Cost and Eligibility

Yes, the vaccine will not cost you anything.

No. Anyone can get the vaccine, regardless of if they have health insurance or not. You cannot be turned away from a vaccine appointment because you don’t have health insurance.

No ID is required. Providers cannot require you to present a state or government-issued ID. The vaccine is available to everyone, regardless of immigration status.

The CDC recommends getting the COVID-19 vaccine, even if you’ve had COVID-19 previously. However, before getting the vaccine, your symptoms should be resolved (if you had any) AND you should have completed your recommended isolation.

You should discuss with your doctor if it makes sense for you based on your medical history. In general:

  • If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccine, but you should be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine.
  • If you’ve ever had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not getting that specific vaccine.
  • If you are allergic to polysorbate, you should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
  • If you have an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose.

Wait at least 14 days before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine, if you get your COVID-19 vaccine first. And if you get another vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

If a COVID-19 vaccine is inadvertently given within 14 days of another vaccine, you do not need to restart the COVID-19 vaccine series; you should still complete the series on schedule. When more data are available on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, CDC may update this recommendation.

Safety

  • One of the reasons scientists were able to create this vaccine faster than others in the past is modern scientific tools are faster than old ones.
  • In addition creating these vaccines was a collaborative, global effort – governments, academics, and private companies across the world worked together to reduce and remove the usual barriers to vaccine research, production, and distribution.
  • In both clinical trials (where tens of thousands of people are enrolled to get vaccines and placebos, and are followed over time) both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were determined to be safe and 94%-95% effective after two doses. If there were any doubts about safety, the vaccines would not have been approved by the FDA.

This is not true. It’s important to recognize that getting the vaccine is not just about surviving COVID-19. It’s about preventing spread of the virus to others and preventing infection that can lead to long-term negative health effects.

Please reference this guide after getting your COVID-19 vaccine:

Post-Vaccine Education Material – Google Docs

People who are pregnant and part of a group recommended to receive the COVID-19 vaccine may choose to be vaccinated. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, talking with a healthcare provider might help you make an informed decision. While breastfeeding is an important consideration, it is rarely a safety concern with vaccines.

No data are available yet on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on breastfed infants or on milk production/excretion. mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants. People who are breastfeeding and are part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, such as healthcare personnel, may choose to be vaccinated.

To make sure that more information is gathered regarding the safety of these vaccines when administered during pregnancy, pregnant people are encouraged to enroll in v-safe, CDC’s new smartphone-based tool being used to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If pregnant people report health events through v-safe after vaccination, someone from CDC may call to check on them and get more information. Additionally, pregnant people enrolled in v-safe will be contacted by CDC and asked to participate in a pregnancy registry that will monitor them through pregnancy and the first 3 months of infancy. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

People with underlying medical conditions can receive the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines provided 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 persons 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 the virus that causes COVID-19.

After receiving the vaccine, a very small number of people have had allergic reactions, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and rashes after vaccination. In a small number of cases these reactions have required medical attention. All vaccination clinics are equipped to deal with these rare situations on site.

Just as with other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause temporary effects soon after they enter the body and start teaching the immune system to go after the coronavirus — this actually means the vaccine is working! Tens of thousands of people have received the vaccines in clinical trials, and hundreds of thousands more Americans are getting it every day without any side effects.

You may have heard claims that the COVID-19 vaccine will have long-term negative effects on the body. None of these are true! When we see side-effects from vaccines, we will generally see anything significant within the first two months.

Health officials are watching out for any patterns of problems that are out of the ordinary. With the scrutiny on these vaccines, combined with the fact that there are many more varieties of the COVID-19 vaccine now being tested, it means that we would have an early warning and alternatives.

General

Many say the COVID vaccine is very similar to a flu shot. Your arm will likely hurt afterwards, which is a sign that the antibodies are being activated. Some people experience muscle aches, chills and a fever. Many more have zero symptoms beyond a sore arm.

The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use a technique known as mRNA, or messenger RNA. These vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless and specific piece of protein (the same protein found on the surface of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19).

The protein piece triggers our immune system to make antibodies against it, just as it would if it were exposed to the real coronavirus that causes COVID-19. In this way, the body learns how to protect itself when and if the real virus shows up.

The mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19, nor does the mRNA get into the cell’s nucleus, which is where our DNA (genetic material) is stored.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine works via a viral vector mechanism. In this vaccine, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in your body and then instruct that cell to produce just the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The spike protein then appears on the surface of the cell, inducing an immune response that mimics the way we fight off infections and protects us from natural infection with SARS-CoV-2.

The protection someone gains from having an infection (called “natural immunity”) varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Because this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last. Current evidence suggests that getting the virus again (reinfection) is uncommon in the 90 days after the first infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.

We won’t know how long immunity lasts after vaccination until we have more data on how well COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions.

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.