Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

There are several places you can look for a vaccination provider. You can visit VaccineFinder.orgexternal icon or check your state health department or local pharmacy’s website. Visit How Do I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine to learn more.

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Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is currently limited, CDC is providing recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on those of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an independent panel of medical and public health experts.

Each state has its own plan for deciding which groups of people will be vaccinated first. You can contact your state health department for more information on its plan for COVID-19 vaccination.

The goal is for everyone to be able easily to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. As the vaccine supply increases, more groups will be added to receive vaccination. Learn more about CDC recommendations for who should get vaccinated first.

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You should get any COVID-19 vaccine that is available when you are eligible. Do not wait for a specific brand. All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another.

Learn more about your COVID-19 vaccination, including how to find a vaccination location, what to expect at your appointment, and more.

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After getting vaccinated, you might have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Common side effects are pain, redness, and swelling in the arm where you received the shot, as well as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea throughout the rest of the body. These side effects could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Learn more about what to expect after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Yes, if you are pregnant, you might choose to be vaccinated. Based on how COVID-19 vaccines work, experts think they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, there are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people because these vaccines have not been widely studied in pregnant people. Systems are in place to continue to monitor vaccine safety, and so far, they have not identified any specific safety concerns for pregnant people. Clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people are underway or planned.

You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. While a conversation with your healthcare provider might be helpful, it is not required before to 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-safeCDC’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.

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We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What we do know is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.

Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

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It depends. For now, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks with:

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additional recommendations can be found at When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

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Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected.

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.

Experts are still learning more about how long vaccines protect against COVID-19 in real-world conditions. CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

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The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

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:

 

The number of doses needed depends on which vaccine you receive. To get the most protection:

  • Two Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart.
  • Two Moderna vaccine doses should be given 1 month (28 days) apart.
  • Johnson & Johnsons Jansen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine requires only one dose.

If you receive a vaccine that requires two doses, you should get your second shot as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary.. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.

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People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

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No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

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Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

CDC’s Strategy to Reinforce Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

What Is Vaccine Confidence?

Vaccine confidence is the trust that patients, their families, and providers have in:

  • Recommended vaccines
  • Providers who administer vaccines
  • Processes and policies that lead to vaccine development, licensure or authorization, manufacturing, and recommendations for use

Many factors influence vaccine decision-making, including cultural, social, and political factors; individual and group factors; and vaccine-specific factors. However, confidence in the vaccines, the vaccinator, and the system all support the decision to get vaccinated.

Why Is It Important?

Some people may hesitate to get a COVID-19 vaccine. They may want answers to their questions about the process for developing and authorizing these vaccines and information about their safety and effectiveness. People may have previous experiences that affect their trust and confidence in the health system.

By taking time to listen to their concerns and answer their questions, we can help people become confident in their decision to be vaccinated. Also, when you decide to get vaccinated and share the reasons why you did, you can have a powerful influence on your family and community. Strong confidence in the vaccines within communities leads to more people getting vaccinated, which leads to fewer COVID-19 illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths.

Six Ways to Help Build COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence

  1. Encourage leaders in your family, community, or organizations to be vaccine champions.
  2. Have discussions about COVID-19 vaccines where people can openly discuss their views and ask questions.
  3. Share key messages through multiple channels that people trust and that promote action.
  4. Help educate people about COVID-19 vaccines, how they are developed and monitored for safety, and how individuals can talk to others about the vaccines.
  5. Learn more about finding credible vaccine information. When you come across COVID-19 information, cross-check with CDC.gov and learn how to respond to misinformation you encounter.
  6. When vaccine is offered to you, make visible your decision to get vaccinated and celebrate it!

When COVID-19 Vaccines Supply is Limited

Remind people that the goal is for everyone to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination easily as soon as large quantities of vaccine are available. Then provide people with actions they can take before they get vaccinated when supply may be limited. Such as:

  1. Learn about the COVID-19 vaccines plans in your local area and make a vaccination plan for yourself or family members for when vaccine is offered.
  2. Learn more about the new COVID-19 vaccines and their benefits.
  3. Become a vaccine ambassador by sharing accurate and timely information about COVID-19 vaccines and information on local vaccination efforts with the people who need it most.
  4. Continue to take recommend actions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Vaccinate with Confidence Strategy to Reinforce Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines


Build Trust

Share clear, complete, and accurate messages about COVID-19 vaccines and take visible actions to build trust in the vaccine, the vaccinator, and the system in coordination with federal, state, and local agencies and partners.

Action Steps:

  • Communicate transparently about the process for authorizing external icon, approving, making recommendations for, monitoring the safety of, distributing external icon, allocating, and administering COVID-19 vaccines, including data handling.
  • Provide regular updates on benefits, safety, side effects, and effectiveness; clearly communicate what is not known.
  • Proactively address and mitigate the spread and harm of misinformation via social media platforms, partners, and trusted messengers.

Empower Healthcare Personnel

Promote confidence among healthcare personnel* in their decision to get vaccinated and to recommend vaccination to their patients.

Action Steps:

  • Engage national professional associations, health systems, and healthcare personnel often and early to ensure a clear understanding of the vaccine development and approval processesexternal icon, new vaccine technologies, and the benefits of vaccination.
  • Ensure healthcare systems and medical practices are equipped to create a culture that builds confidence in COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Strengthen the capacity of healthcare professionals to have empathetic vaccine conversations, address myths and common questions, provide tailored vaccine information to patients, and use motivational interviewing techniques when needed.

*Personnel = All staff working in healthcare settings, including physicians, PAs/NPs, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, support staff, and community health workers

Engage Communities and Individuals

Engage communities in a sustainable, equitable, and inclusive way—using two-way communication to listen, build trust, and increase collaboration.

Action Steps:

  • Empower vaccine recipients to share their personal stories and reasons for vaccination within circles of influence.
  • Work with health departments and national partners to engage communities around vaccine confidence and service delivery strategies, including adaptation of vaccination provider sites to meet community needs.
  • Collaborate with trusted messengers—such as faith-based and community leaders—to tailor and share culturally relevant messages and materials with diverse communities.

Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Please see our system usage guidelines and disclaimer.

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