COVID-19 Vaccine:

Your Questions Answered

IMPORTANT: The COVID-19 lab positivity rate and the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 have increased rapidly in our area. This increase is being driven by the Delta variant. COVID-19 vaccines are strongly encouraged for all eligible persons.

Don’t hesitate, vaccinate.

Do you have questions about the vaccine? You aren’t alone. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about the vaccine below. Remember to always consult with your primary care provider to determine the best decision regarding your own health.

    Here’s what you need to know:

    Am I eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    All COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for people age 18 and older.

    The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine currently authorized for people 12 and older.

    COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens

    Reminder: Parental consent is required for the vaccination of children. Youth (ages 12-17) and parents should contact providers in their area to ensure they are offering the Pfizer vaccine before making an appointment or attending a walk-up vaccine clinic.

    Not sure if you’re eligible? Learn more here.

    Where can I get the vaccine?

    Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is faster and more convenient than ever. About nine out of 10 Americans live within five miles of a COVID-19 vaccination site.

    The new Texas Vaccine Scheduler can help Texans get scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccine.

    • Register online at GetTheVaccine.dshs.texas.gov. You will be notified by email or text when and where to get the vaccine.
    • Call (833) 832-7067 if you don’t have internet or need help signing up. Call center support is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Spanish language and other translators are available to help callers.

    Retail pharmacies across the country are now receiving new allotments of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pharmacies will open new appointment times immediately after receiving the vaccine. Not all pharmacies will be receiving the vaccine. Local participating pharmacy partners include:

    Other Scheduling Tips:

    • Text VACCINE to 55000 or (in Spanish) VACUNA to receive text messages notifying you to which locations have available vaccine appointments.
    • Visit vaccines.gov; text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX); or call 1-800-232-0233 to find appointments near you.
    • Find tools for locating vaccine providers at covidvaccine.texas.gov or vacunacovid.texas.gov.
    • Download the Ready South Texas and University Health mobile apps. Enable push notifications to receive alerts about vaccine availability.

     

    How does the vaccine work?

    Currently, the FDA has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by three manufacturers: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

    Pfizer and Moderna:

    The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use Messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. Essentially, using an mRNA vaccine, we trick our own cells into developing an immune response to COVID-19 which can protect us against a real infection in the future.

    There is NO live, weakened, or active coronavirus in the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. You CANNOT get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

    • Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given in two doses. You need both doses of the vaccine for it to be fully effective.
    • It’s important to not mix and match vaccines. If you started with Pfizer, your second vaccination should be Pfizer. If you started with Moderna, your second dose should be Moderna.
    • Pfizer is recommended for ages 16 and up. Moderna is recommended for ages 18 and up.
    • Maximum protection will happen a few weeks after your second dose.

    To learn more about how mRNA vaccines – like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine – work, visit CDC: Understanding and Explaining mRNA Vaccines. 

    Johnson & Johnson 

    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is what’s known as a viral vector vaccine. It uses a harmless cold virus (NOT the coronavirus) to deliver a gene that instructs our cells to make a spike protein found in the coronavirus. This triggers production of antibodies and a resulting immune response, helping protect us against a real infection in the future.

    The virus used in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine poses no threat of causing illness in humans because it has been modified or, in some cases, because the type of virus used cannot cause disease in humans.

    • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single dose.
    • The vaccine is recommended for ages 18 and up.
    • Maximum protection will happen a few weeks after you receive the vaccine.

    To learn more about how viral vector vaccines – like the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – work, visit CDC: Understanding and Explaining Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines.

    What do we know about the vaccine's safety?

    UPDATE: The Food and Drug Administration has given its full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, calling it a “key achievement for public health.” The two-dose vaccine is now fully approved for people ages 16 and older. 

    Several important steps were taken in the development of the COVID-19 vaccine:

    • Careful testing. The FDA approval process for the COVID-19 vaccine included rigorous standards including a four-phase process of volunteer trials. The FDA ONLY approves a vaccine if it’s safe and effective AND the benefits outweigh the risks.
    • Authorization for emergency use. If a vaccine or medicine is needed to address an emergency situation such as the coronavirus pandemic, once it is shown to be safe and effective, the FDA can grant it an emergency use authorization, or EUA. An EUA allows a vaccine, treatment or medication to be used before the formal FDA approval.
    • Continuous monitoring. The FDA and CDC continue to monitor any problems or side effects experienced by those receiving the vaccine.

