COVID-19 Vaccines - VA North Texas Health Care System
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COVID-19 Vaccines

VA is providing the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines, as authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Supply varies by facility. Get more information about COVID-19 vaccines at VA.

We are working to vaccinate as many eligible individuals as quickly as possible.

Easier access to vaccines and more people eligible

VA is adding walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations at all VA facilities and outpatient clinics that offer COVID-19 vaccines. Please check hours for vaccination clinics.

Congress has passed a law which allows us to offer COVID-19 vaccines to the following groups who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Veterans
  • Spouse of a Veteran
  • Caregivers of a Veteran
  • Recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits

If you don't receive care at VA, we encourage you to pre-register online at least one hour before you go, to save time when you arrive. While at VA you will need to wear a face mask, and physical distancing measures will be in place. For more about vaccinations at VA, visit: www.va.gov/covidvaccine.

Note: Your employer, pharmacy, or local public health officials may offer you a COVID-19 vaccine. We encourage you to take the first opportunity you have to get a vaccine at the most convenient location for you.

COVID-19 Vaccine Availability:

We encourage our Veterans to take the first opportunity they have to get a COVID-19 vaccine at the most convenient location for them, which may be from their employer, pharmacy, or local public health officials.

Adolescent caregivers ages 12-17 are now eligible for a pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Dallas VA Medical Center.

Veterans and spouses, as well as family members/caregivers 12 years of age and older, can now receive the Pfizer vaccine at the Dallas VA Medical Center. At this time, the Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved for use in children who are at least 12-years-old and up.

Veterans, spouses and caregivers 18 and up are still eligible to receive the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) or the Pfizer Vaccine at the Dallas VAMC, the J&J vaccine at the Ft. Worth Outpatient Clinic, and the J&J or Moderna vaccine at the Sam Rayburn Veterans Memorial Center, in Bonham.

How to Get a Vaccine Appointment

Please visit www.va.gov/covid-19-vaccine and select “sign up to get a COVID-19 vaccine to self-register as a spouse, caregiver or Veteran.

After completing the self-registration online, they may schedule a vaccine appointment by phone or text.

To schedule by phone in Dallas please call 214-857-4791, for Bonham call 214-857-4719, and for Fort Worth call 817-730-0000.

Once their cell phone is on file with us, they can also request an appointment by texting the word "VACCINE" to 53079 and they will receive an offer of an open appointment time, just follow the instructions on the texts to schedule.

Registered Veterans can schedule an appointment in Dallas by calling 214-857-4791Monday-Friday 8 AM to 4 PM. Veterans can also request an appointment online through MyHealtheVet by sending a Secure Message to the “NTX COVID VACCINE SCHEDULING REQUEST” team.

Walk-ins are seen at the Dallas VA Medical Center only from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Fort Worth Outpatient Clinic is offering a COVID-19 Vaccine by appointment only for 1st  and 2nd dose of Moderna. Veterans must register by calling 817-730-0000.




FDA Approval and Third Dose for the Immunocompromised:

The COVID-19 Vaccine, Pfizer-BioNTech, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. For ages 12-15 years old, the vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA). Moderna and Janssen, COVID-19 vaccines are available under FDA (EUA) for those 18 years and older. 

Effective August 13, 2021, CDC recommends that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receive an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) at least 28 days after the completion of the initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.

This includes people who have: 

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory.

Scheduling:

  • Each vaccination site has clinics set up to administer the 3rd dose for the above mentioned patients
  • Appointments can be scheduled by calling:
    • Dallas/Fort Worth – 214/857-4791
    • Bonham – 214/857-4719



Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ's:

UPDATE:

VA will resume offering the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine: 

Individuals, who are 18 and older may receive the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance, following a 10-day pause recommended by the CDC and FDA after a very small number of people who received the vaccine experienced rare but serious blood clots. After careful review and evaluation, the FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe for use and effective in preventing COVID-19.

The available data show that the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks and the chance of blood clots occurring following its administration is very low. Anyone who is offered the J&J vaccine from VA will receive information about the potential risks and benefits of the vaccine, including the rare risk of blood clots and will be made aware of alternative vaccine options.


Why has the VA paused the used of the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine?

