COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility By Age

CDC recommends everyone ages 5+ receive a COVID-19 vaccine. But knowing which vaccine brand has been approved for each age group can be confusing. Learn more about eligibility below or visit the CDC website for more information.

Texas Health is vaccinating ages 12 and older at our Pop-Up Vaccine Clinics.

Vaccines Authorized For

Children 4 years and under:

  • None

Children 5–11 years old:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech

Teens 12–17 years old:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech

 Everyone 18 years and older:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Moderna
  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen

Authorized For

Pfizer-BioNTech

Moderna

J&J / Janssen

Authorized For

4 years and under

Pfizer-BioNTech

No

Moderna

No

J&J / Janssen

No

Authorized For

5–11 years old

Pfizer-BioNTech

Yes

Moderna

No

J&J / Janssen

No

Authorized For

12–17 years old

Pfizer-BioNTech

Yes

Moderna

No

J&J / Janssen

No

Authorized For

18 years and older

Pfizer-BioNTech

Yes

Moderna

Yes

J&J / Janssen

Yes

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/children-teens.html

Additional Dose or Booster Information

The CDC recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to be given at least four weeks after your second dose. For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • What is the difference between an additional dose and booster of the vaccine?
    • Additional Dose – An additional dose of an Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has shown to improve immunocompromised individual’s response to their initial vaccine series, and should be given at least four weeks after your second dose (CDC). Immunocompromised individuals include people 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

    For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

    As always, you should talk to your healthcare provider about your specific medical condition before getting an additional dose of the vaccine. (CDC)

    • Booster Shot – Given when a person has completed their vaccine series and protection against COVID-19 has decreased over time.

      A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

      The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

      The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)
  • Do I need an additional dose or a booster of the vaccine?

    The CDC recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to be given at least four weeks after your second dose. For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

    A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

    The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • Where can I get my additional dose of the vaccine?

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • Am I eligible for an additional dose or a booster?

    The CDC recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to be given at least four weeks after your second dose. For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

    A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

    The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • Who is considered immunocompromised?

    The CDC and FDA have approved administration of an additional dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine for immunocompromised individuals. This includes people 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

    As always, you should talk to your healthcare provider about your specific medical condition before getting an additional dose of the vaccine. (CDC)

  • If I got the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine, do I need to get another dose?

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals 18+ and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

  • Can I mix and match vaccines for my additional dose or booster?

    The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

    At this time, the CDC and FDA are only recommending an additional dose for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals ages 5 years and older who received an mRNA vaccine (i.e. Pfizer and Moderna). Learn more here.

    A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • If I don’t remember which vaccine I got, how can I find out?

    Download step-by-step instructions on the different ways you can get proof of vaccination.

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I’m Ready to Get My First Dose of the Vaccine
Texas Health is vaccinating all persons ages 12 and older at our pop-up vaccine clinics. Pfizer is currently the only vaccine brand being offered at Texas Health’s pop-up clinics.

You can also visit vaccines.gov for more information on where you can get a vaccine in your community.
  • Where can I get a vaccine near me?

    Find a Texas Health pop-up vaccine clinic near you, or visit vaccines.gov for more information on where you can get a vaccine in your community.

  • Do I have to sign up for a vaccine?

    No. Most places are accepting walk-ins for vaccines. Some are also scheduling appointments if that works better for you. Find a vaccine location near you.

  • Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I get?

    Yes. Visit vaccines.gov to find a location near you offering the kind of vaccine you want (Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson).

    If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

  • Can I get a vaccine from Texas Health?

    Find a Texas Health pop-up vaccine clinic near you, or visit vaccines.gov for more information on where you can get a vaccine in your community.

    Texas Health is vaccinating all persons ages 12 and older at our pop-up vaccine clinics. Pfizer is currently the only vaccine brand being offered at Texas Health’s pop-up clinics.

  • Can I visit a Texas Health hospital for the vaccine?

    Not at this time.

    Find a Texas Health pop-up vaccine clinic near you, or visit vaccines.gov for more information on where you can get a vaccine in your community.

    Texas Health is vaccinating all persons ages 12 and older at our pop-up vaccine clinics. Pfizer is currently the only vaccine brand being offered at Texas Health’s pop-up clinics.

  • How much does the vaccine cost?

    COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost. For information visit the CDC website.

    Find a Texas Health pop-up vaccine clinic near you or visit vaccines.gov for more information on where you can get a vaccine in your community.

  • Do I need to wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve recently gotten another vaccine?

    No. The CDC has issued guidance that COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may be given without regard to timing.

    Latest information about vaccine coadministration can be found here.

  • What can I expect on the day I get my vaccine?

