about safely using hand sanitizer on the FDA's website at https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/safely-using-hand-sanitizer.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering or non-surgical mask when around others. Find more information about how to select, wear, and clean your mask on the CDC's website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html.
- Avoid crowds and practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet apart from others).
The CDC has issued guidance on what you can do once you become fully vaccinated. For the most updated information, visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits.html.
I already had COVID-19 and recovered. Do I still need to get a vaccine?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the possibility of reinfection, you should be vaccinated even if you have had COVID-19. This is because experts don't yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.
If you have COVID-19, you should wait to get vaccinated until you are no longer sick and are not in isolation. Talk to your doctor if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
If I am pregnant, can I get the COVID-19 shot?
Yes. If you are pregnant, you can safely get the shot. Due to the way COVID-19 shots work, experts don't think there is a risk for pregnant people. There aren't a lot of studies in pregnant people. To date, they have not found any safety concerns for pregnant people. Clinical studies to look at the safety and how well the shot works in pregnant people are being done now and more are planned.
You should speak to your health care doctor to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. Each patient is different. Talking to your doctor is not needed before you get a shot, but it is a good idea.
If I am nursing my baby, can I get the COVID-19 shot?
Yes. Nursing mothers were not involved in the studies, but experts think that COVID-19 shots should be given to nursing moms who are able to take the shot. The benefits of getting the shot is though to be more than the risk of not getting one. You do not need to stop nursing to get the COVID-19 shot(s). You can keep breastfeeding after you get the COVID-19 shot.
How do I know which sources of COVID-19 vaccine information are accurate?
It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. The internet, unfortunately, can be filled with dangerous misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The best thing you can do is educate yourself about the vaccines with trustworthy information. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information in this article from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/evalwebs.htm.
Were minorities or people with high-risk health conditions included in the clinical studies?
Yes. The Phase 3 clinical trials for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Moderna vaccine and Johnson & Johnson vaccine included communities that have historically been under-represented in clinical research and have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
The Pfizer-BioNTech's worldwide clinical trials, the Moderna study population and Johnson & Johnson's worldwide clinical trials included participants from communities of color, with the diversity percentage of participants similar to that of the U.S. at large. The clinical studies included participants over age 65 and participants with high-risk chronic diseases that put them at increased risk of severe COVID-19, such as diabetes, severe obesity and cardiac disease.
The table below provides data on Phase 3 clinical trial participants for the COVID-19 vaccines.
Approximate number of participants
Percentage of participants from communities of color
Percentage of participants over the age of 65
Percentage of participants with a high-risk chronic disease
Johnson & Johnson Vaccine