COVID-19 Vaccines: Scheduling, How Vaccines Work, and More | Patients & Visitors | UC Davis Health

COVID-19 Vaccines: Scheduling, How Vaccines Work, and More

Updated Sept. 28, 2023

At UC Davis Health, we're offering updated COVID-19 vaccines, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Patients can schedule a vaccine appointment by calling their primary care clinic or through MyUCDavisHealth.

COVID-19 vaccine requirements have changed over the last few years. UC Davis Health experts bring you the latest on scheduling your vaccine dose, how COVID-19 vaccines work, and how they affect children and women.

Find out when you should get your next COVID-19 vaccine based on CDC recommendations

Scheduling Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Updated COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone ages 6 months and older.

UC Davis Health patients can schedule any COVID-19 vaccine dose at UC Davis Health. Most appointments can be made on your MyUCDavisHealth portal or by calling 916-703-5555 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

If you've had a recent COVID-19 infection, the CDC recommends that you consider delaying your COVID-19 vaccine dose by 3 months after symptoms first appear or a positive test.

For those who are under 18 years old, they will need to have a parent or legal guardian provide consent for treatment at their appointment. UC Davis Health accepts written or verbal consent. It's also advised that anyone under age 18 have someone drive them to and from their appointment. With any vaccine, there's an increased risk of fainting for children under the age of 18, according to the CDC.

UC Davis Health has vaccines available for patients at many of our primary care clinics in:

  • Auburn
  • Carmichael
  • Davis
  • Elk Grove
  • Folsom
  • Rancho Cordova
  • Rocklin
  • Roseville
  • Sacramento: Campus Commons, Glassrock Building (Pediatrics), Midtown Ambulatory Care Center, Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center (Family Medicine and Internal Medicine)

Some vaccines are not available for all age groups and at all locations. Please check before you schedule your vaccine appointment.

See all of UC Davis Health's primary care clinic locations

You can schedule any COVID-19 vaccine dose (for those who are eligible, as specified by the CDC) at UC Davis Health. Appointments can be made on your MyUCDavisHealth account or by calling 916-703-5555 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

If you need to reschedule or cancel your vaccine appointment, please call our Patient Contact Center at 916-703-5555. The office is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Yes. UC Davis Health patients can schedule their next COVID-19 vaccine with us even if the last dose was administered somewhere else in the U.S. or in another country. Please bring record of your previous COVID-19 vaccine(s) or CDC vaccine card to your appointment.

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccine with UC Davis Health, go to MyUCDavisHealth or call 916-703-5555 Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Yes. COVID-19 vaccines are free to all Americans. 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.

Yes. The state of California has a Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record portal. You just need to enter a few details on their website to get a link to a QR code and digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination record. If you want to share your proof of vaccination, you can use either the electronic version from the portal or the card you were given at time of vaccination.

Patients with MyUCDavisHealth accounts can also download a digital QR code containing certifiable COVID-19 vaccine or test result data. This is available on the MyUCDavisHealth app (be sure you have the most recent version of the app: version 9.7 or higher) and through MyUCDavisHealth online. Here are steps to find your QR code:

  • Once you’re logged into MyUCDavisHealth, click on “Menu” and scroll down to select “COVID-19” (located under the “My Record” section).
  • On this page, it will show vaccination and recent COVID-19 testing status. You will also see a button that says “QR codes” and a button to download a document (PDF) of your proof of vaccination.
  • If you are not seeing these buttons, please make sure your version of the app is up-to-date.
  • UC Davis Health clinical staff can print out a QR code for patients without a MyUCDavisHealth account.

Learn more about how to access your virtual COVID-19 vaccine record and how to update your records on MyUCDavisHealth

Uninsured: Yes, you can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment without insurance. You will leave that field empty (or enter N/A) when scheduling your appointment. We may ask you some questions about your insurance coverage when you arrive, but this will not prevent you from being vaccinated.

Non-UC Davis Health insurance: Yes, you can schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment if your insurance does not cover UC Davis Health. You will leave that field empty (or enter N/A) when scheduling your appointment. Please bring your insurance card with you to your vaccination appointment.

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

There are three main COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Novavax. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for ages 6 months and older.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines include a fragment of the mRNA that encodes for a certain portion of the coronavirus' spike protein. When the vaccine is given to us, our cells make that protein – a fragment of it – and then our bodies build an immune response to the protein.

The Novavax vaccine is available for ages 12 and older. The initial series of this vaccine is given in two doses. This vaccine contains pieces of the virus that causes COVID-19, but is a non-mRNA vaccine. It also contains a second ingredient called an adjuvant, which helps your immune system respond to the spike protein. This combination allows your immune system to learn and quickly respond to the actual spike protein if you were to become infected.

See the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine recommendations

According to the CDC and FDA, anyone ages 6 months and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine. There are different recommendations based on your age and other factors. The CDC has a breakdown of what you should know to stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine.

Check out this COVID-19 vaccine schedule from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) (PDF)

The most common side effects are a sore arm and sometimes fever, chills, tiredness and headaches for a day or two. Those are all signs your body is building an immune response.

The CDC says the risk of anaphylaxis – a severe allergic reaction – after a COVID-19 vaccine is extremely low. The people most at risk of an adverse reaction are those who have had severe allergic reactions to other medications or food.

There have been cases of inflammation of the heart — called myocarditis and pericarditis — happening after COVID-19 vaccination in the United States. These cases are rare, given the number of vaccine doses administered, and have occurred more often in adolescents and young adults, ages 12-39.

The rare risk of myocarditis and pericarditis can be reduced for some people by extending the interval to 8 weeks between first and second doses. CDC continues to recommend COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older, given the greater risk of COVID-19 illness and related, possibly severe complications. The known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.

For children age 12 to 18, there is an increased risk of fainting after a COVID-19 vaccine, which is fairly common for adolescents after any vaccine, according to the CDC. For this reason, children age 12 and older are advised to have someone drive them to and from their vaccine appointment.

Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine

Learn about COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring and why the vaccine is safe

There is no way you can get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The novel coronavirus vaccine includes a small fragment of messenger RNA (mRNA) that encodes for a small portion of the protein. The mRNA can’t replicate, and it's very unstable so it doesn't last long. It can't cause COVID-19. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the U.S. use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

We do not have long-term safety data of these COVID-19 vaccines since they have only been studied in humans for a couple years. However, unexpected long-term safety issues have not been found in any licensed vaccines, even after decades of study. There are several vaccine safety monitoring systems in the U.S., and there will be expanded COVID-19 vaccine safety monitoring.