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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

How does the COVID-19 Vaccine protect me from COVID-19?
Vaccines work by training our immune systems to recognize viruses without making us sick. The immune response that develops after a vaccine is what protects us from future infections. Research is underway to understand long term COVID-19 immunity. None of the COVID-19 vaccines developed contain the live virus and cannot give you COVID-19.

The vaccine was created in a shorter amount of time than usual. Can we trust the vaccine?
While these vaccines were developed as quickly as possible, all routine steps (clinical trials) were followed to ensure the safety of any vaccine approved for use. Scientists have been working on strategies for coronavirus vaccines since the 2003 coronavirus outbreak (SARS).

Will CCHS receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine?
CCHS is receiving the Pfizer vaccine.  You must follow the instructions and receive both doses from the same manufacturer. These instructions will be provided when the first dose is administered.  The FDA has given authorization to use the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and data has shown that the vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95.0%. This vaccine is for people age 16 and older. This vaccine requires two injections given 21 days apart.

When will the vaccine be available?
Cozad Community Health System received its first allocation of COVID-19 vaccine December 21st, 2020. We will continue to receive vaccine allocations as they become available until everyone who wants to be protected against COVID-19 is immunized.

How are the COVID-19 vaccines being distributed?
Due to limited supplies, not everyone will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine right away.

Federal and state authorities have recommended the first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations should be given to health care personnel and adult residents of long-term care facilities.

The next group to get a vaccine in the U.S. should include people age 75 and older and frontline essential workers, such as first responders, teachers and public transit and grocery store workers.  The third priority group includes people ages 65 to 74, people ages 16 to 64 who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions and all other essential workers, such as those working in food service and construction. Examples of underlying medical conditions include type 2 diabetes and severe obesity.  For more information go to

*It is now recommended that the COVID-19 vaccines be made immediately available to people ages 65 and older and people ages 16 and older with underlying conditions.

Can the public get the COVID-19 vaccine at CCHS?
Because initial supplies are limited and prioritized for high-risk groups, the vaccine is not available for the general public at this time. We will share information to the community as soon as it is available.

Are there any risks or side effects?
Side effects are similar to other routine vaccines, such as fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills and soreness at the injection site in the arm. In fact, these side effects may be a sign your body is mounting a good immune response. Based on FDA data, side effects are more common after the second dose is given. In addition, those under age 55 have a stronger reaction for all vaccines.

You'll likely be monitored for 15 minutes after getting a COVID-19 vaccine to see if you have an immediate reaction. Most side effects happen within the first three days after vaccination and typically only last one to two days.

How can I tell the difference between a reaction to the vaccine and COVID-19 infection?
Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine and early symptoms of COVID-19 infection may be similar. Side effects associated with a vaccine usually start within hours of the dose and will dissipate after a day or two. Symptoms from COVID-19 may vary but can last longer than one to two days and may progress or be associated with other symptoms. Coughing, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell are not associated with the vaccine.

I understand the vaccine requires two doses. How many days after the first dose is the second dose required?
The CDC has advised that while it is recommended to receive the vaccine doses 21 days apart.

How do I get signed up for the COVID-19 Vaccine?
To sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine refer back to the banner on CCHS Home page, VACCINATE.NE.GOV and complete the online registration or call the CCHS COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline at (308)784-4696.

Do I need an appointment to get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Yes, appointments are required for COVID-19 vaccines and can be signed up for by registering at VACCINATE.NE.GOV or by calling the CCHS COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline (308)784-4696.  No walk-ins are allowed.

If I signed up with Two Rivers Public Health Department do I need to do the CCHS’ survey too?
We encourage individuals to fill out the CCHS vaccine survey even if they have already filled out the Two River Health Department survey.  Two Rivers Public Health Department will be sharing your information with us, however, filling out the CCHS vaccine survey will ensure that we have your name on our list.

Does getting on the list first mean I get the vaccine first?
No.  It is important to have your information for planning purposes, however, the priority determination is based on the NE DHHS’ vaccination timeline.

Do I need a vaccine if I already had COVID-19?
According to the CDC, people who have been sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you may still want to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been sick with 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 may not last very long.


If I receive the vaccine, will I need to quarantine if I am exposed to a positive case? Example; I receive the vaccine and my child tests positive. Would I need to quarantine for 14 days after last exposure?
Our control measures will not change until the prevalence of COVID-19 is at a very low level. CDC guidance at this time tells us that a person is considered fully vaccinated > 2 weeks after the second dose of Pfizer vaccine. People who are fully vaccinated can refrain from testing and quarantine if they have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. Although the risk of a fully vaccinated individual developing COVID is low, any person with COVID symptoms should isloate from others and be clinically evaluated for COVID-19.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19?
No. The COVID-19 vaccines currently being developed in the U.S. don't use the live virus that causes COVID-19.  Keep in mind that it will take a few weeks for your body to build immunity after getting both doses of your COVID-19 vaccination. As a result, it's possible that you could become infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or after being vaccinated.

