COVID-19 Vaccine

UCHealth is currently focusing efforts on vaccinating people ages 70+.

The first FDA-authorized vaccines for COVID-19 are now being administered. Clinical trials have shown the vaccines may be 94 to 95 percent effective after the second dose in preventing COVID-19 for those who have been vaccinated. Given this, UCHealth experts recommend that everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you.

All COVID-19 vaccinations must follow the distribution guidelines from the state of Colorado. At this time, there is not enough of the COVID-19 vaccine to offer it to everyone. As UCHealth receives shipments of the vaccine, we are providing it as quickly as possible according to the state’s plan.

An appointment is required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Walk-ins cannot be accommodated.

How to get on our COVID-19 vaccine list

UCHealth is using My Health Connection, our online patient portal, to provide vaccine updates to patients.

  • If you have a My Health Connection account, you are added to the vaccine list and will automatically receive updates (by email and in the app) regarding the vaccine.
  • If you do not have a My Health Connection account or are new to UCHealth, create a My Health Connection account to be placed on our list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available for your phase, according to the state’s plan.
  • If you don’t have access to My Health Connection, we will call those 70 years old and older to set up appointments as we receive additional vaccine shipments. If you are a current patient of UCHealth, and don’t have a My Health Connection account, you will already be on the call list.
  • Community providers:
    • Affiliated with UCHealth: Please contact your account manager.
    • Not affiliated with UCHealth: Contact your local public health agency.

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The COVID-19 vaccine: When, where, and who?

COVID-19 vaccine - when, where, who icon | UCHealth

Colorado’s phased distribution:

Colorado’s phases of COVID-19 vaccine distribution are based on federal guidelines to give the limited supply of vaccines in a fair, ethical and transparent way. The state of Colorado has established a three-phased plan for distribution.

Colorado's COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution plan | UCHealth

Colorado’s COVID-19 vaccination plan will evolve as more information about vaccines becomes available. For more information on the vaccination plan, visit Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

When will the vaccine be available:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has set up a distribution plan for the vaccine with three phases. All COVID-19 vaccinations must follow the distribution guidelines from the State of Colorado.

The first phase of vaccinations, which began in December, includes health care workers, people in residential nursing facilities, first responders and the highest-risk individuals including those 70 years old and older.

According to the state of Colorado’s plan and current estimates of vaccine availability, higher-risk people may be able to be vaccinated in the spring of 2021 (phase 2), and the general public in the summer of 2021 (phase 3). The CDPHE expects it may take at least a year to give COVID-19 vaccines to all in the state who want one.

Additional vaccine FAQs

What are the different COVID-19 vaccine options?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) to permit the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people who are 16 years old and older, and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people who are 18 years old and older. In early 2021, Janssen and AstraZeneca will likely also be available, followed by Novavax.

Which COVID-19 vaccine is best?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines (the only 2 with early data available in the U.S.) have been shown to be 94 to 95 percent effective after the second dose. Study participants are being followed and data updates will be released over time.

UCHealth will offer COVID-19 vaccines that have been reviewed by the FDA and CDC, as they are released and distributed. We will acquire as many of the COVID-19 vaccine brands as possible.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines that are being developed all made the same way?

How was a vaccine for COVID-19 developed so quickly?

How many doses will I need of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require 2 doses. These are given 21 (Pfizer) and 28 (Moderna) days apart, depending on which vaccine you receive.

What is being done to ensure proper transport and storage of the COVID-19 vaccines?

For the COVID-19 vaccines that need it, ultra-low freezer storage has been secured. The shipping process will ensure the vaccines remain at the correct temperature until they arrive at UCHealth locations.

COVID-19 vaccine safety

COVID-19 vaccine safety icon - UCHealth

How do we know COVID-19 vaccines are safe?

Clinical trials are evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants. Information from these trials will allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to decide how safe and effective they are. Ongoing, long-term monitoring will continue as it does for all vaccine development. No steps in the normal vaccine development process have been skipped or shortened.

Will the findings of the COVID-19 vaccine trials be made public and reviewed by independent experts?

All phase 3 clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccine candidates are overseen by an independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB). This board acts across all of the trials for all of the sponsors. The FDA and vaccine manufacturers are releasing data from their trials publicly.

Did the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials include people of color?

Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it first comes out, or should I wait to get it until the long term effects are better understood?

UCHealth experts recommend that everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you. Clinical trials are evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants. Information from these trials will allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to decide how safe and effective they are. Ongoing, long-term monitoring will continue as it does for all vaccine development. No steps in the normal vaccine development process have been skipped or shortened.

Additional vaccine safety FAQs

Should I be worried about a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?

Severe allergic reactions were not common during COVID-19 vaccine trials. They occurred more frequently after the second dose. Everyone who receives a vaccination will be monitored for at least 15 minutes after vaccination for possible allergic reactions.

