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

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

Third Shots and Boosters

General COVID Vaccine Questions

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?

Everyone ages 5 or older is currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (individuals ages 5-17 may only receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine). To sign up for an appointment at Mason, click here or visit to find an appointment outside of Mason. Please note, Mason is not able to vaccinate children younger than 12 years old.

How do I get a vaccine appointment with Mason?

To view current availability and to sign up for an appointment at Mason, click here.

What can I expect at the clinic?

Mason has already vaccinated over 60,000 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 the vaccine clinic 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?

Mason is currently offering both the Moderna and 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. Those who receive the Moderna vaccine will need to receive a second dose no sooner than 28 days later.

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.

Check out the below video for more information on COVID-19 vaccine safety.

What if I have an underlying medical condition?

Per the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), individuals with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for and can be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions. Click here to learn more from the CDC.

Will getting a COVID-19 vaccine impact my fertility and ability to have children in the future?

The CDC has great information available for anyone considering or trying to become pregnant now or in the future.

If you are trying to become pregnant now or want to get pregnant in the future, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems—problems trying to get pregnant. CDC does not recommend routine pregnancy testing before COVID-19 vaccination. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Like with all vaccines, scientists are studying COVID-19 vaccines carefully for side effects now and will report findings as they become available. (Source: CDC)

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.

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

All individuals (5 or older) are eligible for vaccination.

You can visit to register.

What if I cannot locate my COVID-19 vaccination card or documentation?

Contact the provider who administered the vaccination to request proof of vaccination. This may be a health department, pharmacy, or another healthcare provider. Documentation should include your name, the name of the healthcare facility/provider, type of vaccine, and the date of vaccination.

Individuals who were vaccinated in Virginia can request a copy of their immunization record using the Virginia Immunization Information System. Individuals vaccinated in another state can contact the state department of health to inquire about immunization records.

What if I will not have received my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by August 1, 2021?

Submit documentation of your first dose by the deadline. Once you receive your second dose, submit your proof of vaccination.

What if I have more questions about COVID-19 vaccines?

Contact your healthcare provider. Students can call Student Health Services (703-993-2831).

Information about COVID vaccines is available from the Centers for Disease Control.

Third Shots and Boosters

What’s the difference between a third shot and a booster shot?

Third shots are given to individuals who are immunocompromised at least four weeks after a second shot.  A third shot is needed because a person who is immunocompromised may not have the desired antibody production from only two shots.  A booster shot is given to certain populations at least six months after a second shot because there is evidence to suggest that people’s immune response may decline over time.  

Who is eligible for a third shot?

Individuals who are immunocompromised as defined by the CDC. A third shot should be administered at least four weeks after your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna. 

Who is eligible for a booster shot?

The CDC and FDA have approved and recommended booster doses for certain individuals who received any of the three Covid-19 vaccines available in the U.S.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters are available for eligible individuals who completed their initial series at least six months ago. Eligible individuals include:

  • People 65 and older.
  • People ages 18 to 64 with underlying medical conditions
  • People ages 18 to 64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional settings (i.e., high contact roles, health care, childcare teachers, instructional faculty, public safety, and counselors) may receive a booster after consultation with your primary care provider.

Individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are also eligible for a booster of any of the three vaccines available in the U.S., two months after their initial vaccine.

Are Mason Students, Faculty, and Staff eligible for a booster shot based on their work or studies at an instructional facility? 

Yes. Students, Faculty, and Staff at Mason aged 18 or older are eligible for a booster shot.  

Where can I get a third or booster shot at Mason?

Mason is currently offering Pfizer and Moderna third shots and booster shots for eligible individuals at Fenwick A, Monday through Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you need a third shot or a booster shot, schedule your vaccine appointment here

What if I was vaccinated in another state?

If you were vaccinated in another state you can still obtain your third shot or booster shot, if eligible, at Mason. You are required to bring your vaccine card to your appointment. You may be required to contact your state’s health department to update your vaccination record. Virginia’s vaccination system may not communicate with your states vaccine record system. Regional state systems are listed below.