COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccine Hub


UTMB Health has been named a COVID-19 vaccine hub provider by the State of Texas. We are pleased to gain this designation and to be working with other partners in the region to vaccinate individuals in the community in accordance with state guidelines. We are focusing on vaccinating as many individuals as possible, as quickly and conveniently as possible, with the vaccine stocks being made available to us.

As of Monday, March 29, 2021, everyone age 16 and older is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Texas.

The state’s Expert Vaccine Allocation Panel recommended opening vaccination to everyone who falls under the current Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorizations. All vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for people 16 and older. Get details.

Need to Reschedule an Existing Vaccine Appointment with UTMB?
If your appointment was made with UTMB, send an email to C19vacsch@utmb.edu. Include your name and date of birth, along with the date of your original vaccination appointment and whether this is your first or second vaccination. We will work to accommodate your request as our vaccine supply and appointment slots allow.

UTMB Health recently vaccinated 4,000 people at the Dow Academic Center at Brazosport College, getting it within striking distance of 200,000 vaccines administered. This event in Lake Jackson was one of many being held in the region, and was captured and shared by Brazoria County’s The Facts. COVID-19 vaccinations in Texas are free and now being offered to anyone age 16 and older.

Check for available appointments
COVID Vaccination at Walter Hall Park

A drive-through vaccination event hosted Jan. 23 at Walter Hall Park in League City was the first of many that have followed, all part of a COVID-19 vaccination initiative led and organized by Galveston County, UTMB Health and the Galveston County Health District, with support from the state and other regional partners.

No Internet or Email?
You can contact a phone bank for assistance with the appointment scheduling process. The phone bank is available at (877) 389-2318 weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm.

COVID-19 VACCINE COUNTER

216,198
As of 4/08/2021, vaccines administered by UTMB. Does not include vaccines given independently by local health agencies.

Reporting an Adverse Vaccine Event

To ensure safety, there’s a significant effort to track possible side effects and adverse events from the COVID-19 vaccines. Use the links below if you experience anything concerning or unexpected with the vaccine.

Report your event to HHS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System-VAERS) Use the V-Safe Tool (app from the CDC)

This COVID-19 vaccination initiative is a collaboration led and organized by Galveston County, UTMB Health and the Galveston County Health District, with support from the state and other regional partners.

Vaccine Collaboration between UTMB, Galveston County, and Galveston County Health District

Frequently Asked Questions


View FAQ by Category:

Getting Vaccinated
Vaccine Hub

Vaccine FAQs

General Information

Vaccine FAQs

  • Is there anyone who should not get the vaccine?

    The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are not recommended for people who have a severe allergic reaction (requiring medical attention) to the first COVID-19 shot in the series or who are allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine. (Vaccine ingredients are listed in each product’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.) Please also review the latest guidance from the CDC regarding allergic reactions.

    Participants in Phase III clinical trials for authorized COVID-19 vaccines should check with the study coordinator before getting the vaccine.

    There is currently no COVID-19 vaccine approved for individuals younger than 16. Research is continuing and options for people 15 and younger may be available at a later date.

    It is recommended that you wait two weeks to get the COVID-19 vaccine after being vaccinated against flu, shingles or other infectious disease. It also recommended you wait at least two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine before getting other vaccines.

    If you have any questions about your particular health situation and COVID-19 vaccines, please consult your health care provider.

    Last modified on 1/8/20

  • Will I get COVID from the vaccine?

    No. The COVID vaccines currently authorized for use do not use live virus; therefore, you cannot get COVID illness from them. The vaccines will help prime your immune system to fight off future infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID.

    Any mild symptoms experienced after the vaccine are due to the immune system adapting itself in response to the vaccine.

    Last modified on 12/2/20

  • Who should get the vaccine?

    Due to limited initial supplies, COVID vaccines authorized for emergency use are being administered according to priority groups defined by the state and federal governments. The initial focus has been on frontline health care workers, the elderly, and those above the age of 16 at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.

    Vaccine eligibility has now been expanded to school teachers and staff, school bus drivers, and licensed child care providers. 

    Other priority groups will follow, and then the general public.

    As supplies increase, vaccination is recommended for anyone who meets the age requirements for a particular vaccine product and who does not have any medical contraindications listed in a particular vaccine product’s fact sheet for recipients. Widespread vaccination is the key to protecting the greatest number of people from COVID.

    Last modified on 3/4/21

  • I already had COVID and fully recovered. Should I get the vaccine?

    If you are no longer exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and you are no longer required to quarantine/isolate, you can get the vaccine.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • I have had COVID and am experiencing long-term health effects. Should I get the vaccine?

