COVID-19 Vaccination | Get the Shot
COVID-19 vaccines offer our best shot at putting the pandemic behind us.
Thanks to safe, effective vaccines powered by decades of research and sound science, we can protect ourselves and our community, restore normalcy, and make a difference. We can safeguard our youngest, our oldest and our most vulnerable.
This is our shot — but only if we come together as a community and take it.
Who Can Be Vaccinated?
All Floridians age 12 and older are eligible for the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Those age 18 and older are eligible for the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) and Pfizer vaccines. Click here to learn more about current eligibility requirements.
Eligible vaccine recipients include people who are pregnant. Pregnant and recently pregnant women have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 than non-pregnant women, according to the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG).
Both the ACOG and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend that all pregnant individuals be vaccinated against COVID-19. There is no evidence that mRNA vaccines (Moderna and the FDA-approved Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines) cause any problems with pregnancy.
The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy far outweigh any known or potential risks. In fact, it offers protection to the recipient and builds antibodies that can protect baby.
Until you become fully vaccinated, continue taking steps to protect yourself and your loved ones while minimizing the spread of COVID-19. Keep wearing a mask and social distancing, in accordance with CDC recommendations. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after dose #2 of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or 2 weeks after the single-shot Johnson & Johnson.
Still on the fence about getting vaccinated? Click here to get the facts on COVID-19.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated in Sarasota?
The Department of Health, some clinics and retail pharmacies (Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Winn-Dixie, etc.) are facilitating community vaccinations for eligible residents in Sarasota County. For information on vaccination locations and opportunities, visit the Florida Department of Health website at floridahealthcovid19.gov or call 941-861-VAXS.
Who Needs a Booster Dose or Third Shot?
A COVID-19 vaccine “third shot” is considered part of the primary vaccination series for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. Because of weakened immune systems, this group is likely to have a weaker immune response to vaccination, which may prohibit them from getting the vaccine’s full protection in the first 2 doses.
COVID-19 “booster shots,” however, are intended to strengthen the protection provided by the initial 2 shots as those antibodies begin to wane over time.
Third Shots of the COVID-19 Vaccine
The CDC recommends a third shot of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. This includes people who are in active treatment for cancer; have received an organ or stem-cell transplant; and those who are being treated with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that suppress immune response. Wait at least 28 days after your second injection of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to get the additional dose.
Those who are eligible can get third shots wherever the Moderna (age 18 and older) or Pfizer (age 12 and up) vaccine is available, including retail pharmacies like Publix, CVS and Walgreens, as well as Department of Health vaccination sites and some clinics. Click here for to find a vaccination site near you.
For answers to common questions about third doses and booster shots, click here.
Booster Shots of the COVID-19 Vaccine
The CDC now recommends booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for certain populations and for people in high-risk occupational and institutional settings. Pfizer booster shots are recommended for people: who recieved the Pfizer vaccine for their primary COVID-19 vaccination series at least 6 months ago, and are:
The CDC guidance (released Sept. 24, 2021) also allows the following groups to receive a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot:
Pfizer booster shots are available for eligible populations wherever the Pfizer vaccine is available, including retail pharmacies like Publix, CVS and Walgreens, as well as Department of Health vaccination sites and some clinics. Click here for to find a vaccination site near you.
While booster shots are not yet authorized for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines, that is likely to change this fall. On Oct. 14, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for some populations. However, the FDA has not made any final decisions on Moderna booster shots, and a CDC panel must also review the data. Click here for the CDC's latest information on booster shots.
Is it safe to get a flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time?
Yes. There is no need to wait between a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine dose. They can even be given at the same time, but they should be given in separate anatomical sites. For example: one in the right arm and the other in the left arm. Click here for information on flu shots for people recovered from COVID-19 or who've had monoclonal antibody treatment.
Already Got the Shot?
Encourage friends and family to get vaccinated too.
Help them understand that it’s safe and very needed. Remind them of what they’ve been missing since COVID-19 began — and what they’ll get back once infection is no longer a threat. They may not listen to health experts, but they will listen to someone they care about.
Help others schedule vaccination appointments or get to a walk-in vaccination site.
You’ll find a vaccination site locator and other resources at floridahealthcovid19.gov.
Share the real facts with loved ones who are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
There’s so much misinformation circulating about the vaccines, it’s important that we help others find reliable sources for answers to their vaccine questions and concerns. (Check out this FAQ from SMH experts; click here for CDC information on vaccinating children and teens; and click here for general CDC vaccine info.)
Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination
As our country evolves into this new normal, you may need to show proof of vaccination for travel, school-related activities or other needs. For easy access to your proof of vaccination, be sure to snap a photo of the completed vaccination record card (front and back) and keep a digital copy on your phone or in your email. We also suggest printing out a few photocopies of the completed card and filing them in different places. Then, stash away the original card for safe keeping.
Possible Side Effects After Vaccination
Most people do not have serious issues after being vaccinated. Potential side effects might be more pronounced following the second dose of vaccines that require 2 doses, but are normal, temporary and a sign the vaccine is building up protection to COVID-19.
Common side effects such as arm discomfort, headache, body aches, fatigue (more than usual), chills, fever or nausea typically resolve within a day or two after vaccination. You can use over-the-counter medicine such as topical hydrocortisone cream, ibuprofen or acetaminophen for injection site pain or other discomfort, if not contraindicated by your doctor.
If you experience severe side effects after leaving a vaccination center, seek emergency care. If you experience any concerning side effects, contact your primary care physician for guidance.
If you received the J&J vaccine in the last 4 weeks and experience severe and unexplained symptoms such as severe headaches, leg pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath, contact a healthcare provider and let them know you recently received the J&J vaccine.
Lost or Damaged COVID-19 Vaccination Card?
If you’re a community member who received the COVID-19 vaccine through Sarasota Memorial and your vaccination card is lost or damaged, you can access your COVID-19 vaccination record in any of the ways detailed below.
Note that the below options for people who were vaccinated during our community events at the SMH Auditorium (main campus), Internal Medicine Practice in Newtown or Sarasota Memorial Health Care Center at Clark Road. For questions, call 941-917-2444 (9:30 am - 4:30 pm, Monday - Friday).
- Call your primary care provider’s office. All administered COVID vaccines are entered into the Florida State Health Online Tracking System (Florida SHOTS) immunization registry. If your doctor is enrolled in Florida SHOTS, the office staff can provide you with a copy of your immunization records, which will include vaccination dates, location and lot numbers. Note that all First Physicians Group primary care doctors are enrolled in Florida SHOTS and can provide a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record.
- Online access: Log in to your Sarasota Memorial FollowMyHealth Patient Portal account. Don’t have an SMH patient portal account? Register for a new one today. Contact our FollowMyHealth team for help at 941-917-2444 or email FollowMyHealth@smh.com.
- Submit a medical records request through SMH’s Release of Information Office. You can request a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record through our Medical Records / Release of Information Office via email, fax, in-person or by mail. See details below.
- Contact the Sarasota County Department of Health. Anyone vaccinated in Florida can receive a replacement vaccination card through the Sarasota Health Department’s immunization clinic. Appointments are required. Click here to learn more, or call 941-861-2784 to make an appointment.
Note: This webpage was last updated Oct. 15, 2021. Information regarding COVID-19 and community vaccinations changes frequently, so please monitor the CDC website for the most to date information.