Get the Facts About COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccines that may prevent COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are an important step toward stemming the worldwide pandemic. Find out about the authorized vaccines, how they work, possible side effects, the benefits of being vaccinated and the information we have about how the general public will get vaccinated.
Call 216-983-0012 to schedule a vaccine.
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: Closed
Download our vaccine playbook
University Hospitals and COVID-19 Vaccines
University Hospitals is committed to providing vaccinations in accordance with guidance from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). UH has the equipment and expertise necessary to store, distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines.
We are currently vaccinating people age 12 or older. Those who are ages 12 to 17 must bring to the vaccination appointment a printed and completed consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian.
After receiving the vaccine, you will need to stay for 15 minutes for observation, and then will receive a card stating you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Please know you must have a scheduled appointment with us to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. We are unable at this time to vaccinate people on a drop-in basis.
Introducing the UH Vaccine Playbook
The UH Vaccine Playbook is a free, downloadable guide designed to address the most important questions surrounding COVID-19 vaccines, including how they work, safety and effectiveness.
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
The Ohio Department of Health website states that booster doses of the Pfizer/Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine are now available for the following populations at least six months after completion of the primary Pfizer series, meaning at least six months after your second dose:
- People 65 years and older or residents in long-term care settings SHOULD receive a booster shot.
- People ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions SHOULD receive a booster shot.
- People ages 18 to 49 with certain underlying medical conditions MAY receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks. The CDC has indicated that this is a determination made by the vaccine recipient, but those eligible are encouraged to talk to their healthcare providers if they have any questions.
- People age 18 and older who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or living in an institutional setting MAY receive a booster shot based on their individual benefits and risks. The CDC has indicated that this is a determination made by the vaccine recipient.
At this time, booster doses are authorized only for fully vaccinated Pfizer vaccine recipients who are at high-risk for exposure to COVID-19 or the complications from severe disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review data and determine if and when booster doses are needed by each COVID-19 vaccine product. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will offer guidance for booster dose use. Right now, recipients of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not need booster doses, but this could change based on ongoing evaluation.
COVID-19 Vaccine Third Doses for People with Weakened Immune SystemsThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna for a select group of the U.S. population with weakened immune systems.
Based on the FDA’s emergency use authorization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended a third dose of vaccine for patients who have moderate to severe immunosuppression.
COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for the general public are not yet recommended at this time.
Patients with moderate to severe immunosuppression are more than 400 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than the general vaccinated population because they do not have as strong an immune response to COVID-19 vaccine as other vaccinated patients. A third dose is not recommended for patients who have mild associated immunosuppression from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or heart disease.
The third-dose vaccines are authorized to be administered at least 28 days after the two-dose regimen of the same vaccine for people age 18 and older for the Moderna vaccine and people age 12 and older for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. These people must have had a solid organ transplant or have been diagnosed with a condition considered to have an equivalent level of moderate to severe immune compromise:
- Active or recent treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of solid-organ or recent hematopoietic stem cell transplants
- Severe primary immunodeficiency
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers and other biologic agent that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
- Chronic medical conditions such as asplenia and chronic renal disease that may be associated with varying degrees of immune deficit
At this time, there is not enough data regarding a second dose of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. Also, there is no data on the effects of mixing vaccines from different manufacturers.
A physician order is not required to receive a third dose, which can be obtained from a local pharmacy or other location. To schedule your vaccine with UH, please call 216-983-0012. You will need to identify which vaccine you received previously so we can schedule your appointment on the appropriate day.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Kids
Find out about the authorized vaccines, how they work, possible side effects and how your child can get vaccinated at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s.Learn More
Want To Learn More About the Coronavirus?
Check out our webpage for more information on how coronavirus spreads, its symptoms, and what you should do if you suspect you have coronavirus.Learn More
Concerned About Health Insurance or Immigration Status?
COVID-19 vaccines are 100 percent free for every individual who lives in the United States, even if you do not have insurance.
UH charges an administrative fee to cover the costs of administering the COVID-19 vaccine, which usually is paid for by insurance. When a patient is uninsured, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Uninsured Program pays the fee.
