Vaccine Education, Information & Other Resources

COVID-19 Vaccination Card

“Let history teach us what works — flu, polio, smallpox & measles pandemics have successfully ended with vaccine administration.”

– Dr. Huda Sharaf, PWHC Medical Director

Now that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued emergency use authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring access for the University of Arkansas campus community is critically important. Pat Walker Health Center strongly implores everyone to get vaccinated once eligible.

As more people are vaccinated, families and communities will be able to gradually return to a more normal routine; however it will take many months to make and distribute enough vaccine for everyone who wants one.

The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is responsible for the state’s COVID-19 vaccination distribution and implementation; and because vaccine supplies are limited, distribution is being managed in phases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending groups of people who should get priority.

At a Glance

  • The health center is taking every opportunity to educate the campus community about the benefits of receiving the vaccine. At this time vaccinations are occurring for individuals in Phases 1A and 1B.

  • Vaccines being administered have shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. The CDC and FDA have found no serious safety concerns and continue to monitor the efficacy of the vaccine.

  • Getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection and prevent serious, life-threatening complications in the event you are infected with COVID-19.

  • Even with a viable vaccine, it’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help end this pandemic. Continue to cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least six feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.

University Updates

  • The University of Arkansas is actively engaging with state and local leaders to ensure the campus community is up to date on the latest vaccine availability and distribution. At present, there is not enough vaccine for everyone who want to receive it.

  • Most university employees are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1-B of the state’s distribution plan. While the university does not require COVID-19 vaccination at this time, it is strongly encouraged.

  • It’s unclear when COVID-19 vaccines will be available for the general university population. Pat Walker Health Center has applied to be an administer of the vaccine and will provide information for the general campus community as it becomes available.

Frequently asked questions

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021

The University of Arkansas is making every effort so the campus community — including those not eligible in Phase 1-B — can easily receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available.

While eligible university employees can seek to be vaccinated at any participating pharmacy or provider starting Jan. 18, the university is working to schedule as many eligible employees as possible through on-campus vaccination clinics.

For more information about Phase 1-B vaccination efforts, see the COVID-19 Spring Guide.

Pat Walker Health Center strongly recommends getting vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine will not only help protect against COVID-19 but can also help prevent serious illness if you still contract the virus that causes COVID-19.

You alone make the decision about whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine once available to you. Pat Walker Health Center encourages you to talk to your primary care doctor and review the resources provided, as well as resources from other health care organizations.

At this time, Pat Walker Health Center is unable to administer the COVID-19 vaccine due to insufficient availability for ADH to supply administration sites other than hospitals and pharmacies.

The health center has applied to be a COVID-19 vaccination provider, however until that approval has been received, eligible employees can check with area pharmacies to see if they are accepting vaccination reservations.

If approved to be a vaccine administration site, Pat Walker Health Center will offer whichever vaccines are able to be received from ADH.

More information will be communicated to the campus community when available.

No. At this time, no plans have been made to start collecting a wait list to be vaccinated at Pat Walker Health Center.

No. There is no requirement to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time.

The university does strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated once they are able to.

The University of Arkansas is not an administer of the COVID-19 vaccine, however vaccines currently available have undergone robust safety reviews and clinical trials and found to be highly effective.

Though the development of the vaccines has followed accelerated timelines, safety has not been compromised.

Pat Walker Health Center has applied to be a vaccine administrator and is actively advocating for campus to be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Information for the general campus community will be provided as more vaccines become available.

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements of the 20th century. Before the widespread use of vaccines, people routinely died from infectious diseases, several of which have since been eradicated thanks to robust immunization programs.

With the information currently available, Pat Walker Health Center firmly believes the benefit of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is greater than the risks of getting COVID-19.

Not only will COVID-19 vaccination help prevent COVID-19, but it is a safer way to build protection and achieve herd immunity.

Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination.

General Vaccine Questions: Email pwhc@uark.edu.

Eligible Employee Questions: Email hrassist@uark.edu.

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.

  • When you get the vaccine, you need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth. Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines.
  • You will receive a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. This card will also be needed for the second dose appointment.
  • 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
  • Any individualized letter/proof of vaccination approval.

Remember, it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. Additionally, we know vaccination will prevent you from getting sick, but we do not know if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others yet if infected.

To prevent unvaccinated and vulnerable populations from getting sick, it's important to continue washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart and limiting gatherings until enough people have received the vaccine.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021

If you choose to be vaccinated, it will be provided to you with no out-of-pocket cost.

