Vaccine Resource Guide

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Our Priorities

Alternatives’ vaccination policy is informed by our commitment to equity. We all have a collective responsibility to protect and heal our communities. Research shows that vaccines are effective at ending the spread of COVID-19. This is why we are taking necessary actions and precautions to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, young people, and their families. We are committed to working closely with community partners, health officials, local and national leaders to build trust, increase collaboration, and provide tools and resources to respond to the concerns and feedback from all communities, especially those disproportionately impacted by the recent pandemic. We are all connected and deeply invested in prioritizing the safety of our community, and ending the spread of COVID-19.

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Vaccine Advocacy

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought racial injustice, health disparities, and medical mistrust to the forefront of conversations about public health. Recent reports reveal that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown communities, who continue to experience the highest rates of serious complications and deaths related to COVID-19, and the lowest vaccination rates in comparison to other racial groups. According to recent statistics on the percentage of vaccinated adults in Illinois, roughly 40% of Black and Brown communities have been vaccinated.

According to a recent Rutgers’ study on Black and Brown communities’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, participants expressed concerns about the vaccine development process and the reliability of publicized information. Such findings reveal that government mistrust, the harmful effects of historic medical experiments and unethical clinical trials, and high rates of uninsured and undocumented status have largely contributed to Black and Brown communities’ ongoing skepticism about public health initiatives. While recent data suggests that the gaps in COVID vaccinations amongst Black and Brown communities are narrowing, we must continue to do our part to prioritize health and safety, address hesitancy, and fight to ensure fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccination.

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[/vc_column_text][vc_accordions container_bg_color=”#00afaa”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Was the vaccine rushed? “][vc_column_text]There are many reasons why companies were able to develop the COVID-19 vaccine so quickly. Companies have been developing the methods used to create the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for many years. Several contributors invested in vaccine research, worked collectively to create the vaccines, and engaged volunteers in early vaccine trials. According to the National Institute of Health, COVID-19 vaccines were developed using the highest standards for safety and efficacy.

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According to the CDC, an individual who has received the COVID-19 infection, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, can still receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Evidence suggests that being vaccinated is the best protection against getting COVID-19. Getting vaccinated reduces the risk of experiencing serious complications, and provides a greater protection for others since the vaccine helps reduce the spread of COVID-19.  

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The CDC continues to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and recommends mask wearing for those that are both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated. The CDC also advises that individuals maintain physical distance, especially in poorly ventilated, indoor areas.  

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COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but most are short term, and not serious or deadly. The most common side effect is pain in the injection site, body aches, or fever. These should go away in a few days. 

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”What happens if I don’t get vaccinated?”][vc_column_text align=”center”]Herd immunity can be reached when enough people get vaccinated against a disease and have developed protective antibodies to prevent future infection. Experts estimate that 70% of the population will need to recover from COVID-19 to reach a level of herd immunity where we can be able to get back to our way of life, and can be in community once more without posing a risk to immuno-compromised individuals. This is an achievable goal that we are committed to achieving.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Do I have to pay for the vaccine? “][vc_column_text align=”center”]FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are distributed for free by states and local communities. You cannot buy COVID-19 vaccines online. You do not need to pay any out-of-pocket costs to get an authorized COVID-19 vaccine — not before, during, or after your appointment.

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How can I get proof of my vaccination?

If you have lost your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card or don’t have a copy, contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.

  • If you cannot contact your vaccination provider site directly, contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
  • If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText after your first vaccine dose, you can access your vaccination information using those tools.
  • If you have made every effort to locate your vaccination information, are unable to get a copy or replacement of your vaccination card, and need another COVID-19 vaccine dose, talk to a vaccination provider.

CDC does not maintain vaccination records or determine how vaccination records are used, and CDC does not provide the white CDC-labeled COVID-19 Vaccination Record card to people. These cards are distributed to vaccination providers by state health departments.

Please contact your state health department if you have additional questions about vaccination records. Your local or state health department can also provide more information about the laws or regulations in your area.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Can undocumented or uninsured individuals be vaccinated? “][vc_column_text]Yes. Vaccines are available and free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

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The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC have approved all three vaccines available – Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson – for use as a booster shot.

Guidance calls for Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots to be six months after the primary two-dose series. The boosters are available to anyone age 65 and older who received those vaccines and others 18 and older who qualify based on their health history, living situation and employment.

As for Johnson & Johnson, the recommendation is those 18 years or older who received the one-dose vaccine get a booster two months later.

You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

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Our Efforts

We have mandated the vaccine for all our employees, and 94% of our employees have been fully vaccinated. We are leading by example by fighting for vaccine equity, addressing vaccine hesitancy in Black and Brown communities, and working collaboratively with our partners to make measurable progress towards ending the COVID-19 pandemic. We acknowledge that this is a collective effort, and invite you to join us in this work. We have provided the following resources to raise awareness about the vaccine and to offer strategies for engaging with communities that have been most affected by COVID-19.

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