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There are currently three different COVID-19 vaccines available to the public. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full FDA approval for persons ages 16 and older, and emergency Use Authorization for use in persons 5 to 15 years of age. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been approved by the FDA for emergency use; however, the CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines as preferred options to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when possible. Understand the benefits and risks to help you decide which vaccine is right for you. The most important decision is to get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic.
COVID-19 Can Cause Severe Illness
COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus that spreads in the air, especially when an infected person speaks, sneezes or coughs indoors. COVID-19 can cause severe illness, pneumonia or death, and we are still learning about its long-term effects.
Vaccination is Recommended for People Age 5+
The CDC recommends that all individuals age 5 and older receive the COVID-19 vaccination. It is your choice to get vaccinated. You can choose which vaccine you receive; however, the CDC recommends the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines as preferred options to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine when possible. Your decisions will not change your standard medical care.
The three vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19 are:
Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 5 and up (2 doses, 21 days apart and a booster if eligible)
Moderna for people ages 18 and up (2 doses, 28 days apart and a booster if eligible)
Johnson & Johnson for people ages 18 and up (1 dose and a booster)
COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Recommendations
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommended that specific populations receive COVID-19 Booster doses after completing their initial vaccination series. Learn more about Boosters and who is recommended to receive one by reading our COVID-19 Booster Vaccine Fact Sheet
Additional Vaccine Doses for People Whose Immune Systems are Compromised
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the emergency use authorization for both mRNA vaccines, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, for immunocompromised individuals. This authorization covers people ages 5 and up receiving treatments associated with moderate to severe immune compromise. This includes individuals who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.
To learn more read the
Questions and Answers for Additional Vaccine Doses for People Whose Immune Systems are Compromised.
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