Vaccine Education, Information & Other Resources

Updated September 20, 2023

Vaccine Appointments

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Pat Walker Health Center offers on-campus COVID-19 vaccine appointments for University of Arkansas students, faculty, and staff. 

The health center offers the updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. To schedule an appointment, go to the Patient Portal, or call 479-575-4451, option 1.

Other Resources:

ADH's Map of Pharmacies Providing the Vaccine in the State

CDC's "What's New: COVID Vaccine Recommendations" Page

CDC's "Stay Up To Date with Vaccines " Page


Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Details

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the potentially serious outcomes of COVID-19 illness this fall and winter.

  • The updated COVID-19 vaccine is different from the bivalent shots from last fall.
  • Pat Walker Health Center offers Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine, Comirnaty, that is a monovalent vaccine, meaning it is designed to protect against just one variant: XBB.1.5, a recent descendant of Omicron that emerged earlier this year.
  • Even though XBB.1.5 is no longer the dominating variant circulating, preliminary research shows that this new vaccine should offer protection against variant EG.5 and other variants such as BA.2.86. 


Availability & Distribution

All Arkansans age 6 months or older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

All previous COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized in the U.S. You can receive the updated COVID-19 vaccine as long as it has been two months since last receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Pat Walker Health Center currently administers the Pfizer updated COVID-19 vaccine, which is a monovalent vaccine named Comirnaty. 

Other pharmacies and clinics may administer the Moderna updated COVID-19 vaccine, but PWHC does not.

What You Need to Know:

See what the CDC recommends.

The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at any interval following receipt of monoclonal anibody therapy, but persons should wait 2 weeks after COVID-19 vaccination before receiving monoclonal antibody treatment for pre-exposure prophylaxis.

People who should follow special procedures:

  • Someone with a history of severe allergy to anything other than a vaccine or injectable medication can get the vaccine, but they should remain at the vaccination location for medical observation for 30 minutes after receipt of the vaccine.

  • People with a known COVID-19 exposure should wait until their quarantine is over before getting vaccinated.

The CDC has also provided recommendations and guidance for individuals with specific circumstances:

  • COVID-19 Recovered Individuals: People who have already been infected with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting a vaccine. It is not yet known how long natural immunity to COVID-19 lasts. It’s also not yet known how long the immunity provided by the vaccine will last.

    • Individuals with Allergies: The CDC says people with allergies to certain foods, insects, latex and other common allergens can have the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, anyone who has a severe allergy (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any of the vaccine ingredients should not receive this vaccine.
    • If you had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or if you have a known (diagnosed) allergy to a COVID-19 vaccine ingredient, you should not get that vaccine. If you have been instructed not to get one type of COVID-19 vaccine, you may still be able to get another type.
    • If you have allergies — especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen — discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor who can assess your risk and provide more information on if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

  • Underlying Medical Conditions: People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines if they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. 

  • Pregnant or Breastfeeding: People who are pregnant or breastfeeding — and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine — may choose to be vaccinated. Always talk with your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about getting vaccinated. Although not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants, data is not yet available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants. While breastfeeding is an important consideration, it is rarely a safety concern with vaccines. The CDC and FDA have safety monitoring systems in place to capture information about vaccination during pregnancy and will closely monitor reports.

Yes — the CDC recommends getting vaccinated even if you have recovered from COVID-19.

While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, it is still possible to catch it more than once.

Natural immunity can vary from person-to-person, however early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.


Safety & Efficacy

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

All COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people to make sure they meet safety standards and protect adults of different ages, races, and ethnicities. 

To learn more visit:

Absolutely not. None of the COVID-19 vaccines in development in the U.S. use the live virus. Furthermore, the vaccine will not cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 viral test, such as the PCR or antigen tests.

The goal of a vaccine is to teach our immune system how to recognize and fight a specific virus. Sometimes this process can cause mild side effects, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

However, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible you could be infected just before or just after getting vaccinated.

In the past, vaccines have taken many years to develop. However, the relatively quick development of the COVID-19 vaccine does not mean safety measures were skipped — in fact, the testing processes for the vaccine didn’t skip any steps, rather some stages of the process were conducted at the same time.

There are several reasons why the COVID-19 vaccines were developed faster than other vaccines:

  • The type of vaccine developed for COVID-19 has been years in development for other infectious viruses like influenza and other coronaviruses, and the arrival of COVID-19 provided vaccine manufacturers a chance to use it.
  • The genetic information about COVID-19 was identified and shared early on so vaccine developers were able to get started much more quickly.
  • Increased government and charitable funding ensured scientists had the resources they needed.
  • Clinical trials took a shorter time to see if the vaccine worked because many volunteers who got the vaccine were exposed to the virus given COVID-19 is so contagious and widespread.
  • Companies also began manufacturing vaccines ahead of their emergency approval so some doses would be ready to ship out once authorized.

