COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
FEATURED CONTENT – CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccination for Pregnant Women
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued recommendations on the vaccination of pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant.
August 30th, 2021 – COVID UPDATE
The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that it will re-institute a face mask mandate for all indoor public settings as the average number of new daily cases of COVID-19 in Chicago surpasses 400. All individuals aged 2 and over, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask as of Friday, August 20, while indoors in public settings.
Four additional states have been added to Chicago’s Travel Advisory.
For the safety & well-being of our patients, providers & staff, WGON is requiring anyone who is unvaccinated and has traveled: States and Territories on the Advisory: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival to Chicago. **This includes any visitor that a patient anticipates bringing for their Level 1 Ultrasound**
Important to keep in mind:
- With the rise in Delta variant cases, it is important for all individuals over age 2, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks in public indoor settings, to wash hands and socially distance.
- Anyone vaccinate or unvaccinated who is experiencing any symptoms of COVID (including usual cold or allergy symptoms) must call and speak to Nurse Triage prior to coming in for their appointment.
- Anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated who have been exposed to someone who is COVID+ must call and speak to Nurse Triage prior to coming in for their appointment.
- Anyone vaccinated or unvaccinated who travels internationally must have a negative pcr test 3-5 days after they return to the US before they can be seen in our office. In addition, unvaccinated people must quarantine for 14 days in addition to testing.
- Anyone unvaccinated, who travels within the US must quarantine for 10 days prior to return to our office. This does not apply if they LIVE in WI, MI, or IN but does apply if they have traveled to those states but don’t live there.
- Visitors are not allowed – this includes newborns. The only appointment when a patient is allowed to bring a visitor is to their Level 1 ultrasound.
The City of Chicago updates the travel guidelines every other week. Updates can be found here for further clarification: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/emergency-travel-order.html
May 17th, 2021
As Chicago enters the Bridge Phase to reopening, the health and safety of our staff and patients remains our top priority. While the CDC’s mask guidelines have changed, The Women’s Group of Northwestern will still require masks for all people (patients, staff and outside vendors) entering our office, regardless of vaccinations, until further notice.
Thank you for your continued cooperation keeping everyone safe!
Physicians and Staff of The Women’s Group of Northwestern
The City of Chicago is recommending that Illinois residents, use this link www.zocdoc.com/vaccine to register for a vaccine appointments.
Moderna, Pfizer vaccines shown safe and effective in pregnant & lactating women, click on the link below to read the article:
- Moderna, Pfizer vaccines shown safe and effective in pregnant & lactating women (contemporaryobgyn.net) Online Article
- Moderna, Pfizer vaccines shown safe and effective in pregnant & lactating women (contemporaryobgyn.net) Printable PDF
- WGON PT COVID_19 LETTER
1) What are your office’s recommendations regarding the covid vaccine?
We highly recommend vaccination for everyone that does not have a contraindication (severe allergy). For pregnant and lactating people, we along with ACOG and SMFM now officially recommend COVID-19 vaccination.
Here is an excellent link to many questions regarding the vaccine:
2) I am pregnant or breast feeding, should I get it?
Animal studies have showed no safety concerns. Studies in pregnant patients have started. As of March 30,000 pregnant women have received the vaccine and post vaccine follow up has not shown any safety concerns. Based on current knowledge, mRNA and DNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to mother or baby because they are not live vaccines. The mRNA and DNA in the vaccines is quickly degraded by normal cellular function.
These unlikely but unproven risks of the vaccine must be balanced against the known risks of covid disease in pregnancy. While the overall risk of severe illness is low, pregnant women have been shown to have an increased risk of severe illness, hospital admission, ICU admission, need for a ventilator, as well as an increased risk of death. There may also be an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes (ie preterm birth and stillbirth).
Other factors to weigh when deciding to get the vaccine while pregnant include the level of covid 19 transmission in our community, your personal risk of exposure to covid, any additional health issues you may have that might increase your risk of severe covid illness (age, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc)
Similarly, there are no data on the vaccine in breastfeeding women. Neither DNA or mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant.
Recent evidence shows that both pregnant and breast feeding women who receive the vaccine, pass the antibodies that they make on to their infants (through the placenta or breast milk) and these antibodies may help protect the infant as well.
The following are links to information from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine:
ACOG and SMFM guidelines for pregnant women:
3) I am eligible for vaccine. How do I sign up?
We are not able to order or administer the vaccine at this time.
You may sign up through the IDPH and Chicago websites:
Book COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Vaccine Appointments Online | Zocdoc
NM site with info on vaccination at NMH:
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the vaccination plan for Northwestern Medicine patients.
4) Which vaccine should I get?