Vaccines purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given at no cost. However, vaccination providers — such as clinics, pharmacies and hospitals — will charge an administration fee to cover related expenses for giving the shot to someone.

Providers can be reimbursed by a patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

To avoid any unexpected costs, always check with your insurance provider for an explanation of benefits.

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 has also launched a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. After enrolling you will be able to use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

  • Registration is completely voluntary and provides personalized check-ins, surveys, and a reminder to let you know when it is time to get your second shot. Depending upon your responses, someone from the CDC may call to check on you.

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.

Currently authorized vaccines — and most vaccines under development — require two doses of vaccine. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.

Getting more than one dose for a vaccine is not unusual. In fact, it's the norm. Many routine vaccinations require more than one dose for maximum protection.

Please remember that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two doses administered three to four weeks apart. Your second dose must be the same type of vaccine as the first one. Not getting your second dose could leave you unprotected.

No. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens the immune response. You need both to get the best protection.

  • If you receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the second dose is needed no sooner than 21 days.

  • If you receive Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the second dose is needed no sooner than 28 days.

Not getting the second dose could leave you unprotected.

No, Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should be administered alone with minimal interval of 14 days before or after any other vaccine.

No, the vaccine won’t cause you to test positive on a COVID-19 viral test, such as the PCR or antigen tests.

However, you may test positive on an antibody test, since your body is developing an immune response.

No. Individuals with an active case of COVID-19 need to wait until they have recovered before receiving the vaccine.

However, given the limited number of vaccines currently available, it is recommended to wait 90 days from the date you are infected to get the vaccine because reinfection appears uncommon in the first 90 day.

Availability & Distribution

Updated: Feb. 2, 2021

The Arkansas Department of Health has developed the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and continues to guide its implementation. Because vaccine supplies are limited, distribution is being managed in phases since it will take months to receive enough doses to administer vaccinations to all who want to receive it.

At this time, it’s unclear when COVID-19 vaccines will be available for the general university population.

Pat Walker Health Center is actively advocating for students to be vaccinated once availability increases and has applied to be an administer of the vaccine. Information for the general student and campus population will be provided as it becomes available.

Most University Employees Will Be Eligible for Vaccination Beginning Jan. 18

University of Arkansas faculty, staff and graduate assistants who are required to physically report to campus are eligible for the vaccine as a part of Phase 1-B. Information for employees can found on the Spring Guide Vaccine Page.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021

The University of Arkansas will continue to keep the campus community updated when more information about distribution plans for on campus clinics.

This may include direct emails, Arkansas Newswire and other university-related communication channels.

Continue to check health.uark.edu/coronavirus for updates.

Additionally, you can view the ADH COVID-19 vaccination plan for more information about the phased distribution.

COVID-19 vaccinations are currently being administered through local pharmacies and community clinics only. The ADH provides a map and searchable list of pharmacies providing vaccinations across the state.

Pat Walker Health Center has applied to be a COVID-19 vaccination provider and will provide additional information once more vaccine is made available.

Phase 1-B Eligible Employees: As other opportunities for vaccination are made available to the university, those may be shared with our community from either Human Resources or U of A Emergency Management.

It is recommended to get whichever vaccine is made available to you once eligible.

The vaccine administrator will inform you at check-in which vaccine you will recieve, along with accompanying safety information.

Updated: Jan. 20, 2021

Currently, ADH is only making the vaccine available for the following individuals:

  • Phase 1-A: health care workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and police, firefighters and EMS who work as first responders.
  • Phase 1-B: Only the first two groups in 1-B can begin getting the vaccine — Arkansans who are 70 or older and education workers, including K-12, child care and higher education. Additional groups under 1-B will be announced as eligible for vaccine as the supply increases.

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

The CDC and FDA has found no serious safety concerns with currently available vaccines, however — like with all vaccines — medical experts continue to study the efficacy and look for safety issues after they are authorized and in use.

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.

The CDC has also launched a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • After enrolling you will be able to use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

To learn more visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vsafe.

Absolutely not. None of the COVID-19 vaccines in development in the U.S. use the live virus.

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.

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA. Once a request is submitted, a team of experts from the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices review all available data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines before recommending them for use.

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.

Both Pfizer and Moderna 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.

Yes.

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. However, it could take up to two weeks before peak protection. Important: skipping your second dose could leave you unprotected.

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.

The clinical trials were very recently completed, and more data is needed to determine how long people retain immunity. These are important aspects of COVID-19 experts continue to learn more about every day.

Yes.

Clinical trials determined the vaccines authorized in the U.S. to be highly effective at preventing development of symptomatic as well as severe COVID-19 disease.

