Last updated January 27, 2021

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  • Massachusetts is currently in Phase 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan
  • This week NCH is completing first dose and second dose vaccinations of those eligible in Phase 1 at the hospital.
  • Phase 2 of the state plan opens the week of Feb. 1, 2021.
  • NCH will open a mass vaccination clinic at the VFW facility at 22 New South Road the week of Feb. 1 (date pending receipt of vaccine allocation).
  • In accordance with Gov. Baker’s plan, Phase 2 vaccinations will begin with individuals 75 years old and above. The state web site outlines those eligible in the subsequent tiers of Phase 2, including individuals over 65, those with two or more comorbidities, educators and others. Phase 2 will run through March 2021.
  • Based on those who registered with the Town of Nantucket for Phase 2, we anticipate at least 650 individuals 75 and above will be vaccinated in this first tier of Phase 2. Anyone in this age group who has not registered for Phase 2 is encouraged to do so on the Town website.
  • NCH is finalizing the details of how individuals will be scheduled for vaccine appointments at the VFW for Phase 2. More information will be forthcoming this week.
  • To receive the vaccine at the VFW, individuals must be registered with Mass General Brigham* and signed up for the Patient Gateway.
  • NCH will be receiving vaccine allocations in two ways: from Mass General Brigham and from the state. The initial allocation for Phase 2 has not yet been received and it is not clear how much will be allocated to Nantucket ahead of the vaccination clinic opening.
  • Phase 3 of the state vaccine distribution plan, which includes the general public, is scheduled to begin in April.
  • The state plan for vaccine distribution continues to change and evolve on an almost daily basis, and this is a complex, fast-moving initiative. NCH will is committed to providing regular updates to the community. Our goal is to vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible, working within the state’s framework.

*IMPORTANT: Before you can be vaccinated you must be registered with Mass General Brigham (formerly Partners Healthcare) by calling 866-211-6588. If you have received care at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in the past you are already registered, however, it is a good idea to confirm and update your information by calling the number above. Hours of operation to call and register: 7:30 a.m.  – 6 p.m. Mon-Thurs; and 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Fridays.

Safe and effective vaccines are our best chance of ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Nantucket Cottage Hospital has begun vaccinating frontline staff members, and is partnering with the Town of Nantucket in preparation for broader distribution of the vaccine to the island community.

Who can get the vaccine now?
Nantucket Cottage Hospital is following current state guidance from public health officials. The first wave of people to get the COVID-19 vaccine are front-line health care workers and first responders. Patients in long-term care facilities and nursing homes are also being vaccinated in Phase 1. As of January 25th, 2021 , Nantucket Cottage Hospital has provided the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 238 hospital staff members, and 50 employees have received their second dose. First doses have also been administered to patients and staff at the Our Island Home nursing home, as well as Nantucket police officers and firefighters, and others eligible in Phase 1.

Currently, Massachusetts public health officials believe the general public will be able to get the vaccine sometime between April and June 2021. Access will be coordinated through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. If you are high risk, are 65 and older, or work in certain jobs like education, transit, or public works, you might be able to receive the vaccine sooner, between February and April. If you live in another state, please check your state’s information.

The Town of Nantucket has opened registration for community members in Phase 2 of the state vaccine distribution plan (outlined below). 


About the COVID-19 vaccine

How long will immunity last after I get vaccinated? Will I need to be vaccinated every year?
We do not know this yet. The clinical trials will continue to monitor participants to see how long protection lasts. We will provide updated information as it becomes available. Because we don’t yet know how long immunity will last, it’s still important to wash your hands, wear a mask, and socially distance.

Does the vaccine work?
The COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be extremely effective. According to Phase 3 trials, the Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective 7 days after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine is 94% effective 14 days after the second dose. These results were consistent across gender, age, race and ethnicity.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Some people do get side effects after receiving the vaccine. For both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, most mild side effects resolve within a day or so.

  • The most commonly reported symptoms from the Pfizer vaccine have been pain at the site of vaccination, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, and chills.
  • The most commonly reported symptoms from the Moderna vaccine have been pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever.

Can I get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine?
No. The vaccine does not contain the whole or live virus and therefore cannot cause COVID-19.

Can children get the vaccine?
Currently the vaccine the Pfizer vaccine is approved for children ages 16 and older. The Moderna vaccine is not approved for children. It is approved for adults aged 18 and older.

