IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE SCHEDULING YOUR APPOINTMENT:
- You MUST BE age 18 or older to be eligible for the MODERNA and/or JANSSEN (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine.
- You MUST BE age 12 or older to be eligible for the PFIZER vaccine.
- Both the MODERNA and PFIZER vaccines are administered as a 2 dose series, at your dose 1 appointment, you will be scheduled for the 2nd dose return date.
- We must SOCIAL DISTANCE at all times and we will limit the number of people in the clinic area.
Current VBCASSDHD clinic offerings:
Vaccine is available by APPOINTMENT on Wednesdays in Cass County and on Thursdays in Van Buren County. Choose a link below to schedule for a specific vaccine.
Vaccine is available by WALK-IN with no appointment necessary on MONDAY’S from 9-11 am & 1-4 pm at BOTH our Cass County office in Dowagiac and our Van Buren County office in Lawrence.
Additional Clinic Options:
If you are a person with a disability and are having difficulty accessing a COVID-19 vaccination, CLICK HERE for assistance.
JANSSEN COVID-19 Vaccine is given in a SINGLE DOSE
- Click HERE to read the Factsheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the JANSSEN COVID-19 VACCINE to Prevent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Individuals 18 Years of Age and older.
MODERNA COVID-19 Vaccine is a 2 DOSE SERIES. The interval between doses is 28 – 42 days. DO NOT SCHEDULE your 2nd dose EARLY, WE CANNOT ADMINISTER IT. Bring your COVID Vaccine record to your 2nd dose appointment.
- Click HERE to read the Factsheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the MODERNA COVID-19 VACCINE to Prevent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Individuals 18 Years of Age and older.
PFIZER-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is a 2 DOSE SERIES. The interval between doses is 21 days (3 weeks). DO NOT SCHEDULE your 2nd dose EARLY, WE CANNOT ADMINISTER IT. Bring your COVID Vaccine record to your 2nd dose appointment.
- Click HERE to read the Factsheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the PFIZER-BIONTECH COVID-19 VACCINE to Prevent Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in individuals 12 Years of Age and Older.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Where and How to Access it
If you or someone you know is homebound, please call to put your name on the list for homebound vaccination.
If you live in Cass County, call Cass County Council on Aging at (269) 445-8110
If you live in Van Buren County, call Senior Services of Van Buren County at (269) 468-9476*
Ascension Borgess-Lee Memorial: At this time Ascension Borgess (including Borgess-Lee Memorial) is only vaccinating current patients and reaching out to their patients directly to schedule them. They do not have a registration or sign-up process in place.
Bronson: Register for the vaccine through Bronson MyChart. https://www.bronsonhealth.com/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine/
Cass Family Clinic Network: Call (269) 445-3874 to schedule an appointment, or sign up on their website:
Family Fare - Dowagiac and Paw Paw - call the pharmacy or sign up online at https://www.shopfamilyfare.com/covid19vaccine
HomeTown Pharmacy in Bangor and Gobles: Complete the eligibility questionnaire here
InterCare Health Network: Taking names on a waitlist, call (855) 869-6900 to be added
Meijer: Register by texting "COVID" to 75049 or online at https://clinic.meijer.com/
Pokagon Health Services: call the vaccine voicemail at 269-692-5812 to request an appointment. Pfizer for ages 12 and up and Moderna for ages 18 and u.
RiteAid - Dowagiac and Hartford: Find out if you qualify and schedule an appointment here: https://www.riteaid.com/covid-vaccine-apt
Sam's Club: The Sam's Club in Mishawaka and Portage are now offering vaccine. Find out if you qualify and schedule an appointment here: www.samsclub.com/covid.
Spectrum Health Lakeland: A vaccine scheduler is available on their website. Visit https://www.spectrumhealthlakeland.org/covid19/covid-19-vaccine-information-center
Village Market - Decatur: Taking names on a waitlist, call (269) 423-6770 to be added
Walgreens: Very few Walgreens currently have vaccine for the public but you can continue to check their website by entering your zip code for vaccine eligibility here: https://www.walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19/location-screening
Niles-area residents and those near the Berrien County border are eligible to schedule appointments in Berrien County. Click here for vaccine appointments: http://bchdmi.org/1745/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information
COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard
.png screenshot visual with quick access. Learn more about how many doses have been administered, from which vaccine type and provider type, how many have been shipped and more.
