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State of Texas Vaccine Hub

UTHealth has been named a COVID-19 Vaccine Hub in Harris County by the Texas State Department of Health Services.

Register online for your COVID-19 vaccination

We appreciate your patience as we work through our process and continue to serve our community.

Read More from the Front Lines of COVID-19

Group photo of professionals who attended the 2021 CCTS annual meeting in Houston. (Photo by Rogelio Castro/UTHealth)

Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences addresses COVID-19 health disparities across Texas

July 21, 2021 | Faith Harper

Projects of the Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences include several initiatives to address testing disparities in vulnerable and underserved populations across the state, including in the Houston metro area, in South Texas, and in East Texas and West Texas, which have higher rates of uninsured and African American populations.

up-close photo of a gloved health care provider inserting a needle into a vial of vaccine, with a masked adolescent boy in the background. (Photo by Getty Images)

CDC, FDA authorize emergency use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12 and up

May 13, 2021 | Andrew Casas, Senior Vice President, UTHealth Chief Operating Officer, UT Physicians

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 and up.

Stock image of a teen boy leaning back against a bookshelf with his head in his hands. (Photo by Getty Images)

Report shows mental health concerns rising among children and teens during the pandemic

April 16, 2021 | Alexis Shelly

A recent report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that since the pandemic started, mental health-related visits to hospital emergency rooms rose 24% for children ages 5-11, and 31% for children ages 12-17 compared with data from 2019. 

Photo of Victor Guaregua; Xiaoyi Yuan, PhD; and Yanyu Wang, PhD; wearing full PPE and standing inside the BSL-3 laboratory. (Photo by Dwight Andrews/UTHealth)

COVID-19 research sparks new collaboration, innovation

April 6, 2021 | Darla Brown

In vivo research with the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus requires a specialized BSL-3 laboratory – defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a lab with a biosafety level for working with microbes either indigenous or exotic that may cause “serious or potentially lethal disease through respiratory transmission.”

About the Vaccine 

Currently, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Below are frequently asked questions about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccines. Please return to this page often, as more information becomes available. Updated June 30, 2021

1.

What vaccines are available?

Currently, multiple vaccine candidates are going through clinical trials (the scientific process by which a vaccine is tested for effectiveness and safety) and regulatory review. At this time, three vaccine candidates have been awarded Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA. The Pfizer and Moderna candidates COVID-19 vaccines need two shots to be effective, while the Johnson & Johnson has been proven effective with one dose.

2.

Are the vaccines safe?

The FDA approval process, even in an EUA situation, prioritizes health and safety.

Individuals with known history of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to these vaccines or to any component of these vaccines should not receive one.

Immunocompromised people, including individuals receiving immunosuppressant therapy, may have a diminished immune response.

Side effects reported in vaccine trials were common, but generally mild and self-limited 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).

Fact sheets on the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available on the FDA website.

3.

How do I sign up to receive a vaccine through UTHealth and UT Physicians? *Updated*

The UTHealth Vaccine Hub will be moving within the UT Health Science Center Professional Building to Suite 420, located at 6410 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030. 

The hub will be open Monday through Fridays, from 12:30 to 4:20 p.m.

Patients and community members may either schedule an appointment online or may choose to walk in.

4.

Why is a second dose required for some COVID-19 vaccines and not others?

The clinical trials showed that a two-dose model was most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 for the two mRNA vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer. These require two doses to be fully effective, with immune response showing about two weeks after the second dose.

For the Moderna vaccine, a second dose is required 28 days after the first dose. The Pfizer vaccine requires a second dose 21 days after the first. This will be scheduled at your first vaccine appointment.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses viral vector technology, and is a single dose vaccine. A review of the scientific data suggests it is effective about two weeks after injection. Even so, more studies are being conducted on the Janssen vaccine to see if a second dose would add further benefit.

5.

Will the vaccines be FDA-approved? *Updated*

Yes, eventually. Though several steps have been taken to streamline the process and reduce regulatory obstacles, the underlying full approval process remains the same. Currently, the FDA has granted “Emergency Use Authorization” (EUA) for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. EUA occurs if there’s evidence that strongly suggests patients have benefitted from a treatment or test and the treatment is safe, but not all regulatory steps have been completed. Other vaccines that are in the pipeline likely will also be granted EUA before receiving full approval.

The FDA, state health departments, drug producers, and independent physicians and researchers will monitor and track a wide variety of data once the vaccine is available to continue to learn about the drugs’ safety and effectiveness.

6. Do COVID-19 vaccines give you COVID-19?

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the virus that causes COVID-19.

7.

What should you mention to your vaccine provider before you receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

Tell your vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • Have any allergies
  • Have a fever
  • Have a bleeding disorder or are on a blood thinner
  • Are immunocompromised or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
  • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have received another COVID-19 vaccine
8. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant or nursing?

When considering whether to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA recommends consulting with your primary care provider if you are pregnant or nursing.

9.

How long will my vaccine appointment take?

Once a vaccination appointment is made, please be sure to show up on time for the appointment. Doses are specifically scheduled to avoid waste, and the vaccine must be used within a specific timeframe.

The CDC recommends an observation period after receiving the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. For most people this will be 15 minutes after vaccine administration, and 30 minutes for people with a history of allergic reactions to vaccines.

10. If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated when the vaccine becomes available?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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.

11. Can I get a vaccine if I participated in a vaccine clinical trial before?

Before deciding whether to receive the vaccine, we recommend you discuss it with the investigator for your clinical trial. 

12. How were the vaccines made available so quickly?  Due to the unprecedented need created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the FDA and manufacturers, supported by government investment, took the unusual step of creating manufacturing capacity and distribution systems before the drugs were fully approved.
13. Will children be able to receive
the vaccine? *Updated*

The FDA has authorized use of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines in adults 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people aged 12 and older.

14. How long will immunity last?

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.

15. Is there a Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for the new COVID-19 vaccine?

When a vaccine is authorized under an EUA, they do not have an official Vaccine Information Statement. However, the FDA, together with the manufacturer, will provide a fact sheet when you are vaccinated. This fact sheet is similar to a standard Vaccine Information Sheet. Fact sheets on the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available on the FDA website.

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Here for Our Community

UTHealth is committed to serving our community through education, research, and patient care. Working together, we will help each other, and our fellow citizens, through this pandemic.

UT Physicians

Visit with a primary or specialty care provider at one of our many locations or from the comfort of your home through our telehealth platform. Our clinics are open with expanded safety measures and ready to provide you with exceptional patient care. Telehealth visits are also available for any non-emergency and urgent care need.

Schedule your telehealth appointment:
https://www.utphysicians.com/telehealth

Schedule an appointment at one of our many locations:
https://www.utphysicians.com/patients/appointment/

UTHealth Team Designs Face Shields for COVID-19 Response

With cake collar material, a three-hole punch, a scrapbooking paper trimmer, and the drive to protect those on the front lines of health care, a team from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has designed a face shield that can be used by thousands of providers in the Texas Medical Center.

UTHealth In the Headlines

UTHealth has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our experts have helped shape local and state responses to the pandemic, and our researchers have been conducting clinical trials and researching the mechanics of the virus.

For media inquiries, contact the Media Relations Hotline:
713-500-3030 or email Media.Relations@uth.tmc.edu.

July 23, 2021
Medication approved for diabetes being tested for treatment of cocaine use disorder

July 22, 2021
Houston COVID-19 patient enrolls in biobank repository to help others suffering from chronic coronavirus symptoms