COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduling & Information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have expanded their booster recommendations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Thank you for your interest in receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the following individuals may receive the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines:
- Children ages 6 months and older and adults ages 18 and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine.
- Children ages 6 months and older and adults ages 18 and older may receive the Moderna vaccine.
- Adults ages 18 and older are eligible for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
On Jan. 31, 2022, the Moderna vaccine received full FDA approval for those ages 18 and older. As of Aug. 23, 2021, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received full FDA approval for individuals 16 and older. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can still be administered to those ages 5 to 15 through an FDA emergency use authorization. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is currently provided under an emergency use authorization.
On Jan. 5, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded their booster recommendations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Children ages 5 to 17 may receive a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine under an emergency use authorization. Those children considered eligible can only receive their booster dose five months after their second or additional dose. Moderna recipients may receive their booster shot five months after their vaccination series is complete. Moderna vaccines or boosters are not yet approved for individuals under 18 years of age. Individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a “mix-and-match” booster dose.
Individuals ages 18 and older who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a booster with any vaccine two months after their 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
Additionally, children ages 5 to 11 who are considered immunocompromised may receive a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine 28 days after their second dose. Those considered immunocompromised due to certain moderate or severe health conditions may receive a fourth (booster) dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least four months after their third shot in their primary series.
A second booster dose was recommended by the CDC on March 29, 2022, for the following individuals if it has been four months since their initial booster dose:
- Individuals ages 50 and older
- Individuals ages 12 and older who have a moderately to severely compromised immune system
- Individuals ages 18 to 49 who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (primary and initial booster dose)
UTHealth Houston is currently offering the complete vaccine series, additional doses, and booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Real-time scheduling is available at locations across Greater Houston. Individuals under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to receive the vaccine.
Practice social distancing, proper hand hygiene, and masking to help stop the spread of the virus.
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
Yes. Children ages 5 to 17 may receive an initial booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine five months after their second dose. They may also receive a second booster shot four months after their initial booster dose.
Yes, the vaccine is recommended for all individuals, even if they have already had COVID-19. While they may develop some natural immunity from contracting the coronavirus, it is uncertain how long that protection will last.
No. The COVID-19 vaccines were able to be made efficiently and safely because of the additional funding provided by the government to support the research and production. The quality of the trials and safety review was no different from the normal processes.
Yes. The dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines is lower for children when compared to the amount given to teenagers and adults. Studies showed that children had an immune response with the lower dose as good as teenagers and adults. For additional information on specific dosages, please refer to page 4 of this CDC document.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the preferred injection site for children 2 years and under is the thigh. The preferred site for children 3 years and older is the deltoid (upper arm).
Children may experience one or more of the following side effects: irritability, pain at injection site, fatigue, and/or fever.
Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are safe for children. No serious side effects or increase in adverse events were noted in clinical trials for either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in this age group. Since authorization, millions of doses of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine have been administered to children 5 to 11 years with no additional safety concerns.
Yes, other childhood immunizations, including the flu vaccine, can be given at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. However, the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine should be administered in different arms.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for children 6 months to 15 years of age. The Moderna vaccine has also received emergency use authorization for children ages 6 months to 17 years old.
For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the schedule is the same as for teenagers and adults. It is a two-dose series, with each dose given three weeks apart. It takes approximately two weeks after the second dose to develop the full immune response.
For children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years receiving the Pfizer vaccine, it’s a three-dose primary series, 21 days between dose 1 and 2 and 8 weeks between dose 2 and 3.
For children ages 6 months to 17 years old receiving the Moderna vaccine, it’s a two-dose primary series, administered 4 to 8 weeks apart.
While it is extremely fortunate that children have been less likely to have severe illness or be hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to adults, thousands of pediatric patients were hospitalized. Several hundred pediatric deaths were attributable to COVID-19. This risk can be significantly reduced for your child if they are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart tissue) has been reported in about 1 in 1 million teenagers and young adults following mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. The cases of myocarditis were mild. Patients usually recovered within days with ibuprofen treatment. These results were not seen in younger children in the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 trial.
“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 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.
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 as well, two months after their first dose.
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 approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older and the Moderna vaccine for those ages 18 and older. The following vaccines are available under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization: Johnson & Johnson for ages 18 and up, Pfizer for children ages 6 months through 15, and Moderna for ages 6 months to 17 years old.
- 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 Aug. 23, 2021, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is FDA approved for individuals 16 and older.
- As of Jan. 31, 2022, the Moderna vaccine has FDA approval for those ages 18 and up.
- The FDA granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Johnson & Johnson (ages 18 and up), Pfizer (ages 6 months to 15 years old), and Moderna (ages 6 months to 17 years old) vaccines. EUA occurs if evidence strongly suggests patients have benefitted from a treatment or test and the treatment is safe. Still, 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 6 months to 15 years old. The Moderna vaccine is also available under emergency use authorization for those ages 6 months to 17 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.