On April 13, 2021, CDC and FDA recommended pausing use of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine while they investigate reports of rare and serious blood clots called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) in vaccine recipients: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2021/s0413-JJ-vaccine.htmlOut of an abundance of caution, VA paused the used of this vaccine. 

Why did the CDC and FDA make this recommendation?

The CDC and FDA closely watch all new vaccines for side effects.  When serious side effects are reported by patients and health care providers, the CDC and FDA look closer to see if the side effected is related to taking the vaccine. Currently, CDC and FDA are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J vaccine. In these cases, a type of blood clot called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) was seen in combination with low levels of blood platelets (thrombocytopenia).

All six cases occurred among women between the ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination. Treatment of this specific type of blood clot is different from the treatment that might typically be administered. Usually, an anticoagulant drug called heparin is used to treat blood clots. In this setting, administration of heparin may be dangerous, and alternative treatments need to be given. 

How many people have been given the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine in the US and at the VA?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, as of April 12, more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen ) vaccine have been administered in the U.S.

As of April 13, 2021, just over 100,000 persons had been given the Janssen vaccine from VA. https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary. There have not been events of CVST reported in patients vaccinated with Janssen vaccine by VA at this time, and further review is ongoing.
 

Has the VA seen any cases of CVST?

CVST has not been reported in patients vaccinated with the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine by VA at this time.

What is CVST?

CVST, or Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, happens when blood clot forms in the brain’s venous sinuses (type of blood vessel). This can cause symptoms including headache, vision changes, or symptoms of a stroke.

What are symptoms of CVST?

CVST may be suspected in patients who present with:

  • New onset headache
  • Headache that is different from the usual symptoms (for example, change in character or severity, and may occur 7 or more days after vaccine)
  • Encephalopathy (acting confused or not like one usually acts)
  • Signs or symptoms of intracranial hypertension (severe headache, visual changes)
  • Focal neurologic symptoms and signs, or neurologic symptoms involving multiple vascular territories (like weakness, trouble speaking, or seizures)

Diagnosis of CVST is via urgent neuroimaging with brain MRI and magnetic resonance (MR) venography, or with cranial CT with CT venography if MRI is not an option.


What should I do if I have symptoms of CVST?

Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms.

If your symptoms are severe, call 911.


How many people have been given the Janssen vaccine from VA?

As of April 13, 2021, just over 100,000 persons had been given the Janssen vaccine from VA.

This information is publicly reported here: https://www.accesstocare.va.gov/Healthcare/COVID19NationalSummary.

There have not been events of CVST reported in patients vaccinated with Janssen vaccine by VA at this time, and further review is ongoing.

 

Can non-Veterans and Veterans covered under the Save Lives Act receive health care from VA for a side effect experienced after a COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes.

I received the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine and am now worried.  What do I need to know?

CVST events have been very rare. The CDC and FDA have been actively monitoring for possible reactions related to COVID-19 vaccines, and reported 6 cases in 6,800,000 doses. The events that did occur were in the first two weeks after receiving the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine so persons who received the vaccine more than two weeks ago would be considered even less likely to have this happen. If you received the vaccine in the last 2 weeks and think you may have symptoms of CVST [listed above] please contact your health care team or call 9-1-1 if symptoms are severe.

Will I still be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine from VA?

There two other COVID-19 vaccines that are still available at VA.  VA will offer these vaccines as a temporary replacement for the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine until more is known about the safety of the Janssen vaccine.

I really wanted to get the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine from VA

We understand that changing from a single dose to a two-dose vaccine may affect your plans significantly. However, we are highly committed to the stringent safety measures in place for COVID-19 vaccines under emergency use authorization.

VA will continue to carefully follow the FDA and CDC for guidance on the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.  The FDA and CDC review may find that the cases of CVST are linked to the vaccine or that they are not.  VA will restart using the Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine if the FDA and CDC recommends the vaccine for use after their review.

Are there other symptoms that I should contact my health care team about?

Any potential significant side effect to any COVID-19 vaccine should be reported to your health care team. This is important for your health and is also critical for ongoing safety monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccines under emergency use authorization.

