COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Vaccine Distribution and Appointment Scheduling
  • Can I get a vaccine from Texas Health?

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

    Texas Health is also offering priority appointments to Texas Health Physician Group patients, as well as employees and family members from school districts and businesses that have an agreement with Texas Health.

    For more information about distribution, visit dshs.texas.gov.

  • Can I visit a Texas Health hospital for the vaccine?

    Not at this time.

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

    Texas Health is also offering priority appointments to Texas Health Physician Group patients, as well as employees and family members from school districts and businesses that have an agreement with Texas Health.

    For more information about distribution, visit dshs.texas.gov.

  • I’m a Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, or Texas Health Adult Care patient. When can I get my vaccination?

    Texas Health is offering priority appointments to Texas Health Physician Group patients, as well as employees and family members from school districts and businesses that have an agreement with Texas Health. Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, and Texas Health Adult Care patients do not have to sign up on a wait list and should watch for messages from their doctor about vaccine access.

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

  • I am a Texas Health primary care patient, but no one has called me. Who do I notify?

    You do not need to notify your physician or sign up on a list to be considered eligible for the vaccine through your physician’s office. Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, and Texas Health Adult Care patients should watch for messages from their doctor about vaccine access.

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

  • I see Texas Health listed as a community vaccine hub online, how can I sign up?

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

    Texas Health is also offering priority appointments to Texas Health Physician Group patients, as well as employees and family members from school districts and businesses that have an agreement with Texas Health.

    For more information about distribution, visit dshs.texas.gov.

  • What should I do if I miss my Texas Health Community Clinic vaccination appointment or need to reschedule?

    You will need to reschedule your appointment through MyChart. When your original appointment was scheduled at a Texas Health Community Clinic, you received an email to create a MyChart account. Through MyChart, you can confirm, cancel or reschedule your appointment.

  • Why have I not been scheduled for a vaccination appointment yet?

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

    Texas Health is also offering priority appointments to Texas Health Physician Group patients, as well as employees and family members from school districts and businesses that have an agreement with Texas Health.

    For more information about distribution, visit dshs.texas.gov.

  • Another vaccine provider (clinic, pharmacy, vaccine hub, etc.) has an appointment available for me. Should I wait to hear from Texas Health or take that appointment?

    Take the first appointment offered to you, regardless of provider. It is important that our communities are vaccinated against COVID-19 quickly.

    Texas Health is vaccinating persons ages 16 and older. Skip the line and expedite your visit by scheduling your FIRST DOSE of the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our Texas Health Community Clinic locations.

    Walk-ins are also available for your FIRST DOSE at our Texas Health Community Clinic locations. Typically wait times and lines are short. Get more information about walk-ins, including days and times.

    Make sure you get your second dose within the recommended timeframe and that both doses are from the same manufacturer. It is important to keep the Vaccination Card you receive when you get your first dose.

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General Vaccine Information
  • I want to help! Is there a role for volunteers in the vaccine clinics?

    Yes! We are looking for clinical and non-clinical volunteers for our vaccination clinics across North Texas. Let us know if you are interested by filling out this form. All volunteers will need to pass a background check and drug screening, as well as complete an orientation. Training on the clinic role will be provided.

  • If I’ve already had COVID-19, would the vaccine be helpful?

    Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

    At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called acquired immunity, varies from person to person.

    Individuals who are known COVID-19 positive should wait to receive the vaccine until they are symptom free and no longer require isolation. For most people this is 14 days with no signs or symptoms. People who have had COVID-19 may want to check with their primary care provider to see when it is OK to start their vaccines.

  • How were the vaccines tested?

    Clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants to enable the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to the FDA’s rigorous standards.

    The trials are conducted in three phases.

    • In phase 1, the vaccine is given to a small number of generally healthy people to assess its safety at increasing doses and to gain early information about how well the vaccine works to induce an immune response in people.
    • Phase 2 studies include more people with varying health statuses and from different demographic groups receiving various dosages. These studies provide additional safety information and may provide initial information regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine.
    • In phase 3, the vaccine is administered to thousands of people in randomized, controlled studies involving broad demographic groups. In a randomized, controlled study, individuals are allocated at random to receive the vaccine and are compared against those in the study who did not receive the vaccine. This phase generates critical information on effectiveness and additional important safety data. It provides additional information about the immune response in people who receive the vaccine compared to those who receive a control, such as a placebo. (FDA)

  • Do I need to keep the Vaccination Card that I receive after my first dose?

    Yes. For Johnson & Johnson, which only requires one dose, the Vaccination Card can serve as proof of vaccination. For Pfizer and Moderna, which require two doses, the Vaccination Card lists the date of your first dose, which can help remind you when your second dose is due. It also lists the vaccine brand (e.g. Pfizer or Moderna) and can serve as proof of vaccination. Remember the same vaccine brand must be used for both doses; the brands are not interchangeable.

    COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
    Source: dshs.texas.gov

     

  • I lost my Vaccination Card. Where can I get proof of vaccination?

    If you misplaced your Vaccination Card after receiving your vaccine through Texas Health, you can get your COVID-19 vaccine record in several ways. These include: MyChart or the Health Information Management Department at Texas Health. If you received your vaccine through Texas Health or another provider, you can also get your vaccine record through ImmTrac. We are unable to recreate a Vaccination Card.

    Download step-by-step instructions on the different ways you can get proof of vaccination.

  • How does the FDA determine emergency use authorization?

    Approval of an emergency use authorization (EUA) request from a vaccine manufacturer enables the FDA to allow the use of unapproved medical products, or unapproved uses of approved medical products, in a public health emergency such as the COVID-19 pandemic. There must be no adequate, approved and available alternatives to a product for the FDA to approve an EUA request.

    Vaccine manufacturers are currently conducting extensive clinical trials to generate the information needed by the FDA to determine whether the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks of a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.

    When the final phase of the clinical trial reaches a point that indicates how well a vaccine prevents COVID-19, an independent group called a data safety monitoring board reviews the data. Based on the data and the interpretation of the data by this group, manufacturers decide whether to submit an EUA request to the FDA, taking into consideration input from the FDA.

    After the FDA receives the EUA request, its career scientists and physicians, with input from an external advisory committee, evaluate the safety and effectiveness information and decide whether the data support an emergency use authorization of the specific COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.

    The FDA informs recipients of a vaccine under an EUA that it has authorized the emergency use of the vaccine, of the known and potential benefits and risks, the extent to which such benefits and risks are unknown, that they have the option to accept or refuse the vaccine, and of any available alternatives to the product. COVID-19 vaccine EUA approval information and fact sheets can be found on the FDA website (Pfizer fact sheet, Moderna fact sheet, and Johnson & Johnson fact sheet). (FDA)

  • Will the COVID-19 vaccine be free?

    The CDC says that vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccine providers may charge an administration fee for giving the vaccine dose to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

  • If I get the COVID-19 vaccine, can I relax the safety precautions I have been taking?

    No. The vaccine does not replace the need for safety precautions such as wearing a mask, maintaining a safe distance, washing your hands and limiting gatherings with individuals outside your household.

  • When will we reach herd immunity?

    Herd immunity happens when enough people in a community are either vaccinated against or have built acquired immunity to a disease (due to having had it at some point) that it makes it difficult to spread that disease from person to person. According to the CDC, it is not yet known what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. CDC and other experts are currently studying herd immunity around the COVID-19 vaccine and will provide more information as it is available. (CDC)

  • Should I take pain relievers before or after I get my vaccine?

    The CDC does not recommend taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Tylenol®, Advil®, etc.) before getting your COVID-19 vaccine (CDC). It is not known how these medicines may affect how well the vaccine works. Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You might be able to take one of these medicines for side effects after your vaccine if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.

    If your doctor has recommended that you take pain relievers regularly or even daily for certain conditions, do not stop taking them before your vaccine without first consulting your doctor.

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Vaccine Doses, Safety, Efficacy, Side Effects and Allergic Reactions
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for vulnerable populations?
    • Older adults: Currently, people 65 years and older are recommended for early COVID-19 vaccination according to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. Older adults are considered at highest risk for COVID-19 due to increased illness severity and risk of death.
      • Early vaccination for this group is highly recommended.
    • Immunocompromised: Currently, people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions are recommended for early COVID-19 vaccination according to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. People with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for COVID-19, therefore it is highly recommended this group receive the vaccine.
      • Underlying medical conditions include but are not limited to: Cancer, COPD, solid organ transplant recipients, heart failure, coronary artery disease, sickle cell disease, etc.
      • Severe illness is defined as individuals with COVID-19 who may require hospitalization, intensive care or mechanical ventilation.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?
    • Pregnant women: As of Dec. 14, 2020, no data is available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women. If a woman is part of a group (e.g. healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, she may choose to be vaccinated. A discussion with her healthcare provider can help her make an informed decision.
    • Breastfeeding: No data is available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson) in women who are breastfeeding or the effects of vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion. If a woman is part of a group (e.g. healthcare personnel) who is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and is breastfeeding, she may choose to be vaccinated. A discussion with her healthcare provider can help her make an informed decision.

  • How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
    • Johnson & Johnson vaccine: One dose.
    • Pfizer vaccine: Two doses; the second dose 17-21 days after your first shot.
    • Moderna vaccine: Two doses; the second dose 24-28 days after your first shot.

    CDC guidelines allow up to 6 weeks to receive your second dose.

    Remember the same vaccine brand must be used for both doses; the brands are not interchangeable.

  • What are the side effects of the vaccine?

    It’s important to know the difference between side effects and allergic reactions. Side effects are your body’s natural response to medications or vaccines. These are minor, expected changes that go away in a few days.

    Side effects for the COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be similar to, but perhaps more pronounced than, the side effects some people experience following the flu vaccine. These can include fever, chills, headache and injection site reactions (soreness/pain, redness, muscle aches). The manufacturers said the vaccines are safe and effective, and that most of the side effects resolved shortly after the doses were given.

