COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

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COVID-19 vaccines received "Emergency Use Authorization" by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Here's what you need to know.

Specialized Vaccine FAQs

Get answers to questions about:

Can I get vaccinated?

Anyone over 6 months old can get vaccinated at UVA Health. You don't have to be a patient or even live in the area. Vaccines are free. Schedule an appointment for yourself through MyChart or by calling 434.297.4829.

See our FAQs for children's vaccinations, including scheduling information.

How old do you have to be to get a COVID vaccine?

Anyone over age 6 months can get vaccinated.

Do you have to live in the Blue Ridge Health District to get a vaccine at UVA Health?

No. Anyone can make an appointment, no matter where you're from.

Do I have to be a patient at UVA Health to get vaccinated here?

No. You don't have to be a patient at UVA to get a COVID vaccine.

How much does it cost to get vaccinated?

The vaccine is free. You don't have to pay to get vaccinated.

Where can I get the vaccine at UVA Health?

See the list of locations giving the COVID vaccine.

What if I'm on the VDH list?

No need to wait. You can call for a vaccination appointment at UVA Health today.

Should I get the vaccine? Is it safe?

All vaccines for COVID-19 must pass the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s normal review of safety and effectiveness before being approved for use. So far, study findings show that COVID-19 vaccines have excellent safety profiles. The studies followed thousands of people over several months.

We're following the CDC and VDH guidelines.

If you’re concerned, talk with your healthcare provider about what’s best for you.

Will I experience side effects?

It’s very common to feel tired for a few days after being vaccinated. Findings of clinical trials show that COVID-19 vaccines can cause mild:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache

Your arm may feel sore afterward. As long as the soreness is around your injection site, you generally don’t need to be concerned.

What side effects should I call my doctor about?

Seek immediate medical help if you experience:

  • Hives
  • Swelling of the face and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

How does the vaccine work?

You can learn more about the different COVID-19 vaccines through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Will I still have to wear a mask after getting the vaccine?

The CDC recommends that you still wear a mask and protect social distancing. Learn more with the CDC's FAQs.

If I already had COVID-19, should I get the vaccine?

You can get COVID-19 more than once. You may want to get the vaccine even if you already had the virus.

How many shots will I need to get?

Some of the COVID-19 vaccines require two shots. You will get these doses on different days several weeks apart.

Should I consider getting a booster shot?

If you've had 2 of 2 vaccine shots, and it's been a long time, you can get a booster shot. This extra shot will increase your body's ability to fight off a COVID infection.

The booster shots have been updated. See our bivalent booster FAQs.

Who gets a 3rd dose of the vaccine?

Immunocompromised people qualify to get a 3rd dose of the COVID vaccine. Getting 3 shots gives people with weaker immune systems the same power that 2 shots give everyone else.

Which type of COVID-19 vaccine will UVA use?

We're giving the approved and available COVID-19 vaccines. 

Will I be protected from COVID-19 right away?

No. You won’t be protected from COVID-19 until 1-2 weeks after you get the vaccine. If you get a vaccine that requires two shots, you won’t be protected until 1-2 weeks after the second shot. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the type of vaccine you’re getting.

If I feel sick on the day of my vaccination appointment, should I still get it?

Contact your primary care provider for guidance.

I’m immunocompromised. Is the vaccine safe for me?

Talk to your primary care provider about the best options for you. The CDC states that people with weaker immune systems should get the vaccine sooner than the rest of the population. However, these patients shouldn’t receive a vaccine with a live virus.

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women?

Researchers are still reviewing data to determine this. Talk with your primary care provider or OB-GYN to discuss your options.

First Day of COVID-19 Vaccinations

On Tuesday, December 15, 2020, the UVA Health frontline staff - including doctors, nurses, environmental services workers, and pharmacists - received their first of two COVID-19 vaccine doses. View vaccination day transcript.