Q: I am pregnant. Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Vaccination, especially with vaccines that do not contain live virus, are considered a safe and routine part of prenatal care. For example, the flu shot is not only offered during pregnancy but recommended. In line with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when the COVID-19 vaccine is available for patients, it will be offered to those who are pregnant. However, it is recommended that you speak with your OB provider about whether or not you should get vaccinated. Both the virus and the vaccine are new. There is very little data on the safety of this vaccine in pregnancy, as pregnant people were not included in the trials of the vaccines. However, 18 individuals who received the vaccine in the vaccine trials did become pregnant after vaccination. So far, those pregnancies are ongoing and we hope to learn more about those individuals soon. Like many new medications and vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine was studied in pregnant animals and these studies did not show any complications related to the vaccine. With the help of your OB provider, you can discuss what is the best option for you. This will be based on your risk for exposure to the virus and how sick you might get if you do get the virus. Read more. | En español

Can we stop wearing masks and social distancing after getting vaccinated?
No, not yet. We know that the vaccine protects you from getting sick, but we do not know if it stops you from giving it to other people. Since not everyone will get the vaccine right away, we must be careful to protect others. Even if you get the vaccine, you should still wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. Infection control experts will let us know when it is safe to modify or stop these safety measures.

Why do we need to get the vaccine if we’re wearing masks and social distancing?
We need to use all the tools available to us to stop the pandemic. Together, the COVID-19 vaccine and simple everyday actions like wearing a mask and social distancing will offer the best protection from COVID-19. And even though the vaccines are 90% to 95% effective, you still don’t know how effective it will be for you. About 5% to 10% of people immunized may still get the virus. You should do everything you can to reduce your risk of getting the virus and passing it to others.

Should I be concerned about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine?
There have been some reports of people having allergic reactions after getting the vaccine. A small number of people had a severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Based on this, the US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC recommends that people with a history of anaphylaxis to any of the
ingredients in the COVID19 vaccine should not get the vaccine. People with other food or medication allergies can receive the vaccine. In general, most patients allergic to one vaccine can receive other vaccinations safely. If you have a history of severe allergic reactions to vaccines, injectable therapies, or any component of the COVID-19 vaccine you are going to receive, you should talk to your primary care provider or allergist (if you have one). Your provider can help you decide if it is safe to get vaccinated.
What are the ingredients in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain gelatin, egg, or latex. Also, the vial stoppers are not made with natural rubber latex. Patients who have latex allergies can receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines contain polyethylene glycol. Reactions to Polyethylene glycol are very rare. Patients with a history of having an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol should talk to their provider before receiving either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

I am immunocompromised. Should I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The CDC has stated that people who are immunocompromised may receive the COVID-19 vaccines, as long as they have had no issues with getting vaccines in the past. For questions about allergies and the vaccines, please see the allergy frequently asked questions. Please note, the COVID19 vaccines are not live vaccines; live vaccines are often not recommended for immunocompromised patients. Patients who are immunocompromised include:

  • Living with HIV
  • On immunosuppressive therapies like steroids (prednisone) for a long time
  • On immunosuppressive therapies for prevention of organ transplant rejection
  • On immune altering medications like biologic therapies (often injectable). These are used for treatment of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and others.

It is not known how effective the COVID-19 vaccines will be for you. You may have less of an immune response to the vaccine. Even if you get the vaccine, you should still wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands. This is true for everyone getting vaccine now. Infection control experts will let us know when it is safe to modify or stop these safety measures. For now, we do not know if you may need long-term boosters or revaccination. We may not be doing repeat vaccination until everyone is vaccinated.

Should my immunosuppression medications be altered when I get the vaccine?
In general, we are not recommending altering the immunosuppression before or after vaccination. In specific cases, your provider may recommend changes. If you have questions, consider discussing this during your next medical visit.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have had an organ transplant?
You can get the vaccine. It’s possible that the vaccine may be less effective in providing protection for you. It may be best to wait to get vaccinated at least 3 months after your transplant if possible, in order to improve the immune response to the vaccine (when your immune suppression may be less). There is no preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. Your transplant provider will tell you if you need transplant labs after vaccination.

I am waiting for organ transplantation. Should I get the vaccine?
In general, vaccines work better before organ transplant, before the immunosuppression is started. If possible we would recommend that you get the vaccine before transplant. We do not currently have mechanisms now to expedite that.

After I get the vaccine, can it cause a false positive COVID-19 test?
No, the vaccine will not cause the standard COVID-19 tests (nasal swabs) to yield a false-positive response.

I already had COVID-19. Can I get vaccinated?
Yes, when it becomes available to you, you can still get the vaccine if you have had COVID-19 and have recovered. If you are actively sick with COVID-19 or have symptoms that could be from COVID-19, you should not get the vaccine.

Where can I find more information?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on COVID-19 vaccines, as well as an FAQ.

How is Nantucket Cottage Hospital preparing for the vaccine?
Nantucket Cottage Hospital leadership has been actively planning with town and state officials. We continue to prepare to ensure the vaccine is safely and effectively administered to our workforce and patients.

Rochelle Walensky, M.D. M.P.H., Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Daniel Kuritzkes, M.D., Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, discuss how our health system is preparing to for a COVID-19 vaccine.

We are committed to equity in vaccinating all the communities that we serve.

Vice President and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer at Massachusetts General Hospital, Joseph Betancourt, M.D., and Vice President of Community Health and Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Wanda McClain, discuss how the health system is building trust for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meet your Nantucket Cottage Hospital clinicians
across more than 30 different subspecialties: