COVID-19 Vaccine General FAQ

This information is based on currently recommendations, available evidence, resources, information, and expert opinion and is subject to change. As additional evidence regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccine for individuals emerges, it will be necessary to modify this content.

  • What do we know about the variants?
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  • Why should my child get vaccinated against COVID-19?

    Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help protect them from getting COVID-19, spreading the virus to others, and getting sick if they do get infected. While COVID-19 tends to be milder in children than adults, it can make children very sick or require hospitalization, and some children have even died. Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness compared to children without underlying medical conditions.

    Getting your child vaccinated helps to protect your child and your family, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at risk of getting very sick if infected. Vaccination is now recommended for everyone ages 5 years and older. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available to children ages 5 years and older

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  • Do I need a booster?

    The CDC recommends a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for everyone ages 12 years and older. People ages 12 to 17 years old can get the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot, and an mRNA vaccine is preferred for ages 18 and older.

    Those who received an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) should wait at least 5 months for a booster shot after their primary series. Those who received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen should wait at least 2 months for a booster after completion of their primary dose.

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  • Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Vaccines are widely available at doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and county health departments.

    To find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you visit or

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  • What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Commonly known side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are short-term injection site pain, fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain. These symptoms are temporary and are in line with side effects some people experience from other vaccines, including the flu shot and the vaccine to prevent shingles.

    Vaccines work to fight disease by producing an immune response within the body, and sometimes that means flu-like symptoms occur as your body responds to the vaccine; it is normal and expected

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  • If I am pregnant, can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

    Yes, if you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot.

    You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. While such conversation might be helpful, it is not required before vaccination. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    If you are pregnant and have received a COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage you to enroll in v-safe, the CDC’s smartphone-based tool that provides personalized health check-ins after vaccination. A v-safe pregnancy registry has been established to gather information on the health of pregnant people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

    People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with people who are not pregnant. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you from severe illness due to COVID-19.

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  • How many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will I need?

    Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses are administered three weeks apart, and the Moderna vaccine doses are given 28 days apart (four weeks). The first dose offers partial protection and primes the second dose for more prolonged antibody protection. Both doses are needed to get the most protection the vaccines have to offer against COVID-19.

    The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a single-dose vaccine.

    People ages 12 and older should also get a booster shot at least five months after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccination series to strengthen the body’s antibody response.

    People ages 18 and older who received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen should receive a booster shot at least 2 months after receiving the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccination.

    All three COVID-19 vaccines currently available are administered into the muscle in your upper arm, just like a flu shot.

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  • What if I cannot get my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within the recommended time frame?

    According to the CDC, you should get your second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first Pfizer-BioNTech shot or 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first Moderna shot. However, if you do receive your second shot of the COVID-19 vaccine up to 4 days before or at any time after the recommended date, you do not have to restart the vaccine series.


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  • Do I still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others once I have been vaccinated?

    COVID-19 Community Levels are a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data.


    • Wear a mask based on your personal preference, informed by your personal level of risk


    • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness
      • Talk to your healthcare provider about additional precautions, such as wearing masks or respirators indoors in public
    • If you live with or have social contact with someone at high risk for severe illness, consider testing yourself for infection before you get together and wearing a mask when indoors with them.


    • Wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk (including in K-12 schools and other community settings)
    • If you are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness
      • Wear a mask or respirator that provides you with greater protection
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