Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
UPDATE
Given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, CDC has updated the guidance for fully vaccinated people. CDC recommends universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. Children should return to full-time in-person learning in the fall with layered prevention strategies in place.
UPDATE
The White House announced that vaccines will be required for international travelers coming into the United States, with an effective date of November 8, 2021. For purposes of entry into the United States, vaccines accepted will include FDA approved or authorized and WHO Emergency Use Listing vaccines. More information is available here.

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
Updated Oct. 4, 2023

COVID-19 vaccine recommendations have been updated as of February 28, 2024, to recommend adults ages 65 years and over receive an additional updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine dose. This page will be updated to align with the new recommendation. Learn more.

Below are answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination.

Getting Your Updated COVID-19 Vaccine(s)

Yes, you can choose which COVID-19 vaccine to get.

Learn more about the vaccines that are available.

People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of updated COVID-19 vaccine 2 or more months after getting the last updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Talk to your healthcare provider about additional updated doses.

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant now, as well as people who might become pregnant in the future. People who get a COVID-19 infection during pregnancy are more likely to deliver a preterm (born earlier than 37 weeks of pregnancy) or stillborn infant and may also be more likely to have other pregnancy complications.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy helps:

Learn more about vaccination considerations and the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy helps:

  • Prevent severe illness and death in people who are pregnant
  • Protect children aged 6 months to 5 years from hospitalization caused by COVID-19

Learn more about vaccination considerations and the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

There is no recommended waiting period between getting a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit.

No. You should wait to be vaccinated until after you complete your isolation period to avoid potentially exposing healthcare personnel and others during the vaccination visit.

Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against COVID-19. You may consider delaying your vaccine by 3 months. However, certain factors could be reasons to get a vaccine sooner rather than later, such as:

  • personal risk of severe disease,
  • risk of disease in a loved one or close contact,
  • local  COVID-19 hospital admission level,
  • and the most common COVID-19 variant currently causing illness.

People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery.

Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting Children and Teens Vaccinated

The COVID-19 vaccines for children have the same active ingredients as the vaccines given to adults. However, children receive a smaller, age-appropriate dose that is right for them. The smaller doses were rigorously tested and found to create the needed immune response for each age group.

COVID-19 can make children and teens very sick and sometimes requires treatment in a hospital. Getting children and teens vaccinated against COVID-19 can help keep them from getting really sick if they do get COVID-19, including protecting them from short and long-term complications and hospitalization.

Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents and caregivers should get their child vaccinated as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated provides the best protection against serious illness if a child gets infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Safety

Adults and children may have some side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine, including pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. These side effects typically resolve after a few days.  Serious side effects are rare but may occur.

Vaccine ingredients vary by manufacturer. None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives.

Learn more about the ingredients in available COVID-19 vaccines

Although COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly, research and development on vaccines like these has been underway for decades. All vaccine development steps were taken to ensure COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness, including:

  • Clinical Trials – All vaccines in the United States must go through three phases of clinical trials to ensure they are safe and effective. The phases overlapped to speed up the process, but all phases were completed.
  • Authorization or Approval – Before vaccines are available to people, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviews data from clinical trials. FDA has determined COVID-19 vaccines meet FDA’s standards and has granted those vaccines Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) or full FDA approval.
  • Tracking Safety Using Vaccine Monitoring Systems – Like every other vaccine approved for use in the United States, COVID-19 vaccines continue to be monitored for safety and effectiveness. Hundreds of millions of people in the United States have safely received COVID-19 vaccines. CDC and FDA continue to provide updated information on the safety of U.S. authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines using data from the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD), Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and other safety monitoring systems.

Learn more about developing COVID-19 vaccines.

Benefits

COVID-19 vaccines are working well  to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. Compared to people who are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations, unvaccinated people are more likely to get COVID-19, much more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19, and much more likely to die from COVID-19.

After Your Vaccine

CDC no longer distributes the white CDC COVID-19 Vaccination cards and does not maintain vaccination records.

Contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). Your state’s IIS cannot issue you a vaccination card, but they can provide a digital or paper copy of your full vaccination record, including your COVID-19 vaccinations.

There are several ways you can update your records with vaccines you received while outside the United States.

Learn more about Vaccination Received Outside the United States.