Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Please review the FAQ below to find answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, eligibility, and Mason’s clinical operations and involvement in the distribution of vaccine in the community. If you do not find your question answered here, please contact us at vaccine@gmu.edu.

Click any question below to jump directly to the answer, or continue scrolling to read all of the FAQs.

Why should I get vaccinated?

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine will help keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe. Vaccines are the key to bringing this deadly pandemic to an end.

Who is eligible right now?

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is helping to get the Mason Nation vaccinated by sending us additional doses in April. If you receive a W-2 from Mason, you’re eligible now!

We do expect to have vaccine available to the student body later this month, pending availability from VDH. At this time, we are unable to offer appointments to family and friends of Mason’s faculty, staff, and graduating students. We encourage those who are not eligible right now to check with their local health department to make sure they are registered to receive the vaccine when it becomes available to them.

How do I get a vaccine appointment with Mason?

  • Look for an email invitation from the Office of Safety, Emergency, and Enterprise Risk Management (SEERM) to sign up. Eligible students, faculty, and staff can expect to receive this invitation through their Mason email around mid-April.
  • Pick a timeslot on a secure SignUpGenius account. You must use your Mason email address (@gmu.edu or @masonlive.gmu.edu) to qualify.
  • Instructions for parking and entering Eagle Bank Arena will be provided in the appointment confirmation email from SEERM.

What can I expect at the clinic?

Mason has already vaccinated over 40,000 people (and counting!) in the Northern Virginia region. The clinic at EagleBank Arena is staffed by highly trained individuals from diverse backgrounds — many of which are Mason staff and volunteers.

The clinic process has 3 easy steps and typically takes less than 45 minutes from start to finish. Here is what to expect:

  1. Check-in – Plan to arrive at Eagle Bank Area at your scheduled appointment time. Appointments are spaced out in 15-minute increments so that we can ensure safe social distancing and keep lines to a minimum — don’t forget to wear your mask!
  2. Get vaccine – Next you will sit down at a vaccination table with a trained medical professional. They will answer any questions you have and give you the vaccine.
  3. Wait 15-30 minutes – Next you will move to a seat in the observation area. You will be asked to wait for a period of time for observation. We want to be sure you are feeling well before you leave.

Which vaccine will I get?

The vaccine you receive is subject to availability in the region. At this time, Mason expects to offer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

All currently available COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective. Those who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will need to receive a second dose no sooner than 21 days later.

Can I wait until my preferred brand of vaccine is available?

We recommend taking the first appointment available to you, but if you prefer, you may choose to wait for a specific brand to become available.

Is the vaccine free?

Yes! There is no cost directly to you.

Are the vaccines safe?

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists were able to speed up the research process and get results more quickly — for example, by combining phases of clinical trials and getting more resources from the federal government. But they didn’t skip any key safety steps.

Are there any side effects?

Most people don’t have serious side effects after they get vaccinated. Just like with other vaccines, your arm may be red, sore, or warm to the touch. You may also get a headache or a fever, or feel tired and achy for a day or 2. These side effects are very common in people who get COVID-19 vaccines. They’re signs that your body is building up protection — and that means the vaccine is working.

Serious side effects that would cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following COVID-19 vaccination. Long-term side effects following any vaccination are extremely rare. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that if side effects are going to happen, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose.

What should I do if I experience side effects?

Most side effects will go away in a few days. Side effects can generally be managed with self-care.

Contact a healthcare provider if redness or tenderness where you go the shot gets worse after 24 hours, or if you are worried about side effects or they do not seem to be going away after a few days. Mason students can call Student Health Services at 703-993-2831.

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, call 911 for immediate medical care. 

If I had COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. Experts are still studying how long your immune system protects you from COVID-19 after you had it — and they recommend that people who had COVID-19 and got better get the vaccine.

Do I still need to wear a mask, participate in surveillance testing, and socially distance after I get the vaccine?

Yes — at least at first. There won’t be enough vaccines for everyone right away, so it’s important to keep taking steps to protect people who haven’t gotten the vaccine yet. That includes wearing a mask when you’re in public, washing your hands, and keeping a safe distance from other people. Also, don’t forget to complete your daily Mason COVID Health Check, and participate in surveillance testing when invited to do so.

How do I register for vaccination if I cannot attend a clinic at Mason?

All Virginians (16 or older) are eligible for vaccination beginning April 18, 2021.

For those residing in or working in Fairfax County, the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church, and the towns of Vienna, Herndon and Clifton, visit the Fairfax County Health District website to register for vaccination. Those in the Fairfax County Health District who need assistance with registration, who need to register in another language, or who do not have proper internet access or technology for online appointment scheduling can contact our call center to register for an appointment over the phone at 703-324-7404.

Virginians can visit vaccinate.virginia.gov or call (877) 829-4682 to register.