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Two vaccines are currently authorized and recommended to prevent COVID-19:
Both are mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines and have similar ingredients. Both require two doses for full protection. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine series is given 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine series is given 28 days apart. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is recommended for people aged 16 years and older, while the Moderna vaccine is recommended for those 18 years and older. In clinical trials the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness, while the Moderna vaccine was 94.1% effective at preventing laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 illness.
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Current limited vaccine supply will be distributed to individuals within the following Department of State Health Services-defined Phases:
Direct healthcare workers (First and Second Tier) as defined within the DSHS Phase 1A Health Care Workers Definition
Residents of long-term care facilities
People 65 years of age and older
People 16 years of age and older with at least one chronic medical condition that puts them at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19, such as but not limited to:
Vaccine stock is currently very limited throughout Texas, including Denton County. Primary care providers, pharmacies, hospitals, and DCPH have each received very limited supply, which has been rapidly depleted. You are encouraged to check with your personal primary care provider to determine their vaccine plans.
Recently designated by the state as a vaccine hub, our DCPH registration portal The Vaccine Interest Portal is still accepting registrations, though it has a queue of about 130,000 registrants. This site also has the latest information on vaccine availability and clinic dates.
A list of providers is available on the Texas Department of State Health Services under Vaccine Allocations.
COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us stop this pandemic. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is a top priority. Common side effects include pain or swelling on the arm where you got the shot. You may also experience fever, chills, tiredness, or headache.
If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days, contact your healthcare provider. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.
It is recommended that you receive your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the same provider who administered your first dose. It is important to keep your vaccination card your provider will give you, so that you may access the manufacturer information, especially if you aren’t able to return to the same provider for your second dose. The two current vaccines (Moderna and Pfizer) are NOT interchangeable.
Yes, a person may receive a COVID-19 vaccine outside of their county or state of residence, if eligible.
This new variant has not been around long enough to be tested with these two vaccines; however, medical experts believe that the vaccines will also be effective against the new variant.
The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your vaccination.
For the two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, the process of getting fully vaccinated takes over a month in total. You will get full protection from the vaccine usually 1–2 weeks after getting your second dose.
If you choose to get only one dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the amount of protection you may have is unknown. It is recommended that you complete the vaccine series unless you experience an allergic reaction after receiving the first dose. Other vaccines that only require one dose may be authorized for emergency use by the FDA in the coming weeks and months.
Yes. CDC recommends that during the pandemic people practice frequent handwashing, maintain social distancing, and wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine, including a COVID-19 vaccine. Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a mask without assistance should not wear a mask. For more information, visit considerations for wearing masks. There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.
It is recommended that you receive your second dose at the same provider who gave you the first dose if possible. Please keep your vaccination card safe, especially if you plan to seek your second dose at a different provider; they will need to know the manufacturer of the vaccine you previously received, as the current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable.
Your vaccine provider should give you a vaccination card with the date that you need to return for the second dose of the vaccine. Please keep this safe, as this is your record of receiving the first dose. DCPH will text and email reminders to its registrants when they are due for the second shot.
Your provider may require that you make an appointment for the second dose. You may also ask your provider about getting started with V-Safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) plan allows for providers to receive second doses for anyone they have vaccinated with a first dose. Efficacy of just one dose is unknown at this time, and it is recommended that you receive your second dose as close after the 21st day (for the Pfizer vaccine) or 28th day (for the Moderna vaccine). It is not recommended to receive your second dose sooner.
Medical experts are now saying that your second shot can come as late as 6 weeks after the first shot and still give protection, but advise that the shorter timeframes shown above are optimal.
Vaccines will be given at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. Vaccines given by DCPH are free of charge with no administration fee.
CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.
CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. As an example, an allergic reaction is considered severe when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine or EpiPen© or if they must go to the hospital.
Who should not get vaccinated:
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called “natural immunity,” varies from person to person. It is rare for someone who has had COVID-19 to get infected again. It also is uncommon for people who do get COVID-19 again to get it within 90 days of when they recovered from their first infection. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are working to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.