Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine for Yourself or Your Child
Find a Vaccine
Vaccines are now widely available. In many cases, you do not need an appointment.
- The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to everyone ages 5 years of age and older living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
- 90% of people in the United States live within 5 miles of a COVID-19 vaccine location.
- Learn how to find a COVID-19 vaccine for you or your child.
At the Vaccination Site
Before you arrive, contact the site where you will be vaccinated or review your appointment confirmation email for details about what identification you may need to bring to your vaccination appointment.
- When getting a vaccine, you or your child and your healthcare provider will need to wear masks that cover your nose and mouth. Stay 6 feet away from others while inside and in lines. Learn more about protecting yourself when going to get your COVID-19 vaccine.
- You should receive a paper or electronic version of a fact sheet that tells you more about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you or your child received. Each approved and authorized COVID-19 vaccine has its own fact sheet that contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of receiving that specific vaccine. Learn more about different COVID-19 vaccines.
- After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, you or your child should be monitored on site for at least 15 minutes. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions.
- Ask your vaccination provider about getting started with 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. Parents and guardians can enroll children (ages 5 years and older) or dependents in v-safe and complete health check-ins on their behalf after COVID-19 vaccination. Register or sign into v-safe. Learn more about v-safe.
play circle light iconWatch Video: Use v-safe to tell CDC how you’re feeling after COVID-19 vaccination [00:00:34]
At the first vaccination appointment, you should get a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you or your child received, the date you or your child received it, and where you or your child received it.
- Keep this CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card for future use. Consider taking a picture of the card after your or your child’s vaccination appointment as a backup copy.
- If you did not receive a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card at the first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how to get a card.
- Bring your or your child’s CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card with you to the next appointment if you or your child need another shot of COVID-19 vaccine so your provider can fill in the information about the shot.
Learn more about getting a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card.
Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine with Other Vaccines
People can get a COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, after getting vaccinated and possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.
If You Need a Second Shot
Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines
You need 2 shots to complete the primary series if you receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine). You should get the same product when you need a second shot or an additional primary dose.
You should get your second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it.
Additional primary dose: Some people with moderately or severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional primary dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after completing their 2-dose primary series. You should get the same product as your initial 2 doses.
- CDC recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 12 years and older who completed their Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine primary series and ages 18 years or older who completed their Moderna COVID-19 vaccine primary series should plan to get an additional primary dose. This additional primary dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their primary vaccine series
Booster shot: Everyone age 16 years and older can get a booster shot at least 6 months after completing their 2-dose primary series. Teens ages 16-17 years old can only get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot.
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
You only need 1 shot to complete your primary series if you receive the viral vector COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine).
Booster shot: You should receive a booster shot at least 2 months after receiving your primary shot. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred in most situations. Although mRNA vaccines are preferred, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.
Learn more about getting your second shot.
Learn about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
What to Expect After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
It takes time for the body to build protection after any vaccination. Most adults and children are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Most adults are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the second dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine or the single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. You should keep using all the tools available to protect yourself and your child until fully vaccinated.