COVID-19 Vaccine

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, and the benefits of being vaccinated.


How to Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Vaccines can be obtained through a local retail pharmacy like CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid. Additionally, your UH primary care provider may offer them. Please contact them directly to schedule

Download our vaccine playbook

Cover page to UH Healthy Restart Vaccine Playbook

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.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

Those who are 5 years old or older and have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may be eligible for a booster dose.

If you received a two-dose series of the Pfizer vaccine, you are eligible for a booster at least five months after completing the series. If you received a Moderna vaccine, you are eligible for a booster at least six months after completing the two-dose series.

Anyone who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is eligible for a second/booster dose at least two months after receiving the first dose.

If you are eligible for a booster, you can choose which vaccine – Pfizer or Moderna – you receive as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received; others may prefer to get a different booster.

Learn more about booster vaccines at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital for those younger than age 18.

COVID-19 Vaccine Third Doses for People with Moderate to Severe Immunosuppression 

Third doses 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 5 and older for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The third dose is different from boosters as they are given in a shorter time frame and the patient 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

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.

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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.

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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
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • 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.


More on COVID-19 Vaccines

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Can I Get COVID-19 from a Vaccine?

What is in the COVID-19 vaccines? Infectious disease specialist Robert Salata, MD, describes how the vaccines work and why they contains no live coronavirus.
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COVID-19, Pregnancy and Vaccines

Ellie 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

Should I Still Get Vaccinated If…

I’m Pregnant or Breastfeeding?

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Pregnant and breastfeeding women may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please discuss the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine with your health care provider. Learn more about pregnancy, breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine.

I’m Immunocompromised?

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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?

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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’ve Already Had COVID?

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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?

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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.

Why a Booster is Needed to Fight the Omicron Variant of COVID-19

Keith Armitage, MD discusses the merits of a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine

A booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine offers optimal protection against the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Keith Armitage, MD, infectious disease physician and Medical Director, UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health explains why.

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The Safety Measures Behind COVID-19 Vaccine

Carla Harwell, MD, discusses the safety behind the COVID-19 vaccine.

Carla Harwell, MD, Medical Director of the UH Otis Moss Jr. Health Center and the Douglas J. Moore Clinic, discusses the safety behind COVID-19 vaccines.

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