North Central Health District


COVID-19 Vaccine

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Protection Against COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccine information is changing quickly – check this page regularly for updated information. 

Vaccines are one of the best defenses we have against infectious diseases. With the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the newly developed COVID-19 vaccines give our communities another tool to protect against illness.

Getting a Vaccine

All 13 of NCHD’s 13 county health departments offer COVID-19 vaccination as a regular, walk-in clinical service. Sites offer first, second and booster doses during their service hours. While no appointment is required to get your COVID-19 vaccine, you can schedule their COVID-19 vaccine by calling the county health department of your choice. Appointments can be made for first, second or booster doses.

Who Can Get Which Vaccine?

Anyone age 6 months and older is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia. NCHD offers the following COVID-19 vaccines (NOTE: availability of a specific brand of vaccine depends on supply, contact your local health department to find the available options):

  • Pfizer –
    • Ages 12 years and up: 2-shot series with three weeks between shots.
    • Ages 5 – 11 years: 2-shot series with three weeks between shots. Dosage is one-third the adult dosage.
    • Ages 6 months – 4 years: 3-shot series. The first two shots spaced three weeks apart and followed by a third at least two months later. The dosage is one-tenth the adult dosage.
  • Moderna –
    • Ages 12 years and up: 2-shot series with four weeks between shots.
    • Ages 6 – 11 years: 2-shot series with four weeks between shots. Dosage is half the adult dosage.
    • Ages 6 months – 5 years: 2-shot series with four weeks between shots. Dosage is one-quarter the adult dosage.
  • Novavax
    • Ages 12 and up: 2-shot series with three weeks between shots.

Note for individuals aged 6 months – 17 years: Anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive vaccination.

Vaccine Locator

All 13 of our county health departments are administering COVID-19 vaccine, and all public health districts in Georgia provide vaccine. Other providers such as pharmacies, grocery stores and others are offering vaccine as well. Georgia Department of Public Health has published a tool to find COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state. This list shows all sites where COVID-19 shots are available to those currently eligible for vaccination in Georiga. Find a COVID-19 Vaccination Site using

COVID-19 Booster Doses

The CDC now recommends that anyone that has receive the complete series of vaccines, whether Pfizer, Moderna or J&J, should get a booster shot in order to increase the efficacy of vaccination. The wait period between initial vaccination series and the booster depends on which vaccine you received. Anyone vaccinated with Novavax should not get a booster at this time. 

Mixing Adult Booster Doses

In addition, CDC recommendations now allow for mixing vaccines as booster doses. For example:

  • A person age 18+ that received 2 doses of Pfizer can receive a Moderna or J&J booster 5 months after their 2nd Pfizer shot.
  • A person age 18+ that received 2 doses of Moderna can receive a Pfizer or J&J booster 6 months after their 2nd Pfizer shot.
  • A person age 18+ that received a J&J shot can receive a Pfizer or Moderna booster 2 months later.

Novavax is not authorized to be used as a booster.

Second Booster Doses

CDC recommends a 2nd booster of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the 1st booster dose for:

Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Doses

Bivalent booster doses are available at all 13 NCHD county health departments. These reformulated booster vaccines target the original strain of the COVID-19 virus plus the omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, offering better protection against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. People should wait at least two months after completing their initial vaccination or their last booster shot before getting the bivalent booster.

The bivalent booster manufactured by Pfizer is authorized for individuals aged 12 and older. The bivalent booster by Moderna is authorized for adults aged 18 and older. Learn more.

Additional Dose for Immunocompromised People

The CDC is recommending that certain patients with weakened immune systems receive an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. The recommendation does not include J&J vaccine recipients at this time. This additional dose MUST be the same as previous doses (if you received Moderna, additional dose must be Moderna). Additional doses of COVID vaccine for immunocompromised individuals are being offered now. This includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Individuals should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination

Georgia residents who are currently homebound due to an ongoing physical or mental disability and are unable to travel to a COVID-19 vaccination site can request to receive vaccination at their home. Please email with the following information for the person who requires at home vaccination:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • City
  • County
  • Contact phone number

The contact phone number will be used to obtain additional information and schedule the vaccination.

Vaccine EUAs and Consent Form

Before receiving any vaccine, you will be required to review information from the vaccine manufacturer. Access the Emergency Use Authorization information for the vaccine offered to you:

To receive COVID-19 vaccination, you will be required to complete and sign the NCHD COVID-19 Vaccine Information and Consent Form. Before completing the form, review the vaccine EUA linked above. Print the form, complete it, sign it and take it with you to your vaccination appointment. Copies of the form will be available on-site.

