Why do we need a vaccine?  

Getting vaccinated is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your community. A COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from getting sick and potentially prevent you from spreading the virus to others. It is important to note that a vaccine will not replace the need to continue other actions that stop the spread of COVID-19. This is especially true while we are still in the process of administering the vaccine, and this may take many months.  

 Students gathered to demonstrate what 'could be' if we all do our part of getting vaccinated.

Where can I get vaccinated?

Although the Community site at the Cleary Center is now closed, there are a number of sites in La Crosse county where the vaccine is administered. The list of vaccine sites in our area is below: 

Walgreens 

  • The vaccine is available through Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program with a variety of local Walgreens locations. 
  • Visit their website to learn more: Walgreens' website 
  • Call 1-800-Walgreens with questions. 

Wal-Mart 

  • The vaccine is available through Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program with a variety of local Wal-Mart locations. 
  • Visit their website to learn more: Wal-Mart website. 

Weber Health 

  • Walk-ins accepted on select days and appointments welcomed
  • Learn more at weber-health.com/

Gundersen Health System 

  • Vaccine appointments at Gundersen locations are available to patients and non-patients.
  • Walk-ins accepted on select days
  • Learn more and find locations at Gundersen's Covid-19 website 

Mayo Clinic Health System 

If you are looking for a vaccination site outside of La Crosse county or these options don't work for you, you can search for sites by zip code on VaccineFinder.
 
 

Vaccination FAQ

The information below relates to the topic of vaccinations. 

This page will be updated frequently as further details become clear.

General vaccine questions

How do I know if I’m eligible for the vaccine? Where can I register? expanding section

Eligibility information for La Crosse County residents can be found at lacrossecounty.org/covid19/vaccines. Anyone wishing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is invited to register at vaccinate.wi.gov/. However, only those currently eligible to receive the vaccine will be contacted by the county to schedule an appointment.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

What if we have signed up and are eligible, but have not yet received an email for an appointment yet? expanding section

Eligible individuals will be contacted to schedule appointments as appointments become available. If you have questions about signing up or eligibility, you can contact:  

  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services Vaccine Assistance Hotline: 1-844-684-1064 (toll-free) 
  • La Crosse County Health Department's Vaccine Hotline: 608-785-6240 
  • La Crosse County Health Department's COVID questions email: covid19@lacrossecounty.org  
  • Other vaccination sites may be available in our area. For a full list of vaccination sites in La Crosse County, go to https://www.lacrossecounty.org/covid19/vaccines 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

How many vaccine doses will I need? expanding section

It depends which brand of vaccine you receive. If you receive the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine, you will only need 1 dose. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you will need to come back for a second dose approximately 21-28 days after your first dose. While visiting the clinic for your first shot, you will be asked to make an appointment for your second if an additional dose is required. 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

I received the vaccine and am experiencing side effects. What side effects are normal, and at what point should I call my doctor? expanding section

It’s common for people who have received the vaccine to experience soreness at the site of the injection. Fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain and fever are also frequently reported side effects. In most cases, these effects will diminish or disappear in 24 to 48 hours. The CDC advises that you should contact your doctor or health care provider if: 1) the redness or tenderness around the injection site increases after 24 hours, 2) the effects are so severe that they become worrisome, or 3) the effects do not diminish after three days. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Is it possible to contract COVID-19 between vaccination doses? expanding section

Yes, and this is why it’s important that you continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands. If you are receiving a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna), the first dose provides only partial protection from the virus. Most people do not develop the full protection produced by the vaccine until approximately fourteen days after their second dose (or only dose if receiving Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine). Even at this stage, people should continue following health and safety guidelines until the pandemic is over. We do not yet have a full understanding of how well the vaccine prevents transmission. 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

After I get the COVID-19 vaccine, do I still need to quarantine after an exposure? expanding section

If you are fully vaccinated, you may not need to quarantine after being exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19. Work with your interviewer from the Health Department to determine whether you meet the criteria to be exempt from quarantine. Keep your vaccine card with your vaccination dates in a safe place so you can provide your vaccination dates if needed. 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Do we know the long-term effects of the vaccine? expanding section

COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Thousands of people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offer protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. The CDC and other health partners continue to monitor for the long-term effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, including how long immunity lasts, and for any possible negative long-term effects. As of 4/2/21, more than 56 million people in the U.S. have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and almost 100 million who have received at least one dose (there are about 250 million adults in the U.S.). Multiple safety monitoring efforts are under way, including additional studies in pregnant individuals, reporting of any adverse effects, and voluntary self-monitoring by vaccinated individuals. You can help by participating in the V-Safe After Vaccination Health Checker after you receive your vaccine. Quick texting surveys help the CDC check in with you to see how you’re doing after vaccination. 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Will COVID-19 vaccines be required to attend in-person classes next semester? expanding section

At this time, UW system schools do not plan to require individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of attending class. 

Last modified: 04/08/2021

If someone in my family had a severe reaction to the vaccine, would I be at risk of the same? expanding section

It is common to experience side effects like pain, redness, and swelling of the arm where you got the shot, and sometimes headache, tiredness, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These side effects are a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. Side effects will vary from person to person, but these are all normal and should improve within a few days. People who experience severe allergic reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine or any of the ingredients should not receive any more doses. This type of reaction is rare. It’s best to check with your personal healthcare provider if you need additional information.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Answers to more general questions from UWL’s Infectious Disease Expert via Instagram expanding section
 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by UW-La Crosse (@uwlax)

Last modified: 05/06/2021

How many vaccines have been given in La Crosse County? expanding section

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services now tracks this data here: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-data.htm. You can see how many vaccines have been given in Wisconsin, the Western Region, and La Crosse County.

Last modified: 07/19/2021

Vaccine myths & facts

Why do doctors say it only protects the person that got vaccinated? Is this true? expanding section

When you get vaccinated, the vaccine teaches your immune system how to prepare to fight the virus and prevent you from becoming sick if you are exposed to COVID-19 virus in the future. This primarily protects the person who is receiving the vaccine. The way that getting vaccinated could potentially protect others is when enough people are vaccinated, and therefore immune, to the COVID-19 virus, it will not be able to spread in the community anymore. This is a process called ‘herd immunity’. Herd immunity helps protect the small portion of people who can’t be vaccinated or who haven’t been able to receive the vaccine yet (like small children). So while the vaccine primarily protects you, if you never become ill with COVID-19, you’ll reduce the risk that you could spread it to other, unvaccinated people.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

I have a severe food allergy. Should I be worried about getting the vaccine? expanding section

CDC recommends that people get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated. People with severe or immediate allergic reactions to a dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines or any of the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines, including polyethylene glycol or polysorbate, should not get the COVID-19 vaccines. These types of reactions are very rare. Check with your personal healthcare provider if you need additional information.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Does the vaccine contain aborted fetal cells? expanding section

COVID-19 vaccines do not contain aborted fetus cells or tissue. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have used fetal cell lines (cells that are grown in a lab) when testing to make sure their vaccines work and are safe. The cell lines used have been around for 40-50 years.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

Once the vaccine is widely accessible to everyone, is that the point of “return to normalcy”? How do we know when we get to that point? expanding section

The return to normalcy point can be difficult to define. One measure that is often used is the idea of herd immunity, which means that enough people are immune to the virus that it cannot easily spread in a population anymore. The number of people who need to be immune for this to occur varies by illness. For polio, for example, herd immunity is reached at about 80% of a population being vaccinated, while for measles, it takes 95% of a population to be vaccinated before herd immunity is reached. We don’t yet know what the herd immunity rate will be to stop the spread of COVID-19, but are encouraged by the large number of people choosing to be vaccinated. We will continue to closely monitor CDC, WI Department of Health, La Crosse County Health Department, and UW System leadership recommendations. While some safety measures will likely need to continue, we hope to return to more in-person classes and experiences for Fall 2021.

Last modified: 04/08/2021

After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test? expanding section

No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Last modified: 04/08/2021

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine? expanding section

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

If you were treated for COVID-19 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 are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

Reference: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html

Last modified: 04/08/2021