COVID-19 vaccine—Frequently asked questions
Modified on 12/3/2021 at 09:53am

COVID-19 vaccine boosters

Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster?
Updated on 12/21/2021 at 10:50 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revised its guidance and recommends that everyone ages 18 and older should receive a booster shot.

IF YOU RECEIVED
Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

IF YOU RECEIVED
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

Who should get a booster:
Everyone 18 years or older
Who should get a booster:
Everyone 18 years or older
When to get a booster:
At least 6 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series.
When to get a booster:
At least 2 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination.
Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States.
Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States.
How to receive your COVID-19 booster through the University Employee Health Clinic
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:29 am

Eligible employees will receive an email from the University Employee Health Clinic (UEHC) letting them know when they can self-schedule their booster appointment. This message will come from UEHCReadySet@healthcare.uiowa.edu.

Employees may need to check their junk mail to find their notification email from UEHC.

Which vaccines are the University Employee Health Clinic offering?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:33 am

UEHC is offering first, second, and booster doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

UEHC will not offer the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine through the University Employee Health Clinic, though this vaccine is widely available through community pharmacies.

You can also receive your flu vaccination through UEHC, which can be administered at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine.

How to schedule your booster appointment through ReadySet
Updated on 10/06/2021 at 9:20 am

Eligible employees who have received an email from the University Employee Health Clinic can follow the directions below to self-schedule their booster appointment.

Can I get a booster from the University Employee Health Clinic if I received doses 1 & 2 elsewhere?

Yes, you can reach still receive the booster through UEHC by emailing UEHCReadySet@healthcare.uiowa.edu. 

Can I mix and match vaccines? For example, if I received the Johnson & Johnson single dose vaccine, can I receive a booster of the Moderna vaccine?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 10:47 am

We recommend that you receive the same brand of vaccine you received for your initial doses. However, some people may prefer to get a different booster type than they originally received for their first dose(s). CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. Consider talking with your provider to determine if mix and matching dosing for booster shots is best for you. 

Can I receive the booster vaccine at the same time as the flu vaccine?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:31 am

Yes, these two vaccines can be administered at the same time, though it is recommended that you receive them in separate limbs. The flu vaccine will be offered at the booster vaccination location through the University Employee Health Clinic.

If I received a non-FDA authorized or FDA approved vaccine, am I eligible to receive a booster?

People who completed all of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine which is listed for emergency use by the WHO but is not approved or authorized by FDA, or people who completed a heterologous (mix and match) series composed of any combination of FDA-approved, FDA-authorized, or WHO emergency use listed COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Are considered fully vaccinated.
  • Under the Emergency Use Instructions (EUI), moderately or severely immunocompromised people aged ≥12 years should receive an additional primary dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (30 µg formulation [purple cap]) at least 28 days after receiving the second vaccine dose of their primary series.
  • Under the EUI, people aged ≥18 years (including moderately or severely immunocompromised people who received an additional primary dose) should receive a single booster dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (30 µg formulation [purple cap]) at least 6 months after completing their primary series.

WHO has listed the following COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine (e.g., BNT162b2, COMIRNATY, Tozinameran)
    • AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 Vaccine (e.g., [ChAdOx1-S (recombinant)], AZD1222, Covishield, Vaxzevria)
    • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine (e.g., Ad26.COV2.S)
    • Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (e.g., mRNA 1273, Takeda, Spikevax)
    • Sinopharm-BIBP COVID-19 Vaccine
    • Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 Vaccine
    • Bharat Biotech International COVID-19 Vaccine (e.g., BBV152, COVAXIN)
What should I bring with me to my appointment?

Please remember to bring your employee ID badge and your vaccination card with you to your appointment. 

What can I expect from the booster vaccination?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:31 am

For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the booster vaccine is the same as the original two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (30 micrograms).

For Moderna’s vaccine, the two primary doses in the vaccine series are 100 micrograms. The booster dose is half of the original dosage of the first two vaccinations, 50 micrograms.

You should expect to have a similar reaction to the first two doses.

What are the common side effects of the booster vaccination?
  • Arm pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
Do I have to receive my COVID-19 booster through the University Employee Health Clinic?

No. However, it is important you update your COVID-19 Immunization Survey in ReadySet to indicate that you have received your booster elsewhere. 