Are patients able to take Ibuprofen AND/OR acetaminophen for vaccine side effects following the administration of the vaccine or is there a recommended timeframe to deter related to the immune response?
At this time there is no evidence of what effect pain relieving medications will have on your immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine.  For significant side effects after your vaccination, it is acceptable to use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat them. 


Will I still need to wear a mask after being immunized?
Yes. No vaccine is 100%. Until we have effectively reduced our risk for exposure, we should continue to protect ourselves through social distancing, wearing a mask and hand hygiene. Individuals who have received both shots are NOT FULLY vaccinated until TWO WEEKS AFTER the second shot. Please, protect yourself and others by continuing to wear a mask in public settings.


Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of allergic reactions?
If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccine.  We ask that you notify our team of this and you should be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.  If you’ve had an immediate allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve ever had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, people who are allergic to polysorbate or polyethylene glycol (a common ingredient in laxatives and colon prep medications), should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.  If you have an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, don’t get the second dose.


Can children get the vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines will be used first in adults or possibly older teens. Clinical trials are beginning to examine safety and effectiveness in younger children.  The Pfizer vaccine is only approved at this time for individuals over the age of 16..

Should I get the vaccine if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Pregnancy is not a contraindication of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, however, you should speak with your doctor prior to receiving the vaccine.  Increased risk of COVID infection in pregnancy should be weighed against the relative lack of data for COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy.  If you are pregnant, please inform the team prior to receiving your COVID vaccine.

Lactation is not a contraindication of receiving the COVID-10 vaccine.  According to information we have about mRNA vaccines they are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.

Does the vaccine affect fertility?
There is no evidence the vaccine impacts fertility.


Is the vaccine safe for transplant patients?
There isn’t enough data available to definitively address safety and effectiveness in transplant patients or others with immunocompromising conditions or medications. The CDC advises that immunocompromised individuals may still receive a COVID-19 vaccine if they have no other contraindication to vaccination. It is reccomended that immunocompromised patients speak with their doctor prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Is there anyone who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?
There is no COVID-19 vaccine yet for children under age 16. Several companies have begun enrolling children as young as age 12 in COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. Studies including younger children will begin soon.  COVID-19 vaccination might not be recommended for people with certain health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about getting the vaccine.


What is herd immunity?
We attain herd immunity when most of our population reaches immunity and disease rates are so low that even those who are not immune are protected.  It is only through vaccination that we achieve enough herd immunity that we eliminate an infectious disease, like smallpox. Without immunizations, infections go through cycles called epidemics in which there are a high number of infections. 

Can infection bring us closer to herd immunity?  
Experts don't know how long immunity lasts from natural infection. We do know that people can contract COVID-19 more than once, and we believe that those with no or minimal symptoms may not have long-lasting immunity. Even with infections that have long-lasting immunity like chicken pox, we did not achieve herd immunity until we had a vaccine.

Is it better to build immunity by contracting a virus than by receiving a vaccine?
Vaccines save lives, suffering and healthcare costs. Vaccine-preventable infections do not have benefits. Natural infection is associated with risks and costs including death, hospitalizations, severe disability including brain damage, hearing loss, birth defects, loss of limbs, sterility, etc. The risks of vaccines are very small. The risk of a severe vaccine injury is very rare. 

Can I volunteer to help staff the CCHS COVID-19 vaccine clinic?
If you are a licensed/certified clinician, and you are interested in volunteering to help with CCHS’ COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic contact the COVID hotline at (308) 784-4696.

Where can I get more information about the vaccine?
Go to Two Rivers Public Health Department at (, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services ( or the CDC ( for more information on the COVID-19 vaccine.  In addition, the CCHS COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline has been established for your questions.  Please help us keep our clinic and hospital phone lines open for individuals that need our care services by please directing all your COVID-19 questions to the COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline.





COZAD, NE, March 24, 2020


While information on COVID-19 is changing daily (sometimes hourly), one thing that can remain constant is the added stress it causes many people. As COVID-19 becomes more real as it spreads thru Nebraska, it is disrupting our daily lives, i.e., no school, no church, no work, staying home, social distancing, and avoiding crowds.  Living like this can be lonely, inconvenient and even frightening, but we must remember it’s for the greater good. With these disruptions come fear and anxiety over the unknown; this can be overwhelming and can cause very strong unsettled emotions in both children and adults.  Some may feel frustrated, bored or scared; others may be angry and confused with this massive disruption of normal.  All these emotions can intensify stress and anxiety.

