Frequently Asked Questions About Updated COVID-19 Vaccines
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What is an updated COVID vaccine?
An updated COVID vaccine targets the Omicron variant, which is the type of COVID infecting people today.
It’s especially important for the following people to get an updated COVID vaccine because they’re at increased risk for severe illness from COVID:
- People age 50 and older
- People who live in long-term care settings
- People with certain medical conditions
- Pregnant and recently pregnant people
When should adults get an updated COVID vaccine?
Get an updated COVID vaccine now if you’re 18 or older and:
- You haven’t yet gotten a COVID vaccine.
- You’re vaccinated and your last dose was before September 2022.
Do I need more than 1 dose of an updated COVID vaccine?
If you’re 65 or older, you can now get a second updated COVID vaccine beginning 4 months after your first.
If you have a weakened immune system, you can now get a second updated COVID vaccine beginning 2 months after your first. You can get more doses after that if your doctor recommends them.
If none of the above applies to you, then you currently only need 1 updated COVID vaccine dose.
When should children get an updated COVID vaccine?
Children should get an updated COVID vaccine now if they’re:
- 6–17 years and haven’t yet gotten any COVID vaccine doses.
- 12–17 years, got a Pfizer-BioNTech or Novavax vaccine, and their last dose was before September 2022.
- 6–17 years, got a Moderna vaccine, and their last dose was before October 2022.
- 5–11 years, got a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and their last dose was before October 2022.
- 6 months – 5 years, got a Moderna vaccine, and their last dose was before December 2022.
- 6 months – 4 years, got a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and their last dose was before December 2022.
Children 6 months – 4 years who completed their 3-dose Pfizer-BioNTech primary vaccination series in or after December 2022 don’t need an updated vaccine at this time.
I recently had COVID. Do I still need to get an updated COVID vaccine?
Yes. But you can wait 3 months from when you got sick to get the COVID vaccine dose you need.
Do I have to get the same COVID vaccine I got previously for my updated vaccine?
If you’re 5 or older, you can get either Pfizer-BioNTech’s or Moderna’s updated COVID vaccine; it doesn’t matter which COVID vaccine you got previously—Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.
Are the updated COVID vaccines safe?
Yes. Just like other vaccinations, your arm might feel sore after you get your shot. You might also experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, body aches, and tiredness.
These are normal signs that your immune system is responding to the vaccine. Although these side effects may be unpleasant, you’re not actually sick. And they last a few days at most.
Serious side effects from any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines, are very rare.
Where can I get an updated COVID vaccine?
Vaccines are available from pharmacies, doctors’ offices, community health centers, and many more locations. Most people live within 5 miles of a vaccination site.
You have 3 ways to find free vaccines near you:
- Go to vaccines.gov
- Text your ZIP code to 438829
- Call 1-800-232-0233
Remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record card when you go for your updated vaccine.
When am I best protected with a COVID vaccine?
You’re best protected when you’re up to date with your COVID vaccines. That means you’ve gotten all recommended doses for people your age.
Do I need to keep wearing a mask once I get my updated vaccine?
To maximize protection from highly contagious variants and prevent possibly spreading COVID to others, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people should wear a mask inside public places when the COVID risk to your community is high.
Vaccinated and unvaccinated people must also follow federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws, rules, and regulations. That includes safety precautions for:
- Public transportation
- Airports and airplanes
- Local businesses
Where can I find more information about COVID-19 vaccines?
For more information about COVID-19, including the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines, see our Facts About COVID-19 and the Vaccines.