Link to dashboard: Coronavirus - COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard
V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker - use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You'll also get reminders if you need a second vaccine dose. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Is the vaccine safe and effective for my family and me?
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
How Do mRNA Vaccines Work?
Every virus is different. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2 and the vaccine developed to prevent it is an mRNA vaccine.
Vaccine Safety & Effectiveness
We are confident that both vaccines* approved for use in the U.S. are highly safe and effective. Both were developed in the United States and have undergone U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scrutiny, the most rigorous vaccine approval process on the planet. They were found to be over 94% effective in adults, and only 2-10% of clinical trial participants experienced mild to moderate side effects attributable to a normal, healthy immune response.
*Pfizer vaccine approved by the FDA on December 12, 2020. Moderna vaccine slated for FDA approval the week of December 14.
Vaccine Development & Approval Process
Each COVID-19 vaccine moved through a three-phase development process, including human clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. Upon the completion of the clinical trials, the drug sponsors applied to the FDA to market and distribute the vaccine.
Prior to issuing guidance on each vaccine, the data and evidence was reviewed by an external panel of independent experts who provided a recommendation to the FDA to authorize the vaccine. The FDA ultimately determined that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, product quality, and consistency had been clearly demonstrated, so the vaccines were approved. While the three-phase clinical trial process has historically taken an average of three years or more, the FDA allowed for the acceleration of the development timeline and permitted some trials to overlap rather than run sequentially.
But federal oversight does not end once the vaccines are approved. Local healthcare workers will be among the first to get the vaccine and they will be using an after-vaccine health checker to provide additional data to a national database. Anyone who gets the vaccine may also use the vaccine reporting system – VAERS – to report undocumented side effects. This system is already used with other vaccines and immediately alerts health authorities to any possible issues.
Visit the FDA’s website to learn more about the development of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Possible Side Efffects
Based on published data, there are mild to moderate side effects associated with the leading COVID-19 vaccines. These short-term symptoms can include:
- Headache, and
- Joint and muscle pain
However, only 2-10% of people who took part in the clinical trials experienced side effects. None were severe or required hospitalization.
Side effects from vaccines are not uncommon. The seasonal flu shot, for example, can cause fever and fatigue, among other symptoms.
The COVID-19 vaccines, in particular, are designed to teach your body how to recognize and fight the coronavirus. Therefore, mild to moderate side effects are the result of a normal, healthy immune system responding to the vaccine.
Side effects do not mean you have contracted COVID-19. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Remember, mild to moderate symptoms are a sign that the body is building immunity.
watch the CDC video:
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website to learn more about the COVID-19 side effects.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Will the COVID-19 vaccine be free? Will it be administered through Van Buren and Cass County? How will you notify when the vaccine is available? Will you let us know which company it will be from?
VBCDHD is currently working on a robust plan to distribute the vaccine, as well as how to communicate the plan to the community. VBCDHD, hospitals, local federally qualified health centers, and pharmacies will be administering the vaccine.
Cost will not be an obstacle to anyone receiving the vaccine. The vaccine, itself, will be given to Americans at no cost. Vaccine providers will be able to charge a fee to administer the shot, but this fee should be covered by public or private insurance, or by a government relief fund for the uninsured.
Anyone can receive updates from VBCDHD by signing up. [link to a sign up comng soon]
How is the vaccine administered?
The two vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require two doses, either 21 or 28 days apart. It is important to get both doses to ensure the highest level of efficacy.
Can the vaccine give me a COVID-19 infection?
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. The goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. This means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Will I have a positive COVID-19 test after getting the vaccine?
No. Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.
