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Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Everyone 6 Months and Older Can Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination has many benefits and is an important tool to help protect people from COVID-19 and its complications.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after having COVID-19

Even if you or your child have had COVID-19, you should still get yourself or your child vaccinated.

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after having COVID-19 provides added protection to your immune system.

  • 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.

  • You do not need to wait to get vaccinated if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma while sick with COVID-19.

When you can wait

If you recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose (primary dose or booster) by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test. Reinfection is less likely in the weeks to months after infection. However, certain factors, such as personal risk of severe disease, local COVID-19 community level, and the most common COVID-19 variant currently causing illness, could be reasons to get a vaccine sooner rather than later.

Before the Vaccination

If you do not regularly take ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen medications, it is recommended that you do not take these before you get a COVID-19 vaccination. It is not known how OTC medicines (such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen) might affect how well the vaccine works. You may be able to take these types of medications to reduce fever or pain after you get your vaccine to relieve any pain or discomfort resulting from side effects. Learn more about post-vaccination side effects. If you regularly take over-the-counter medications, you should keep taking them before you get vaccinated.

Get a COVID-19 vaccine with your routine medical procedures and screenings

You can combine most procedures, screenings, and vaccinations at the same appointment when you get your COVID-19 vaccination. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions. Children, teens, and adults may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same time, during the same visit.

Preparing children and teens for vaccination

If you are getting your child or teen vaccinated learn how you can support them and talk to them about what to expect. The experience of getting a COVID-19 vaccine will be very similar to that of getting routine vaccines.

Requesting accommodations at COVID-19 vaccination sites

  • When making an appointment or arriving for vaccination, you can let staff and/or volunteers know you or your child might need some accommodations.

  • People with disabilities can use COVID-19 Vaccine Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) to get additional help with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Talk to your doctor if you’re allergic to PEG or polysorbate or have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose.

  • If you are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG), you should not get Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

  • If you are allergic to polysorbate, you should not get Novavax or J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Talk to your doctor to learn if you should get a different type of COVID-19 vaccine. You should also talk to your doctor if you are allergic to other types of vaccines or injectable medications for other diseases.

  • If you had an immediate allergic reaction (a reaction that started within 4 hours of getting vaccinated) to a COVID-19 vaccine, but the reaction was not considered severe by a medical professional, you likely can receive another dose of the same vaccine under certain conditions. Your doctor may refer you to an allergy and immunology specialist for additional care or advice.

  • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, you should discuss this with your doctor to determine which COVID-19 vaccine is best for you.

If you have allergies not related to vaccines

You should get vaccinated if you have allergies that are not related to vaccines or injectable medications such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions can also get vaccinated.

At the Vaccination Site

  • 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.

  • You should NOT be charged for your vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines are paid for with taxpayer dollars and are given free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of health insurance or immigration status. If anyone asks you to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine, it’s a scam.

After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Stay on-site to be monitored for at least 15 minutes.

  • Make sure your vaccination provider updates your vaccination card (or gives you one if this is your first dose).

  • Schedule your next vaccine appointment to stay up to date with the recommended number of doses and boosters.

  • Know that you may experience side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Adverse effects and severe allergic reactions are rare. To report any side effects, you can sign up for v-safe.

Your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card

Keep your CDC COVID-19 vaccination card for proof of vaccination. Consider taking a picture of your card after each of your COVID-19 vaccination appointments as a backup copy.

  • Bring your card to your appointment whenever you get a primary series dose or booster so that your provider can fill in information about your shot.

  • If you did not receive a CDC COVID-19 vaccination card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot to find out how you can get a vaccination card, or contact your state health department to get a copy of your vaccination record.

  • Some vaccination providers and health departments may offer you access to a QR code or digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card in addition to giving you a physical CDC COVID-19 vaccination card. Contact your vaccination provider or local health department to learn if a digital copy of your card will be made available to you.

  • If you were vaccinated abroad there are ways you can update your U.S. vaccination record.

  • To report suspicious activity involving fake CDC COVID-19 vaccination cards, please visit Fraud Alert: COVID-19 Scams or call 1-800-HHS-TIPS.

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