What if I can find an open vaccination appointment elsewhere, such as through a local pharmacy, before I find a time through UI Health Care?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:32 am

If you are eligible and can be vaccinated elsewhere, such as a local pharmacy, before we contact you for a vaccine appointment, we encourage you to accept that appointment so that you can get vaccinated as soon as possible. It is important, however, that you update your COVID-19 Immunization Survey in ReadySet to indicate that you have received your booster elsewhere.

If you do receive your vaccine elsewhere prior to your scheduled appointment, or need to reschedule or cancel your appointment, contact the University Employee Health Clinic at UEHCReadySet@healthcare.uiowa.edu or call 319-356-3631, Option 3.

Will employees be paid if they come into work during unscheduled time to receive the booster vaccine?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:32 am

Hourly employees and non-exempt employees, who normally badge in ELMS, will be paid for the time spent receiving the vaccine through the University Employee Health Clinic. There is a badge reader located in the vaccination clinic.

How do I check when I received my last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:32 am

You can view the date of your last COVID-19 vaccination on your COVID-19 vaccine card.

If you received your initial COVID-19 vaccinations through the University Employee Health Clinic, you can also view this information by logging into ReadySet. Once in ReadySet, choose “Results” under Test Results on the left-hand menu. In the list to the right, choose “COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) IMMUNIZATION RECORD,” and “Date vaccine administered,” and in the middle of the page it will show the date it was received.

When am I considered fully vaccinated?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:32 am

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after completing a two dose mRNA vaccine series (like the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines), or two weeks after the one dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. 

If I’m fully vaccinated against COVID-19, why do I need a booster dose?
Updated on 10/22/2021 at 9:32 am

The COVID-19 vaccines are working very well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. A booster dose will help strengthen protection against severe disease in populations that are at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 or complications from severe disease.

What’s the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose?

Sometimes people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough protection when they first get a vaccination. When this happens, getting another dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease. This appears to be the case for some immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines.  

In contrast, a “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity).  

I am immunocompromised and received an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine. Am I eligible to receive a booster?
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:53 am

Moderately to severely immunocompromised people ages 18 years and older who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna) and an additional primary dose are eligible to receive a booster shot.

Moderately to severely immunocompromised people ages 18 years and older who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine should not receive an additional primary dose. However, they should get a booster shot (you may choose the type of COVID-19 vaccine for your booster shot) at least 2 months after their single-dose J&J/Janssen primary shot.

You may be wondering what the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose is. Sometimes people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised do not build enough protection when they first get a vaccination. When this happens, getting an additional dose of the vaccine can sometimes help them build more protection against the disease. This appears to be the case for some immunocompromised people and COVID-19 vaccines.

In contrast, a “booster dose” refers to another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time (this is called waning immunity).

View talking points to help hold conversations with patients about COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

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Getting vaccinated

How do I schedule a COVID-19 vaccine?
Updated on 12/08/2021 at 8:01 am

Schedule your first and second dose vaccination by calling the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631, option 3. You may also email employee-health@uiowa.edu to request an appointment.

Employees who are eligible for a booster shot can schedule their appointment through ReadySet.

How much will it cost to receive the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to UI Health Care employees at no cost.

What happens if I don't receive my vaccine exactly on the 21st day (for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine) or the 28th day (for the Moderna vaccine)?

The timing of your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will be coordinated by the University Employee Health Clinic.

UI Health Care follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for second dose of COVID-19 vaccinations:

  • For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, second doses are administered at least 21 days after the first dose and preferably within 42 days.
  • For the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, second doses are administered at least 28 days after the first dose and preferably within 42 days.
Will employees be paid if they come into work during unscheduled time to receive the vaccine?

Hourly employees and nonexempt employees, who normally badge in ELMS, will be paid for the time spent receiving the vaccine. There is a badge reader located in the vaccination clinic.

Is receiving the vaccine mandatory?

You are encouraged to receive the vaccine as soon as you are eligible to provide protection for yourself and others, but receiving the vaccine is not mandatory.

How will we track who gets which vaccine?

We will use ReadySet to track COVID-19 vaccinations, much like the annual employee flu vaccination campaign. ReadySet is a way to process important information while protecting your privacy. In addition, a compliance will be assigned in Compliance and Qualifications (CQ). These systems also interface with the Iowa Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS), the state of Iowa’s vaccination registry.

