COVID-19 Vaccines That Require 2 Shots
What You Need to Know
- If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 shots to get the most protection.
- COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot.
- 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.
- If you have a weakened immune system due to other diseases or medications, you can receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you have not had a severe or immediate allergic reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine.
- People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) after the initial 2 doses.
- Certain groups of people who received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine are eligible to get a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot.
The timing between your first and second shots depends on which vaccine you received. If you received the:
You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week 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 early. There is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than 6 weeks after the first shot.
However, if you do receive your second shot of COVID-19 vaccine up to 4 days before or at any time after the recommended date, you do not have to restart the vaccine series, and you can be considered fully vaccinated. This guidance might be updated as more information becomes available.
Cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in adolescents and young adults have been reported more often after getting the second dose than after the first dose of one of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna. These reports are rare and the known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.
Scheduling Your Second Shot
- Planning for your second shot is important.
- If you need help scheduling your vaccination appointment for your second shot, contact the location that set up your first appointment.
- If you are having trouble or have questions about using a vaccination management or scheduling system, reach out to the organization that enrolled you in the system. This may be your state or local health department, employer, or vaccination provider.
- Scheduling an appointment for your second shot at the time you get your first shot is recommended, but not required.
- If you need to get your second shot in a location that is different from where you received your first shot (for example, if you moved to a different state or attend school in a different state), there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider for your second dose.
At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.
- Bring your vaccination card with you to your second shot appointment so your provider can fill in the information about your second dose.
- If you did not receive a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
Learn more about what to do if you need a copy of your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card.
When You Are Fully Vaccinated
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second shot in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or
- 2 weeks after a single-shot vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot.
You are not fully vaccinated if:
- it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot
- it has been less than 2 weeks since your second shot of a 2-dose vaccine
- you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine
Booster shots are now available to specific groups of people. However, everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.