The U.S. vaccine safety system works to make sure that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Vaccines that meet FDA safety and effectiveness standards can be made available in the United States by approval or by emergency use authorization.

Generally, if there are problems with a vaccine, they most likely emerge early in the testing process when they can be identified and addressed. For the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA set up rigorous standards for vaccine developers to meet. So far, none of the vaccine trials have reported any serious safety concerns.

All available vaccines have had fully independent safety monitoring boards, and safety data are continuously reviewed by the FDA and expert panels.

Additionally, the CDC also has rigorous safety monitoring steps in place for the COVID-19 vaccine.


COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and obesity.

People with these conditions are more susceptible to developing serious complications from COVID-19.

The vaccine immediately begins teaching your immune system what to look for and how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Remember: Even vaccinated, there is still a chance you could contract the virus that causes COVID-19, however researchers have found the vaccine to be highly effective at preventing mild-to-severe symptoms, including hospitalization.

Medical experts and researchers are still unsure how long both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity to COVID-19 lasts.

These are important aspects of COVID-19 experts continue to learn more about every day.

Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection from a virus or bacteria — either from previous infection or vaccination — that it is unlikely the disease can spread. As a result, herd immunity community is protection even if some people don't have any immunity themselves.

Although this has been a widely common talking point throughout this pandemic, the percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.


Vaccine Process & Administration

The COVID-19 vaccination process will include check-in, vaccine administration and a required 15-30 minute observation time. It is important to plan your time accordingly and prepare for any potential wait.

  • The record of you receiving the vaccine will be uploaded to the Arkansas WebIZ database. If you need a printed copy of this, we can print this out for you.
  • You will receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are getting.

What to bring to your appointment: To receive the vaccine from eligible providers including mass vaccination clinics, you must bring the following:

  • Driver’s license or other form of photo identification (that includes birth date)
  • University photo identification (if required)
  • Health insurance card (if insured)
  • Any individualized letter/proof of vaccination approval.

Remember, it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. Additionally, we know vaccination can prevent hospitalizations or serious illness.

To avoid any unexpected costs, always check with your insurance provider for an explanation of benefits. Most insurances cover the cost of the vaccine. While the vaccine may be covered by your insurance, most clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies will charge an administration fee. Depending on your insurance coverage, there may be an out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine too.

If you are uninsured, there is a self-pay discount. If you'd like to discuss this with a PWHC staff member, please ask.

After getting vaccinated, you may experience some side effects like sore arm, headache, fever, or body aches. This does not mean you have COVID-19 — it just means the vaccine is working to build immunity. Side effects usually go away in a day or two, but if they don’t go away in a week, or you have more serious symptoms, call your doctor.

If you have allergies, especially severe ones that require you to carry an EpiPen, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor, who can assess your risk and provide more information on if and how you can get vaccinated safely.

The CDC does not recommend getting the vaccine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine or if you have a severe allergic reaction after getting the first shot.

If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, you should talk to you doctor first. Your doctor can help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated. If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care.

The CDC recommends vaccination for anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications— such as allergies to food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex.

People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions, or who might have a milder allergy to vaccines (no anaphylaxis) — may also still get vaccinated.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be administered simultaneously.

No. Those with an active case of COVID need to wait until their 10 days of isolation period are over.


Pfizer Updated COVID-19 Vaccine

The Pfizer-BioNtech use a technology called messenger RNA (mRNA). COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the “spike protein” — found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. After the protein is made, the mRNA is destroyed.

Our bodies’ immune system then recognizes that the protein should not be there and produces antibodies, as well as T-cells and B-cells that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are infected in the future. This will protect you from infection by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes the disease COVID-19. 

Learn more about the safety of the Pfizer COMIRNATY® (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) here

The Pfizer vaccine has gone through rigorous and large Phase III clinical trials with strict standards set forth by the FDA.

No. There is no live virus in the vaccine and the vaccine cannot cause COVID-19.

The mRNA material in the vaccines does not interact with our DNA in any way, nor does it enter the nucleus of the cell (where our DNA / genetic material resides). Once the cell has used the instructions to produce the spike protein, it breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA.

The reported post-vaccine side effects have been minimal. Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 mRNA-based vaccine by Pfizer can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Most people who received the vaccines and experienced side effects described them as “mild” or “moderate” and usually resolved within a day or two. According to the CDC these symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

The most common side effects reported have been:

  • pain, redness, warmness, and/or swelling at the injection site
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • muscle pain or joint pain
  • chills
  • fever

The chances of you experiencing these side effects are higher after receiving your second dose of the vaccine.


vaccine shot at clinic



Map of community-based pharmacies

CDC: Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine

CDC: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 vaccine

FDA briefing document on Pfizer vaccine