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Eligibility

Can I get the vaccine if I am pregnant or planning to become pregnant?
Updated on 09/22/2021 at 12:45 pm

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that all eligible persons, including pregnant and lactating individuals, receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series. Obstetrician-gynecologists and other women’s health care practitioners should lead by example by being vaccinated and encouraging eligible patients to be vaccinated as well.

Can I get the vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
Updated on 09/22/2021 at 12:46 pm

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine (SMFM) suggest lactating individuals get the vaccine. This means if you are lactating, you can and should get the COVID-19 vaccine. You can still breastfeed after receiving the vaccine.

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Vaccine safety

How do we know vaccines are safe?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:09 am

Like other drugs and biologics, vaccines released in the U.S. must go through multiple phases of rigorous testing, analysis, and review as they are developed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitors the vaccine development process and testing results for efficacy and safety. As part of the FDA’s formal process to determine if the vaccine is approved for public use, it also seeks a recommendation from a multidisciplinary team of experts consisting of independent medical officers, microbiologists, chemists, biostatisticians, and other health experts. If approved, the FDA continues to oversee the vaccine and its manufacturing to ensure ongoing safety.

Has the COVID-19 vaccine been rushed in comparison to other vaccines?

Although the speed of the COVID-19 development is faster than typical, COVID-19 vaccines are still required to go through the proper testing and analysis to make sure they are safe—no step in the process has been skipped. However, the federal government is funding advance production of some of the more promising vaccines so at least a limited supply would be available quickly after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Read more: Our own coronavirus expert advises federal agencies on COVID-19 vaccine

What is emergency use authorization (EUA)?

In certain types of emergencies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can issue an emergency use authorization (EUA) to provide more timely access to drugs, diagnostic tests, or other critical medical products that may help during an emergency, like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Learn more about EUAs in this video. 

Can the COVID-19 vaccines give me COVID-19?

These vaccines do not contain the virus, so they can’t give you COVID-19.

Does an mRNA vaccine change my DNA or genetic code?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:47 am

No. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. They do not insert themselves in the genome, which is made of DNA.

Does receiving the vaccine cause infertility in men or women?
Updated on 09/22/2021 at 12:35 pm

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility. There is no reason or evidence in the clinical studies that would indicate that this could be a side effect.

Watch more about vaccines and fertility in this Vaxx Facts video.

Were people from diverse or underserved communities included in COVID-19 vaccine studies?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:47 am

Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials included people from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds to be confident that the vaccine is safe and works for these groups. In the Pfizer-BioNTech clinical trials, approximately 42% of global participants and 30% of U.S. participants have racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and 41% of global and 45% of U.S. participants are 56-85 years of age. A breakdown of the diversity of clinical trial participants can be found here from approximately 150 clinical trials sites in United States, Germany, Turkey, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.

Is there a trusted source that lists what is in the vaccine that we can share to help combat misinformation?
Updated on 03/24/2021 at 3:27 pm

More detailed information about the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines can be found from the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here:

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Vaccine side effects

What are the common side effects of the vaccine?
  • Arm pain  
  • Headache  
  • Fatigue  
  • Fever  
  • Chills 
How likely is it that I will have side effects?
Updated on 03/03/2021 at 2:45 pm

Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson have reported that while in the clinical trials many participants reported a sore arm or redness at the injection site. Additional side effects included fever, fatigue, headache, or body aches. Most of the people described these symptoms to be mild or moderate in nature and the symptoms did not disrupt daily activities. These side effects are normal and means that your body is responding to the vaccine and the vaccine is doing its job.

How are we tracking side effects?
Updated on 09/22/2021 at 12:48 pm

UI Health Care employees should report any side effects or concerns to the University Employee Health Clinic. You may also receive an internal Qualtrics survey following your vaccinations to ask about any side effects to track our internal experiences with the vaccine. There are additional optional tracking tools through the CDC called v-safe and VAERS. (See additional FAQs below.)

What should I do if I experience side effects after receiving the vaccine?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:32 am

If you feel you are too unwell to work after receiving the vaccine, you should first use your available COVID-19 leave. If that is exhausted, utilize regular sick leave. Acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can be used to provide relief from symptoms but is advised that these should not be taken before receiving the vaccine. If your provider has recommended that you avoid these medications due to your ongoing health conditions, please discuss options with your provider. 