Vaccination Options for Healthcare Providers
  1. Become a vaccine provider. Enrolling as a vaccine provider will allow you to order and administer vaccines to your staff, clients and the community. To become a vaccine provider, you must register on GRITS and complete the Pandemic Enrollment Application. Providers without access to GRITS may create an account on the website or email with any questions regarding registration. Existing vaccine providers registered with GRITS can check their status using the instructions below.
  2. If you are not eligible to become a vaccine provider, you can choose to partner with a local pharmacy, hospital or healthcare entity that is already a registered provider or is eligible to be a provider (see option 1) to be included in their vaccine orders. NCHD will not be able to find or facilitate local partnerships on your behalf. Please reach out to existing partners in your community.
  3. Entities that are unable to be vaccine providers and are not partnered with other local providers can seek vaccination through their local county health department if they fall in the current vaccination phase/tier. Vaccination will be provided by appointment on a first come, first serve basis once it becomes available locally and will depend on availability. Additionally, individuals seeking vaccination must come to the vaccination site; the Health Department does not have the capacity to provide vaccination at the facility site. Those eligible for vaccination must call 478-749-0179 or 1-844-987-0099 to schedule an appointment.


How to Enroll as a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider
  1. Vaccine Provider Enrollment Process

    1.  You can access your status in GRITS:
    2. You will have one of three statuses:
      • Approved – You’re good to go. 
      • Duplicate – This means you have already submitted your enrollment and it is pending approval. 
      • You can enroll.  Please use the checklist to ensure you complete all the necessary steps, including training. You will need to complete training for shipping, handling, and storage of COVID-19 vaccine, along with GRITS training and administration processes. You will need your certificates as .pdf attachments. 
      • Your IIS Identifier is the organization code you use to login to GRITS. GIP staff will work with providers individually to obtain any missing information, and to verify that all requirements have been met. 
    3.  Once GIP fully processes your completed enrollment application, they will send a confirmation email to you. That email will contain your approval, your PIN, and an order survey to complete your first vaccine order.
    4. Complete the order survey using the PIN provided to you (do not include the preceding GAA). Please take a screenshot of the last page as confirmation for your records.
    5. Beginning Monday, December 14, you will receive an email when your order has been placed.
    6. Please send any questions to:

    PLEASE NOTE: Neither DPH nor NCHD will create or otherwise provide COVID-19 vaccination consent forms to external healthcare providers. Georgia Hospital Association has created a COVID-19 vaccine consent form template that can be used by facilities to create a form.


    Vaccine Order Cancellation

    Providers should not contact Pfizer or Moderna to cancel a vaccine request.  If a provider is not able to store a vaccine delivery, they should immediately notify the Georgia Immunization Program by calling 404 657-3158 and also notify their local health department.  Public health staff will work to locate a facility where the vaccine can be transferred.  The facility that initially requested the vaccine should accept the shipment.  Do not open the shipping container.  The vaccine should be kept in a secure location until it can be picked up and moved to another location

    GRITS Hotline (Technical/IT questions):  866-483-2958 or email at

    Provider Support (Provider enrollment questions, Pin #s):  888-920-0165 or email


Vaccine Safety

Operation Warp Speed has been working to make a COVID-19 vaccine since the beginning of the pandemic. While the development of COVID-19 vaccines has been unprecedented, safety is a top priority. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the most strict pharmaceutical review group in the world. The FDA carefully reviews all safety data from each vaccine manufacturer’s clinical trial and agrees to issue an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only if the benefits of a vaccine outweighs any potential risks. Each COVID-19 vaccine was tested in large clinical trials to ensure they meet safety standards for vaccines. These trials included people of different ages, races, ethnicities and those with pre-existing medical conditions to see how the vaccine protects different demographics.


Side Effects

The clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines have document side effects that include muscle pain, fever, headache, fatigue, chills and joint pain. These side effects have been shown to mild to moderate and short-lived. There have been documented risks of severe allergic reaction in individuals with any allergy in cases where the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is used. Signs of severe allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling of face/throat, rapid heartbeat, rash, dizziness and weakness. These may not be all the possible side effects of any COVID-19 vaccine. All vaccines are still being studied.