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

    Does the vaccine protect me from the new Delta variant?

    Available data demonstrates that the COVID-19 vaccines available are still highly effective against the Delta variant in preventing severe disease and hospitalizations for people who are fully vaccinated. It is possible for a fully vaccinated person to get COVID-19, but they usually have mild or asymptomatic infection. 

    • The Delta variant is more contagious. The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
    • Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. The vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.
    • Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people.
    • Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant breakthrough infections can spread the virus to others. However,                                                                      vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time. 

    Delta Variant: What We Know About The Science

    How much does the vaccine cost?

    The COVID-19 vaccine is provided at no cost.

    What are the possible side effects?

    Side effects reported include soreness at the injection site, fever, chills, headache, or muscle and joint pain. This is similar to reactions some people have to other vaccines, including flu and shingles.

    I already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get the vaccine?

    You should get a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you have already had COVID-19 because:

    • Research has not yet shown how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after you recover.
    • Vaccination helps protect you even if you’ve already had COVID-19.

    Evidence is emerging that people get better protection by being fully vaccinated compared with having had COVID-19. A recent study has shown that unvaccinated people who already had COVID-19 are more than two times as likely than fully vaccinated people to get COVID-19 again.

    Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

    If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare professional if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

    What should I do if I contract COVID-19 between my first and second shot?

    If you contract COVID-19 during the waiting period between your first and second shot, you should quarantine/isolate and contact your primary care provider. 

    Once you are symptom-free and have completed the recommended quarantine period, you can receive the second dose of the vaccine. If the waiting period for your second shot has passed, you should get your vaccine as soon as possible.

    Get the second shot once you’re feeling better. You will still benefit from it and be better protected in the future.

    Will I need a COVID-19 booster shot?

    The CDC now recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series. Eligible individuals include those have:

    • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
    • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
    • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
    • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
    • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
    • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

    Important: Health and Human Services has announced a plan to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for all Americans beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose. At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster.

    It is anticipated that booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. More information is expected to be released soon.

      Ask the Expert

      Priti Mody-Bailey, MD, Community First Health Plans Chief Medical Officer, explains why you should get vaccinated and what’s next when it comes to the vaccine.

      It seems like the vaccine was developed very quickly. Why should I trust it?

      While this is the first time that a vaccine using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology (Pfizer and Moderna) has been authorized, the technology is not new! COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.

      Advancements in our understanding of mRNA and its potential for use in medicines, along with the creation of new technologies over the last 30 years, made these vaccines possible. And recent research on coronaviruses made these vaccines safe and effective

      If you or your loved one is still hesitant, consider the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a viral vector vaccine. Scientists began creating viral vectors in the 1970s. Besides being used in vaccines, viral vectors have also been studied for gene therapy, to treat cancer, and for molecular biology research. For decades, hundreds of scientific studies of viral vector vaccines have been done and published around the world.

      Someone I know was vaccinated, but still got COVID-19. If it’s still possible to get the virus when vaccinated, do I really need the vaccine?

      Vaccine breakthroughs are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness. Some fully vaccinated people will get sick, and some will even be hospitalized or die from COVID-19. However, there is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick. The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated people.

      Why is it important that the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the FDA?

      For months now, the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been approved under emergency use authorization, or EUA, by the FDA. The Pfizer was the first of the vaccines to receive the EUA, and it’s also the first of the vaccines that applied for full FDA approval. Full FDA approval is a process that usually requires at least six months of safety data. Pfizer’s vaccine is now fully approved for people 16 years of age and older. 

      This is a huge milestone that will hopefully persuade more unvaccinated people to get their shot.

      When will a vaccine be available for children under the age of 12?

      Trials of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for children younger than 12 have been underway since March. These trials involve testing different dosages of the vaccines to help determine what dosages should be used for each age group. The FDA will likely consider an emergency use authorization (EUA) after reviewing four to six months of data from the trials. This could mean that a vaccine could be available as early as this fall/winter for children under 12. However, this timeline could be delayed.

