I want to share important updates on COVID-19 vaccinations at Northwestern Medicine (NM) for patients ages 65 and older. Following is a Q&A from NM on how the process will work:
Q: Which patients will be invited to receive the vaccine?
A: Northwestern Medicine is identifying and proactively contacting patients who are eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccination appointments. They are following federal, state and local guidelines throughout this process. Invitations are going out according to age and location to help ensure equitable access and a smooth vaccination process. At this time, vaccine supply is still limited. Invitations will continue to go out as more doses are received.
Q: When will patient invitations go live in each region?
A: Northwestern Medicine is working closely with the local counties to determine when to start offering vaccines to patients in each county.
Q: Do I need an active MyNM, powered by MyChart, account to receive an invitation?
A: No. Patients who have a MyNM account will receive an email inviting them to schedule. If you do not have a MyNM account, you will be contacted via your preferred communication method — by phone, text message or email. You do not need to take action at this time. All communications, orders for vaccinations and administration will be managed by NM.
Once notified, patients who choose to receive the vaccine will be able to self-schedule their vaccination appointments using MyNM. You’ll need to have a MyChart account for notifications. If you don’t have one, or want to learn how to set your preferences on an existing account, please see these step-by-step instructions: CLICK HERE.
Q: What are the parameters of being an established NM patient?
A: For the purposes of this phase of the vaccination program, a patient is considered established if they have an NM primary care physician or regularly see an NM specialist.
Q: Where will the vaccine be given?
A: All vaccinations will be given at a Northwestern Medicine Hospital: CLICK HERE for a list of locations.
Q: Is there a charge for the vaccine?
A: There will not be a charge to patients for the vaccine. NM may bill the patient’s insurance company for the administration of the vaccine, but the patient will not be charged an out-of-pocket cost. If a patient does not have insurance or is out-of-network, the patient will not be charged.
Q: When will I receive the second dose of the vaccine?
A: Patients will be scheduled for their second vaccine dose during the appointment for their first vaccine dose. Patients will need to be available to schedule 21 days or 28 days after the first dose, depending on which vaccine is given.
Q: Which vaccine will be used?
A: NM currently has both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. You will not have the opportunity to choose your vaccine, but will receive one based on available supply. Please know that both are extremely effective at preventing COVID-19 illness. In clinical trials, Pfizer was shown to be 95% effective, Moderna 94.1%.
Q: Are there any circumstances in which I should not receive the vaccine?
A: You should NOT receive the vaccine at this time if:
you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days. Please wait at least 90 days after your COVID-19 diagnosis before scheduling vaccination.
you have a fever above 100 degrees F or symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 — cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste or smell.
you have recently been exposed to COVID-19.
you have received a flu shot or any other type of vaccine in the past 14 days. Please schedule your vaccination after this 14-day period.
For more information on NM’s vaccine rollout, please CLICK HERE to visit the hospital’s online COVID-19 Resource Center.
I will continue to provide updates via email, text and on my website regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution. As always, I welcome you to call the office with questions or concerns.
Sean O’Connor, MD