Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
NOTICE: FDA authorizedexternal iconexternal icon the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for emergency use in adolescents 12 and older. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is meeting on May 12, 2021 to discuss a recommendation for the use of this vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in persons aged 12 years and older.
Below are answers to commonly asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination. CDC also has information for busting common vaccine myths available in facts about COVID-19 vaccines.
What is the update on the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine?
CDC and FDA have recommended that use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States, effective April 23, 2021. However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen. If you received a J&J/Janssen vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
Yes. All currently authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and CDC does not recommend one vaccine over another. The most important decision is to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.
People should be aware that a risk of a rare condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) has been reported following vaccination with the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelet counts. This problem is rare, and most reports were in women between 18 and 49 years old. For women 50 years and older and men of any age, this problem is even more rare. There are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna).
Learn more about your COVID-19 vaccination, including how to find a vaccination location, what to expect at your appointment, and more.
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.
Yes, if you are pregnant, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
You might want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated. While such a conversation might be helpful, it is not required before 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-safe, CDC’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.
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.
- Other people who are fully vaccinated
- Unvaccinated people from one other household, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
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.
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.
Vaccine ingredients can vary by manufacturer. To learn more about the ingredients in authorized COVID-19 vaccines, see
- Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine
- Information about the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
- Information about the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
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 (e.g., 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 Programexternal icon
- 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.
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.
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.