      Do I still have to wear my mask and social distance even after I get the vaccine?

      Yes. Texas will need millions of vaccines for all who want one, and the vaccine process takes a month or longer for maximum protection.

      Experts are still learning about the protection the vaccine provides under real-life conditions. Everyone needs to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic, including:

      • Wearing a mask
      • Practice social distancing
      • Washing your hands often

      COVID-19 Local Information

      The San Antonio Metropolitan Health District has opened a COVID-19 Hotline for residents to ask questions about the virus. The hotline is available in English and Spanish. Residents can call 311 or 210-207-6000 (select option 8 for COVID-19 Hotline) or visit the COVID-19 City of San Antonio webpage for more information including: 

      • Testing Locations
      • COVID-19 Risk Level and Case Numbers
      • Current Orders & Declarations

      Transportation:  VIA is offering free transportation to or from an appointment at a City/County-sponsored COVID-19 vaccination site. Visit VIA Metropolitan Transit for more information.

      Have questions on testing and prevention? Check out our COVID-19 testing and prevention page to learn more.

      COVID-19 Resources by County

      Click on the county you live in for a list of area-specific COVID-19 vaccine resources including how to sign up for vaccine availability alerts or to be added to a county/provider’s vaccine waitlist. 

      ATASCOSA

      Atascosa County uses the the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler. Register online at GetTheVaccine.dshs.texas.gov. You will be notified by email or text when and where to get the vaccine. If there’s not an available clinic near you, you will be directed to other places to get your vaccine. 

      If you do not have interent, or need help scheduling an appointment, call the Texas Vaccine Support Center seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 833-832-7067. 

      Additional Information:

      BANDERA

      COVID-19 Vaccine Information

      Call Bandera County Emergency Management at 830-460-8299 or check with your local pharmacy or medical provider to see when vaccine appointments are available.

      Additional Information:

      Bandera County Emergency Management Office Facebook

      COMAL

      Comal County COVID-19 Vaccination Plan

      Comal County Public Health Department is now administering Moderna & Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines.

      Call Comal County at 830-221-1150 to schedule an appointment. Please fill out the forms below and present them with your state-issued photo ID upon arrival.

      Additional Information:

      GUADALUPE

      City of Seguin COVID-19 Vaccine Information

      Click here for vaccine FAQs for Guadalupe County residents.

      Guadalupe County uses the Texas Public Health Vaccine Scheduler.

      • Register online at GetTheVaccine.dshs.texas.gov. You will be notified by email or text when and where to get the vaccine.
      • If there’s not an available clinic near you, you will be directed to other places to get your vaccine. 

      If you do not have internet or need help scheduling an appointment, call the Texas Vaccine Support Center seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 833-832-7067. 

      Additional Information:

      KENDALL

      The Kendall County Health Department is currently accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccines for those who live and work in Kendall County.

      If you don’t have access to the internet, please call the Health Department at (630) 553-9100. Provide your name and best phone number to reach you at and someone call you to get you registered for your
      COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

        Additional Information:

        MEDINA

        Medina County Vaccine Information and Online Registration 

        Walk-ins for the COVID-19 vaccine are available at the Medina County Health Unit Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m.-11 a.m.and 1 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

        Click here to sign up for a vaccine appointment and to review walk-in availability with local providers in Medina County.

        Please note: If appointments are unavailable, they will re-open as more vaccines are administered.   

        Additional Information:

        WILSON

        i-INFO: Email Vaccine Availability Alerts for Wilson County Residents

        1. Enroll in the i-INFO system, Wilson County’s mass notification system. Click here to enroll.
        2. Upon enrollment, you will receive a notification via email when vaccine appointments become available.
        3. The email will include a link which will direct you to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine date and time. 

        If you do not have access to the internet, call the Connallly Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline for more information at (830) 251-3105.

        Additional Information:

        We Are Here To Help

        Do you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine or your health care benefits? Call 1-800-434-2347 Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to speak with a representative who can help. 

        If you have questions after hours, please call the Community First Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-434-2347 available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to help you get the care you need.

        Visit our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page for the latest vaccine information, updates, and frequently asked questions.

        X
        Home
        Member Portal
        Provider Portal