In times like these, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. People will react to this pandemic differently; so be courteous of others feelings, and try to help reduce stress in yourself and those around you.

Some simple things you can do to support yourself and family members are:

*Take breaks from the news. Whether it’s on tv, radio or social media, constantly reading or hearing about the pandemic can be very upsetting. Give yourself a break! Turn off the TV, turn off the radio, turn off social media; take a break.

*Take care of YOU. Take deep breaths, exercise, mediate, get fresh air, eat healthy, well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep and avoid drugs and alcohol. It’s also important to keep some level of normalcy in your life so try to stick to a daily routine, (get up and shower in the morning, do designated chores or tasks at the same time each day…)

*Make time to unwind. Do something you enjoy. Read a good book, work on a     puzzle, learn a new hobby, write in a journal, it’s just important to let your mind relax and unwind.

*Connect with others. Even if we can’t hug best friends or go visit elderly parents, technology gives us options to help keep these connections. Using Facetime, Skype, ZOOM, or phone calls (try to make yourself call four people/day) and text messaging, all these can help keep us connected. Despite the necessary social distancing, we can actually strengthen our relationships during these difficult times. 

We at CCHS understand and share your concern about the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are prepared for whatever lies ahead, but continue to ask for everyone’s help with the containment of COVID-19. By working together we will get through this and be stronger together.  Remember, tough times don’t last, tough people do.

Below are phone numbers and website with wonderful resources to help everyone cope: 

*Nebraska Family Helpline- 1-888-866-8660

*Disaster Distress Helpline- 1-800-985-5990

*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255 



UPDATE: Cozad Community Hospital Restricting Access to ONE visitor per Inpatient 

Revised: 03/17/2020

In conjunction with Two Rivers Health Department, CCHS is restricting all visitations to ONE visitor per inpatient. These precautions are necessary to protect our patients, staff and community. All visitors are asked to check in with front desk staff for temperature check and screening prior to entering the patient care area. FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED.  


Visitor Expectations:

*If you are sick or symptomatic, please stay home.

*If you have had a recent exposure to someone with COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, please stay home.

*Mask required at all times.

*Please wash your hands and use provided hand sanitizer, and maintain social distance with pataients and other visiotrs.

*Please refrain from bringing food or other gifts to patients at this time.



If you are an outpatient scheduled for any testing or outpatient services, please be prepared to stop at the front desk as you will be asked a series of screening questions upon entering the hospital.

Again we encourage you to follow the best practices from the CDC to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Help us; help you by using these daily reminders:

 Stay home if you are sick:

  • Avoid close contact
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes
  • Disinfect surface and objects using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but the safety of our patients and staff are our highest priority. We suggest considering using Facetime, Skype, email and phone calls in lieu of visitation.


If you have questions about COVID-19 please visit



Cozad Community Health System implements mandatory screening for all visitors and visitor restrictions

Revised: 03/13/2020

To protect the health and well-being of our patients, their families, and of the COVID19communities we serve, Cozad Community Health System (CCHS) is now restricting visitors. In accordance with this, we are following the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) COVID-19 recommendations and are acting with an abundance of caution to ensure we do not elevate the risk of exposure to the virus for our colleagues, physicians, patients or community members.

Effective immediately, CCHS is instituting the following visitor restrictions:

For the immediate future, only visits from immediate family members, loved ones or clergy who meet the following criteria will be permitted.




As of last week, there have been confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nebraska. In response, Cozad Community Health System is prepared to handle any suspected or confirmed cases, but is asking for the communities help in preventing the spread.
The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in some affected areas. Symptoms of Covid-19 can appear 2-14 days after an individual is exposed and can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. These symptoms can range from mild to severe with the majority of confirmed cases (greater than 80%) only developing mild symptoms. Coronavirus, (COVID-19) is a mutated strain of a common viral respiratory disease which presents very similar symptoms to influenza.
If community members suspect that they may be sick, CCHS asks that patients first call the Cozad Community Medical Clinic at 308-784-3535 before coming in. Patients who have severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, should seek care immediately. Older patients and individuals who have underlying medical conditions or are immunocompromised should contact their physician early in the course of even a mild illness.
Preparedness and actively performing good health habits can and will help us all prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community. CCHS is prepared for COVID-19, but we ask for everyone’s help with its containment.
CCHS is also partnering with Two Rivers Health Department to track COVID-19 and ask if you have traveled or feel you have been exposed, please self-report to Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services at or Two Rivers Public Health Department at 888-669-7154.