COVID-19 Vaccine Information 

We Want to Be Your Trusted Source of Vaccine Information.

Wide uptake of the vaccine was essential to bringing the University of Maryland community back to campus. COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. Get answers to frequently asked questions and bust myths about vaccines.

Vaccine Boosters: The CDC recommends a booster vaccine for individuals as soon as they are eligible.

1st Booster:

CDC recommends a booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for:

  • Most people, at least 5 months after the final dose in the primary series
  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, at least 3 months after the final dose in the primary series

2nd Booster:

CDC recommends a 2nd booster of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months after the 1st booster for:

  • Adults ages 50 years and older
  • People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised

As you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, please 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 vaccine types in the US.  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. To date, trials for both vaccines are equally effective across multiple demographics including: age, gender, race, and ethnicity.

Johnson & Johnson: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also effective and research indicates that it may be even more effective against serious illness.

Exact levels of efficacy may vary slightly as new COVID-19 variants emerge, and this continues to be studied.  For up to date information from the CDC regarding effectiveness of the above vaccines, visit the CDC website.

It is important to keep in mind that in any given year, the flu shot is about 40%-60% effective and prevents hundreds or thousands of deaths and serious illnesses every year. When COVID-19 vaccines were being developed researchers hoped they would be at least 50% effective. 

Moderna and Pfizer require two initial doses. Johnson & Johnson Requires only one

Moderna and Pfizer: 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.

Johnson & Johnson: The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different method than Moderna and Pfizer to prepare the immune response, and is able to promote robust immune response with just one dose. 

 

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 side effects 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. 

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, continue to monitor emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants closely.  

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.  

These new variants, including the Omicron variant, seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19. An increase in the number of cases will put more strain on healthcare resources, lead to more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths.

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 engage in good hand hygiene, and stay home when not feeling well.

COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all students, faculty, and staff coming to campus this fall semester

For additional information regarding the vaccination requirement for University of Maryland students, faculty, and staff, please visit the 4Maryland website.

We are here to support you as you have questions

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. 

 

Information about COVID-19 Boosters

Boosters are an important part of protecting yourself from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. They are recommended for most people. 

Click here for more information about COVID-19 boosters.

Vaccines are readily available across the US.  However, COVID-19 prevention strategies continue to remain an important part of slowing the spread of the virus.  Continue washing and sanitizing your hands, stay home if you are not feeling well, and wear a face-covering if you are not fully vaccinated and boosted.