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Please find, below, a current list of answers to the most FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS re: COVID-19 and LINKS TO LOCAL COVID TESTING FACILITIES.
COVID-19 TESTING FAQ
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19.
An interactive CDC tool to help you make decisions on when to seek testing and medical care.
CDC has detailed information about the COVID-19 tests available.
Yes. This is particularly useful for people who cannot or have difficulty travelling to a COVID-19 test facility. We recommend
Find out if you currently have COVID-19 without leaving home.
LabCorp will send you an at-home collection kit to collect your nasal swab sample and ship it back to their lab. The lab will test your sample for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease (also called COVID-19), a respiratory illness.
You must be 18 or older to take this test. The average time to deliver results is currently 1-2 days from when your sample is received at the lab. The labs process samples seven days a week. Check with your local FedEx for pick up and drop off schedules.
Please note this test does not detect antibodies or immunity; it is designed to determine active infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. For more information on antibody testing visit LabCorp.com .
As a convenience to our patients, we have compiled a list of local facilities offering COVID-19 testing:
Appointment not required
Referral not required
Tests limited to certain patients
- COVID-19 Testing Available!
- Call to make an appointment
- Referral Required
- Nasal swab (PCR) test: $130 (billing code U0003)
- Testing all ages
- Tests are conducted on a first-come, first-served basis.
- There are no appointments.
- There is no cost for the tests.
- No referral is required.
Appointment not required
Referral required (!)
- Call to schedule an appointment.
Referral Not Required
COVID-19 VACCINATION FAQ
Vaccine prioritization will occur in phases. We are currently in Phase 1:
- Phase 1 (December 2020 – February 2021): Approved vaccines start to go to 5 priority groups (listed in order of priority):
- Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care
- Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities
- Police, fire and emergency medical services
- Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters)
- Home-based health care workers
- Health care workers doing non-COVID-facing care
- Phase 2 (February – March 2021; listed in order of priority):
- Individuals with 2+ co-morbid conditions and/or age 75+ (high risk for COVID-19 complications)
- Early education, K-12, transit, grocery, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works and public health workers
- Adults 65+
- Individuals with one co-morbid condition
- Phase 3 (Starting in April 2021): Vaccine is expected to be available to the general public.
Please visit MASS.GOV for more detailed information about Massachusetts' COVID vaccination plan.
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future.
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to produce T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes after vaccination. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection.
Sometimes after vaccination, the process of building immunity can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. CDC.
At The Time of your Vaccination
- You and your healthcare worker will both need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth.
- Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines
COVID-19 vaccine card
- You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.
- You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered. Each authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine.
- All people who get a COVID-19 vaccine should be monitored on-site. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
- With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need two shots in order for them to work. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.
- Ask your healthcare provider about getting started with v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
- It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot.
COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offers protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions.
Most people do not have serious problems after being vaccinated. We will understand more about mild side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine before we start to use it. However, your arm may be sore, red, or warm to the touch. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. Some people report getting a headache or fever when getting a vaccine. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it is supposed to do. It is working and building up protection to disease.
Most common side effects:
At the injection side (arm):
Throughout the rest of your body:
These side effects usually start within a day or two of getting the vaccine. They might feel like flu symptoms and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Get tips on what to expect after getting vaccinated.
Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. However, it does take time, and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and determine the best course of action.
No. The vaccine does not contain the live virus. You cannot become infected with COVID-19 from a vaccine.
Two shots. The first shot starts building protection, but everyone has to come back a few weeks later for the second one to get the most protection the vaccine can offer.
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called “natural immunity,” varies from person to person. It is rare for someone who has had COVID-19 to get infected again. It also is uncommon for people who do get COVID-19 again to get it within 90 days of when they recovered from their first infection. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are working to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Yes. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision. We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself. CDC will continue to update this page as we learn more.
While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic.
To protect yourself and others, follow these recommendations:
Wear a mask over your nose and mouth Stay at least 6 feet away from others Avoid crowds Avoid poorly ventilated spaces Wash your hands often Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
CDC is the best resource for up-to-the-minute answers to all questions related to COVID-19.