COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

We Want to Be Your Trusted Source of Vaccine Information.

Wide uptake of the vaccine is essential to bringing the University of Maryland community back to campus. Even as more members of our community begin receiving the vaccine, it is crucial we continue following the 4Maryland prevention strategies: 

  1. wear a face covering at all times indoors, and outdoors when other people are nearby
  2. stay at least 6 feet from others at all times
  3. wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable
  4. if you are sick, do not report to work or class.

As you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, be in touch. You don’t have to navigate this alone. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Facts

The vaccines are safe

COVID-19 vaccines were tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet safety standards. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccines offer protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions. Though the accelerated timeline for vaccine development was unprecedented, safety remains a top priority.


The vaccines are effective

There are currently two available vaccines. All three are considered quite effective.  Additional COVID-19 vaccines remain in clinical trial phases.

Moderna and Pfizer: Based on clinical trials, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to be extremely effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. Pfizer is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 and Moderna is 94.1% effective. To date, trials for both vaccines are equally effective across multiple demographics including: age, gender, race, and ethnicity.


Moderna and Pfizer require two doses

The first shot, or dose, helps the immune system recognize the virus. The second shot allows the body to strengthen its immune response and build its protection against the virus. After your second shot it will take your body’s immune system up to two weeks to respond to the vaccine and offer protection from the virus. 

The same vaccine brand must be used for both shots. For example, if a person received the Pfizer vaccine for their first dose, they must also receive Pfizer for their second dose. 

At this point in time we are unsure if any of the approved vaccines will require a yearly vaccine, or booster shot.

You will not get COVID-19 from any of the approved vaccines

The vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines and do not contain any live, weakened, or dead virus. 

Very few serious problems are reported after COVID-19 vaccination

Most people do not have serious problems after receiving a vaccine. Some people might experience temporary injection site soreness, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and  muscle pain after receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. 

All of these are more likely after the 2nd dose, and should go away in 24 to 48 hours. If you experience any symptoms after vaccination, you may choose to take an over-the-counter fever reducer or pain reliever. 

Most side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection. Historical information and on-going research shows us that long-term side effects are typically not a concern with vaccines. Severe and serious side effects of vaccines are rare and when they do occur, it is usually within 6 weeks of receiving a vaccine. Research related to the COVID-19 vaccines will continue, and the FDA and CDC are continuing to monitor safety to ensure long-term side effects are identified, should they arise. If an issue is identified, experts will take immediate action to determine the best course of action. 

A negative COVID-19 test will not be required prior to vaccination

A negative test will not be required before receiving the vaccine. Though, if you were previously positive, you must complete your period of isolation and be asymptomatic before you can receive the vaccine. 

COVID-19 vaccination is appropriate for those who previously tested positive for COVID-19

If you previously tested positive for COVID-19, you may still receive the vaccine, provided you have completed your period of isolation and are asymptomatic. 

Reinfection with the COVID-19 virus is possible and experts do not yet know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. If you are able, receiving the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. 

Vaccine Protection for New Virus Mutations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with other public health agencies, are monitoring the emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants closely. It is important to know that at this time, COVID-19 variants represent a minority of positive cases each day, although the percentages have been increasing. 

While there is evidence from laboratory studies that show current vaccines may be less effective against some of the newly identified strains, the immune response is incredibly complex, so the vaccine is still expected to provide some degree of protection.

At this time much remains unknown.  However, it is normal and expected for mutations to occur in many types of viruses.  For instance, we deal with mutations in the flu every year. Experts will continue to monitor SARS-CoV-2 variants and if necessary, the vaccine development process can accommodate changes, though we are not at that point right now. 

As a reminder, even after receiving the vaccine, everyone should continue to wear a mask, maintain physical distancing, engage in good hand hygiene, and stay home when not feeling well.

COVID-19 vaccine is currently not required to come to campus

At this time, a COVID-19 vaccine is not required in order to come to campus. Similar to our approach with the influenza vaccine, we will recommend the COVID-19 vaccine according to health guidelines.

We are here to support you as you have questions

The decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is yours to make. We encourage you to talk with your primary care physician, or schedule an appointment to talk with a University Health Center provider, as you have questions about your personal health and wellbeing. You may also decide to closely review the information here and from other reputable health care organizations. As more information becomes available we will continue to provide accurate, research-based information to help you make an informed decision about protecting yourself from COVID-19. 


As of April 13, the CDC and FDA recommend a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine as they review six reports of rare blood clots.

On Tuesday April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after six reports of rare blood clots. Vaccine safety remains of top priority as the CDC and FDA begins a joint review of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. 

You can read more about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, including information on safety, on the CDC website or review a recent press release from the CDC and FDA, released on April 13. 

If you have currently received the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and have any questions about your individual health and wellbeing, we recommend you reach out to your primary care provider. 

Pfizer and Moderna continue to be highly safe and available options. The Health Center recommends vaccination as the best way to end the pandemic and bring the University of Maryland community back together on campus.

As vaccines become more readily available COVID-19 prevention strategies continue to remain an important part of slowing the spread of the virus.  Continue washing and sanitizing your hands, practice physical distancing, stay home if you are not feeling well, and be diligent about mask wearing.