COVID-19 vaccine: Your questions answered header

Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is on the rise, and with it are hopes for life returning to normal. But many people within the community are still hesitant to receive the vaccine, with concerns about safety and efficacy. In this series, “Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Answered,” our experts explain why getting the vaccine is not only safe, but also the best way to protect yourself and the people you love.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black, Latino and other racial and ethnic minority populations are disproportionately affected by severe COVID-19 illness due to long-standing systemic health and social inequities. Waridibo Allison, MD, PhD, research assistant professor and infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio, is passionate about improving access to health care for underserved, disadvantaged populations.Waridibo Allison, MD, PhD, research assistant professor and infectious disease specialist at UT Health San Antonio

Here, she answers some of the most common questions from the Bexar County area about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Q: Can I still get COVID-19 if I get the vaccine? If so, what’s the point? 

Dr. Allison: COVID-19 vaccines save lives because they do a lot more than just stopping you from getting infected with COVID-19. They do four important things: 1) The vaccines reduce, to varying degrees, the chance of you getting COVID-19 infection. 2) The vaccines prevent you from getting serious illness if you do happen to get COVID-19 infection but are vaccinated. 3) The vaccines prevent you from being hospitalized if you do happen to get COVID-19 infection. 4) The vaccines prevent you from dying if you do happen to get COVID-19 infection.

Q: Does it make a difference which vaccine brand I get? 

 Dr. Allison: There are three vaccines currently authorized for use in the U.S. and they do have differences, but not any differences that make one better than another. All three vaccines are close to 100% effective at protecting you from serious illness, hospitalization and death if you get COVID-19 infection. All three vaccines reduce the chance of getting COVID-19 infection in the first place. And all three vaccines likely reduce your chance of transmitting COVID-19 to someone else. I say “likely” because the vaccine clinical trials were not designed to look at transmission, and data on this is only just starting to emerge. However, all three vaccines can save lives, including yours, so you should get the first vaccine brand that is available to you. 

Q: What can I do to lower my risk for getting COVID-19 until I get the vaccine? 

Dr. Allison: There are a number of different things we can all do to reduce both our risk of COVID-19 infection and, equally important, risk of COVID-19 infection for others besides ourselves. Three important things that I think are easy to remember are wear a face covering, wash your hands often and maintain physical distance (at least 6 feet) from people who are not in your household, particularly when you are going to be near them for more than 15 minutes.

I know that these three things may be inconvenient, but I want to encourage our San Antonio community to stay the course. We have come this far and we are so close to beating this virus back to such an extent that it loses the grip it has had on all our lives for over a year. By doing these three simple things, we protect ourselves, we protect others and together we can beat COVID-19.

“Your COVID-19 Vaccine Questions Answered” is part of an educational series about the COVID-19 vaccine featuring helpful information and guidance from UT Health San Antonio’s leading health care experts. If you have questions you’d like our experts to answer, please contact

Be informed.