    We are awaiting CDC recommendations on this situation.

    You may also wish to look into UTMB's Post COVID-19 Care Clinic

    Last modified on 12/2/20

  • Do I still have to wear a mask and socially distance after I get the vaccine?

    Yes! It will take time for the vaccine to reach all groups and we must continue to protect ourselves and others until we are assured of widespread immunity to COVID-19.

    Until that time, continue to prevent spread of the virus by:

    • Wearing a mask covering your mouth and nose
    • Maintaining a safe distance from others not in your household
    • Avoiding large groups
    • Practicing good hand hygiene frequently throughout your day
    • Staying home when you are sick

    Last modified on 12/2/20


About COVID-19 vaccine(s)

Vaccine FAQs

  • How do mRNA vaccines work? Is the technology proven?

    Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are based on mRNA technology. To learn more about how these vaccines work and how they’ve been evaluated, visit the CDC website website and see our infographic.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • What does the vaccine involve?

    The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine involves two shots, given about 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine involves two shots given about 28 days apart. Both shots in the series are necessary for maximum protection. At this time, we advise that both shots be from the same manufacturer.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • What does “emergency use authorization” mean?

    Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authority allows the FDA to help strengthen the nation’s public health protections by facilitating the availability and use of medical countermeasures (such as vaccines or treatments) needed during public health emergencies. In the case of COVID vaccines becoming available, full Phase III clinical trials have been conducted to determine safety and effectiveness prior to manufacturers applying for an EUA.

    Last modified on 12/2/20

So, how does an mRNA vaccine work?

Vaccine safety and development

Vaccine FAQs

  • The clinical trials were completed so quickly. Were they really full trials?

    Yes. Phase III clinical trials involve a tremendous amount of administrative work, such as contracting, shipping, recruitment and enrollment of participants, data entry and data analysis.

    Under normal circumstances, the administrative work takes significant time to complete. But the COVID pandemic is the worst in over a century. Therefore, priorities have been shifted to ensure the staffing and other resources needed to complete the administrative tasks much more quickly than usual. This allowed the research to get underway that much faster, to determine safety and effectiveness. The federal government also provided significant funds and other support to remove any barriers.

    In addition, the Phase III trials for COVID vaccines thus far have used a higher number of study participants than usual to more quickly accumulate the needed number of naturally occurring cases of COVID infection among study volunteers to assess vaccine effectiveness.

    Last modified on 12/2/20

  • How do I know the vaccine is safe?

    Approved COVID vaccines have been through the full clinical trials process, including multi-site Phase III trials with tens of thousands of volunteer participants to determine safety and effectiveness. (UTMB was a site for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Phase III clinical trials.) Researchers have not found significant adverse outcomes in the study participants who received the vaccines under review.

    In addition, the FDA reviews results of the Phase III trials before granting Emergency Use Authorization or other approvals. After FDA approval, the vaccines must be reviewed and approved by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices before they can be administered. We expect the vaccines to be approved by FDA and CDC only if they are effective and relatively safe.

    Last modified on 12/2/20

Side Effects & Contraindications

Vaccine FAQs

  • What are the side effects of the COVID vaccines?

    As with other vaccines, the COVID vaccines are expected to produce local side effects such as pain and swelling at the site of injection, as well as possible fever and body aches.

    Although it is rare, some individuals can have a severe allergic reaction to vaccines. If you experience this after getting any vaccine, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department. (Individuals who are vaccinated for COVID-19 by UTMB will be asked to remain on-site for 15 minutes to monitor for such reactions.)

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • Can the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines cause Guillain-Barre syndrome or other neurological conditions?

    There is no evidence that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use will cause Guillain Barre syndrome. History of Guillain Barre syndrome is not listed as a contraindication, or medical reason to avoid getting these COVID vaccines. If you have concerns about your individual health status, consult your physician.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • I have an autoimmune disease. Is it OK for me to take the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Having an autoimmune disease should not prevent you from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. (It’s worth noting that the mRNA vaccine trials for safety and effectiveness included individuals with autoimmune diseases that were stable at the time of the trial.) If you have concerns about your individual health status, consult your physician.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • Can those who are pregnant or breastfeeding get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to receive the vaccine when they are invited to do so. (Please note that pregnancy is included in Phase 1B criteria for having a high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.) Because this is a new product, it may be best to delay vaccination until after the first trimester, but at this time, pregnancy is not a stated contraindication, or medical reason to avoid getting the vaccine. Consult with your obstetrician or pediatrician to discuss your individual health status and risk.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • When deciding whether to get the vaccine, what does “severe allergic reaction” mean? And where can I find a list of ingredients?

