Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine
July 28, 2022 update: Moderna and Pfizer for young children, Novavax now available
Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are now authorized for emergency use for anyone aged 6 months and older. Novavax vaccine is authorized for emergency use in anyone 18 years and older.
Everyone aged 5 and older should get a booster dose if it's been 5 months since your 2nd dose of Pfizer/Moderna or 2 months since your 1st dose of J&J. With so much COVID-19 spreading, don't wait to get you and your family up-to-date on vaccinations!
Visit Getting vaccinated in King County for vaccine locations and appointments.
Updated on June 23, 2022: Section 5, questions #1, #2, #3, #4, #8.
Find definitions of COVID-19 terms and more information in our COVID-19 glossary.
Section 1: COVID-19 vaccine development and safety
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the emergency use of the first COVID-19 vaccines. Multiple other vaccines are under development and several are in large scale clinical trials with tens of thousands of volunteers to ensure they are both safe and effective.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses Emergency Use Authorizations, known as EUAs, during national emergencies to make a product available to address an urgent health need. The EUA allows a product to be used before it has a full license.
An EUA can be used for tests, devices, or treatments. The FDA has issued EUAs to address anthrax, Ebola, H1N1 and other health emergencies in the past.
FDA guidelines must be met for a COVID-19 vaccine to be considered for an EUA, including safety and effectiveness standards and review by independent medical experts.
If the FDA approves a vaccine for an EUA, a second independent advisory committee will evaluate the safety and effectiveness data. This committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will then make a recommendation about whether the vaccine should be used. If they recommend it, ACIP will issue guidelines for healthcare providers.
The FDA and CDC will continue to monitor a vaccine’s safety and effectiveness even after it is approved.
Vaccine safety is a priority. All COVID-19 vaccines must go through a rigorous and multi-step testing and evaluation process before they can be used in the U.S. These include studies with tens of thousands of people and data review by independent safety monitoring boards. They will only be approved or authorized for use if they pass safety and effectiveness standards. Vaccines will also be monitored for safety once they are given.
This short video from the CDC explains more about how COVID-19 vaccines are made:
Usually, vaccine testing and production are done in multiple, time-consuming, separate steps over several years. Because of the pandemic, the federal government provided special funding to vaccine researchers and manufacturers to allow development, testing and production to happen at the same time. No steps are skipped but the timeline for development can go faster.
Vaccines that have been authorized from Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied and worked with for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, a technology first created in the 1970s. For decades, hundreds of scientific studies of viral vector vaccines have been done around the world. They have been used against other infectious diseases like Ebola, Zika, flu and HIV.
When a vaccine is authorized by EUA, volunteers who get the COVID-19 vaccine are monitored for a shorter time than with the traditional vaccine approval process. Testing for any COVID-19 vaccine involves thousands of volunteers, and at least half of the volunteers are followed for at least 2 months after their last vaccine dose (rather than the 6 or more months in a traditional process). However, by two months, most side effects from vaccines are expected to surface.
It is possible that rare side effects may only be seen when millions of people are vaccinated. For this reason, the safety of COVID-19 vaccines will continue to be monitored after they are given.
Yes. As of April 24, 2021, adults age 18 and older can get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after the CDC and FDA completed a thorough safety review of the vaccine.
The J&J vaccine has a low risk of a serious blood clotting disorder, especially for women under age 50. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not have this risk, and are recommended over the J&J vaccine for initial and booster vaccination.
If you get the J&J vaccine, watch for these symptoms for three weeks after vaccination:
- severe or persistent headache or blurred vision
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- leg swelling
- persistent abdominal pain
- easy bruising or tiny blood spots under the skin
Seek medical care right away if you develop one or more of these symptoms.
Note: If you got the vaccine more than a month ago, your risk is very low. It is normal to have mild to moderate symptoms, including fever, headache, fatigue, and joint/muscle pain during the first week after receiving any COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic. The CDC and FDA will continue to monitor the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines, and Public Health will provide updates as additional information becomes available.
The CDC’s vaccine safety team has found a likely association between mRNA vaccines (like Moderna and Pfizer) and myocarditis in adolescents and young adults. Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle lining) are rare, given the hundreds of millions of vaccine doses administered. Symptoms usually show up within seven days after the second dose and cases have occurred mostly in male adolescents and young adults age 16 and older. Most patients with myocarditis after vaccination responded well to treatment and rest and quickly felt better.
The risk of myocarditis is low compared to the benefits of vaccination. Vaccination has been shown to prevent COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. Vaccine also provides protection from multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children and adults, long-term symptoms (“long-haul Covid”), and against new, more dangerous variants. The risk of these conditions is much higher than the risk of getting myocarditis from the vaccine.
Although myocarditis is rare, the CDC recommends that recently vaccinated people watch for any of the following symptoms after getting vaccinated:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart
Seek medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
- No, the COVID-19 vaccine can't give you magnetic properties, including at the site of vaccination (your arm).
- There is nothing in the vaccines that can produce an electromagnetic field. All COVID-19 vaccines don't have any metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, and rare earth alloys. They also don't have any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.
- See the full ingredient lists for the COVID-19 vaccines below in the How COVID-19 vaccine works section.
This video from the WA Department of Health offers advice to consider the tone, author, and sources when you see new information, and to check with people you know. Public Health has also developed a resource called Is it True? to discuss some common misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine.
Section 2: How COVID-19 vaccine works
COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies and other infection-fighting cells that protect you in case you are infected with the virus.
Watch a short video from the WA State Dept. of Health that explains more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in your body:
COVID-19 vaccination will help you from getting sick or seriously ill with COVID-19.
- It helps protect you by teaching your body’s immune system to fight the virus without having to experience a COVID-19 infection.
- In the clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available were found to be highly effective in protecting people from COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccine will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic.
- Getting vaccinated will help to protect you, your friends and family, and other people in the community from COVID-19. The combination of getting vaccinated and following public health recommendations will offer the best protection from COVID-19 at this time.
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures alone are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
- Over time, as more people are vaccinated, we may no longer need some of the other COVID-19 prevention measures that are necessary at this time.
No, COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 vaccines teach our bodies to protect us by making antibodies and other infection-fighting cells, In the case of mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines), they protect by instructing our own cells to produce a protein that can teach the immune system to prevent COVID-19 illness without using any part of the COVID-19 virus at all.
It’s possible to get side effects like headache, a sore arm, fatigue or a fever in the day or two after you get the shot. But these side effects are short-lived and are signs that the vaccine is building immunity in the body. Some of these side effects may be similar to the symptoms of COVID-19, but it is not the same as an infection. The vaccine does not contain a virus or any part of a virus and cannot cause COVID-19.
Vaccines that have been authorized from Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccine technology has been studied and worked with for decades.
There is no virus in the mRNA vaccines, so you cannot get a COVID-19 infection from the vaccine. Instead, mRNA vaccines give our cells instructions to make a harmless protein—one that looks just like an important protein on the COVID-19 virus. When your cells make that protein, your body creates a strong immune response and antibodies to protect against COVID-19. Your body learns how to protect you from getting infected without exposure to the virus.
After the mRNA teaches our cells to protect against COVID-19, our body’s enzymes quickly break down and eliminate the mRNA. mRNA does not get into the nucleus of our cells, DNA, or genetic material.
Although these are the first mRNA vaccines to be authorized for use, mRNA technology has been studied for more than 30 years. More information about how mRNA vaccines work can be found on the CDC’s website.
Yes, make sure to get your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine series. Without the second dose, you are not considered fully vaccinated.
We’ve heard that some people are considering skipping the second dose because they are worried about possible side effects. However, the second dose is important to give you the full protection- the first dose starts building immunity, and the second dose strengthens it.
Not everyone has side effects from the second dose, and some people have milder side effects than others. If you do have side effects, they will likely last no more than a few days. These are all signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building up immunity.
Note: Children ages 6 months to 4 years need 3 doses of Pfizer vaccine to complete their initial vaccination series.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine uses a harmless form of the common cold virus (not the coronavirus) that’s been modified so that it can’t make you sick. This harmless virus delivers instructions to teach our cells to make a protein found on the surface of the coronavirus. When your cells make that protein, your body creates a strong immune response to protect against COVID-19. Your body learns how to protect you from getting infected with COVID-19 without exposure to the actual coronavirus.
This type of vaccine cannot infect you with COVID-19 or with the harmless common cold virus used to deliver the instructions. The vaccine does not get into or change the nucleus of our cells, DNA, or genetic material.
Scientists began creating viral vectors in the 1970s. For decades, hundreds of scientific studies of viral vector vaccines have been done around the world. They have been used against other infectious diseases like Ebola, Zika, flu and HIV.
Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the risk of a very rare but serious condition involving blood clots and low platelet counts. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not have this risk, and are recommended over the J&J vaccine for initial and booster vaccination. Please see the question “Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available?” in Section 1 for more information.