There is no charge to a patient for the vaccine.
In addition, everyone is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine, whatever their immigration status. Vaccinations paid for by the federal government will not affect anyone’s immigration status and information will not be shared with immigration agencies, according to the HRSA.
You do not need to provide a Social Security Number or government ID to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
I Received the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. Should I Be Concerned?
The CDC and FDA have lifted the temporary pause in the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and is again recommending its use.
However, women younger than age 50 should be aware of a rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome with the vaccine, the CDC says. The CDC and FDA received reports of this rare and serious type of blood clot with low platelets that developed in six people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Nearly all were adult women younger than age 50.
The six cases developed out of nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines that have been given across the United States.
The CDC recommends continued use of the vaccine after a review of the available data, which shows the vaccine's known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks.
If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than three weeks, ago, know that your risk of developing a blood clot is very low.
If you got this vaccine within the last three weeks, your risk of developing a blood clot also is very low. However, be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot:
- Severe headache
- Blurred vision
- Pain in your abdomen (chest or stomach)
- Leg pain or swelling
- Shortness of breath
Get medical care right away if you have any of these symptoms and got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine within the last few weeks. If you have any questions at all, call your health care provider.
I’ve Been Fully Vaccinated. Now What?
People who have been fully vaccinated can add back some activities that were stopped because of the pandemic. Other habits will need to be maintained for now to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
You’re fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine
Until the time that you are fully vaccinated, continue with these precautions:
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
- Stay six feet away from others who don’t live with you
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
In addition, if you’ve been fully vaccinated but then are around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
Continue to watch for symptoms of COVID-19. If you develop symptoms, get tested and stay home and away from others.
You also will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
I lost my printed vaccination records. How do I access them?
A copy of your vaccination records can be accessed through MyUHCare or requested from UH Medical Records.
- Access your records through MyUHCare
- Visit MyUHCare.org and log in or create an account.
- Under the My Health tab, select Immunizations.
- These records can also be emailed, printed and faxed using the Send drop-down button.
For step-by-step instructions, download the Steps for Viewing Your Records PDF.
- Access your records through UH Medical Records
Processing this request may take 2 – 3 business days.
- Complete the medical records request form, available here: UHhospitals.org/patients-and-visitors/medical-records
Mail the completed form to:
Health Information Services
UH Cleveland Medical Center
11100 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
or email the completed form to: MedicalRecordRequestsUHHealthInformationServices@UHhospitals.org
More on COVID-19 Vaccines
COVID-19 Vaccine Side EffectsInfectious disease specialist Robert Salata, MD, discusses side effects that you may experience after receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 – or whether you might get them at all.
COVID-19, Pregnancy and VaccinesEllie Ragsdale, MD, discusses the effect that COVID-19 has on pregnancy and whether vaccines are safe for mothers and babies.
COVID-19 Vaccine Safety
Clinical leaders at University Hospitals believe that these vaccines, which were thoroughly vetted by the FDA, are recommended for the protection of each individual and the community against COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccines were studied in clinical trials for safety and efficacy according to rigorous standards set by the FDA before being made available for public use. Study protocols and results are available to the public to ensure transparency.
What You Need To Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines
- How Much Does COVID-19 Vaccination Cost?
UH bills patient insurance for an administration fee to cover costs of administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Insured patients are not responsible for paying this fee.
If you are uninsured, the administration fee is billed to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program, which is designed to support care for the uninsured during the pandemic. Uninsured patients are not responsible for paying this fee.
There is no billing for the vaccine itself.
If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccination billing or any billing at UH, please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-859-5906. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Why Should I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?
COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and can lead to death in some people. If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends and others around you – even if you have no symptoms. If your family, friends and people become infected, they could experience severe medical complications or even die from the disease. Also, it’s not completely understood at this point whether having COVID-19 results in long-term health effects.
- What Vaccines Are Available?
Two of the three vaccines authorized for use are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. They are administered in two doses, three to four weeks apart.