Can I take Tylenol or ibuprofen if I have fever/headache/chills after the vaccine?

Yes, you may take Tylenol or ibuprofen for these side effects of the vaccine if do not have health conditions prohibiting their use. Please check with your primary care provider if you have questions. 

What is v-safe?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:06 am

V-safe is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tool that tracks your health after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Using it is entirely optional. UI Health Care employees should report any side effects or concerns to the University Employee Health Clinic first before using v-safe. V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you. And v-safe will remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. 

What is VAERS?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:06 am

VAERS, or the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, is used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track adverse side effects of vaccines. It uses the tool, v-safe, to track personalized health check-ins after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Using VAERS through v-safe is entirely optional. UI Health Care employees should report any side effects or concerns to the University Employee Health Clinic first before using v-safe. 

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Vaccine protection

How effective are the vaccines?
Updated on 03/24/2021 at 3:30 pm

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, have been shown to be about 95% effective. Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials. All authorized vaccines are safe and effective.

What does it mean when a vaccine is 95% effective?
Updated on 01/14/2021 at 10:55 am

If people who have received the vaccine come in contact with COVID-19 during their daily lives, there is a 95% probability they are protected from symptomatic COVID-19 disease compared to someone who has not been vaccinated. In the Pfizer-BioNTech trial, only nine cases of COVID-19 occurred in the vaccinated group and 169 cases were seen in those who were in the placebo group. All of these infections occurred during normal daily exposure to COVID19.

How do mRNA and viral vector vaccines work?

View the graphics below to learn more about how mRNA (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) and viral vector vaccines (Johnson & Johnson) protect you against COVID-19.

After I’ve been vaccinated, do I still need to wear PPE like a face mask?
Updated on 08/13/2021 at 9:08 am

Yes. Even after you have been vaccinated you must continue to follow all our PPE and safety guidelines while at work. 

Read more about following safety guidelines after vaccination outside of work and in the community here.

Do you gain some immunity to the virus after the first vaccination, or only after the second? What about for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?
Updated on 03/24/2021 at 3:32 pm

It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. That means it is possible a person could still get COVID-19 before or just after vaccination because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide protection. People are considered fully protected two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Source: CDC

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Additional COVID-19 dose for immunocompromised individuals

Who is considered immunocompromised and eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time?
Updated on 08/20/2021 at 7:48 am

People considered moderately to severely immunocompromised are limited to include those who 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 2 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

Those who fall into these categories make up only about 3% of the adult population. Although those with breakthrough COVID-19 infections have been rarely hospitalized, fully vaccinated, immunocompromised people have accounted for a large proportion of those who do end up hospitalized with breakthrough infections. If you are uncertain if you are eligible to receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose based on these criteria, please contact your primary care provider.

What if I don’t know if I’m considered immunocompromised, but have health complications that put me more at risk?
Updated on 08/20/2021 at 7:49 am

If you are unsure if you are eligible for an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at this time or have concerns about the effectiveness of the vaccine you received, please contact your primary care provider.

If I’ve already had a COVID-19 vaccine but am considered immunocompromised, why do I need an additional dose?
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:55 am

Having a weakened immune system puts you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and makes you much more likely to have a breakthrough infection (breakthrough infections occur when vaccinated individuals contract the disease they’ve been vaccinated against). Studies show that the initial vaccine doses are not as effective for people with weakened immune systems, as they don’t always produce the same level of antibodies to build adequate levels of protection. Hospitalized breakthrough cases are rare, but are also more likely in immunocompromised people. An additional dose of the vaccine will help to further strengthen your immunity against COVID-19.

In addition to an additional dose, everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster shot.

If I’ve already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, am I considered fully vaccinated?
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:55 am

If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised and have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccines, you are no longer considered fully vaccinated and are now recommended to receive the additional dose in the vaccine series.

If you have received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, you should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster.

In addition to an additional dose, everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster shot.

How do I get an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:56 am

Eligible University of Iowa employees who would like to schedule an additional dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be able to receive it through the University Employee Health Clinic.

To schedule an appointment, call the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631, option 3. You may also email employee-health@uiowa.edu to request an appointment. 

UEHC will provide instructions to update your ReadySet COVID-19 Immunization Survey to reflect self-attestation of employees that meet the CDC criteria listed above.

If I’m eligible and get an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, will I have enough protection?
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:57 am

The strongest protection comes from getting vaccinated.

