COVID-19 Vaccines

Keep testing, masking, and distancing if you've been vaccinated!

Receiving a COVID-19 vaccination will not cause you to test positive. Vaccinated people must continue to participate in the asymptomatic testing program, wear a mask, and physically distance. Find out why here.

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Special Notices

Vaccine Clinics Have Ended

Because of the rapid change in vaccine availability and distribution, we are not currently planning more vaccine clinics. However, this may change as vaccine availability expands.

Eligibility Changes in California as described in the State of California website:

  • California residents age 50 and over will be eligible for vaccines on April 1
  • California residents age 16 and over will be eligible on April 15

Although the UCSC Student Health Center is not currently having vaccine clinics, we encourage students, staff, and faculty to check with the Alternative Vaccine Sites below to schedule a vaccine when you become eligible in April.

California residents can sign up at to get notified when you are eligible for the vaccine.

Proposed COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement for UC Students and Employees

Get the latest COVID-19 vaccine requirement update.

J&J Vaccine Update

Please read this important update from the CDC about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. If you have questions, please contact your primary care provider.

Alternative Vaccine Sites

We encourage you to check with alternative vaccine providers like:

Transportation tip: Santa Cruz Metro offers free bus rides to anyone going to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment within Santa Cruz County.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Vaccine

University of California Health COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

UCSC COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Employees

Vaccine Safety

Is the vaccine safe? 

Yes. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine as well as the emergency use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. UCSC’s vaccination locations operate safely using the CDC’s guidance for immunizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

As with all vaccines, sometimes the vaccination causes mild side effects. These include pain or redness at the injection site, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, joint pains, chills, nausea, vomiting, swelling/tenderness of glands in the underarm area. These are not harmful. Here’s what to expect after getting your COVID-19 vaccine

What happens if I have an allergic reaction to the vaccine?

Allergic reactions are rare. SHS will monitor you for allergic reactions before you go home. If you have hives, swelling, or wheezing (respiratory distress) after vaccination, call 911. Use the CDC's v-safe app to let the CDC know about any reactions you have. 

What are the ingredients of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines?


Vaccine Timing and Protection

Does the vaccine protect against all variants of COVID?

According to the CDC, "New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness have emerged. Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines used in the United States should work against these variants." However, "evidence is limited on how the new COVID-19 variants will affect how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions." Because of this, please continue to wear masks, wash your hands often, practice social distancing, and get tested regularly.

Am I protected against COVID-19 when I get the first vaccine?

You need to get both doses. According to the State of California: “Getting the second dose of the vaccine will make it more effective. When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you, and after you receive your first dose, you should schedule the second dose appointment before leaving your doctor’s office.” 

What if I miss my second dose?

Call your healthcare provider to get the second dose as soon as possible.The vaccine isn’t as effective with only one dose. Two doses are required. Use the CDC's v-safe app to get reminders about getting your second dose.

When I'm vaccinated, can I stop testing, socially distancing or wearing masks? What can I do safely?
Wondering why you have to keep getting tested, wearing face coverings and physical distancing after you're vaccinated? County, State, UCOP and CAL-OSHA guidelines all require these things even afer vaccinations, and UCSC must continue to follow those requirements. The reasons are:
  • The vaccine may not protect against some variants, so until we know more we need to be very careful and keep practicing these COVID safety measures.
  • Depending on which vaccine you have, around 5% of vaccinated persons do not have adequate antibody protection. We need to be cautious until the rates of COVID-19 infection decrease significantly. Until then, we all need to keep getting tested, wearing face coverings, and physically distancing.

See the CDC's guidelines about what you can do once you're fully vaccinated. You are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after you have received the second dose in a two-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or 2 weeks after you have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ). You must keep wearing masks and socially distancing when you are in public or around unvaccinated people. However, you can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. Read the official CDC guidance for more helpful tips.

