COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling & Information
From the Texas Health and Human Services:
On Oct. 21, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued booster recommendations for all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the United States. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a “mix-and-match” booster dose.
For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their primary series:
- 65 years and older;
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings;
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions;
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.
Any individual that received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine can get a booster with any vaccine two months after the first dose.
- Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
- Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
- Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.
- Another moderate to severe immunocompromising condition, disease, or medication for which your medical provider has recommended an additional dose of mRNA vaccine
In the section below, please read the answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. The answers have been provided by our physicians who are on the faculty at McGovern Medical School.
Moderna Fact Sheets
Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Fact Sheet
Pfizer Fact Sheets
COVID-19 vaccine frequently asked questions
“Additional” doses are needed for those who may not have been able to achieve an appropriate immune response to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
The list of people in this population includes patients with cancer, organ and stem cell transplant recipients who take immune suppressant medication, those with an immunodeficiency condition, individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection, and anyone in active treatment using high-dose corticosteroids or other medicine that suppresses an immune response.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not yet issued guidance for those who are immunocompromised and have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, though an announcement is expected in the near future.
The term “booster” applies to vaccines that help the body achieve the same or better immune response to a virus for those who have been fully vaccinated and have previously attained an appropriate immune response to the virus. Over time this immune response has decreased. Booster shots help the body achieve the same or better response to a virus. The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have not yet recommended booster shots at this time for the general population.
An additional dose is necessary for immunocompromised individuals because of the possibility they did not attain an appropriate immune response to the current vaccine schedule. This additional dose may be administered 28 days following a person’s second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. It must be the same type of vaccine as the first doses. Additional doses are not recommended at this time for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reviewing the data and will likely make a recommendation soon.
Side effects of an additional dose are expected to be mild, similar to the symptoms experienced after an initial dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
Ideally, an additional dose would be the same vaccine brand as your initial vaccine schedule. For example, if you’re immunocompromised and have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, you should seek out a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine to complete your series.
No, you cannot receive your third dose until you are no longer actively infected with COVID-19. After 10 days, if you have not had a fever in the previous 24 hours and your symptoms have markedly improved or resolved, you may receive your additional dose.
After 10 days, if you have not had a fever in the previous 24 hours and your symptoms have markedly improved or resolved, you may receive your first dose of the vaccine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older. The following vaccines are approved under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization: Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for ages 18 and up, Johnson and Johnson for ages 18 and up, and Pfizer for ages 12 through 15.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval process, even in an Emergency Use Authorization situation, prioritizes health and safety.
- Both the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines should not be administered to individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to previous vaccines, to any component of the vaccine, or to the first dose of this vaccine, without additional clinical evaluation.
- The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is not recommended for individuals who have experienced an allergic reaction to any ingredient of their vaccine. Ingredients are listed on the J&J fact sheet above under patient resources.
- Immunocompromised people, including individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, may have a diminished immune response.
- Adverse reactions reported in vaccine trials were mild and included: injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site swelling, injection site redness, nausea, malaise (generally not feeling well), and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).
- There is a remote chance the Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after receiving a dose. For this reason, the UTHealth Vaccine Hub will be monitoring patients after they receive their vaccine as per our safety protocol. Recipients are monitored between 15 to 30 minutes for reactions.
- As of 8/23/2021, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is FDA approved for individuals 16 and older.
- The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna (ages 18 and up), Johnson & Johnson (ages 18 and up), and Pfizer (ages 12 to 15) vaccines. EUA occurs if evidence strongly suggests patients have benefitted from a treatment or test and the treatment is safe, but not all regulatory steps have been completed.
No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the virus that causes COVID-19.
Tell your vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you have allergies, fever, a bleeding disorder, pregnancy, breastfeeding, you have received another COVID-19 vaccine or you are immunocompromised.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. You may consult your health care provider about the vaccination if you have any additional questions or concerns, but it is not required.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that, regardless of a past COVID-19 infection, you get vaccinated, unless you have had this infection within the previous 10 days. In those cases, you should defer vaccination until fully recovered.
Before deciding to receive a vaccine, we recommend you discuss it with the investigator for your clinical trial.
Due the unprecedented need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and manufacturers, supported by government investment, took the unusual step of creating manufacturing capacity before drugs were fully approved.
The Pfizer vaccine is fully approved for people ages 16 and older. It is currently under emergency use authorization for those ages 12-15 years old.
- The clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines showed that a two-dose model was most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- For the Moderna vaccine, a second dose is required at least 28 days after the first dose. The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose at least 21 days after the first. Your return visit will be scheduled at your first vaccine appointment.
- The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.
This is a question that has not yet been resolved; the medical community and vaccine producers will continue to study effectiveness and immunity levels to better understand the long-term vaccination strategy.
Getting the vaccine is not mandatory, although we encourage you to get one. If you have questions, we recommend you discuss this further with your health care provider so that you can make the most informed decision.
Getting vaccinated is strongly encouraged, but is not mandatory. If you decline the vaccine now, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it in the future.
When a vaccine is authorized under an Emergency Use Authorization, they do not have an official Vaccine Information Statement. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, together with the manufacturer, will provide a fact sheet when you are vaccinated. This fact sheet is similar to a standard Vaccine Information Sheet.
Yes, these vaccines are not made with any egg components. A history of egg allergy is not a contraindication to vaccination against COVID-19.