There is generally no choice as to which vaccine you will receive at a vaccination site. At this time you should get the same type of vaccine for your second dose. All of the vaccines are highly effective. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have a 94-95% effectiveness rate. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was shown to be 72 % effective against moderate to severe infection in the US and 85% effective against severe disease.
5) What if I can’t get the second dose on time?
The cdc recommends adhering to the schedule as closely as possible but if unable to do so (ie vaccine not available) you can get your second dose up to 42 days (6 wks) after the first.
6) What are the usual side effects?
Pain/swelling in your arm, fever/chills, headache, tiredness Ok to take Tylenol or ibuprofen. Pregnant women should take Tylenol to keep temperature under 100 degrees.
7) What if I have allergies?
If you have had a severe allergic to any of the ingredients in the vaccine (there is a list on the CDC’s website) or had an allergic reaction to the first vaccine, do not proceed with vaccination.
A severe allergic reaction is anaphylaxis which includes swollen throat or tongue, difficulty breathing, or hives.
If you have a had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, you may still elect to receive the vaccine after consideration of the risks. You may wish to discuss this with your primary care doctor or consider consultation with an allergist.
Allergies to other medications, foods, animals, latex, eggs, gelatin, or seasonal allergies are not considered a risk for covid vaccination.
8) Do I still need to wear a mask, social distance and perform frequent hand washing after I receive the vaccine?
Yes you should still wear mask in public, social distance, and frequently wash your hands even after you have been vaccinated. This is because the vaccine is not 100% effective. In addition, it may be possible that you would not have symptoms but still contract enough virus to transmit to virus to others who may still be susceptible.
You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and 2 weeks after your single Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The CDC has issued guidelines for fully vaccinated people:
9) Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?
No, neither of the currently available vaccines is linked to infertility.
Despite social media chatter, antibodies to the spike protein have not been linked to infertility after COVID-19 infection, and there is no scientific reason to believe this will change after vaccination for COVID-19.
No other viral infection or vaccination-inducing immunity by similar mechanisms has been shown to cause infertility.
Women should feel comfortable that this claim has no basis in science.
10) Can I get another vaccine at the same time as the COVID vaccine?
The recommendation is to administer the COVID-19 vaccine alone, with minimal interval of 14 days from other vaccines. If accidentally done, neither vaccine should be re-administered.
11) Are the vaccines interchangeable?
No, at this time it is not recommended to receive doses of different vaccines.
12) If I had COVID or was exposed to the virus, should I still get the vaccine?
Yes, even those who had COVID-19 should be vaccinated once they are recovered. We do not yet know how long the immune response to natural infection lasts, and the vaccine has been shown to be effective in preventing infection.
If you are acutely infected, you should wait until you have recovered to receive the vaccine.
If you are recently exposed or in quarantine, you should wait until the end of quarantine to avoid exposure to health care workers.
13) If I had COVID or was exposed, do I need to get blood work done to look for antibodies before getting the vaccine?
No, there is no need to evaluate for antibodies before vaccination. It is also not recommended to check antibodies after the vaccine.
14) If I have medical conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, should I get the vaccine?
Yes! These medical conditions may result in a more severe infection with COVID-19, so it is important to get vaccinated.
15) If I am immunocompromised should I get the vaccine?
Yes! There is limited data available, but vaccination may provide key protection against the virus in those with suppressed immune systems. The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live virus. Studies of immunocompromised people are now beginning.
16) Does the COVID-19 vaccine cause Bell’s palsy?
This question comes from the side effects reported in the Moderna vaccine trial, which included 30,400 participants.
Companies track every complaint, regardless of whether linked to vaccination. In the trial, participants reported Bell’s palsy symptoms: 3 in the vaccine and 1 in the placebo group. This was not a significant difference and thus was not attributed to the COVID-19 vaccine.
17) Will the vaccine cause male pattern hair growth?
No, there is no evidence the vaccine causes women to grow beards or mustaches. In contrast, COVID-19 illness has been linked to hair loss. Thus, vaccination will not increase undesired hair growth and may prevent undesired hair loss from COVID-19.
18) How does the vaccination affect testing for COVID-19 disease?
Vaccination will not affect results of nasal, nasopharyngeal, or saliva PCR or rapid antigen tests for diagnosis of acute infection.
Currently, the antibody tests available in laboratories check for IgM or IgG to either spike or nucleocapsid proteins. Positive antibody (IgG) to spike protein could mean evidence of prior infection or vaccination.
To document prior natural infection with live virus, laboratory evidence of antibody to nucleocapsid protein is needed.
19) How do I know if symptoms after vaccination are due to the vaccine or COVID-19 infection?
Signs and symptoms unlikely to be from COVID-19 vaccination include: Cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sore throat, loss of taste or smell.
Signs and symptoms that may be from either COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 infection, or another infection include: Fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, and/or arthralgia.
20) Who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?
People who have had anaphylaxis or severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine.