COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
Vaccine Distribution and Appointment Scheduling
  • What is the vaccine distribution plan?

    The Texas Department of State Health Services guiding principles for vaccine distribution use a phased and tiered approach. Vaccine distribution will be prioritized by:

    • 1A Direct Care: Hospital, Long-Term Care, EMS, Home Health, Outpatient, ER/Urgent Care, Pharmacies, Last Responders, School Nurses
    • 1A Long-Term Care: Residents of long-term care facilities
    • 1B Persons: Individuals age 65+ or 16+ with at least one chronic medical condition (e.g. asthma, cancer, COPD, certain heart conditions, sickle cell disease, obesity, etc., and including pregnancy). For more information, visit texas.gov.

  • Can I sign up on a wait list for a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes, North Texans can sign up through their county health department website (CollinDentonDallasTarrant). Information for additional counties is located on the state Health and Human Services website. As vaccine supply becomes more available, it will be easier to get a shot.

    As available, vaccines will also be distributed through Texas Health primary care offices across North Texas. Following the tiering determined by the state of Texas, the current focus is vaccination for Phase 1A and 1B individuals. Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, and Texas Health Adult Care patients should watch for messages about the vaccine from their doctor. These Texas Health primary care practices will be working to vaccinate patients as quickly as possible. Patients do not need to sign up for the vaccine or call the office as physicians already have contact information.

    Vaccinations are available by appointment only, regardless of whether you are obtaining your vaccine via the county health department or through your physician office and are not available at hospitals or physician offices on a walk-in basis.

  • I’m over the age of 65. Where and when can I get a vaccination?

    Vaccine for community members in Phase 1B (individuals age 65+ or 16+ with at least one chronic medical condition) is being distributed as it becomes available. North Texans should register on their county health department website (CollinDentonDallasTarrant). State vaccine information is available here. Texas Health is a community vaccine hub for Tarrant County and Collin County and will work with the counties to administer vaccines based on the guiding principles issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

    Texas Health primary care patients — including any Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, and Texas Health Adult Care locations — should watch for messages from their doctor. Texas Health primary care patients are eligible for the vaccine from their primary care office even if they also register with the county site in advance.

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

    Not at this time. Vaccinations require an appointment so please do not show up at a Texas Health hospital or physician practice looking for the vaccine. Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Internal Medicine, and Texas Health Adult Care patients should watch for messages from their doctor.

    The government continues to determine the process for vaccine administration to the general public, and we are aligned with those instructions for health care workers and patients. State vaccine information is available here.

    Individual North Texans who do not qualify for this first round of vaccinations should register with their local county health department for obtaining the vaccine at a future date.

  • 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 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. Quantities are limited, and patients will be contacted based on criteria established by the CDC as soon as supplies become available.

    COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

    While we will contact Texas Health primary care patients as soon as vaccines are available, we do encourage you to register with your county health department now. State vaccine information is available here.

  • 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 at your physician’s office. Physician offices are reaching out as vaccine becomes available, however limited quantities are available at this time. We anticipate additional doses on a weekly basis. If you are a Texas Health primary care patient — including any Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Adult Care and Texas Health Internal Medicine location — your physician office will contact you about the vaccine when it becomes available. Texas Health primary care patients are eligible for the vaccine from their primary care office even if they also register with the county site in advance.

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

    Sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine with your county health department website (Collin, Denton, Dallas, Tarrant). Texas Health is working with the Tarrant County and Collin County Departments of Health to contact and vaccinate individuals who meet the 1A and 1B criteria. If you are a Texas Health primary care patient — including any Texas Health Family Care, Texas Health Adult Care and Texas Health Internal Medicine location — your physician office will contact you about the vaccine when it becomes available. Texas Health primary care patients are eligible for the vaccine from their primary care office even if they also register with the county site in advance.

  • 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. There are two ways to cancel or reschedule a vaccine appointment:

    1. Repeat the original registration process through the county’s health department website (CollinDentonDallasTarrant or find your county here).

      OR
    1. 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?

    The first step to get a vaccine is to register with a county. Registering with a county gets you on their wait list. Public Health departments then assign community members from their waiting lists to partner vaccine providers, like Texas Health.

    It may take several weeks or more for an appointment after you register through a county. More people have registered to get a COVID-19 vaccine than there is currently supply available. As vaccines become available, you will be contacted for an appointment if you are eligible based on current Phase and registered through a county health department (CollinDentonDallasTarrant or find a county here). Most county websites provide a way to check your status on the wait list after you have registered.

  • Why did I get a vaccination appointment but my significant other did not?

    Each person who wants the vaccine must register with the county separately, even if they share an email address. The county will contact each person (by email, text message or phone call) to confirm the county received their request. This confirmation means the email recipient is on the county’s wait list. If anyone who signed up didn’t get the county’s confirmation email, they should contact the county. Once the county confirms the request, it is then up to the county to determine eligibility. Some counties have an online tool to check request status.

  • What happens if weather is bad on the day of my scheduled vaccine appointment at a Texas Health Community Clinic?

    Although rare, severe weather may cause us to close our vaccination clinics. If you have a vaccination appointment at a Texas Health Community Clinic scheduled on a day when weather does not allow for safe travel, you will receive an email with more information. If your appointment is canceled due to severe weather, we will reach out to you with a new appointment date and time as soon as we are able. If your appointment was for your second dose, please be aware that CDC guidelines allow up to 6 weeks to receive your second dose.

  • 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. If you are offered a vaccine by another provider, you do not need to wait for an appointment through Texas Health. You will need to go to the same place for both doses, 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.

  • I’m a health care worker or essential worker in the community, and my employer did not receive vaccine. Can I receive a COVID-19 vaccine from Texas Health?

    State vaccine information is available here. You can also visit your county health department website for vaccine registration information.

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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. 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

  • 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. This information is communicated in fact sheets on the FDA website, such as the fact sheet on the approval of the Pfizer vaccine EUA and the fact sheet fact sheet on the approval of the Moderna vaccine EUA. (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?
    • Pregnant womenAs 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: As of Dec. 14, 2020, no data is available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in women who are breastfeeding or the effects of mRNA 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.
    • 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.

  • How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will I need?

    If you get the Pfizer vaccine, you will need your second dose 17-21 days after your first shot. If you get the Moderna vaccine, you will need your second dose 24-28 days after your first shot. Remember the same vaccine brand must be used for both doses; the brands are not interchangeable.

  • Do I have to go to the same place to receive both doses of the vaccine?

    Go to the same place for your second vaccine dose as you did for your first dose. It’s important to make sure you get the second dose within the recommended timeframe, and it is critical that your first and second dose are the same brand. This is also why it is important to keep the Vaccination Card you receive when you get your first dose.

  • Should I be concerned that a second dose will not be available given the limited supply of vaccine?
    The place where you got your first dose is planning ahead for second doses. Go back to the same place for your second dose, and vaccine should be available for you.
  • 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 vaccine are expected to be similar to, but perhaps more pronounced than, the side effects some people experience following the flu vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna have said their vaccines were “well-tolerated” in clinical trials. Commonly reported side effects of the vaccine have been called “mild and nonspecific.” These 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)

    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.

  • 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)?
    • 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.

    Latest information about vaccine coadministration can be found here.

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

    Because the vaccine triggers 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.

  • 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%. (CDC, Business Insider)

  • 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.

  • 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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