Post-Vaccination Reporting

FDA and CDC will continue to monitor safety of COVID-19 vaccines as they are distributed. Anyone can report side effects of COVID-19 vaccination to CDC using a smartphone tool, v-safe. V-safe uses text messaging and online surveys to provide personal health check-ins after patients receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The tool will also remind people to get the second dose of vaccine if needed. The program is completely voluntary. For v-safe assistance, call 800-232-4636. Side effects can also be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Reports can be made online or by calling 1-800-822-7967.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Does the vaccine use live virus?

No. The is no component of the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) in the Pfizer BioNTech nor the Moderna vaccine. These vaccines utilize synthesized mRNA, which the body uses to make it’s own “spike” protein. The immune system reacts to the spike protein by creating blocking antibodies. Later, if we are exposed to coronavirus, those antibodies would attach to the spike protein on a real coronavirus particle and prevent the virus from entering our cells.

Does the vaccine contain preservatives?

No. The vaccine only contains salt water, synthetic mRNA and inert fat globules. There are no eggs nor preservatives used in the vaccine.

Will I need two injections of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Both the Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be fully effective.

  • Pfizer BioNTech requires 21 days between the first and second dose.
  • Moderna requires 28 days between the first and second dose.

Both vaccines have an extended period of time between doses 1 and 2. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There are currently limited data on efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered beyond this window. If the second dose is administered beyond these intervals, there is no need to restart the series. Read more:

PLEASE NOTE: As of Oct. 2021, CDC now recommends booster doses for each brand of the vaccine.

Does my second shot need to be the same vaccine as my first one?

Yes. It is highly recommended to go with the same company’s vaccine for both doses. There is no information at this time to see how different vaccines work with one another. If you get the Pfizer BioNTech shot for the first does, you should get the Pfizer BioNTech shot for the second. If you get the Moderna shot first, the Moderna shot should be your second.

Mixing Booster Doses

CDC recommendations now allow for mixing vaccines as booster doses. For example:

  • A person that received 2 doses of Pfizer can receive a Moderna or J&J booster 6 months after their 2nd Pfizer shot.
  • A person that received 2 doses of Moderna can receive a Pfizer or J&J booster 6 months after their 2nd Pfizer shot.
  • A person that received a J&J shot can receive a Pfizer or Moderna booster 2 months later.
Should I get vaccinated if I've already had COVID-19 and recovered?

Yes. There is very limited information about how much natural immunity a person may have after recovering from COVID-19. Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. It is recommended that people who have had COVID-19 and recovered get vaccinated.

If I have COVID-19 right now, should I get vaccinated?

No. Vaccination should wait until you are symptom free and are able to discontinue isolation.

What are the potential side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

Based on the available data from vaccine manuacturer clinical trials, the following side effects were observed, though they were mild and short lived:

  • injection site reactions
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • joint pain
  • fever

In addition, the Pfizer BioNTech clinical trial document four cases of Bell’s palsy in those that received the vaccine. There have been a few serious allergic reactions that have led to hospitalization after individuals with histories of allergies received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.


These may not be all the possible side effects of any COVID-19 vaccine. All vaccines are still being studied. 

Can I report side effects after getting vaccinated?

Yes. CDC has created a voluntary, smartphone tool called v-safe that uses text messaging and online surveys to provide health check-ins after individuals receive a COVID-19 vaccine. V-safe allows users to report side effects to CDC, and CDC representatives may conact the individual for more information. Side effects can also be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. Reports can be made online or by calling 1-800-822-7967. 

What happens if severe side effects are reported?

CDC will work with the FDA and vaccine safety partners to quickly review any issues if safety concers are discovered. Up-to-date vaccine safety information will be shared with ACIP, which may make changes to the vaccine recommendations.

If I get vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask, social distance, etc.?

Yes. With the rise in breakthrough cases, it is important for everyone to continue to use all the tools we have available to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Indivduals should still be aware of local regulations, and those enforced by businesses and other organizations.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Public health departments, hospitals, primary care providers, pharmacies and other healthcare providers all around Georgia are COVID-19 vaccine providers. Each county health department in Georgia’s 159 counties will play an important role in getting vaccines to all parts of the states, including rural areas. Find COVID-19 vaccine sites using

Will there be a cost for the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. COVID-19 vaccine is free. Vaccine providers may charge an administration fee, but providers must administer COVID-19 vaccine regardless of the recipient’s ability to pay administration fees.