Skip to Content
Main Content

COVID-19 FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions 


Open AllClose All
  COVID-19 Testing FAQs

Where can I get a COVID-19 test?

Beginning September 25, every household can again place an order to receive four more free COVID-19 rapid tests delivered directly to their home. Before You Throw Out "Expired" Tests: Check to see if your COVID-19 tests' expiration dates have been extended

You can also buy a self-test over-the-counter at a pharmacy or retail store.

Some private health insurers will reimburse the cost of purchasing self-tests. For a list of authorized self-tests, visit the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website.


I tested positive for COVID-19. Now what?

If you have received a positive PCR or rapid antigen test, you should isolate for at least 5 days. To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms. Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed.

You can end isolation after 5 full days if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved or if you were asymptomatic and continue to have no symptoms.

You should continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others at home and in public until day 10 (day 6 through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask when around others, you should continue to isolate for 10 total days.

More details from the CDC about isolating.


How can I request an at-home COVID-19 test?

Every household in Wisconsin is eligible to order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, shipped directly to your home. Place an order at (Note: Orders must be placed by the end of May 2023)

  COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccination?

The Milwaukee Health Department offers free walk-in vaccination clinics.

Additionally, you can reach out directly to your primary healthcare provider or local pharmacy to schedule a vaccination appointment.


If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

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.


Do I need the updated bivalent COVID-19 booster dose?

Yes. Everyone 6 months and older should get the updated 2023 COVID-19 vaccine. Data shows that the COVID-19 vaccine's effectiveness at preventing infection or severe illness wanes over time, so it’s important to get the COVID-19 and flu vaccines to prevent severe respiratory illness this season.

Visit the CDC's website for up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination recommendations.


Is it safe for children to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

Yes. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in keeping people, including children, out of the hospital. Children 6 months and older are eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccines have been used under the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history, including studies in children. 


How can I prepare my child for their COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Talk to your child beforehand about what to expect.
  • Be ready to support your child during the vaccine visit. Pack your child’s favorite toy, book, or blanket to comfort him or her during vaccinations.
  • Be honest with your child. Explain that vaccines can pinch or sting, but that it won’t hurt for long.
  • Engage other family members, especially older siblings, to support your child.
  • Remind your child that the COVID-19 vaccine will help to keep them healthy.
  • The experience will be more comfortable if your child is able to relax the muscle that gets the injection. Practice helps!


What are the most common side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.


If I am pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or hope to become pregnant in the future, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now, as well as people who might become pregnant in the future.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy helps:

  • Prevent severe illness and death in people who are pregnant
  • Protect babies younger than 6 months old from hospitalization caused by COVID-19

Learn more about vaccination considerations and the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.


How long does protection from a COVID-19 vaccine last?

Scientists are monitoring how long COVID-19 vaccine protection lasts. COVID-19 vaccines work well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. However, public health experts are seeing decreases in the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide over time, especially for certain groups of people. Due to this, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses for everyone ages 6 months and older, when eligible. The CDC continues to review evidence and updates guidance as new information becomes available.

Learn more about the rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths by vaccination status.


Can a COVID-19 vaccine make me sick with COVID-19?

 No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are signs that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.


What do I do if I lost my COVID-19 vaccination card?

If you lost your COVID-19 Vaccination Card, you can access and print your own immunization record in the Wisconsin Immunization Registry (WIR). 

  FAQs After a Positive Test or Exposure to COVID-19

I have been exposed to COVID-19. Do I need to test and quarantine?

Everyone who has been exposed to COVID-19 should get tested 5-7 days after exposure. If you have symptoms, you can test earlier. Wear a mask around others while you wait for results. Continue to wear a mask around others for 10 days after exposure. Safe mask wearing replaces what CDC used to recommend for quarantine. If unable to mask, please stay home.


I tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do next?