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Safe & Effective Vaccines for COVID-19

Vaccines for COVID-19 help reduce damages from the coronavirus pandemic. The vaccines:

  • help fewer people be infected.
  • lower the number of people who have to be cared for in the hospital.
  • reduce the long-term effects of COVID-19.
  • lower the number of deaths from COVID-19.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines (authorized for use for people ages 6 months and older) and the vaccine made by Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company) and Novavax, are the only COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States.

In most situations, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) prefers COVID-19 vaccines and boosters made by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna. 

COVID-19 Vaccines & Booster Shots Available

COVID-19 can be a serious disease. U of U Health recommends getting vaccinated as soon as possible. COVID-19 vaccine is available to anyone who lives in the US and is 6 months of age or older. Visit to find a vaccine provider with available appointments near you or call 1-800-232-0233.

U of U Health offers appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to all patients 6 months of age and older and the Moderna vaccine (for children 6 months of age to 5 years old only), in addition to booster shots for eligible populations. Schedule an appointment at U of U Health.

Vaccine Effectiveness

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, and Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company) vaccines are all highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.  However, the CDC prefers people get the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in most situations. This is due to a rare risk of adverse side effects from the Janssen vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccine dose amounts are dependent on the type of vaccine being given and the person's age. You will need to stay up-to-date on your booster shots for optimal protection against COVID-19. 

Vaccine Side Effects

Side effects are a sign that your immune system is building up protection against disease. Side effects for the COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • mild pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site where you get the vaccine;
  • fever, usually mild and short-lived;
  • chills;
  • feeling tired;
  • headache;
  • muscle and joint aches;
  • diarrhea (seen in Pfizer/BioNTech clinical trials);
  • nausea (seen in Moderna clinical trials); and
  • swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection site (seen in Moderna and Novavax clinical trials). 

Some people who received the vaccine reported worse fevers and aches than others. Side effects were usually short-lived and able to be managed with fever-reducing medications, such as Tylenol. For people who received the Pfizer/BioNTech, Novavax, or Moderna vaccine, side effects were more common after the second dose than the first dose. 

Heart Inflammation Symptoms

There have been rare reports of people—particularly male adolescents and young adults—who received the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech & Moderna) and experienced symptoms of myocarditis or pericarditis (heart inflammation conditions) within several days of getting their shot. This rare adverse reaction occurred more often after the second dose of vaccination. Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis have also been reported in people who received the Novavax vaccine. But with proper treatment and care, most patients saw their symptoms improve quickly. However, it's important to keep in mind that the known risks of COVID-19 illness, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the risks of having a rare adverse reaction to the vaccines.

TTS Symptoms

People—particularly women younger than 50—who receive the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson vaccine) should be aware of an increased risk for a rare and serious, but treatable, blood clotting condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Due to these concerns, the CDC prefers people get the vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna if they can. See additional information for other Janssen side effects.

Allergic Reactions to Vaccines

Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis to vaccines are extremely uncommon. If a severe allergic reaction does occur, it typically happens within a few minutes to one hour after receiving the vaccine. However, some people have experienced non-severe allergic reactions (i.e., hives, swelling, and wheezing) within four hours after getting vaccinated.

You should not get the COVID-19 vaccine if:

  • you have had a severe allergic reaction after the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine.
  • you are allergic to polyethylene-glycol (ingredient in Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines) or polysorbate (ingredient in the Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines that is closely related to PEG). 

For a list of vaccine ingredients, see the ModernaPfizer-BioNTech, Novavax, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson company) fact sheets.

People with a history of immediate allergic reactions — even if it was not severe — to other vaccines or injectable therapies should consult with their doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.

I Had COVID-19. Should I Get the Vaccine?

The length of time that you are protected from getting COVID-19 again after infection varies from person-to-person. Health experts recommend you get the vaccine even if you have been infected by COVID-19. CDC guidelines say you may delay your vaccine for three months after having COVID-19.

Have More Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Vaccine Cost

All patients will be billed for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines will cost $44.80 for uninsured and self-pay patients. For insured patients, we will continue to bill a vaccine administration fee to their insurance companies. Contact your insurance carrier to find out more about your COVID-19 coverage. If you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact our financial advocates at 801-581-2957 option 3.

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