First booster shots (5 years+)
Everyone ages 5 and older should get a booster dose to be fully protected:
- Five months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna (NOTE: Immune compromised people may have more doses. Get a booster 3 months after the last dose in your primary series.)
- Two months after one dose of J&J
Second booster shots
People who should get second booster shots of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines:
- 50 years and older
- 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. See more information about Vaccines for Immunocompromised People on the COVID-19 vaccine page.
- 18 and older who received J&J for their primary and booster doses
If you are eligible, you can get the second booster at least four months after your first booster. Visit Getting vaccinated in King County for vaccine locations and appointments.
The booster shots are made from the same type of vaccine as the first and second doses.
The FDA and CDC carefully reviewed the data on how well the vaccines have been protecting people over time to determine the how much vaccine should be in the booster shots. The Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson booster shots have the same amount of vaccine as the initial shots. The Moderna booster shot has half the amount of vaccine as the initial Moderna shots.
The Novavax vaccine is made using proteins using the same technology used in many vaccines, such as the one for flu. This kind of vaccine uses only a part of the virus so that it can’t make you sick. It contains purified coronavirus spike proteins along with a plant-based, immune-boosting stimulant to strengthen the body’s immune response against COVID-19.
The key ingredient in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is mRNA, which tells your cells how to make a protein from the coronavirus, allowing it to recognize COVID-19 and protect you from infection. The vaccines also contain lipids, salts, and sugar.
The key ingredient in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is adenovirus 26, a harmless virus used to deliver the spike protein that’s on the surface of the coronavirus to our cells. The cells can then recognize COVID-19 and protect you from infection. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine also contains citric acid and ethanol.
The key ingredient in the Novavax vaccine is a protein called SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein. The vaccine also contains a plant-based stimulant to boost immunity, salts, sugar and acid.
The vaccines do not contain: pork products, egg, latex, blood products, COVID-19 virus cells, mercury, or microchips. The vaccines do not contain fetal tissue.
Full list of ingredients in the Novavax vaccine, available from the FDA:
- SARS-CoV-2 recombinant spike protein
Additional ingredients (salts, sugars, buffers)
- fraction-A and Fraction-C of Quillaja saponaria Molina extract (plant-based)
- disodium hydrogen phosphate heptahydrate
- disodium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
- potassium chloride (common food salt)
- potassium dihydrogen phosphate (common food salt)
- sodium chloride (basic table salt)
- sodium dihydrogen phosphate monohydrate
- sodium hydroxide or hydrochloric acid
Full list of ingredients in the Pfizer vaccine, available from the FDA:
- nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2
- (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2- hexyldecanoate)
- 2-[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
Additional ingredients (salts, sugars, buffers)
- potassium chloride
- monobasic potassium phosphate
- sodium chloride
- dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
Full list of ingredients in the Moderna vaccine, available from the FDA:
- nucleoside-modified messenger RNA (modRNA) encoding the viral spike glycoprotein (S) of SARS-CoV-2
- polyethylene glycol (PEG) 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol (DMG)
Additional ingredients (salts, sugars, buffers)
- tromethamine hydrochloride
- acetic acid
- sodium acetate
Full list of ingredients in the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, available from the FDA:
- recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein
- citric acid monohydrate
- trisodium citrate dihydrate
- 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD)
- sodium chloride
The Delta variant is one of six coronavirus "variants of concern" in the U.S., which is highly contagious and will probably become the country's most common coronavirus strain. The best way to protect yourself and your community from the Delta variant is to get fully vaccinated—making sure to get both doses if you get Pfizer or Moderna.
The biggest danger from the coronavirus variants is to people who are not vaccinated. If you're not fully vaccinated, you can protect yourself and others by continuing to wear a mask, physically distancing, and getting tested quickly after COVID-19 symptoms or exposure.
Section 3: Vaccine availability
Currently, everyone 6 months and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to hospitals, pharmacies, high-volume sites, community health centers and other providers. Learn more about where to get vaccinated in King County.
Different vaccination sites may have different vaccines and their supplies may change. Some vaccine providers list the type of vaccine available on their online registration sites or can provide that information over the phone. All of the vaccines authorized for use will prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
Everyone age 6 months and older is currently eligible for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Johnson & Johnson and Novavax vaccines can be given to people 18 and older.
The J&J vaccine has a low risk of a serious blood clotting disorder, especially for women under age 50. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not have this risk, and the CDC recommends them over the J&&J vaccine. Many vaccination locations may not offer J&&J.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the CDC recommend getting a COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding. Getting a vaccine could help both you and your baby.
