UC Davis Health has received and administered both the Pfizer and Moderna novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines. There are many questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. Below are answers from our experts.

COVID-19 vaccines will be available based on vaccination criteria from public health agencies. People in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Phase 1a group, which includes frontline health care workers and those in long-term care facilities, are eligible for a vaccine. People in CDC's Phase 1b, which includes individuals ages 75 years and older, are also able to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

UC Davis Health has begun notifying patients ages 75 years and older that they are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. We are eager to vaccinate as many patients as possible. We are following the state’s guidelines and plan to vaccinate people 65 years and older soon, provided the state and federal government supplies us with the vaccine quantities to do so. UC Davis Health patients will be notified through MyUCDavisHealth, by email, phone call or a letter when they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

See more about our frontline health care workers getting vaccinated

View the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine recommendation tiers

View a table of the CDC's vaccine distribution recommendations

See the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine tiers

The CDC and CDPH have given health systems guidance for COVID-19 vaccine distribution, based on the risk of certain populations contracting the disease. UC Davis Health is following these vaccination recommendations. The phases are detailed below:

Phase 1a:

  • Health care workers
  • Residents in long-term care facilities

Phase 1b:

  • People ages 75 years and older
  • People at risk of exposure at work in these sectors: education, childcare, emergency services, and food and agriculture
  • People ages 65-74
  • People with the following conditions:
    • chronic kidney disease 3 or greater
    • COPD
    • heart disorders (heart failure, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease)
    • immunocompromised (due to medication or underlying disease)
    • body mass index (BMI) 35 or greater
    • sickle cell disease
    • smoker, active daily
    • diabetes type 1 and 2
    • cystic fibrosis
    • pulmonary fibrosis
    • pregnancy
    • stroke
    • cancer (excluding history of cancer and non-melanoma skin cancers)
  • People at risk of exposure at work in these sectors: transportation and logistics; industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services; critical manufacturing
  • Congregate settings with outbreak risk including those who are incarcerated and homeless

Phase 1c:

  • People ages 50-64
  • People at risk of exposure at work in these sectors: water and wastewater; defense; energy; chemical and hazardous materials; communications and IT; financial services; government operations/community-based essential functions

    View the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine recommendation tiers

    See the CDPH's guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine tiers

    Once we know of COVID-19 vaccine availability, we will reach out to patients through MyUCDavisHealth, by email, U.S. mail or telephone messages. MyUCDavisHealth is the preferred mechanism as it's much more efficient, and patients can self-schedule appointments. If you haven't already, please sign up for MyUCDavisHealth, which is available on desktop or as an app on your mobile device. Only patients who have been notified by UC Davis Health are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Sign up to be notified when you're able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

    As we have more vaccine quantities available, we expect to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to more people. We will make additional announcements at those times through the communications methods above.

    Get more information about how to get a vaccine as a UC Davis Health patient

    Learn more about how UC Davis Health is vaccinating patients

    UC Davis Health is now scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments for patients ages 75 and over. Appointments are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once all available appointments for the week are filled, scheduling for that week will close. Appointments for the following weeks will be released as vaccines become available. Patients undergoing active cancer treatment should consult with their oncologist before scheduling a vaccine appointment.

    Second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are planned 3 to 4 weeks after the first doses for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, respectively. However, the state has directed as many patients as possible to receive the first dose in order to expand protection. As a result, there may be a lag period of days or weeks before patients can receive the second dose.

    We will begin vaccinating patients ages 65 and over once everyone who wants a vaccine in this first patient group has received one. Only patients who have been notified by UC Davis Health are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Please do not call our clinics. Sign up to be notified when you're able to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

    UC Davis Health isn’t scheduling second vaccine appointments for patients at this time because we aren’t certain about COVID-19 vaccine supply. The number of vaccines we get and when we get them is up to the state and federal government. The CDC and CDPH have directed that we must prioritize first vaccinations because that will give more people some level of protection. When there’s enough vaccine supply, we’ll start scheduling appointments for second doses. There’s a possibility your second dose could be delayed due to a lack of vaccine supply.

    While there’s a chance a second vaccine appointment could be delayed, you don’t have to worry, according to the CDC. Like with other vaccines, the second vaccination is a booster shot. This increases your level of protection by further teaching your body what the virus looks like, so it can respond quickly. As with other vaccinations, there’s no indication that a delay in receiving the booster shot reduces effectiveness. The timing of the second shot is not strictly critical.

    When we have enough vaccine supply to ensure that we can continue to deliver first and second doses, we will contact patients to schedule a second dose. This will be done through MyUCDavisHealth, by email, or by phone. MyUCDavisHealth is the fastest way to receive a notification and the easiest way to schedule an appointment. If you do not have a MyUCDavisHealth account, please sign up.

    If you are a heath care worker looking to get a COVID-19 vaccine and are not a UC Davis Health patient, you should contact your county public health department.

    For UC Davis Health patients who are also health care workers, you can send a message to your primary care provider via MyUCDavisHealth. If you haven't already, please sign up for MyUCDavisHealth, which is available on desktop or as an app on your mobile device.

    As of now, we are only vaccinating:

    • patients who are health care workers,
    • patients ages 75 years or older, and
    • health care providers as identified by Sacramento County Public Health, the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society and the California Dental Association.

    Vaccinations are by appointment only, and only for these groups at this time. Only those who have been notified by UC Davis Health are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be free to Americans, according to the CDC. However, vaccine providers can charge administration fees for giving the vaccine to people. Providers can get this fee reimbursed by a patient’s private or public insurance company. For those who are uninsured, the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund can reimburse the provider.

    More than 11,000 UC Davis Health employees and students have been vaccinated against COVID-19. UC Davis Health’s rate of vaccination is far ahead of most other health systems in California. At this time, the only group of employees not yet vaccine eligible are those working exclusively remotely.

    UC Davis Health will approach COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers similarly to how we have handled flu immunization before 2020. Health care workers will be strongly encouraged to get the vaccine but can sign a declination form for any reason including a religious or medical reason. This is a UC-wide policy. All UCs will have the same choice regarding vaccinations and signing a consent form or a declination form. If an employee declines, they must wear personal protective equipment as required by UC Davis Health to lessen risk to patients and other health care workers whenever they are at any UC Health facility.

    The same type of policy will apply to other UC Davis Health employees. They will be strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine but can sign a declination form for any reason including a religious or medical reason.