Remember to follow the Slug Strong actions to promote a healthy campus:
  • Complete your daily symptom check, if you are accessing a campus site
  • Wear a face covering 
  • Abide by posted physical distancing guidelines  
  • Participate in the asymptomatic testing program that has been made available for members of our campus community. 
  • Do not come to work or on site if you are feeling ill
  • Regularly wash your hands

What should I do if I get my first vaccine but then feel sick with COVID-19 symptoms?

Stay home and call your healthcare provider.

Will I be affected if other people on campus don’t get the vaccine?

You will be protected from people with COVID-19 if you get both doses of vaccine, even if others do not.

I've been fully vaccinated and then I was exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. Should I quarantine?

If you were exposed to a COVID-19 positive person but you’ve been vaccinated, the CDC says you are not required to quarantine if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
  • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
  • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure
  • You must still wear your mask to avoid spreading COVID-19 to others. Even when vaccinated, you can still have the virus in your nose or mouth. It won't make you sick but you can spread to others if you cough, sneeze, laugh, sing, etc.

Vaccine Requirements

Will the vaccine be required?

In April 2021, UC announced a proposed policy to require "students, faculty, academic appointees and staff who are accessing campus facilities at any UC location beginning this fall to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19." Read the proposed policy here.

This policy is not yet final and depends on full approval of a COVID-19 vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and reasonable access to vaccine doses. The proposed policy mentions approved exceptions and medical exemptions.

To prepare for this anticipated COVID-19 vaccine requirement, we encourage students to get a COVID-19 vaccine now. Although UCSC Student Health isn't currently having vaccine clinics, check out our list of alternative vaccine sites.

Get more information at UCOP's  Q&A documents for both students and employees.

I've been asked to upload proof of my off-campus vaccination - how do I do that?

If you are asked for proof of your off-campus vaccination, use the COVID-19 Vaccine record card you received after your vaccination. Log into Health e-Messenger with your Cruz ID and gold password. Go to Messages and select COVID-19 Questions. Attach an image of your record card and send.


Who Should Get the Vaccine

Should I get a vaccine even though I’m young and healthy?

Yes. If you get COVID-19, a vaccine will protect you from long-term effects and will lessen your risk of serious symptoms. Getting a vaccine helps stop the spread of COVID-19 to others who are at greater risk such as grandparents, professors and staff, neighbors, friends with medical conditions, etc.

Where can off-campus students or family members get vaccinated?

They should contact their primary care provider for vaccine information, or visit the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency vaccine website.

Can I get the vaccine if...

  • ...I already have or had COVID-19? Yes, as long as you have recovered and are no longer in isolation.
  • ...I received any other vaccine recently? Wait 14 days after your last vaccination before you get the COVID-19 vaccination.
  • ...I need a quantiFERON test (TB blood test)? Wait four weeks after your final COVID-19 vaccination before you get a quantiFERON test. If you need the test earlier due to a class or other time-sensitive situation, log into Health e-Messenger and select Messages > New Message >COVID-19 Question."
  • ...I am under 18? Moderna is only available for those 18 and older and Pfizer is available for those 16 and older. When the vaccine is available for students, please contact us if you need help finding a vaccine that is approved for your age range.
  • ...I am pregnant or breast-feeding? Typically yes, but you should talk to your OBGYN first.
  • ...I am immune-compromised? Typically yes, but you should talk to your healthcare provider first.
  • ...I have a history of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)? Talk to your healthcare specialist first. Depending on the history, we may ask you to get approval from your allergist or other specialist before giving you the vaccine. Get more information about allergies and COVID-19 vaccines.
  • ...I have mild seasonal, food, pet or dust allergies? Yes, the vaccine is safe for those with egg allergies, other food allergies and celiac disease. There are no preservatives. People with mild seasonal, pet or dust allergies may receive the vaccine.



  • Emergencies: call 911
  • Students with health-related COVID-19 questions: Log into Health e-Messenger and select Messages > New Message >COVID-19 Questions
  • Staff can email - please do not include your personal health information as the email address is not secure.
Our nurses can also answer your questions at the time of your appointment.