Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more
To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, get vaccinated as soon as you can and wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.
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.
UPDATE
Travel requirements to enter the United States are changing, starting November 8, 2021. More information is available here.

COVID-19 Vaccines That Require 2 Shots

COVID-19 Vaccines That Require 2 Shots

NOTICE: CDC now recommends that certain people are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, including those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines. Get more information and read CDC’s media statement.

Learn more about who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot.

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.

Timing of Your Second Shot

The timing between your first and second shots depends on which vaccine you received. If you received the:

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
Get your second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
Get your second shot 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first

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.

Scheduling Your Second Shot

illustration of checkmark
  • 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.

Your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card and Your Second Shot

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.

After Getting Your Second Shot

You may experience side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. These are normal signs that your body is building protection. Get helpful tips on how to reduce any pain or discomfort.

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.

Use v-safe on your smartphone to tell CDC about any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. If you enter your second shot in your v-safe account, the system will send you daily health check-ins. Please note that v-safe is not automatically notified when you receive a second shot of vaccine, so you must enter the information yourself.

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.