COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Need to Reschedule an Existing Vaccine Appointment with UTMB?
If your appointment was made with UTMB, send an email to 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.

Smart Health Cards
UTMB Health is providing proof of COVID Testing and Vaccination status using Smart Health Cards. If you received your COVID-19 vaccinations or testing at UTMB Health, you can now generate digital verification of your status via MyChart. Using MyChart, patients can generate unique QR codes that contain their legal name and birthdate and either their most recent COVID-19 test result, or details of the COVID-19 vaccinations they have received. Patients can access and share these QR codes to show their COVID status in multiple ways. GET DETAILS on COVID Smart Health Cards.

Vaccine Options for Kids

When COVID-19 vaccinations were first open to those 5 and older, the Stenger family wasted no time. UTMB Health Nursing Supervisor Nydia Stenger, who has personally vaccinated several family members – including her husband, sister, brother-in-law, and older daughter – had the opportunity to add her 15 year-old daughter to the list. While her daughter is not a fan of shots, she was looking forward to visiting her grandparents in Kentucky. Safe vaccine options have now been approved for children as young as six months old.

No Internet or Email?
You can call for assistance with scheduling your vaccine. Call the Galveston County Health District at 409-938-7221, option 1, or call UTMB Health at 832-632-6731.

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

UTMB Health’s services include five regional urgent care locations offering same day, after-hours and weekend care, as a scheduled appointment or on a walk-in basis. See locations, services (including COVID testing) and appointment options for Urgent Care.

Catch Up on Your Care. Click to find a Primary Care location near you.

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 current COVID 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-BioNTechModerna and Johnson & Johnson) 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 6 months.

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

    Last modified on 6/24/22

  • 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?

    At this time, COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for ages 6 months and older; we are not able to offer a vaccine to anyone under that age per FDA regulations.

    Written parental/guardian consent is required for vaccination of children in the 5-17 age group. The parent or guardian does not need to be present during the child’s vaccination if written consent has been provided within the past 12 months and is on file with UTMB.

    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 6/24/22

  • 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. What should I do?

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

    Last modified on 2/2/21

About COVID-19 vaccine(s)

Vaccine FAQs

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

  • 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

For Parents and Guardians

Vaccine FAQs

  • Should my child get vaccinated for COVID-19?

    A COVID-19 vaccine is now authorized for children age 6 months and older. UTMB recommends vaccination for everyone who meets the age requirements established by the FDA and CDC, as long as they don’t have an allergy to a vaccine ingredient. The vaccine will help protect your child from getting COVID-19. If they still get infected after they get vaccinated, the vaccine may prevent serious illness. By getting vaccinated, your child may also help protect people around them.

    Written parental/guardian consent is required for vaccination of children. The parent or guardian does not need to be present during the child’s vaccination if written consent has been provided within the past 12 months and is on file with UTMB.


    Last modified on 6/24/22

  • Can the vaccine give my child COVID-19?

    No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for use or in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible your child could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • If my child has already had COVID-19 and recovered, does my child still need to get vaccinated?

    Yes. The CDC recommends that you get vaccinated even if you have already had COVID-19, because you might become infected more than once. While there may be some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long that protection will last.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if my child has an underlying medical condition?

    Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health conditions like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes or obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if my child has allergies?

    For most people with allergies, yes. However, if your child has ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get that vaccine or any COVID-19 vaccine. You can find a list of ingredients in the authorized vaccines on links from our web page. If your child has had an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to other vaccines or injectable therapies, your pediatrician can help you decide if it is safe for them to get vaccinated. Your child may still get vaccinated if he or she has severe allergies to oral medications, food, pets, insect stings, latex, or environmental irritants like pollen or dust.

    Last modified on 11/3/21

  • Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?

    No. COVID-19 is new and so are the vaccines to prevent it. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people—including in children. If your child gets COVID-19, they also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • Why does my child need more than one COVID-19 shot?

    Currently, the vaccine authorized for children age 5 and older require two doses for maximum protection. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. Your child will need both to get the best protection that lasts longest.

    Shots for children age 6 months up to 5 years old vary. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have different schedules and are not interchangeable.

    • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is for young children 6 months through 4 years of age. It is a three-dose primary series with doses one and two given three weeks apart and the third dose given at least 8 weeks after the second. Each dose is 0.2 mL after dilution. 
    • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is for young children 6 months through 5 years of age. It is a 2-dose primary series (0.25 mL per dose) administered 1 month apart. The vaccine is also authorized to provide a third primary series dose (0.25 mL) to young children 6 months through 5 years of age who are immunocompromised to be administered at least 1 month following the second dose.

    Last modified on 6/24/22

  • Will the shot hurt or make my child sick?

    The vaccine will not make your child sick. There may be side effects, but they should go away within a few days. Possible side effects include a sore arm, headache, fever or body aches. This does not mean your child has COVID- 19. These side effects are signs that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • Are there long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Because all COVID-19 vaccines are new, it will take more time and more people getting vaccinated to learn about very rare or possible long-term side effects. At least eight weeks of safety data were gathered in the clinical trials for all the authorized vaccines, and it’s unusual for vaccine side effects to appear more than eight weeks after vaccination.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • How do I report problems or bad reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

    UTMB Health encourages everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine to enroll in v-safe. This is a smartphone tool you can use to tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. If you report serious side effects, someone from CDC will call to follow up. View the instructions for how to enroll in v-safe. Parents and guardians can set up v-safe accounts on behalf of children.

    Last modified on 5/12/21

  • I have a child between ages 5 and eleven. What should I know about the vaccine?

    The Food and Drug Administration authorized and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a recommendation that all children 5 through 11 years of age, regardless of risk factors, be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine. 

     All UTMB primary care locations that serve children—including pediatric clinics, family medicine clinics and urgent cares—will begin offering the vaccine Nov. 4, as a two-dose series at least three weeks apart. The vaccine can be administered during routine pediatric vaccination visits or can be scheduled online:

    The pediatric vaccine formulation contains one third of the adult formulation. For children who are close to age 12 when they get their first dose, a four-day grace period around their birthday is allowed to determine which dose is needed. Children who are 11 when they start the series should get another pediatric 10-microgram dose, even if they have turned 12 when they are due for their second dose.

    Pediatric clinical trials showed that the vaccine was nearly 91% effective in preventing COVID-19 among children ages 5 to 11—similar to the effectiveness seen in adult vaccine trials. In pediatric clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild, self-limiting and similar to those seen in adults and to side effects of other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. 

    Additional information regarding the pediatric COVID vaccine:

    • Written parental/guardian consent is required for vaccination of children 5 to 17 years old. The parent or guardian does not need to be present during the child’s vaccination if written consent has been provided within the past 12 months and is on file with UTMB.
    • All COVID-19 vaccines may be co-administered with other vaccines, including a seasonal influenza vaccine, without any waiting period. 

    Last modified on 11/3/21

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.

get those vaccinations

Third dose booster offers many benefits for children

Like many common vaccines, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines should have been a three-dose series. The first two injections prime the immune system, and the third boosts it to provide a higher antibody response. In 5 to 11 year olds, the booster more than doubles the antibody levels found following the second dose. Additionally, boosting has been shown in other age groups to further improve the antibodies so that they better bind the virus and provide more protection against variants.

Health and wellness with UTMB Health and Houston Moms

Covid Vaccine and Kids 5+

Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez Lien shares what parents need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine and the 5+ population.