Although the additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will further strengthen your immunity, it is important to realize that the vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing illness or from contracting (and then spreading) COVID-19. You should also protect yourself and others by wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds, and washing your hands often. Each of these are important ways to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19, but they become very effective when you combine them.

If you are moderately to severely immunocompromised and do not get an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you will no longer be considered fully vaccinated.

In addition to an additional dose, everyone ages 18 years and older who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is eligible for a booster shot.

Should I get my additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m not feeling well?
Updated on 08/20/2021 at 7:51 am

No. People who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation if they are found to test positive.

Regardless of your vaccination status or whether or not you are immunocompromised, it is important to get tested if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 and to stay home if you are sick.

What to do if you feel unwell 

To be safe, you should stay home if you feel unwell. You should also call the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631 if you experience any symptoms that are similar to symptoms of COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms:   

  • A fever in the last 24 hours
  • New or worsening:
    • Sore throat
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath
I’m not moderately to severely immunocompromised, but I would like to get an additional dose anyway.
Updated on 12/03/2021 at 9:57 am

Individuals who are age 18 or older and are not immunocompromised should receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster. Learn more about scheduling a booster.

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Patients and the community

How is UI Health Care offering vaccinations to patients and the community?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:55 pm

Individuals ages five and older are now eligible to receive the Pfizer–BioNTech vaccination for COVID-19. Information on how to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through UI Health Care can be found through MyChart or by visiting uihc.org/covid-vaccine.

How should I talk to my patients about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:55 pm

With the help of UI Health Care vaccine hesitancy expert Aaron Scherer, PhD, we’ve provided five techniques to help providers answer that question.

In addition, the guidelines below provide general recommendations for speaking with pediatric patients and their families about the COVID-19 vaccines.

Be empathic

It is possible that parents may be anxious and fearful of giving these vaccines to their children.  Use empathy wherever the opportunity presents.   “I understand that you may feel apprehensive about making this decision…”, “I can imagine that you may have concerns…”

Acknowledging

Acknowledge comments, e.g., “That’s a good question, thanks for asking….” “Thank you for sharing your concerns…..” “It is perfectly understandable to be concerned about new vaccines……”

Listening

Listen fully to the individual’s questions/concerns so they know they are being heard. Instead of asking a patient what they’re most concerned about and then immediately providing them with information addressing that concern, try asking, “What else are you concerned about?” Keep asking until the patient runs out of concerns and be sure to thank them for sharing their concerns.

Responding

Ask the patient if you may speak with them about your perspective on the COVID-19 vaccines. This helps the patient have an increased sense of personal control and will make them less likely to respond defensively to what you might have to say.

  • Children and adolescents ages five and older are eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are eligible to help protect themselves from severe illness and as an important step in ending the pandemic.
  • Children can get COVID-19 just like adults. While oftentimes children with COVID-19 may not end up getting as sick as adults with COVID-19 might, they are still at risk for severe illness and can spread the virus to other children, as well as adults who may experience severe illness.
  • Vaccinating children is safe and effective for your child and your family and is an important step to returning to normal things like in-person learning, sports, and activities.
  • Although the speed of the COVID-19 vaccine development is faster than typical, COVID-19 vaccines are still required to go through the proper testing and analysis to make sure they are safe—no step in the process has been skipped.
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19. These vaccines contain genetic instructions that allow your child’s own cells to make one of the virus proteins. Your child’s immune system reacts to this protein to make antibodies and other immune cells that can recognize and fight COVID-19 if your child does get exposed.
  • Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. They do not insert themselves in the genome, which is made of DNA. They cannot change your child’s DNA.

Read more strategies for addressing COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy on The Loop.

You can find more information on our website at uihc.org/covid-vaccine. 

Is the vaccine available for children?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:54 pm

Yes. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 is authorized for children ages 5 and older. This is the only COVID-19 vaccine available to children at this time.

Parents who would like to get their children vaccinated through UI Health Care can do so by scheduling a vaccination through MyChart or by visiting uihc.org/covid-vaccine.

If your child has an upcoming visit already scheduled at UI Health Care–Iowa River Landing, your provider may discuss getting your child vaccinated during your visit.

Are children recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:55 pm

Our pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be vaccinated against COVID-19 when they are eligible to help protect themselves from severe illness and  as an important step in ending the pandemic. While most children with COVID-19 may not end up as getting sick as adults with COVID-19 might, they are still at risk for severe illness and can spread the virus to other children, as well as adults who may experience severe illness.

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for children?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:57 pm

Like other drugs and biologics, vaccines released in the U.S. must go through multiple phases of rigorous testing, analysis, and review as they are developed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) closely monitors the vaccine development process and testing results for efficacy and safety. As part of the FDA’s formal process to determine if the vaccine is authorized for public use, it also seeks a recommendation from a multidisciplinary team of experts consisting of independent medical officers, microbiologists, chemists, biostatisticians, and other health experts. If authorized, the FDA continues to oversee the vaccine and its manufacturing to monitor ongoing safety. The COVID-19 vaccine has undergone all of the steps described here.

Although the speed at which the COVID-19 vaccine was developed was faster than most vaccine development processes, COVID-19 vaccines are still required to go through the proper testing and analysis to make sure they are safe—no step in the process has been skipped.

Why do children need to be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:57 pm

Children can get COVID-19 just like adults. While most children with COVID-19 may not end up getting as sick as adults with COVID-19 might, they are still at risk for severe illness and can spread the virus to other children, as well as adults who may experience severe illness.

Vaccinating children is safe and effective for your child and your family and is an important step to returning to normal things like in-person learning, sports, and activities.

Will the dosage of the vaccine given to children be the same as adults?
Updated on 11/08/2021 at 10:08 am
  • The vaccine dosage for 12- to 15-year-old children is the same as the adult dose.
  • The vaccine dosage for children 5 to 11 is one-third the dose of that for an adult.

As opposed to many medications, vaccine dosages are based on age and not size or weight. If a child turns from 11 to 12 years of age in between their first and second dose, the second dose should be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents and adults. However, if the child receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 years for their second dose, they do not need to repeat the dose.

What side effects from the vaccine can I expect for my child?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:59 pm

Children receiving the vaccine may experience the same side effects as an adult would. Common side effects include a sore arm, fatigue, headache, fever, or chills lasting up to around 48 hours after vaccination.

These side effects are normal and show that the body is mounting a response to the vaccine, which helps your child’s body to protect itself against the COVID-19 virus. Some patients may not experience these side effects, but the vaccine is still working.

Will the vaccine impact my child’s development?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 6:00 pm

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine get vaccinated as soon as they are able. Clinical trials show that this vaccine is safe and effective for children.

Can any of the vaccines give my child COVID-19?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 6:00 pm

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine. This vaccine gives your child’s cells instructions for how to make a harmless protein that is unique to the virus, which then teaches their body how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if they are exposed in the future. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain the virus, so they can’t give your child COVID-19.

Does an mRNA vaccine change my child’s DNA or genetic code?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 6:01 pm

No. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. The messenger RNA contained in the COVID-19 vaccine cannot integrate into your child’s DNA or their human genes and is broken down very quickly once it’s exposed in the body. The COVID-19 vaccines cannot change your child’s DNA.

Learn more about mRNA vaccines.

Is it safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, like flu?
Updated on 11/08/2021 at 10:10 am

Yes, if a patient is eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit. In addition to flu vaccine, the COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines as well.

How can our patients and members of the public stay up to date on developments related to the COVID-19 vaccine at UI Hospitals & Clinics?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 6:01 pm

Updates and information for UI Health Care patients and members of the public can be found at uihc.org/covid-vaccine.

How do I provide documentation of COVID-19 vaccination?
Updated on 11/02/2021 at 5:55 pm

You can show proof of COVID-19 vaccination in either of the two ways listed below. Verbal report of COVID-19 vaccination is not accepted.

  • Upload photo via Mychart
  • Bring documentation in-person

Vaccination documentation can be a photo of your COVID-19 vaccination card or documented proof of vaccination from a pharmacy or health care provider.

Note that when a patient checks into an encounter, IRIS is queried and updated COVID-19 vaccination information will be available under both Health Maintenance and Immunizations. Staff can manually query IRIS without an encounter by opening the patient’s chart either by using Patient Station or the Open button, choosing the Immunizations tab and selecting Imm Registry to trigger a query.

Please see the following links for step-by-step instructions in Epic for validating COVID-19 vaccination status, entering historical immunization records, and reconciling outside immunizations.