  • Cases of unusual blood clots with low platelets have occurred in people who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. Similar cases were seen in another type of COVID-19 vaccine not in use in the United States.
  • The chance of having this occur is very low, but being aware of symptoms can help you get prompt medical treatment and avoid complications.
  • You should seek urgent medical attention immediately if you have any of the following symptoms in the weeks following your Janssen COVID-19 vaccine:
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • leg swelling
    • persistent abdominal (belly) pain
    • neurological symptoms, such as severe and/or persistent headaches or blurred vision
    • tiny blood spots under the skin beyond the site of the injection.
  • Speak to your healthcare professional if you have any questions about new symptoms or about the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.


Have similar events been seen with the other COVID-19 vaccines VA is using?

CVST has not been observed in the other vaccines in use in the United States, namely the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Both of those vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which is a different type of vaccine than the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Have similar events been seen with any other COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, the combination of CVST and low platelets has been observed with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is not currently authorized for use in the United States. The following link is a press release regarding events that occurred in recipients of the AstraZeneca vaccine. While this is a different vaccine from the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, both are vaccines of the same type (adenovirus viral vector vaccines) https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/news/astrazenecas-covid-19-vaccine-ema-finds-possible-link-very-rare-cases-unusual-blood-clots-low-blood

For the AstraZeneca vaccine, out of 25 million people who received vaccine, there were 62 cases of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and 24 cases of splanchnic vein thrombosis (clot in a vein that helps drain the digestive system). These cases were reported to the safety reporting systems in the EEA and UK.

Should I avoid taking any COVID-19 vaccine for now?

No. Currently, reported events from the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are rare. Similar events have not been reported with the other FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, which have been safely administered to millions of people in the United States. The pause in use of the Janssen vaccine is a good example of the intensive safety monitoring and proactive intervention from CDC and FDA.



COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ's:

Is it possible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. Currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, as well as those in development, use inactivated virus, pieces of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.

Who will be offered the COVID-19 vaccine while supplies are limited?

Working with the CDC and other federal partners, VA developed a phased plan to benefit the most people. Under this phased plan, we’ll first offer vaccines to VA health care personnel and Veterans residing in Community Living Centers or in Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorder Centers. VA will offer vaccination to additional Veterans at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 after health care personnel have been offered vaccine. Your facility will notify you when vaccine is available for you and provide information on how to schedule a vaccination.


How will I be notified when I can get the vaccine?


We will first offer vaccine to Veterans residing in Community Living Centers or receiving treatment at Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorder Centers. We will offer vaccine to additional Veterans at high risk of severe disease from COVID-19 after all health care personnel have been offered vaccine. During this period of limited vaccine supply of vaccine, if your care team determines that you are eligible to receive the vaccine, you will be contacted directly by phone/mail/email when vaccine is available.

Do I need to pre-register to get the vaccine?

No. Veterans do not have to pre-register to receive the vaccine. Staff will reach out to high-risk Veterans to discuss the vaccine, ask about their interest in receiving the vaccine and let Veterans how they can schedule an appointment to be vaccinated, if desired. VA’s ultimate goal is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to all Veterans enrolled in VA health care who want one. Check out the VA website Vaccine Hub for updates as to when vaccine will be available at other VA medical centers.


Which VA facilities have the first COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 Vaccine is now available at the Dallas VA Medical Center, Sam Rayburn Memorial Memorial Veterans Center and Ft. Worth Outpatient Clinic. We expect the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized and available in March. The Moderna and Pfizer Vaccines are currently being administered at the above mentioned medical centers.

Fort Worth OPC is temporarily offering a Drive-Thru COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic by appointment only for 1st/2nd dose of Moderna. Patients must register by calling 817-730-0000.



COVID-19 Vaccine Myths:

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests

Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.
If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.

At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

FACT: Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19

While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness or they may even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, you also may spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you while you are sick. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. Learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work.

FACT: Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA

mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein. mRNA is not able to alter or modify a person’s genetic makeup (DNA). The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease. Learn more about how COVID-19 mRNA vaccines work.

Contact Info

Location

  • Dallas VA Medical Center
    Ft. Worth Outpatient Clinic

Contact Number(s)

  • 214-857-4791
  • 817-730-0000

Hours of Operation

  • By Appointment Only
    By Appointment Only