COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines

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COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines

Vaccine Guidelines

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at providing protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death from the virus that causes COVID-19, including known variants currently circulating.

The case for widespread vaccination is clear: Vaccination is a positive step for public health.

  • COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. Learn more about how federal partners are continuing to closely monitor vaccine safety.
  • The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks. Reports of adverse events, like allergic reactions or myocarditis or pericarditis, are rare.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are widely accessible and everyone ages 5 years and older should receive a vaccination as soon as possible.
  • Symptoms may be mild for those vaccinated who develop breakhthrough infections, but for many people, severe illness, long-term hospitalization and even death may occur from contracting the COVID-19 virus. All currently approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and reduce your risk of severe illness.

Vaccines & Adults

In the United States, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved by the FDA for everyone ages 5 years and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines have received FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to help prevent COVID-19 in adults 18 years and older.

You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or 2 weeks after receiving the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

An additional primary dose may be administered 28 days after the second shot in immunocompromised individuals who may not have built the same level of immunity to their initial vaccine series as someone who is not immunocompromised.

Booster Shots

A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their initial vaccine series and protection against the virus has decreased over time. CDC currently recommends booster shots at 5 months after the completion of the primary series of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for those aged 18 and older. A booster shot is recommended at least 2 months after receiving the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines & Children

The CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against the virus that causes COVID-19. At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the only one available for children and teens ages 5-17. The vaccination dose for children ages 5-11 is one-third of an adult dose and will still require two shots.

For some immunocompromised children aged 5-17 years old, the CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after receiving their second shot.

Booster Shots

Children age 12-17 are recommended to receive a booster shot 5 months after the completion of the primary series of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

Read more about CDC recommendations for children and teens on the CDC's website.