    “Severe allergic reaction” means a reaction that required medical attention (such as anaphylaxis). If you have any concerns, consult with your physician before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Please also see the latest CDC guidance regarding allergic reactions to the vaccines or their ingredients.

    Ingredients for the two vaccines currently authorized for emergency use can be found at:

    Pfizer-BioNTech Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers
    Moderna Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • I’m young, healthy and at low risk of dying from COVID-19. Do I need to be vaccinated?

    Yes! Young, healthy people have become severely ill with and died from COVID-19. They also have experienced long-term health effects, such as ongoing fatigue, coughing and shortness of breath that greatly affect quality of life.

    Even without these personal health risks, young people can unknowingly spread the virus to others who are more vulnerable to the disease and to those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons. Widespread vaccination is essential to our efforts to fight COVID-19 and we encourage everyone who’s medically able to get the vaccine when it becomes available to you. By protecting yourself you also protect everyone around you.

    Last modified on 1/22/21

  • Can I get the new vaccine if I’m part of an active COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial?

    Clinical trials participants should contact the research group for instructions. We expect that volunteers who participated in the COVID vaccine clinical trials and are confirmed to have received the placebo in the study will be able to obtain the COVID vaccine.

    Please be aware that study participants may assume they received the placebo but in fact received the actual vaccine. There may be safety concerns associated with receiving additional (extra) doses of COVID vaccine beyond the two-shot series, so make sure you have spoken to your study investigator prior to vaccination.

    Last modified on 12/2/20

Have you thought about why you want to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone at UTMB, from doctors and nurses to technicians, scientists, educators, support staff and administrators, have been working hard to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they have a new tool in their tool belt: a vaccine. We all have different reasons for getting the vaccine but we have the same goal - ending the pandemic.

VACCINE SMARTS 


Vaccine Smarts is written by Sealy Institute for Vaccine Sciences faculty members Drs. Megan Berman, an associate professor of internal medicine, and Richard Rupp, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

COVID-19 General FAQs

FAQs

  • What is COVID-19

    Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The novel coronavirus, now known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

    While COVID-19 causes only mild illness in some infected individuals, it may cause serious lower respiratory infection leading to hospitalization and even death.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this factsheet highlighting important information you should know about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-10).

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • How do I help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if I am sick?
    • Stay home unless you need medical care
    • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
    • Call ahead before visiting a clinic
    • Wear a mask
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Clean your hands often
    • Avoid sharing personal household items
    • Clean all “high touch” surfaces every day
    • Monitor your symptoms

    Last modified on 3/10/2020

  • Can I get tested for the coronavirus? What’s the process?

    Patients with symptoms of respiratory illness, including cough, fever or shortness of breath, can schedule online or contact the UTMB Health Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.


    • Patients should follow recommendations for testing, self-isolation and management of symptoms.
    • Any patient experiencing a worsening of symptoms—particularly shortness of breath—a few days after first becoming ill should contact the Access Center IMMEDIATELY. To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • To keep our patients and employees safe, UTMB tests our patients for COVID-19 in advance of any procedure or hospital admission.
    • You may also wish to check with your local county health officials for testing available through local government. In Galveston County, Health District testing information is online.

    Please note: Our process and procedures may be updated as the COVID-19 situation develops in our region.

    Last modified on 10/16/2020

  • How long does the virus remain active on inanimate objects, such as clothing, currency, coins, and hard surfaces such as countertops and door handles?

    This is one of the topics that remains under study; it's still not certain exactly how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces. According to the World Health Organization, studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days (at one point nine days was mentioned, which the latest studies suggest may be unlikely). Survival of the virus will vary under different conditions, including type of surface, temperature, humidity and moisture, exposure to sunlight, and other factors.

    If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose. 

    Last modified on 3/14/2020

  • How to protect yourself
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

    If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • How does COVID-19 spread?

    COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes and to what extent it may spread in the United States.

    The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

    • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
    • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

    These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • Can COVID-19 spread from contact with infected surfaces or objects?

    It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

    The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.

    Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in an area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020

  • Can someone spread the virus without being sick?
    • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
    • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

    Last modified on 3/5/2020

  • If someone has minor symptoms and tests positive for COVID-19, can they be isolated at home instead of a hospital?

    At this time, patients testing positive for COVID-19 who have mild symptoms, are not over age 60 and do not have an underlying medical condition are advised to isolate at home. If a patient with COVID-19 is concerned, begins to experience shortness of breath, starts feeling worse a week or so into the illness, is over age 60 or has an underlying medical condition, they are strongly encouraged to call their doctor or the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to speak with our 24/7 nurse hotline.

    Last modified on 3/16/2020