Make a Plan to Protect Yourself and Others

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available to all adults in Texas, and UT Southwestern’s health care professionals are eager to be a resource for you – whether you’re ready to Take the Shot, still seeking expert advice and information, or you’re vaccinated and want to help spread the word about the benefits. Vaccines represent the best chance at keeping our community safe and returning to the world we knew before COVID-19.

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It takes teamwork

The Dallas Mavericks know how to work together to defeat a tough opponent. UT Southwestern is proud to partner with the Mavs to increase awareness and access to COVID-19 vaccines in DFW.

"We want to send a message of hope and trust. It's a personal decision to get vaccinated, and I made it because I wanted to protect myself, my family, and my community.”

– Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks

Register for a vaccine appointment

UT Southwestern is delivering COVID-19 vaccines in an efficient and equitable manner. You don’t have to be a UTSW patient to sign up for an appointment. Simply visit our online portal to register.

Existing UTSW patients should log in to their MyChart and look for the “Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccination” quick link to set up an appointment. We’ve also created a series of tip sheets to help guide you through the vaccination process at UT Southwestern’s West Campus Building 3 (WCB3), located at 2001 Inwood Road, 9th Floor, Dallas.

We’d like to extend our appreciation to our friends at Market Hall, RedBird Mall, and The University of Texas at Dallas for opening their doors to UT Southwestern and making it possible for us to provide thousands of vaccinations across each of those sites for several months.

Get vaccine facts from our experts

Building confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines

Dr. Quinn Capers, Associate Dean for Faculty Diversity at UT Southwestern and a national leader on diversity and inclusion in medicine, says the key to overcoming vaccine hesitancy is delivering on a message of trust and equality.

More advice from our specialists

Explaining how mRNA helps protect us from COVID-19

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA, or messenger RNA, technology to help create immunity from the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19. These are the first mRNA vaccines authorized by the FDA, but the technology has been used for decades in successful cancer treatments.

Spread the word about the benefits of vaccination

Voices for Vaccination

About 570 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered worldwide as of March 31, with 150 million of those being administered in the United States.

COVID-19 vaccines, by the numbers

108,763

people who participated in the clinical trials of the three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) authorized for emergency use by the FDA

100%

efficacy rate of all three vaccines in stopping hospitalizations and deaths in clinical trials

22 million

adults in Texas who became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on March 29 following the state’s decision to open eligibility to all residents ages 16 and up

Developing one of the first COVID-19 vaccines

Kizzmekia Corbett, Ph.D., a viral immunologist and senior research fellow in the Vaccine Research Center (VRC), was instrumental in developing the Moderna vaccine. In January, she was the featured speaker at UTSW's Ida M. Green Lecture Honoring Women in Science and Medicine.

5 fast FAQs about the vaccines

What’s in the vaccines and how do they work?

The FDA has authorized for emergency use vaccines created by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use what’s called messenger RNA (mRNA), which in this case is a synthetic material that carries the genetic code used to make the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The spike is the part of the virus that attaches to human cells. The mRNA is showing your immune system a part of the virus, so that when your body encounters the whole virus in real-life, it recognizes the invader and is able to mount a quick immune response, activating antibodies (B and T-cells) to fight it.

Vaccines using mRNA are new but the technology has been around for decades and has been used in treatments for other diseases such as cancer and cystic fibrosis. While many vaccines use a weakened or inactive version of the virus to create an immune response, these vaccines don’t so there is no risk of their causing disease.

The J&J vaccine is an adenoviral vector vaccine, which means it contains an engineered virus that can't cause disease. Within that virus is the genetic code for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. After the shot, the adenovirus enters the cells and then shows that spike protein to your immune system so that if you encounter the whole virus in real-life, your body can mount a quick and effective response to fight it.

On April 13, distribution of the J&J vaccine for COVID-19 was paused by the FDA while it conducts an investigation into reports of rare blood clots in a few patients shortly after receiving that vaccine. On April 23, J&J vaccinations resumed following an extensive safety review by the CDC and FDA, which determined the benefits of the single-shot J&J vaccine outweigh the exceptionally rare risk of blood clots. An independent panel of experts reiterated the vaccine meets the FDA’s standards for safety and effectiveness while also making sure that more information about the possible side effect is available to the public.

How effective are the vaccines?

In phase 3 clinical trials involving thousands of people, all three vaccines were completely effective in preventing serious COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. They were also well above the 50% efficacy rate necessary to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were nearly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in clinical trials and 100 % effective in preventing hospitalization and death. This is about as good as it gets, according to the nation’s top infectious disease experts, including Dr. Trish Perl, Chief of UT Southwestern’s Infectious Diseases Division.

The single-shot J&J vaccine was 67% effective in preventing all COVID-19 illness in clinical trials. It was 85% effective in preventing severe illness, and 100% effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

UT Southwestern’s Vaccine Science Review Committee independently reviewed clinical trial data of the vaccine candidates prior to administering a vaccine to employees and patients. You can read those reports here: Pfizer. Moderna.

UT Southwestern has distributed the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require two doses, given three to four weeks apart. It has not received any doses of the J&J vaccine, which is a single shot.

Do the vaccines have any serious side effects?

The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site and headache, with most side effects lasting less than 48 hours.

Some clinical trial participants reported arm soreness, fatigue, chills, fever, or headaches that lasted a day or two, most often after the second shot. But that reaction is typically a sign that the vaccine is working – triggering the immune response (or inflammation) indicating your body recognizes this never-before-seen pathogen and is mounting a protective response against it.

The clinical trials will continue to monitor patients for side effects long after patients are vaccinated. The state of Texas will use the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national system co-managed by the CDC and FDA, to track vaccine safety and side effects. Texas will also employ an app called V-safe, which sends vaccine recipients text messages and check-in emails to keep tabs on their health, as well as remind them when it’s time to get their second shot.

On April 13, 2021, the FDA, “out of an abundance of caution,” decided to pause distribution of the J&J vaccine after a small number of women between the ages of 18 and 48 experienced blood clots within 13 days of vaccination. Scientists at the FDA and CDC reviewed safety data and on April 23 recommended that J&J vaccinations resume, stating the vaccine’s known and potential benefits far outweigh its potential risks. Women younger than 50 should be aware of the rare but increased risk, the CDC said, and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available.

It’s important to keep in mind that these blood clots were extremely rare, so no additional testing is recommended if you received the J&J vaccine and are not experiencing any symptoms. Continue to monitor for side effects for three weeks post-vaccination. After that time, the risk of an adverse reaction is very unlikely.

If you received the J&J vaccine within that time frame and are experiencing new symptoms – very severe headaches, leg pain, or shortness of breath – please contact your physician for an evaluation and let them know you recently received the J&J vaccine.

The CDC and FDA will continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.

Do I have to pay for the vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are free to the public under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Any charge for administering the vaccine will be paid for by your health insurance or the federal government’s Provider Relief Fund.

Should people who have recovered from COVID-19 get vaccinated?

It’s unclear how long natural immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19, and there has been some data to suggest it begins to wane after 90 days. Similarly, the level of immunity you have after COVID-19 therapies such as convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies is unknown. There have been a few reported cases of reinfection, so the CDC advises people to get a vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

Tracking coronavirus variants

New strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus emerging in the U.K., South Africa, and Brazil have raised concerns about whether the current vaccines will fully protect people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. David Greenberg, an infectious diseases specialist at UT Southwestern, and Dr. Vineet Menachery, a virologist at UT Medical Branch at Galveston, are tracking the variants – and the vaccines’ response to them.