What do I do if I was unable to keep my original appointment to receive my first COVID-19 vaccine dose or if I am a new hire and would like to receive the vaccine?

Please email covid-19@uthscsa.edu to check on availability of the COVID-19 vaccine and to schedule a future vaccination appointment.

If I had an immediate allergic reaction to one of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, can’t I get the other?

No, both vaccines have PEG (so if you reacted to one then you will react to the other)

What are immediate allergic vaccine reactions?

  • These are reactions that start within 4 hours of getting a vaccine; most reactions start within 30 minutes
  • They are caused by a reaction between a protein produced by the immune system (immunoglobulin) called IgE and something in the vaccine
  • Milder immediate allergic reactions can include many different symptoms:
    • nose: nasal congestion and runny nose
    • eye: itching and redness
    • skin: hives
    • soft tissue: swelling
    • lungs and airways: asthma
    • gastrointestinal: stomach pain, diarrhea
  • Sometimes the reaction is generalized in the body, leading to very low blood pressure, swelling of the tongue or throat, and difficulty breathing, which is called anaphylaxis

If you received the first vaccine and then got COVID-19 can you get the second vaccine?

Prior to getting the second vaccine after having COVID, please make sure you have been through the 10 days from onset of symptoms and are 24 hours symptom free.  Please discuss with your healthcare provider and if in agreement, come to your regularly scheduled second vaccine appointment

Will getting the COVID-19 vaccine cause me to get or “catch” the virus?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine does NOT contain the SARS-CoV02 virus and does NOT cause COVID-19 infection. Receiving the vaccine can cause some symptoms in some people including headache, fatigue, and fever within 72 hours of receiving the vaccine. These symptoms generally last less than 48 hours.

What if I get a fever after receiving the vaccine?

If you have fever (a temperature equal to or greater than 100.5 F) within 72 hours of receiving the vaccine, stay home. If your fever resolves within 48 hours, and you do not have other signs or symptoms of COVID-19 (such as cough, shortness of breath, new loss of smell or taste, new significant nasal congestion or sore throat), you may return to work.
If your fever does not resolve within 48 hours, or you have other symptoms listed above for COVID-19 infection, you should continue to stay home and get tested for COVID-19 since the coincidence of infection with COVID from another source is possible. For faculty, staff and students, call the COVID-19 Hotline to schedule testing: (210) 450-8000.

What if I have had COVID-19? Do I still need to get the vaccine?

Yes, you still should be vaccinated. For those who have had COVID disease, reinfection is uncommon for 90 days after having it, so you should wait until then (90 days after your illness) before vaccinating. The same is true for those who have received monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab or casirivimab/imdevimab) or laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies that can restore, enhance or mimic the immune system’s attack on cells.

I just received significant exposure to COVID-19. Should I get the vaccine?

It is recommended that you discuss your exposure with experts on the COVID-19 hotline at (210) 450-8000.  If you had a very significant exposure, it is suggested that you wait until the end of your quarantine period to receive the vaccine.

Who will receive the vaccines first?

The COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by FDA and vaccine distribution is recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Vaccination in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Phase 1a) will be prioritized for both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities. Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid people serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials. UT Health San Antonio has a tiered distribution system that will be executed using this prioritized system.

Depending on the amount of vaccine UT Health receives in the first allotment, we may be able to provide vaccines for our entire health center. If we have to tier or prioritize distribution, it will be as follows:

  1. Inpatient providers serving COVID-facing patients
  2. Healthcare team members serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials

Emails are being sent to providers and staff in the Tier 1a level from December 11 to December 14. Please note the email contains the requirement for all providers and staff to speak to their supervisor before scheduling their vaccination because departments need to stagger vaccine scheduling to minimize absenteeism rates post vaccination. You should receive an email with further instruction to schedule the vaccine. Those healthcare team members who do not have access to email will be instructed by their supervisor on how to sign up to receive the vaccine when they become available.

When will the vaccine be available to others who are not front-line health care workers?

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities are available. The plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. When a vaccine is authorized or approved in the United States, there may not be enough doses available for all adults. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed.

Learn more about Operation Warp Speed.

Are essential staff (housekeeping, facilities management) who must support these front-line health care workers also considered priority?

Yes, the goal is to provide the vaccine to all of the health care team members who work on the front lines and who are exposed to COVID-facing work.

How many doses does the vaccine require?

The Pfizer vaccine, which is what UT Health San Antonio has received, has two doses. After the first dose, the second dose is administered 21 days later.

Should pregnant women take the vaccine?

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommend pregnant women be offered the vaccine. Individuals who are pregnant or lactating are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in accordance with the institutional tiered administration guidelines for vaccine administration. The decision to receive it is based on shared decision-making between the obstetric or primary care provider and the individual who is pregnant or lactating. The CDC does not recommend pregnancy testing before vaccination. Clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccination in individuals who are pregnant or lactating are underway and updated guidance will be provided as data emerges. A statement has been issued by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

Should lactating women take the vaccine?

Lactating women and their babies were not studied in the vaccine clinical trial. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices says lactating women should be offered the vaccine. The decision to receive it is based on the individual’s decision between her and her child’s medical provider based on the individual’s exposure to COVID and other risks. A statement has been issued by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists.

Should people with auto-immune disorders take the vaccine?

