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COVID-19 Vaccines: FAQs for Students


Widespread vaccination, along with following health and safety guidelines, is the best way to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The university encourages all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

It’s normal to have questions about your health. In addition to reviewing the FAQs below, we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider if you are unsure about vaccines.

For more information about UTK’s COVID-19 response visit COVID-19 Information and Support. For more information about upcoming vaccination events visit UTK’s COVID-19 Vaccine page.

FAQs for Students

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Large clinical trials found that COVID-19 vaccines

  • Prevented most people from getting COVID-19
  • Prevented most people from getting severely ill and having to go to the hospital
  • May help protect people around you.

COVID-19 vaccines had to meet rigorous standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines continues to be monitored and studied. This has been shown by the CDC and FDA recommending a pause in using the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on April 13, 2021.

As of April 12, 2021, 189 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States.

If you are unsure about safety, before you make up your mind, please talk to your healthcare provider to make an informed decision.

Yes. It’s still recommended that you get fully vaccinated because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.

Research also indicates that vaccination can protect you from COVID-19 variants. Getting vaccinated is the safest way to build protection against COVID-19.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Common side effects include

  • Swelling, redness, and pain at injection site (a sore arm)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea

The most common side effect is a sore arm. Some people have no side effects. Some people only experience these side effects with the second dose. These side effects are all temporary.

Severe allergic reactions are very rare, but precautions are still taken. This is why you are asked to wait for at least 15 minutes after you received a COVID-19 vaccine. This is to make sure that you can be provided with medical treatment if you did have a reaction.

If you have ever had a severe reaction to a vaccine, talk to a healthcare provider about whether you should get a vaccine. Like all vaccines, there are some people who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Yes! Being fully vaccinated does have benefits. They include

  • Reducing your risk of getting COVID-19 or being severely ill if you were to get COVID-19
  • Helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Not having to quarantine if you are exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic
  • Being able to enjoy family gatherings, summer holidays and events without the worry
  • Being able to gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart
  • Being able to travel within the U.S. without having to get tested for COVID-19
  • Being able to travel within the U.S. or internationally without having to quarantine after coming home

(You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.)

The COVID-19 vaccines are free and available to all people living in the U.S. regardless of whether or not you have health insurance.

Yes! The vaccine is available in Knox County for those 16 and older.

There are still appointments available to get vaccinated at the Student Health Center for those 18 or older.

You can get your first dose at the Student Health Center and schedule your second dose at a location that may be more convenient for you. You do not have to get your first and second dose at the same location.

If you are under 18, look for locations that offer the Pfizer vaccine, which is not available through the university. Pfizer is approved for emergency use for people 16 and older. It is widely available.

To learn more about your options for getting vaccinated visit UTK’s COVID-19 Vaccine page.

Information adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vaccines for COVID-19 website.