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.

Currently, the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, and the vaccine made by Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company), are the only COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States.



Vaccinations Available for Patients 12 & Older

U of U Health, along with several health systems in Utah, have been asked by the state to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines to select patients within our health system. We are currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to U of U Health patients who live in Utah and are age 12 or older.

If you can't find a vaccine appointment at U of U Health, we encourage you to schedule your appointment with another provider. We cannot provide vaccine to everyone and most Utahns should expect to receive their vaccine through the state. 

For other COVID-19 vaccine locations and scheduling options, visit If you need assistance, call the state’s COVID-19 Information Hotline: 1-800-456-7707.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Message

Women younger than age 50 should be aware of an increased risk for a rare, serious blood clotting condition after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Read the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) EUA fact sheet for more information. Talk to your health care provider if you want to learn more before receiving the vaccine. Other options include getting the Pfizer/BioNTech (available at U of U Health) or Moderna vaccine, which do not have the same risk.

How to Schedule an Appointment

Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Vaccine Effectiveness

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (a Johnson & Johnson company) vaccines are all highly effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. If you get the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, you will need two doses to fully protect you against COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires one dose. It takes about two weeks after the final dose of each vaccine to reach full immunity.

U of U Health experts say that the best vaccine is the first one that becomes available to you. View our COVID-19 vaccine infographic to learn more about the different vaccines.

Vaccine Side Effects

Temporary, flu-like symptoms that typically resolve one to two days after vaccination are normal and 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 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 or Moderna vaccine, side effects were more common after the second dose than the first dose. 

TTS Symptoms

People who receive the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson vaccine) should be aware of the symptoms of a rare and serious, but treatable, blood clotting condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). These symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath,
  • chest pain,
  • leg swelling,
  • persistent abdominal pain,
  • severe or persistent headaches or blurred vision, or
  • easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.

Anyone who experiences these symptoms within three weeks after vaccination should call their provider or visit urgent care or the emergency department as needed. 

People who have had an episode of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) should not receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine within 90-180 days of their illness. Other options include receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. See additional information for people with a history of thrombosis or risk factors for thrombosis.

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 vaccine that is closely related to PEG). 

For a list of vaccine ingredients, see the ModernaPfizer-BioNTech, 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?

We don’t know if or for how long after infection you will be protected from getting COVID-19 again. Studies suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are better than natural immunity at protecting you from getting infected by coronavirus variants. Health experts recommend you get the vaccine even if you have been infected by COVID-19.

Have More Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Visit our FAQs page for expert-based answers

Vaccine Cost

The COVID-19 vaccine will be given to everyone at no out-of-pocket cost. However, your insurance company will be billed a vaccine administration fee to cover vaccination operations costs. For those without insurance coverage, assistance programs will cover the administrative fee. Nobody will be denied a vaccine if they can’t afford to pay.

Social Distancing & Masking Guidelines after Vaccination

Clinical trials show the vaccines will protect you from getting ill from COVID-19. Fully vaccinated people can resume indoor and outdoor activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing from others, except in healthcare settings, according to CDC guidelines.

You are considered fully vaccinated:

  • two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
  • two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

However, you will need to wear a mask when required by laws, rules, or regulations, including local business and workplace policies.

Watch our experts to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and why you should get it.

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