This is a relatively new type of vaccine. The vaccines use genetic material called mRNA to teach the body’s immune system to fight the coronavirus. The mRNA in the vaccine activates the body’s immune system but does not change the body’s DNA.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while the Moderna vaccine has FDA emergency use authorization following the FDA’s examination of large clinical trials involving nearly 40,000 participants, determining that these vaccines may be effective in reducing the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a cold virus to deliver a piece of genetic material that teaches the body's immune system to fight the coronavirus. The cold virus is modified for the vaccine so that it cannot replicate in the body to cause illness. This vaccine is administered as a single dose. The FDA has authorized the vaccine for emergency use after examining large clinical trials with more than 43,000 participants.
- Can I Choose Which Vaccine I Receive at UH?
To the extent we are able, we will let you know what vaccine we have available at the time we schedule your appointment. However, we are unable to let patients choose which type of vaccine they get because our vaccine supply varies at any given time. We will, however, defer your scheduling upon your request if we have information regarding which vaccine you would receive. If you need a second shot, we will schedule that visit 28 days from the first shot, which is within the time recommended by the FDA and CDC.
- How Long Do the Vaccines Provide Protection?
Data is not yet available regarding how long the vaccines provide protection against COVID-19.
- Will the Vaccine Cause Infertility or Other Serious Medical Problems?
- Do COVID-19 Vaccines Protect Me From the Newly Discovered Strains of the Virus?
The current COVID-19 vaccines do offer protection against the new coronavirus strains. The vaccines work by producing an immune response against the spike protein on the virus’s surface. To date, none of the virus mutations have altered this spike protein, and so the vaccines remain effective. Pfizer recently reported studies that looked at antibodies of people vaccinated in their phase 3 trial and found that these antibodies neutralized the variant viruses.
- When Should I Get My Second Dose?
UH is scheduling second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at intervals that have been studied to be effective based on the manufacturer. Specific patient scheduling intervals will be within these ranges and may vary based on UH clinic, vaccine and patient availability. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not require a second dose.
Is One Vaccine Better Than Another?
In clinical trials, all authorized vaccines have been shown to be highly effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
It’s difficult to directly compare the vaccines, in large part because their efficacy was measured at different times and in different ways.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinical trial occurred when new coronavirus variants emerged because of changes to the virus. Some variants have been shown to be more contagious, and in some cases are associated with more severe disease and death. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine clinical trials were concluded before variants were widely tracked.
They measured if the vaccine stops you from getting sick with COVID-19, if it stops you from getting very sick or severely ill, if it prevents hospitalizations from severe COVID-19 infection, and if it stops you from dying from COVID-19.
According to the clinical trial data, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine significantly decreases the risk of severe COVID-19 (by 86 percent) and death from COVID-19 (by 100 percent). Similarly, in clinical trials, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Should I Still Get Vaccinated If…
People who are immunocompromised are not excluded from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Please consult your health care provider if you have questions about whether you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
I’m Allergic to Vaccine Components?
According to the Pfizer BioNTech EUA Fact Sheet or the Moderna EUA Fact Sheet both vaccines are contraindicated in people who are severely allergic (anaphylactic) to any vaccine components. Please consult your health care provider if you have questions about whether you should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
I’m Younger Than Age 12?
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is authorized for people age 12 and older. The Moderna vaccine is authorized for use in people age 18 and older.
I’ve Already Had COVID?
COVID-19 vaccine is available to those who were previously diagnosed with the virus. If you have tested positive within the last 90 days, you may need to wait to receive the vaccine. Please discuss whether you should have the vaccine with your health care provider.
I’m in Cancer Treatment?
People with cancer can get a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had a severe allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. If you have an allergic reaction to any cancer treatment, talk with your cancer doctor (oncologist) before getting vaccinated. Also, be sure to talk with your oncologist if you are in treatment about the timing of when you get the vaccine. There is no data to suggest the vaccine should affect your cancer treatment; however, some cancer treatments may affect how well the vaccine works. Your doctor may suggest you get the vaccine between cancer treatments to help it work best and reduce risks. You can learn more on the CDC’s website at cdc.gov/COVID-19. Learn more about cancer patients and COVID-19.
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