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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Vaccines

One of the most effective tools for preventing COVID-19 infections is to get a vaccine.  Vaccines are safe, effective, free, and available for everyone 5 and older!  The Lenoir County Health Department has the following vaccines available:  Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.  To schedule an appointment for a vaccine, call 252-526-4200, ext. 4281 and leave your name and telephone number.
To find other providers in the area who are offering vaccines, visit
For information about vaccines:
10 facts about vaccines English/Spanish:
Information about all COVID topics for North Carolina:

Why get the vaccine

Tested, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines will help us get back in control of our lives and back to the people and places we love. We understand some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated. While these vaccines have been developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority and there are many reasons to get vaccinated. Below is a summary of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccination based on data currently available to the CDC.

  • COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19.
  • Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Even if you have contracted COVID-19, experts don’t know how long the natural immunity lasts.
  • COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
  • Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lenoir County Local Information

What are my options if I want the COVID-19 vaccine?

Due to a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines initially, independent state and federal public health advisory committees have determined the best way to fight COVID-19 is to follow a tiered prioritization approach See the priority tiers on the NCDHHS website.

When will a vaccine be available in Lenoir County?

NCDHHS is distributing the vaccine to counties across North Carolina. Lenoir County Public Health is administering vaccinations based on guidance from NCDHHS and the NCDHHS vaccination plan.

Do I need to sign up to get vaccinated?

Yes, when appointments are available for the prioritization group for which you are included. Due to a limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, Lenoir County Public Health will follow the updated NCDHHS vaccination phases, which outlines the groups receiving priority for receiving the vaccine. Please see the “Where to Get the Vaccine” section of this web page for the latest information.

For people in the first group (Phase 1a), your health care employer, local health department, or long-term care facility will register you for the vaccine. You should follow the instructions they give to you. At this time, you may be registered through your employer for Phase 1a, you can also schedule at a site providing vaccinations to get registered when it is your turn in the prioritization groups. Soon people may be able to register themselves for vaccinations through the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System.

Vaccine Planning

What has been done to plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines?

The federal government will oversee a centralized system to order, distribute, and track COVID-19 vaccines. All vaccines will be ordered through CDC. Vaccine providers will receive vaccines from CDC’s centralized distributor or directly from a vaccine manufacturer.

Planning efforts have focused on every step and detail of the process, including:

  • Establishing and testing logistics plans with manufacturers and commercial partners that are part of CDC’s centralized COVID-19 vaccine delivery system
  • Coordinating the first distribution of vaccines and needed supplies from centralized locations
  • Ordering processes for additional doses of the vaccine after the first supply has been shipped
  • Receiving, storing, and handling vaccines properly at very specific temperatures
  • Deciding who should receive a vaccine first, based on national recommendations, if there are not enough doses of the vaccine for everyone
  • Giving the vaccines in a safe way during an ongoing pandemic
  • Reporting on vaccine inventory, administration, and safety using a variety of new and enhanced data systems
  • Expanding safety surveillance through new systems and additional information sources, as well as scaling up existing safety monitoring systems
  • Developing plans to assess vaccine effectiveness, which means how well the vaccines protect against COVID-19 under real-life conditions
  • Making sure timely, credible, and clear communication is provided to the public and stakeholders around all aspects of the vaccination program

A safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a critical component of the U.S. strategy to reduce COVID-19-related illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help society function as it did before COVID-19. The goal of the U.S. government is to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for all people in the United States who choose to be vaccinated.

Are there vaccines that might be safe and work in preventing COVID-19?

Yes. Two vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have proven to prevent COVID-19 illness with no safety concerns in the clinical trials. They are 95% effective.

How thorough and successful have the clinical trials been for COVID-19 vaccines?

More than 70,000 people participated in clinical trials for two vaccines to see if they are safe and effective. To date, the vaccines are nearly 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no safety concerns.

Who verifies that the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for making sure the vaccines are safe and effective. While the COVID-19 vaccines must go through and pass clinical trials like other drugs and vaccines, the FDA can get them to the public faster through an Emergency Use Authorization, as long as the vaccines are found to be safe and effective — and then verified by an independent committee.

How much vaccine will North Carolina receive?

States will receive very limited supplies at first. The federal government decides how many COVID-19 vaccines each state gets based on the state’s population of people aged 18 and up.

How will the vaccine be stored?

NCDHHS has a plan to store the vaccines safely, so they can be effective. North Carolina is prepared to receive vaccines that require ultra-cold storage or frozen storage as soon as they become available from the federal government. Eleven hospital sites across the state have been identified that have the greatest capacity for ultra-cold storage for the anticipated Pfizer vaccine. Vaccines that require ultra-cold storage will come with packaging and cooling material to meet the storage requirements for sites that do not have permanent ultra-cold storage. The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage. The state and CDC will deliver training on COVID-19 vaccine storage, handling and administration based on federal recommendations and product information from vaccine manufacturers.

Getting Vaccinated

How do the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work?

There is no COVID-19 in the vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines give your body instructions to make a kind of protein. This protein safely tricks your body into thinking the virus is attacking. Your body then strengthens itself to fight off the real COVID-19 if it ever tries to attack you. Your body gets rid of the small protein naturally and quickly.

Why are two vaccine shots necessary?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots a set number of days apart. You need two doses to build up strong immunity against COVID. The second shot will come about 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine give me the COVID-19 virus?