If you have a history of a severe allergic reaction to another vaccine, you should talk to your doctor or provider to see if getting the COVID-19 vaccine makes sense for you.

The CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions, that are not related to vaccines or injectable medications (such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies) should still get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.

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. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

Are COVID-19 vaccinations safe for pregnant people or children?

What are the side effects of the new COVID-19 vaccines?

In general, the side effects for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are similar, and are like those of the flu shot. The most commonly reported side effects are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. They usually last only a few days.

After the second dose, you may experience more side effects than after the first dose. This is expected and was seen in studies of these vaccines. These side effects usually only last 1 to 3 days at most.

Contact your doctor, health care provider or schedule a virtual visit if:

  • The redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours.
  • Your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.
  • You have any cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of sense of taste or smell – these are not side effects we see from the vaccine. These could be symptoms of COVID-19 not related to the vaccine, and you should contact your provider to find out if you should be tested.

You are not fully protected from COVID-19 until 2 weeks after the second dose.

After you receive the vaccine, you can take a pain reliever for any symptoms that are bothersome. Current data suggests that acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the best pain reliever to take within 48 hours of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

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. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.

I am allergic to the flu vaccine. Do you think there will be a problem with getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Unlike most of the flu vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines are not made using egg-based products. If you are allergic to any vaccines, or have other conditions you are concerned may impact your response to the COVID vaccine, you should talk with your doctor before signing up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Is a COVID-19 vaccine safe for me? Could it interfere with any of my medications or medical conditions?

Clinical trials are evaluating COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants. Trial volunteers include people with lots of different medical conditions. Information from these trials will allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to decide how safe and effective they are. Ongoing, long-term monitoring will continue as it does for all vaccine development. No steps in the normal vaccine development process have been skipped or shortened. If you have any concerns about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact your doctor or provider.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution

COVID-19 vaccine distribution icon - UCHealth

How do I get on a list to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Can I walk in and get a COVID-19 vaccination?

No, all vaccinations need to be scheduled through My Health Connection, our online patient portal. If you do not have a My Health Connection account, please create one to receive these updates (by email and in the app). To create an account, go to uchealth.org/mhcregister.

When the vaccine becomes available to your phase of distribution, you will receive an update (by email and in the app) from My Health Connection with instructions on how to schedule your vaccine appointments.

I missed my appointment for my second dose of the vaccine. What should I do now?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require a second shot after you receive your first shot. The second shot is very important for you to get full protection from COVID-19.

Appointment times are very limited. Please make every attempt to keep your originally scheduled appointment. We are unable to reschedule the second shot at this time.

COVID-19 vaccine and your health

COVID-19 and your health icon - UCHealth

How much will a COVID-19 vaccine reduce the risks or complications of COVID-19?

Early results from clinical trials have shown that some vaccines may be 94 to 95 percent effective after the second dose in preventing COVID-19 for those who have been vaccinated. Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting very sick, even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect the people around you, especially those at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses. Will I have any protection after the first dose?

Clinical trials have shown the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may provide limited protection after 1 dose. These vaccines require 2 doses for full protection.

After the second dose of the vaccine, how long does it take before I have full protection?

Clinical trials reported efficacy (how well the vaccine prevented COVID-19) beginning at 1 week after the second dose. In those trials, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines prevented 94 to 95% of COVID-19 cases, compared to control groups of people who received a placebo.

Can I get COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine?

Many of the COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses. It often takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after getting the vaccine. That means a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after getting the vaccine and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

Additional vaccine and your health FAQs

Once I get a COVID-19 vaccine, how long am I protected for? Will yearly vaccinations be needed like the flu?

The answer to this is unknown. But it is possible it will end up becoming a seasonal vaccine similar to the flu shot.

Do I need to still wear a mask after getting the vaccine?

Wearing masks and social distancing are still your best tools to help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Until the entire country has been vaccinated, getting the vaccine and following CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others, including wearing a mask, social distancing and frequent handwashing, will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will the COVID-19 vaccines protect me against new versions (mutations) of the COVID-19 virus?

At this time, experts believe the COVID-19 vaccines are likely to be effective against new versions of the COVID-19 virus. Additional research is being conducted to determine if the current vaccines work on the new mutations.

The CDC advises that the best way to protect yourself and others from this new version of COVID-19 is to continue wearing a mask, social distancing and washing your hands often.

If I already had COVID-19 and have recovered from it, do I need to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

There is not enough information yet to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early data suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long. More studies are needed to better understand this.

UCHealth experts recommend that everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you, even if you already had COVID-19.

Should children get their routine vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes. Routine vaccines are a vital preventive care service for children, adolescents and adults that should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you, your children or family members missed or delayed any vaccines due to stay-at-home orders, please reach out to your pediatrician or primary care provider.

We’ll get through this together