However, it is unknown whether they prevent viral replication in a person’s nose and throat in the event they contract the virus that causes COVID-19. 

Until more people are vaccinated or recover from COVID, masking, distancing, and hand washing are still good practices as we transition back to "normal."

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.

Health care professionals and researchers are still learning about the COVID-19 vaccine and new information is discovered nearly every day that is helpful in understanding how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

We know vaccination will prevent you from getting sick, but we do not know for sure if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others yet.

This is why it’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic. Only then will we start to see a return to normal.

Stay up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 vaccine developments.

VACCINE EDUCATION

Vaccine EducationWhile the newly-approved COVID-19 vaccine offers hope of controlling the pandemic, vaccine education now becomes critical to build awareness, understanding, and support for individual decision making.

It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, confirm the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis.

Pat Walker Health Center promises to only offer accurate information from reliable sources for the campus community. The information provided below is sourced from CDC and other trustworthy public health organizations, as well as reviewed by PWHC health experts.

The first two COVID-9 vaccines authorized by the FDA were created by two different companies — Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.Both vaccines are what is known as messenger RNA vaccines—also called “mRNA” vaccines.

mRNA vaccines take advantage of the process that cells use to make proteins in order to trigger an immune response and build immunity to COVID-19.

In contrast, most vaccines use weakened or inactivated versions or components of the disease-causing pathogen to stimulate the body’s immune response to create antibodies.

mRNA vaccines have strands of genetic material called mRNA that can most easily be described as instructions for our cells on how to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” that is unique to the virus that causes COVID-19. From there, the protein causes the immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating the cells that fight off what it thinks is an infection.

And since these antibodies are specific to the COVID-19 virus, the immune system is primed to protect against future infection. It is important to note that the mRNA strand never enters the cell’s nucleus or affects genetic material.

mRNA vaccines do not alter or modify someone’s genetic makeup. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions (mRNA) and removes it from the body. mRNA technology was discovered over 30 years ago and has been studied for vaccine purposes for nearly two decades.

Early-stage clinical trials using mRNA vaccines have been carried out for Influenza, Zika, rabies and CMV. However, a lack of funding has stymied scientific advancements.Fortunately, recent technological advancement in RNA biology and chemistry — as well as a significant boost in funding and resources — have led to breakthroughs that have improved mRNA vaccine stability, safety and effectiveness.

Learn more about mRNA vaccines.

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use the same technology but contain slightly different mRNAs and different ingredients used to protect the mRNA, maintain the pH and stabilize the solution. They are essentially equally effective and have similar side effects.\

Pfizer/BioNTech:

  • 95% effective

  • 30mcg dose given 21 days apart

  • 5 dose vials (sometimes more doses per vial)

  • Stored at -112 to-76 degrees F

  • 36,621 trial participants

  • Approved for use in people over the age of 16

Moderna:

  • 5% effective

  • 100mcg doses given 28 days apart

  • 10 dose vials

  • Stored at -13 to -5 degrees F

  • 30,350 trial participants

  • Approved for use in people over the age of 18

There has been complete transparency around the ingredients and development of both vaccines and can find additional information online: Pfizer/BioNTech | Moderna

Producing a vaccine against COVID-19 has been the top priority of scientists and governments around the world to help bring an end to the pandemic. Thanks to a coordinated and enormous investment of resources, development of these vaccines was accelerated, all while maintaining standards for safety and efficacy.

Safety and efficacy (how well the vaccine works to protect you) are determined by clinical trials. After clinical trials, medical experts examine test results and any side effects. If the vaccine works and is safe, it will get approved for distribution to the public.

Both vaccines have been found to be equivalent in protecting against COVID-19 (approximately 95% efficacy), as well as effective in preventing symptoms and severe illness.

Once a vaccine is authorized for use, systems are in place to track problems or side effects that were not detected during the clinical trials.

For the COVID-19 vaccine, a robust vaccine monitoring system is in place to aggressively evaluate safety of the vaccines even after they are in use. If there are problems with the vaccine, they would have most likely emerged early in the testing process when they can be identified and addressed.

You can learn more from the CDC about the safety steps in place for the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Clinical Trials

Before receiving approval for emergency use, pharmaceutical companies must provide evidence their vaccines are safe. Both vaccines have undergone robust safety reviews and clinical trials. Though the development of each vaccine has followed accelerated timelines, safety has not been compromised.

The data from the Pfizer and Moderna clinical trials have been carefully reviewed and the FDA signed off on recommendations found them to be both safe and effective with no significant safety concerns identified.

