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Your guide to COVID vaccine eligibility 

Northeast Medical Group (NEMG) is committed to vaccinating as many people in our communities as possible and making sure that everyone knows when it’s their turn and how to make an appointment. Anthony Carter, MD, regional medical director, NEMG New London/Westerly, discusses what patients should know before and after receiving their vaccine appointments.

“Connecticut is one of only a few states that have simplified the vaccine rollout,” Dr. Carter said. “We continue to rank among the top five states in the nation for the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated.”

In step with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, who recently said, “The vaccine is the most important pathway to ending this pandemic,” Connecticut opened vaccine eligibility to residents age 16 and above on April 1. 

Learn more about vaccine eligibility by visiting your state’s website:

Once you’re eligible, the best way to make a vaccine appointment is on the Yale New Haven Health vaccine page through your MyChart account. You do not need a Yale New Haven Health MyChart account to find an appointment. After you select your preferred date and time, select "Continue as a Guest" to be guided through the MyChart registration process. You will get a confirmation email when your appointment is accepted.

“Right now, we have enough vaccine doses to meet the current demand,” explained Dr. Carter. “The state is managing distribution to all healthcare organizations that are part of the vaccination effort. We are scheduling vaccinations each week based on the number of doses we receive. We will continue to add more appointments as additional vaccine doses become available.”

We also offer same-day appointments at many of our locations to save time and speed up the check-in process. Check our website to schedule your vaccine at one of our walk-in locations. There is also walk-in capability at all hours at all YNHHS mass vaccination sites.

Dr. Carter asks that patients check the Yale New Haven Health website for vaccine updates instead of calling their physicians’ offices. “Our website has the most current information about vaccine availability and appointments,” Dr. Carter said. “That’s really the best way to find out when appointments open up.”

When the day of your vaccination arrives, remember to bring a form of ID, insurance card and mask. Masks must cover the nose and mouth. Patients and visitors who arrive with a cloth mask, gaiter, bandana or mask with exhalation valves will be provided with an approved 3-ply face mask.

Safe, effective vaccines

Currently COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) are being distributed across the country. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are a two-shot series and consist of genetic material called mRNA that stimulates the immune system to make antibodies that protect against the virus. The Moderna injections are given four weeks apart and the Pfizer doses are given three weeks apart. Johnson & Johnson’s, an adenovirus-based vaccine, is a single shot. Please access our calendar to review current schedule of COVID-19 vaccines. 

The vaccines are safe, but some people may experience minor side effects. Dr. Carter explains these are common and typically resolve within 48 hours. “What we see most often is soreness at the injection site, body aches and a fever or chills,” Dr. Carter said. “These are signs that your body’s immune system is reacting to the vaccine. Symptoms will only last for a day or two. If they get worse or persist, you should contact your doctor. The key point to remember is these remarkably effective vaccines reduce the number of individuals experiencing serious illness and death as a result of COVID-19 to practically zero. Vaccination is clearly the safest and fastest pathway for Connecticut residents to return to normal.”

Learn more about possible vaccine side effects from our medical experts.