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ReadySet COVID-19 Immunization Survey

How do I complete the survey?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:38 am

To log in to ReadySet, visit uehc.link/MyReadySet and enter your HawkID and password.  

You can view step-by-step instructions for completing the survey here. 

Do I need to do anything in ReadySet to indicate I have received my second dose of the vaccine?
Updated on 01/14/2021 at 10:57 am

No. No further action in ReadySet is required before/after receiving your second dose.

Why does the survey ask certain health questions?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:37 am

We are following guidance of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, if you answer “yes” to the question, “Are you pregnant or plan to become pregnant,” or “Have you had an allergic reaction,” it does not mean you should not get the vaccine. These questions are used for educational purposes and may be discussed with you by a provider of the University Employee Health Clinic.  

If I answer some of the health questions in the COVID-19 immunization survey in ReadySet in the affirmative, does stating that I have health conditions or needs exclude me from receiving the vaccine?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:09 am

No, the immunization survey in ReadySet asks these health questions for educational purposes and may be discussed with you by a provider of the University Employee Health Clinic. Answering yes to the questions does not exclude you from getting the vaccine. 

How will the information in ReadySet be used?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:37 am

The COVID-19 Immunization Survey in ReadySet allows us to begin the scheduling process across all phases. It also helps us understand the doses UI Health Care will need to provide the vaccine to all those who wish to receive it. 

ReadySet is a system that keeps your personal and employment health records separate, as required by federal law. All vaccination records and tests are kept iReadySet. 

Do I need to complete the ReadySet survey even if I am declining to receive the vaccine?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:37 am

Yes. Response to this survey is mandatory response compliance, similar to the flu campaign. Understanding which employees do and do not wish to receive the vaccine allows us to schedule and plan for each phase of vaccine distribution. 

I've already completed the ReadySet survey but need to modify my response. Who do I contact?
Updated on 01/04/2021 at 3:38 pm

If you need to reset your ReadySet surveyplease contact UEHCReadySet@healthcare.uiowa.edu . 

I received a notification in the Compliance and Qualifications (CQ) system about my second dose. Am I out of compliance?
Updated on 03/31/2021 at 3:19 pm

No. You will receive an automated CQ notice either 35 or 42 days (depending on which vaccine you were given) after your first dose but you are not out of compliance. 

You will schedule your second dose during your first dose appointment within the appropriate timeframe for the vaccine you received. You do not need to take any further action in CQ or in ReadySet related to the vaccination process. 

If I complete the survey and indicate that I would like to receive the vaccine, what happens next?
Updated on 04/26/2021 at 12:42 pm

Once you have completed the COVID-19 Immunization Survey in ReadySet, you will receive an email directing you to contact the University Employee Health Clinic at 319-356-3631, Option 3, to schedule an appointment.

What if I don’t have a ReadySet account?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:38 am

If you’re new to ReadySet, find more information here. 

Should I complete the survey if I've already had COVID-19?
Updated on 12/14/2020 at 7:38 am

Yes, you should still complete this survey in ReadySet.

Is the information from the ReadySet COVID-19 Immunization Survey shared with the state? If so, why?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:10 am

Yes, for UI Health Care to be in compliance with Iowa law to administer vaccinations, the data in ReadySet is uploaded daily to Iowa’s Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS). This is the same process that occurs when you receive any vaccine, including vaccines from your primary care providers.

The ReadySet survey asks me if I consent to share my information with the state of Iowa. Why is this? Is it appropriate to share this information with the state?
Updated on 01/04/2021 at 3:38 pm

Yes, for UI Health Care to be in compliance with Iowa law to administer vaccinations, the data in ReadySet is uploaded daily to Iowa’s Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS). This is the same process that occurs when you receive any vaccine, including vaccines from your primary care providers. 

What is Iowa's Immunization Registry Information System (IRIS)?
Updated on 12/21/2020 at 9:10 am

IRIS maintains immunization information from participating health care providers and combines it into one immunization record. This helps health care providers, parents, and individuals keep track of their immunization status, even if they have received vaccines from more than one provider. Read more.

Are the state’s vaccination records (IRIS) shared with the federal government?
Updated on 12/18/2020 at 3:39 pm

Yes, but by law, only authorized users are allowed to access immunization information in IRIS. Authorized users include health care providers, local public health agencies, hospitals, pharmacies, and schools.  Read more.

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