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices suggests that individuals with autoimmune disorders should be offered the vaccine. Pro-inflammatory immune activity in people with autoimmune disorders has not really been seen in COVID disease and scientists do not expect it for the vaccine. Experts did not see it in trial studies, although the numbers of those with an autoimmune disorder were low. This will continue to be closely monitored as the vaccine is distributed. The decision to receive the vaccine is based on the individual’s decision after discussion with their medical provider based on the individual’s exposure to COVID and other risks.

Can an immunosuppressed person take the vaccine?

Yes. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that immunosuppressed persons get vaccinated, since they are at risk from COVID-19.  Immunosuppressed persons were not studied in the trial, so efficacy in this population is not known, but it is expected to provide some protection.

Should I receive the vaccine if I have allergies?

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that persons with allergies to components of the vaccine avoid it. The vaccine contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is used commonly in medicines, and some people may have sensitivity to this compound. Those with known PEG sensitivity should avoid the vaccine. The composition of the vaccine is shown below:
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is a white to off-white, sterile, preservative-free, frozen suspension for intramuscular injection. The vaccine contains a nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein(s) of SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine also includes the following ingredients: lipids ((4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2- hexyldecanoate), 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-distearoyl-sn- glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol), potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate, and sucrose.

Can I take an over-the-counter medication to alleviate symptoms once I have the vaccination?

It is fine to take antipyretics, or medication used to reduce fever, for post vaccination fever; however, the CDC does not recommend taking them ahead of time or at the time of the vaccine as a preventive measure since it is not known what effect this could have on immune response. (Examples of antipyretics: Aspirin, acetaminophen/paracetamol [Tylenol], ibuprofen and others.)

Where will the vaccines be given to UT Health faculty, staff and students?

The School of Nursing’s Hurd Auditorium provides ample space for the pre-scheduled vaccine distribution. The target is to inoculate up to 1,000 people per day using the tiered (or prioritized) distribution schedule.

Is there any data on how long immunity will last after the COVID-19 vaccine?

This is currently unknown. The Pfizer study has reported the vaccine lasts at least two months, which is what they study has reported so far. This information will be updated as more information is received.

Is the vaccine egg-based?

No.

I don’t want the vaccine. Am I required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory but encouraged.

Are there any known side effects? What are the side effects?

Receiving the vaccine can cause some symptoms in some people including headache, fatigue and fever within 72 hours of receiving the vaccine. These symptoms are reported to last less than 48 hours.

If you have fever (a temperature equal to or greater than 100.5 F) within 72 hours of receiving the vaccine, stay home. If your fever resolves within 48 hours, and you do not have other signs or symptoms of COVID-19 (such as cough, shortness of breath, new loss of smell or taste, new significant nasal congestion or sore throat), you may return to work.

If your fever does not resolve within 48 hours, or you have other symptoms listed above for COVID-19 infection, you should continue to stay home and get tested for COVID-19 since the coincidence of infection with COVID from another source is possible. For faculty, staff and students, call the COVID-19 Hotline to schedule testing: (210) 450-8000.

Will there be a cost or copay for the vaccine?

While some other organizations may elect to assess a small provider fee for public distribution, there is no cost for the vaccine. There is no cost for UT Health San Antonio recipients

What are the benefits of getting vaccinated?

We understand that some people may be concerned about getting vaccinated once a COVID-19 vaccine is available in the United States. While these vaccines are being developed as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures remain in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. Safety is a top priority, and there are many reasons to get vaccinated according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While COVID-19 may cause mild disease in many, it causes very severe disease and death in others, and is known to cause long-term effects, even after mild or moderate disease. The benefits of getting vaccinated are minimizing the risk of severe disease due to COVID-19.

When will UT Health San Antonio receive its vaccines?

UT Health San Antonio received its first shipment for front-line health care workers on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

Will UT Health San Antonio students receive the vaccine?

Yes, but the timing could be an issue because some students may be out of town for the arrival of the first allotment. We will vaccinate as many as we can with this first initial shipment and then look to future shipments to inoculate more on the tiered (or prioritized list).

How do I sign up to get the vaccine?

Recipients are prioritized based on CDC recommendations. For those UT Health faculty, staff or students who are to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, a secure email will be sent that includes a link for electronic scheduling.

Can my family also get the vaccine?

Yes, it is recommended for family members to go through their family physician or primary care provider. Public availability of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected by late spring/early summer. Clinical trials of the vaccine are ongoing and are available for those interested in volunteering.

Will I be required to get the vaccine only through UT Health San Antonio or can I get it from another health care provider once it is more widely distributed?

You are not required to get the vaccine, but we encourage those who are eligible now to receive it via UT Health San Antonio distribution as we are the first site in San Antonio to administer to our frontline health care workers.

How many doses does the vaccine require?

The Pfizer vaccine, which is what UT Health San Antonio has received, has two doses. After the first dose, the second dose is administered 17 to 21 days later. If you present after 21 days, then the recommendation is to get the second vaccination rather than repeat the series.

What ages can receive the vaccine?

16 years of age and older.

When will the vaccine be administered to family members of UT Health San Antonio?

Family members and the general community should expect access to the vaccine by late spring/early summer. It is recommended to connect with your primary care provider or family physician.

Are there any potential drug interactions? Should I bring my list of current medications so I may ask a pharmacist?

There are no known drug interactions. You may bring your list of current medications if you wish.

Are there different vaccines we can choose from, Pfizer or any other vaccines available?

UT Health San Antonio has received the Pfizer vaccine at this time. Clinical trials of other vaccines are ongoing and it is anticipated that other vaccines will be available in the coming months.

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