In my work as the first Hispanic female president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society, I’ve made it my mission to address racial and ethnic differences in regard to healthcare. COVID-19 has brought many of those issues directly into the spotlight.
We’ve unfortunately seen a lot of families in the Latino and Hispanic communities personally affected by COVID-19, either by getting it themselves or seeing family members and friends suffer. It’s been an emotional experience for everyone.
While we now have COVID-19 vaccine options, I have seen and spoken to many families in the LatinX community who are still hesitant to get vaccinated.
There are many reasons for this, but one of the biggest barriers is access to education that is factual, culturally sensitive and easy to understand in our language. One of the ways we educate is by talking with people in the community.
I’d like to take this opportunity to share and answer some of the most common questions I’ve heard:
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No, you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccines do not interact with our DNA in any way. This means that none of the available COVID-19 vaccines can give you COVID-19.
I’ve already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?
People who have had COVID-19 can get it again. Because of this, the CDC recommends everyone who can get the COVID-19 vaccine should get it. This will ensure you, your family, and your community are protected — especially those most vulnerable.
Also, we're still learning about COVID-19. We know that people who get sick with COVID-19 and recover have immunity for a little while, but we do not know how long that immunity lasts.
How much does the vaccine cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine does not cost you anything. The Federal Government provides the vaccine for free to all people living in the U.S., regardless of immigration status. You may get the vaccine even if you do not have health insurance.
Do I need to provide an ID to get the vaccine?
You do not need an insurance card or social security number to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But you may need an ID, depending on where you go.
Vaccine clinics may require some form of identification with your name and preferably with your date of birth. Examples of identification we accept include:
- Driver's license
- State-issued ID card
- Student ID card
- Birth certificate
- Papers from your doctor’s office
- Utility bill
- Phone bill
This identification allows us to update your medical record with the type of COVID-19 shot you had and the date you received it.
You will also receive a vaccine card with your name, date of birth, the type of COVID-19 vaccine you had, and the date you got your shot. No one in our clinics will ever ask you about your immigration status.
I do not speak English. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Many vaccine sites are staffed with people who can speak to you in your language. You may also look for a site that has an interpreter or translator.
Where can I get the vaccine?
These vaccines will be available in retail pharmacies, pediatrician's offices, children's hospitals, vaccine clinics and other locations.
You can search online or check government websites like vaccines.gov to find out where the vaccine is being given near you.
What if I need help with transportation to and from the vaccine clinic?
The City of Philadelphia has provided Temple with free SEPTA transit passes to help you get to and from your vaccine appointment. Simply ask for your transit passes once you arrive at our vaccine clinic.
Temple can provide up to 4 transit passes for trips to and from the Temple University Hospital – Main Campus vaccine site for your first and second dose.
There are a number of vaccine clinics located throughout the Philadelphia area. Visit thisisourshotphilly.org to find a location near you.