Do I still need to wear a mask even after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection provided by the COVID-19 vaccines under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before changing recommendations on steps people need to take that slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine together with following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
For more information, visit considerations for wearing masks.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine help me even if I've already been infected with COVID-19?
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they had COVID-19 before.
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity to COVID-19 may not last very long. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Can children and pregnant women be vaccinated?
COVID-19 vaccine trials for children are just beginning. Pfizer expanded its vaccine testing to children ages 12 and older in late October; however, Moderna has not yet set a date when it will begin testing its product in children. It remains unclear when a vaccine will be approved for children under 16 but the goal is to have one ready before the 2021 school year.
What can I expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
Phase 1A - critical healthare infrastructure
At first, vaccine distribution will be limited and prioritized to paid and unpaid (volunteer) persons working in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents and workers in long term care facilities.
1A Priority One: Keep critical health care infrastructure open and functioning (i.e., hospitals, critical care units, and emergency medical response systems) through vaccination of staff who perform direct patient care and work in critical areas including:
- Group A: Emergency medical service providers, including medical first responders
- Group B: General medical floor
- Group C: Emergency department
- Group D: Intensive care units
1A Priority Two: Prevent outbreaks and protect residents in long-term care facilities.
- Group A: Workers who have direct contact with a large number of vulnerable residents. Note this would include staff who come in and out of the buildings.
- Skilled nursing facility staff
- Psychiatric hospital staff
- Homes for aged staff
- Adult foster care centers staff
- Assisted living facility staff
- Home health care workers caring for high risk clients with large patient loads (e.g. people with a tracheostomy/ventilator at home)
- Group B: Vulnerable residents in long-term care facilities.
- Skilled nursing facility residents
- Psychiatric hospital patients
- Homes for aged residents
- Adult foster care centers residents
- Assisted living facility residents
1A Priority Three: Keep necessary health care infrastructure functioning.
- Group A: Workers with direct patient contact who conduct high risk procedures (e.g., dentists, endoscopy, dialysis).
- Group B: Vaccinate other workers who have direct patient contact, including outpatient, urgent care, ambulatory care, and home health care.
- Group C: Vaccinate workers who have indirect patient contact with specialized skills critical to health care system functioning (e.g. hospital and public health laboratories, pharmacy).
Phase 1B - frontline essential workers and individuals 65 years of age and older
Once Phase 1A groups are vaccinated, the State plan will prioritize frontline essential workers who keep critical infrastructure open and functioning as well as individuals age 65 years of age and older. This includes:
- Frontline essential workers: First Responders (Firefighters, Police), Manufacturing, Corrections workers, Grocery store workers
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- K-12 school and child care staff with direct contact with children
- Some workers in 16 sectors of Critical Infrastructure Protection Program, including Chemical; Communications; Dams; Emergency Services; Financial Services; Government Facilities; Information Technology; Transportation Systems; Energy; Food and Agriculture; Healthcare and Public Health; Nuclear Reactors, Materials and Waste; and Water and Wastewater Systems
- Staff in homeless shelters, corrections facilities (prisons, jails, juvenile justice facilities), congregate child care institutions, and adult and child protective services
- Workers with unique skill sets not covered above, such as non-hospital laboratories and mortuary services.
Phase 1C - populations at high risk
The next group to receive vaccines will be populations at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection.
- Group A: Individuals age 65-74 years
- Group B: Individuals 16-64 years with COPD, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity or other conditions that put them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome.
- Other essential workers: Food Service, Shelter & Housing (construction), Media, Legal, Public safety (Engineers)
NOTE: These prioritizations may change as further guidance from the CDC or the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, more information on vaccine effectiveness and additional vaccines become available.
Phase 2 - all individuals 18 years or older
In 2021, the vaccine supply is expected to increase substantially. Current models suggest that all individuals 18 years or older who do not fall within the initial priority groups should qualify for the vaccine by mid-2021.
The vaccines themselves are free to all. A small charge may be assessed to health insurance providers by the agency administering the vaccine, but there will not be any out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine.
More information will be available soon on how and where vaccines are being administered