The clinical trials for the first two COVID-19 vaccines included underrepresented minorities (about 25% of participants), older age groups (about 25%), and people with conditions such as obesity, diabetes and heart and respiratory conditions. Note: The trials did not include pregnant women or children under 12. Trials with these groups are in progress or are scheduled to begin soon.

Clinical trials determined the vaccines authorized in the U.S. to be protective against development of symptomatic as well as severe COVID-19 disease. However, it is unknown whether they prevent viral replication in a person’s nose and throat. Therefore, even though you may be protected from disease, you may still be able to spread the virus to others.

Read more about the findings from the clinical trials online at The New England Journal of Medicine.

 

Emergency Use Authorization

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic.

A team of experts from the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices reviewed all available data on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines before recommending them for use.

Several points give confidence the proper procedures have been followed:

  • The FDA has been very clear about the conditions under which it would issue an emergency EUA or full approval for any COVID-19 vaccine candidate intended for public use.
  • Many manufacturers working on the vaccine have pledged to put public safety first and to be transparent in conveying their data to the public.
  • The National Academies of Sciences provided guidance on conditions required for appropriate vetting of vaccine candidates.

Manufacturers decide whether and when to submit an EUA request to FDA. Once a request is submitted, the FDA evaluates and determines whether specific criteria are met, while taking into account all available scientific evidence about the vaccine.

Additional Information: see the FDA Briefing Documents for Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.

FDA has authorized two vaccines for distribution — Pfizer’s vaccine is suitable for people age 16 and older, and Moderna’s vaccine is for those age 18 and older.

Because supply of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be limited at first, ADH has provided recommendations about who should be vaccinated first. See the ADH COVID-19 vaccine plan for more details on phases and tiers.

Rigorous studies have found the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to be safe and effective for most people, however there are select individuals who should not get the vaccine or must follow special procedures.

 

People who should NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Anyone with a severe allergy to a vaccine component (i.e., one that causes anaphylaxis or requires medical intervention).
  • Individuals with a history of severe allergy to any vaccine or injectable medication.
  • Those younger than 16 years old.
  • Anyone currently isolating or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Once symptoms resolve and isolation finish, vaccination can occur.

 

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 who recently had COVID-19 and were treated with antibody-based therapies (e.g., monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma) should wait until 90 days after treatment to be vaccinated.
  • People with a known COVID-19 exposure should wait until their quarantine is over before getting vaccinated.
  • People who received a non-COVID-19 vaccine should wait at least 14 days before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Likewise, if a person received the COVID-19 vaccine, they should wait at least 14 days before getting any non-COVID-19 vaccines.

 

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 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ingredients should not receive this vaccine. 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.
  • 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. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Children: Children are not a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine just yet. Clinical trials so far have focused on adults, but research is currently being conducted to learn about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine for children.

 

You alone make the decision about whether to get a COVID-19 vaccine once available to you. Pat Walker Health Center encourages you to talk to your primary care doctor and review the resources provided, as well as resources from other health care organizations.

Because COVID-19 is a new disease with new vaccines, you may have questions about how the vaccine is administered and what happens after your appointment to get vaccinated.

 

Before Getting Vaccinated:

  • Make sure the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for you right now.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
  • You should plan to stay in the immediate area for at least 15 minutes (30 minutes for anyone with a history of severe reactions) following your vaccination so the medical team can monitor you. If you have an EpiPen for your allergies, please bring it with you.
  • Vaccines will not be administered if: you have received another vaccine in the last 14 days; have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 10 days; and/or have received an infusion of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies in the past 90 days

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.

 

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
  • Any individualized letter/proof of vaccination approval.

 

What to Expect at Your Appointment:

  • When you get the vaccine, you need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth. Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines.
  • You will receive a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. This card will also be needed for the second dose appointment.
  • 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.
  • Everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored on-site for 15-30 minutes.

 

After Getting Vaccinated:

  • Most of the vaccines will require two shots, with the second shot received 21 to 28 days after the first, depending on the vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable, so both vaccine doses must be the same.
  • You may have some side effects, but that’s a positive sign that your immune system is working. Common side effects reported have been low-grade fever, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue and headaches. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort from common side effectsafter getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The CDC has also launched a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. After enrolling you will be able to use your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. To learn more visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
  • If you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 9-1-1.

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two doses may not protect you until a week or two after your second shot. Additionally, we know vaccination will prevent you from getting sick, but we do not know if the vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus to others yet.

To prevent unvaccinated people from getting sick, it's important to continue washing your hands, wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart and limiting gatherings until enough people have received the vaccine.