There is no COVID-19 virus in the vaccine. The vaccine imitates the infection so that our bodies think a germ like the virus is attacking. This creates the antibody defenses we need to fight off COVID-19 if and when the real germ attacks.

Will I experience side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

There are no major side effects to the COVID-19 vaccine. Some people may have temporary reactions after being vaccinated, such as swelling from the injection, tiredness or feeling off for a day or two.

Do I need to wear a mask while getting vaccinated?

Yes. The CDC recommends that during the pandemic people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others who do not live in your household, when in healthcare facilities and when receiving any vaccine. Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask.

Will I have to pay for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be available to everyone for free, whether or not you have health insurance. The federal government will be purchasing the vaccines. However, providers may charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine first?

At first, there will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. NCDHHS is following a tiered prioritization approach that outlines the phases for which the vaccine will be distributed. Supply will continually increase. Public health experts say the best way to fight COVID-19 is to first start with vaccinations for those most at risk, then reach more people as the vaccine supply increases from January 2021 to June 2021. The first supply will go to vaccinate health care workers working with COVID-19 patients, like doctors, nurses, and those cleaning areas used by COVID-19 patients. Hospitals will give vaccines to staff on different days in case they have temporary reactions that may prevent them from working for a day or two. Long-term care staff and residents are also one of the first groups who will receive a vaccine. Most vaccinations at nursing homes, adult care homes, and other long-term care settings are being managed by the federal government. However, the vaccines used in long-term care will come from North Carolina’s supply. As more vaccines become available, vaccinations will be offered to everyone who wants one, including in clinics and drug stores, as well as at vaccination events in communities.

Do I need to show identification to be vaccinated?

North Carolina does not require an identification card, like a driver’s license, to be vaccinated. Some employers or health care providers could request ID, but it is not required by the state.

If two shots are necessary, how will people know when to get their second shot?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, given a set number of days apart. It is important to know when a person received the first dose of vaccine, and which vaccine, to ensure they receive the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. The shot you take, and when you need the second dose, is health information that is carefully managed to protect your privacy. North Carolina will use a secure data system called the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS) to manage vaccinations. When a person gets a first dose, they will be given information on when to come back for a second dose and asked to make a second appointment. They will also be given a card with information about which vaccine they got for their first dose and the date of that dose.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. The vaccine works to protect you against a future infection. You don’t need a COVID-19 test before vaccination. It is safe to get vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if you have been infected in the past. Additional information can be found here for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Why would a vaccine be needed if we can take other protective measures, like wearing a mask and physical distancing, to prevent contracting COVID-19 and keep it from spreading?

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will I still need to wear a mask and physical distance from others after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide 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. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

Does immunity after getting COVID-19 last longer than protection from COVID-19 vaccines?

The protection someone gains from having an infection (called natural immunity) varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Because this virus is new, we do not know how long natural immunity might last. Some early evidence – based on some people – seems to suggest natural immunity may not last very long.

Regarding vaccination, we will not know how long immunity lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.

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.

What percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to have herd immunity to COVID-19?

Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection – either from previous infection or vaccination – that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.

Should pregnant women be vaccinated?

Pregnant and breastfeeding women may choose to receive the Pfizer COVID vaccine. Pregnant women should talk with their doctors before making the choice. You do not need to take a pregnancy test before you get your vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding may also choose to get vaccinated. The vaccine is not thought to be a risk to a baby who is breastfeeding.

What is the risk of an allergic reaction from the vaccine?

People who have had severe allergic reactions, also called anaphylaxis, to any ingredient in the Pfizer vaccine should not receive that vaccine. People who have had this type of severe allergic reaction to any vaccine or treatment that is injected should not receive the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Vaccine providers will watch patients for 15-30 minutes after vaccination to ensure the patient’s safety.

Will I need to sign a consent form to get vaccinated?

No, it is not required for COVID vaccination here in North Carolina.

What kind of identification will be required to be vaccinated?

North Carolina does not require an identification card, like a driver’s license, to be vaccinated. Some employers could request ID when limited vaccine has to be prioritized, but it is not required.

For how long will the vaccine protect me from COVID?

Since the Pfizer trial just ended, we know that it can protect people from COVID illness for at least two months. We’ll know even more about how long the immunity from the vaccine lasts as people have been vaccinated for a longer period of time.

How will the state know who has been vaccinated?

North Carolina will use the COVID-19 Vaccine Management System (CVMS), a free, secure, web-based system provided to all who give COVID-19 vaccinations. It helps vaccine providers know who has been vaccinated with which vaccine to make sure people get the second dose of the same vaccine at the right time. It also helps people register for vaccination at the appropriate time and allows the state to manage vaccine supply. Pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens doing vaccinations in long-term care facilities, will not use CVMS to give and manage vaccines. These pharmacies will use their own systems. Your information on vaccination is confidential health information that is carefully managed to protect your privacy. Information will not be shared except in accordance with state and federal law. Any personal information will be taken out prior to sending public health information to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Lenoir County Health Department
Fax: 252-526-4299
Patient Records Fax: 252-370-1536
WIC Fax: 252-523-0369


Physical Address:
201 N. McLewean Street
Kinston, NC 28501

Mailing Address:
PO Box 3385
Kinston, NC 28502

Main Facility
Hours of Operation:
Monday – Thursday: 7:30am – 4:30pm
Friday: 7:30am – 1:30pm

Environmental Health
Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday: 7:30am – 4:30pm