- Pregnant people have a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and the highly contagious Delta variant makes it more urgent.
- The vaccines are very effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death, and protection may be passed on to your baby as it develops.
- A growing amount of data confirms that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. There is no evidence to show that getting a vaccine increase the risk of miscarriage. If you have questions, talk to your doctor.
We currently don’t have information on the safety or efficacy of receiving a COVID‑19 vaccine authorized in the United States after you received a non‑FDA‑authorized vaccine elsewhere.
However, people who received a vaccine not currently authorized in the U.S. may be revaccinated with an FDA‑authorized vaccine in the following circumstances:
- COVID‑19 vaccines authorized for emergency use by WHO
- People who completed a COVID‑19 vaccination series with a vaccine that has been authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) do not need any additional doses with an FDA‑authorized COVID‑19 vaccine.
- People who are partially vaccinated with a COVID‑19 vaccine series authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA‑authorized COVID‑19 vaccine series.
- COVID‑19 vaccines not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO
- People who completed or partially completed a COVID‑19 vaccine series with a vaccine that is not authorized by FDA or not authorized for emergency use by WHO may be offered an FDA‑authorized COVID‑19 vaccine series.
You should wait at least 28 days from the vaccine dose you had internationally to receive an FDA‑authorized COVID‑19 vaccine.
Section 4: What to expect
There is no cost to you for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of immigration or health insurance status. The vaccine will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance, and the cost of the vaccine will be covered for people who are uninsured.
COVID-19 vaccination providers cannot:
- Charge you for the vaccine.
- Charge you directly for any administration fees, copays, or coinsurance.
- Deny vaccination to anyone who does not have health insurance coverage, is underinsured, or is out of network.
- Charge an office visit or other fee to the recipient if the only service provided is a COVID-19 vaccination.
- Require additional services in order for a person to receive a COVID-19 vaccine; however, additional healthcare services can be provided at the same time and billed as appropriate.
COVID-19 vaccination providers can:
- Seek appropriate reimbursement from the recipient’s plan or program (example: private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid) for a vaccine administration fee. However, providers cannot charge the vaccine recipient the balance of the bill.
- Seek reimbursement for uninsured vaccine recipients from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s COVID-19 Uninsured Program.
Public Health – Seattle & King County and others are offering free vaccination clinics. Equitable distribution is a priority for these clinics. More information can be found on our Getting Vaccinated in King County page.
It is very important to get the second dose of the vaccine. The first dose starts stimulating your body’s immunity, and the second dose gets it to a strong level of protection against severe COVID-19.
- People who got Pfizer = 3 weeks after your first dose
- People who got Moderna = 4 weeks after your first dose
- People who got Novavax = 3 weeks after your first dose
Some people might have some symptoms like headache, a sore arm, fatigue, fever, or muscle aches for a few days after getting the shot. These symptoms are more common after the second dose of vaccine. These are all signs that the body’s immune system is building up protection. This is normal and can also be seen after other commonly used vaccines.
Anaphylaxis—a severe allergic reaction—is extremely rare after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Everyone who experienced anaphylaxis after COVID-19 vaccination has fully recovered, based on available information, and no deaths have occurred. The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of experiencing anaphylaxis or another severe reaction after vaccination.
The CDC has published reports with additional information on anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions to the vaccines:
- Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
- Allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine
The CDC will release a similar report for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine soon. In clinical trials, anaphylaxis was extremely rare after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Most people who experienced anaphylaxis developed symptoms within 15 minutes of getting the vaccine. All these patients were treated with epinephrine immediately after showing symptoms.
All vaccination locations have medical professionals trained to identify and respond to anaphylaxis. They monitor everyone who receives a COVID-19 vaccine for 15 minutes following the vaccination so they can assist if needed.
You may return to work and not quarantine within a few days of vaccine administration, IF:
- You have not been in contact with someone with COVID-19 AND
- You feel well enough and are willing to perform normal activities such as work AND
- You do not have a fever AND
- Signs and symptoms are limited only to those observed following COVID-19 vaccination (see list of symptoms, including pain, swelling, tiredness, chills, headache) AND
- You do not have other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or change in smell or taste.
CDC: Post Vaccine Considerations for Healthcare Personnel
CDC: Post Vaccine Considerations for Residents of Long-Term Care
The CDC has created V-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose. We encourage you to participate in V-safe. Learn more at www.cdc.gov/vsafe.
COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on viral tests used to detect current infection.
Antibody tests look for antibodies in the blood that indicate if a person has been infected with a virus or bacteria. Antibodies are also produced when someone receives an effective vaccine. If your body develops an immune response to the COVID-19 vaccine, it is possible that you may test positive on some antibody tests for COVID-19.
Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. Among people who have recovered from COVID-19, those who remain unvaccinated are more than twice as likely to get reinfected as vaccinated people. Vaccinations offer a more predictable protection, and they will likely last longer.
If you have already had COVID-19, you will likely have some level of natural immunity, but this can vary greatly from person to person. We also don't know how long that natural protection lasts and whether it will protect from other variants. That means that you could eventually be reinfected with the virus or with a different variant.
Getting vaccinated after infection is safe and will offer you the best overall protection against future COVID-19 infections. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that prior infection plus vaccination – something called "hybrid immunity" – offers the greatest possible protection.
You should get vaccinated after your isolation period is complete and you are no longer experiencing severe symptoms. You do not need to be re-tested for COVID-19 before seeking vaccination.
If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Many employers are deciding to require COVID-19 vaccination – for example the Governor has required COVID-19 vaccination for Washington State employees. Public Health recommends COVID-19 vaccination as a safe, effective, and important way to prevent COVID-19, decrease illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19, and help to stop the current pandemic.
Many people in King County are not vaccinated—including children under age 5, those with weakened immune systems, people who face barriers to access, and residents who mistrust the healthcare system and/or government after experiencing racism or harm.
To protect everyone in the community, you can get vaccinated (if able to do so), share your vaccination experience with others and offer to answer their questions, get tested quickly after COVID-19 symptoms or exposure, and support people's decisions to protect themselves. People who are not vaccinated should continue to follow Washington state guidance to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Look up your vaccination from WA state's "My Immunization Registry" (MyIR). If you have registered, log in to MyIR to look up your vaccination record, and then print or take a screenshot or photo of the information. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for MyIR any time.
- Use the mobile version of WA state's immunization registry, MyIRmobile to get a vaccination certificate. MyIRmobile matches records based on name, birthday, phone, and email. If any of these fields are missing or incorrect you will be unable to match your record. For matching issues, you can use the chat feature in MyIR Mobile or call 833-VAX-HELP.
- If you received your vaccine at your health care provider, the provider's office should be able to give you a copy of your record.
- You may go back to the site you were vaccinated and ask a clinic supervisor for a new card. They may be able to look you up and create a new card.
The COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect your child from hospitalization or long-term symptoms. COVID-19 in babies and children is usually not severe, but on occasion, COVID-19 can cause serious infections. Children can also have long term health problems from the virus, known as long-COVID. It's like a car seat: vaccine protects little ones against a seriously dangerous possibility, even if it's unlikely to happen.
When kids are up-to-date on vaccines, they can safely do more of the activities they enjoy, like going to preschool and spending time indoors with friends and family. When your child is vaccinated, it also protects family members and friends, especially those who may be at high risk.
Scientists and medical experts have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children and adolescents ages 6 months to 17 years old. Before being authorized for children, independent experts scrutinized safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials involving thousands of children. What’s more, 22 million children and adolescents, ages 5-17 have already safely received the COVID-19 vaccine.
Children 6 months and older can get COVID-19 vaccine.
Everyone ages 5 and older should get a booster dose to be fully protected five months after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna. (NOTE: Immune compromised people may have more doses. Get a booster 3 months after the last dose in your primary series.)
The vaccine is like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for adults but is a much smaller dose to be safe for young children’s bodies.
Cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart) have been reported after Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination of older youth, ages 12–17 years. These reactions are rare and mostly in young males. In general, people who developed these conditions were able to quickly recover after treatment.
In the clinical vaccine trial in children aged 5-11, there were no cases of myocarditis in the three-month follow-up period after vaccination. The clinical trial is ongoing and the CDC and FDA have systems in place to continue to monitor and detect possible reactions or other uncommon side effects.
Your child may have a sore arm, feel achy and have a fever from the COVID-19 vaccine, similar to side effects from other vaccines for children. These side effects are temporary and usually go away in 1-2 days.
No. There is no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, can cause female or male fertility problems. Millions of women have become pregnant after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Unvaccinated women have a higher risk of death or death of their baby than women who were vaccinated against COVID-19.
A child should get the vaccine type and dose determined for their current age. As they get older, they will receive the next appropriate dose for that age. They will not need to repeat doses.
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