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Where Will I Be Able to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

person receiving vaccine in arm

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Key Takeaways

  • Plans are in place to offer the COVID-19 vaccine in a range of locations.
  • Each state has slightly different plans and regulations for where the vaccine can be administered.
  • Many areas will allow vaccines to be given at pharmacies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, and even dentist’s offices.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are being administered across the country, including at medical centers and retail pharmacies, and a third COVID-19 vaccine from Johnson & Johnson received Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA on February 27. As these vaccines are distributed and the rollout expands to more groups, it’s expected the vaccines will be offered in more areas.

If you’re not in one of these first groups of the rollout, it’s not time for you to get vaccinated yet. But, in a few months, it will be. So, where will you be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s what you need to know. 

As availability of the vaccine increases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that vaccination will be expanded to more groups. The CDC's vaccine rollout recommendations put healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities in the first priority group (1a) followed by groups that include essential workers, adults 65 and older, and individuals 16 to 64 with underlying conditions that put them at high risk of severe COVID-19 (groups 1b and 1c).

Where the Vaccine Will Be Available

Exactly where the vaccine is available in your area largely depends on where you live—each state and territory has its own operational playbook that dictates where the vaccine will be offered. While there is variation from area to area, there are some common threads. In general, you can expect that the COVID-19 vaccine will eventually be available near you in the following locations.

Your Local Hospital

This is where many vaccinations are taking place. Many major medical centers have the capacity to efficiently store the Pfizer vaccine, which requires very cold temperatures, infectious disease expert Amesh A. Adalja, MD, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Verywell. “That’s important,” he says.

As distribution increases for the three authorized vaccines, you may be able to walk into your local hospital to get vaccinated without an appointment during certain days, similar to how your local medical center handles flu vaccinations.

Your Local Pharmacy or Grocery Store

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has formed partnerships with large chain pharmacies and networks that represent independent pharmacies and regional chains to provide access to the vaccine anywhere pharmacists work. “Pharmacy vaccinators are crucial public health partners for increasing access and convenience of COVID-19 vaccines,” the HHS said in a press release, noting that “many pharmacists and the interns and technicians working under their supervision are trained to provide immunizations and are already important immunizers in their communities.”

There are now more than 20 retail pharmacies participating in a federal program to increase COVID-19 access across the United States, with options varying by state.

Your Primary Care Physician’s Office

The American Medical Association (AMA) says that physicians will play a key role in administering the vaccine, though many private medical practices don't have vaccines yet. The AMA urged physicians to have a communication plan in place to encourage patients to get vaccinated and to remind them when their second dose of the vaccine is needed. They also need to have supplies ready, like personal protection equipment, needles, syringes, alcohol prep pads, and vaccination cards to accompany the vaccines delivered to vaccination sites.

An Urgent Care Center or Walk-In Clinic

Vaccines are already being offered in clinics in the U.S. just as they were in the U.K., which approved the Pfizer vaccine before the U.S. “After an initial rollout to hospitals, the vaccine became available at local clinics,” Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, MPH, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, tells Verywell.

Your Dentist

It seems unusual, but several states have opened up the possibility of having dentists administer the COVID-19 vaccine. “We have a need for vaccinators,” Adalja says. “It is important to bring in people who have medical training in this, including dentists—they administer injections all the time.”

Halkitis says using dentists to administer vaccines is a “particularly smart idea,” adding that it may even create less anxiety for people who don’t feel comfortable going to a hospital, pharmacy, or their primary care physician to get vaccinated.

Overall, experts say vaccination is what ultimately matters. “It doesn’t really matter where people get their services, as long as they get their vaccination,” Halkitis says.

What This Means For You

Once the COVID-19 vaccine is more readily available, you should have a range of options for where to get vaccinated. Check in with your local health department or call your doctor if you’re unsure of where to go.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

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  1. Food & Drug Administration. Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Updated February 27, 2021.

  2. Robeznieks A. What doctors can do now to be ready when COVID-19 vaccines arrive. American Medical Association. October 23, 2020.

  3. American Dental Association. COVID-19 vaccine regulations for dentists map.

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