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Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions -- Answered

The state of New Hampshire has accepted its first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine, prompting a lot of questions.

Here Dr. John Mendoza, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Infectious Disease Specialist, answers some of your Frequently Asked Questions.

When will the vaccine be available to me?

Currently the timeline for widespread access to a COVID-19 vaccine in New Hampshire is expected to be approximately six to 12 months. As vaccine production increases over time, updated information on when you can expect to receive the vaccine will be posted at

How is it being decided who gets the vaccine and when?

At first there will be a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership initiated by the U.S. government, is working to get the first available vaccine doses out as a vaccine is authorized and recommended, rather than waiting until there is an adequate vaccine supply for everyone. In New Hampshire, the vaccine will be distributed in a phased approach, with the initial doses being used to vaccinate at-risk health workers, residents of long-term care facilities and first responders. For a detailed look at the NH Department of Health and Human Services Vaccination Plan visit

When it’s time for me to receive the vaccine, will I be able to get the vaccine at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital or through my Wentworth Health Partners healthcare provider?

As we receive more specifics on the vaccination’s availability, we will post updates, including how and when you might be able to schedule a vaccination at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital or with a Wentworth Health Partners healthcare provider.

How many shots will I need?

All but one of the COVID-19 vaccines available, or in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States, need two shots to be effective. A second shot, three weeks after your first shot, is needed to get the best protection the vaccine has to offer against serious disease.

What should I expect after I get the vaccine?

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs your body is building protection. These have included pain and swelling in the arm where the shot was received, as well as tiredness, headache, fever and chills.

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. Vaccination providers may charge an administration fee, however, for giving the shot. This fee can be reimbursed by your public or private insurance company, or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

What do I do while waiting for the vaccine?

It’s important to continue to socially distance with anyone not from your household, wash your hands frequently and wear a cloth face covering whenever you’re with someone from outside your household.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste and smell, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.

What if I think I might have COVID-19?

If you develop a fever, symptoms of respiratory illness, such as a cough or shortness of breath, flu-like symptoms, or loss of taste or smell you should call your healthcare provider. Anyone with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 is encouraged to get tested.

Learn more about Wentworth-Douglass Hospital's COVID-19 updates at

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Infectious Disease

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