    Moderna has reported that some trial participants had "severe" side effects, and others had to slow down on their daily activities for a few days. Significant side effects from the first dose included injection site pain, but more felt worse after the second dose — reporting fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and headache, among other symptoms. In the Pfizer trial, participants reported fatigue and headaches after getting the second dose (The Washington PostPfizer and Moderna news releases). *The Johnson & Johnson trial showed that participants had similar side effects after their vaccine. Research around side effects is ongoing.

    *On April 23, 2021, the CDC and the FDA lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A safety review found that a very rare, but serious condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) can develop, causing blood clots and low blood platelets. Nearly all reports of this serious condition have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of their increased chance of having TTS and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. The CDC and FDA lifted the temporary pause because a review of the data found that the known and potential benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.

    If symptoms worsen or do not go away after one week, contact your primary care provider and get medical attention.

    FDA documents about the Pfizer vaccine can be found here.

    FDA documents about the Moderna vaccine can be found here.

    FDA documents about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be found here.

  • How do I report side effects from the vaccine?

    If you received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last six weeks, v-safe is a way that you can tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects from the vaccine. This smartphone tool uses text messaging and web surveys that allow you to provide health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Participation in v-safe helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe. Learn more at vsafe.cdc.gov.

  • What are severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines?

    Some people may have allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. There are different levels of allergic reactions to the vaccines. Unlike side effects, allergic reactions are serious reactions medications or vaccines. (CDC)

    What if I have a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • Texas Health has put safeguards in place to monitor for the possibility of severe allergic reactions.
      • People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction (within four hours) to a vaccine or injectable therapy will be monitored at the vaccine clinic for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people will be monitored for 15 minutes.
      • Appropriate medications and equipment—such as epinephrine, antihistamines, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and timing devices to check your pulse are available at each vaccine clinic.
    • If you have a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccine site, call 911 right away.
    • The CDC considers a severe allergic reaction to be when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine, an EpiPen©, or if they must go to the hospital for emergency care. (e.g. anaphylaxis).

    How will I know ahead of time if I’m allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine?

    • A list of vaccine ingredients is here
    • If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
    • If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. 

    What if I had a non-severe allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine?

    • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines. An immediate allergic reaction occurs within 4 hours of receiving the vaccine and could be symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing.
    • If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.

    What if I have had an allergic reaction to other types of vaccines?

    • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

    What if I have severe allergies not related to vaccines?

    • If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated.
    • People with a history of allergies to medicines by mouth (oral medicines) or a family history of severe allergic reactions may get vaccinated.

    What if I have had an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate?

    • People who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate should not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Polysorbate is not an ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines.

    Latest information about vaccine reactions can be found here.

  • How do I report if I had a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration encourage the public to report possible adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).

  • Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine within 14 days of getting other vaccines (administration)?
    • For Pfizer and Moderna, both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine series should routinely be given alone, with a minimum of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine.
    • For Johnson & Johnson, the dose should be given with a minimum of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine.

    Latest information about vaccine coadministration can be found here.

  • Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am getting a long-acting steroid injection for another condition (for example, a steroid injection into a joint or into the spine)?

    People who get musculoskeletal steroid shots may want to wait to receive their COVID-19 vaccine 2 weeks before and/or 1 week after getting a steroid shot. Recently, several professional medical societies have updated their guidance for patients receiving musculoskeletal steroid injections. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.”

  • Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    No. It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use only a messenger RNA (mRNA) gene, not the actual virus, to trigger a person’s immune system to make protective antibodies against COVID-19.

    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a modified version of a different virus as a vector to deliver instructions, in the form of genetic material (a gene), to a cell. The vaccine does not cause infection with either COVID-19 or the virus that is used as the vector. (CDC)

    Because the vaccines trigger the immune system to respond as if the actual virus was present, a person may experience some side effects similar to those caused by the virus.

    Other vaccines being studied use inactivated virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.

  • What are the efficacy rates of the vaccines and what does that mean?

    Vaccine efficacy (VE) measures the proportionate reduction in disease among a vaccinated group in a clinical trial. A VE of 90% indicates a 90% reduction in disease occurrence among the vaccinated group, or a 90% reduction from the number of cases you would expect if they have not been vaccinated.

    In clinical trials the Pfizer vaccine has demonstrated a VE of 95%. The Moderna vaccine’s VE is 94.5%. (CDCBusiness Insider). In clinical trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine demonstrated a VE of 66.3% but has a high efficacy against hospitalization and death in people who did get COVID-19 (CDC).

  • How long does it take for the vaccine to begin protecting me?

    For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you can expect to have the full protection that the vaccine provides around 1 to 2 weeks after getting your second dose. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more after your dose.

  • Will I have to get the COVID-19 vaccine every year, like the flu shot?

    We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.

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