    Getting the vaccine usually doesn’t take long. Wear clothes that make it easy for the vaccination staff to access the top of your arm. Follow instructions from the staff at the vaccination site when you arrive. Be prepared to stay around 15-minutes for observation after you get your vaccine to make sure you don’t have immediate reactions to the vaccine.

  • Should I take pain relievers before or after I get my vaccine?

    The CDC does not recommend taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Tylenol®, Advil®, etc.) before getting your COVID-19 vaccine (CDC). It is not known how these medicines may affect how well the vaccine works. Talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You might be able to take one of these medicines for side effects after your vaccine if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally.

    If your doctor has recommended that you take pain relievers regularly or even daily for certain conditions, do not stop taking them before your vaccine without first consulting your doctor.

  • Will I have to take time off of work due to vaccine side effects?

    You might have mild to moderate side effects, but that is normal. Some people will experience side effects for a few days like pain or swelling in the arm, fever, chills, headaches and tiredness. This is normal, and just means your immune system is working. Some people do not have side effects.

  • How long does it take before the vaccines protect me?

    It typically takes 2 weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson). (CDC)

    The CDC recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to be given at least four weeks after your second dose. For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

    A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • Do I need to keep the Vaccination Card that I receive after my first dose?

    Yes. The card can serve as proof of vaccination and help remind you of the date you are eligible for an additional dose or booster.

    COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card
    Source: dshs.texas.gov

     

  • I lost my Vaccination Card. Where can I get proof of vaccination? 

    If you misplaced your Vaccination Card after receiving your vaccine through Texas Health, you can get your COVID-19 vaccine record in several ways. These include: MyChart or the Health Information Management Department at Texas Health. If you received your vaccine through Texas Health or another provider, you can also get your vaccine record through ImmTrac. We are unable to recreate a Vaccination Card.

    Download step-by-step instructions on the different ways you can get proof of vaccination.

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Why Should I get Vaccinated?
Caring for your community means first protecting your own health. The fact is that young and healthy people can still get seriously ill from COVID-19 and the emerging variants. Some schools are even requiring students to be fully vaccinated this school year. So, join the fight against COVID-19 and get vaccinated today for a safer tomorrow.
  • Should I be concerned about COVID-19 variants?

    Ongoing research is being conducted around COVID-19 and its variants.

    Although breakthrough infections are likely to occur in people who are fully vaccinated, vaccination and boosters are still the best protection against COVID-19 and emerging variants like delta and omicron. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters help prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and death from COVID-19. They can also help slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. (CDC)

  • If I have an underlying health condition, should I get the vaccine?

    If you are immunocompromised, you may be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions and it is recommended that most people get the vaccine. Ask your doctor if you have questions.

    If you have certain underlying medical conditions, you may also have an increased risk for COVID-19, and it is highly recommended to get the vaccine.

    • Underlying medical conditions include but are not limited to: Cancer, diabetes, COPD, solid organ transplant recipients, heart failure, coronary artery disease, sickle cell disease, pregnancy, etc. (CDC)

    Severe illness is defined as individuals with COVID-19 who may require hospitalization, intensive care or mechanical ventilation.

  • Should I get the vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19?

    Yes. The CDC recommends vaccination even if you already had COVID-19. Data shows that COVID-19 vaccines offer a higher level of protection than natural immunity alone and can help prevent reinfections. (CDC)

    Individuals who are known COVID-19 positive should wait to get the vaccine until they are symptom free and no longer require isolation. The CDC isolation guidelines can be found here. People who have had COVID-19 may want to check with their primary care provider to see when it is OK to start their vaccines.

  • Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

    It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not use the actual COVID-19 virus to trigger a person’s immune system to make antibodies to protect you against COVID-19.

  • Do I need to continue wearing a mask if I am fully vaccinated?

    To maximize protection from the delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. (CDC)

  • When will we reach herd immunity? 

    Herd immunity happens when enough people in a community are either vaccinated against or have built acquired immunity to a disease (due to having had it at some point) that it makes it difficult to spread that disease from person to person. According to the CDC, it is not yet known what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. CDC and other experts are currently studying herd immunity around the COVID-19 vaccine and will provide more information as it is available. (CDC)

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I Need More Information
General information on vaccine safety, side effects and allergic reactions.
  • Is the vaccine effective against COVID-19 variants?

    Ongoing research is being conducted around COVID-19 and its variants. Data suggests that the vaccine offers protection against most COVID-19 variants. Although breakthrough infections are likely to occur in people who are fully vaccinated, vaccination and boosters are still the best protection against COVID-19 and emerging variants (CDC)

  • Should I get the vaccine if I’ve had COVID-19?

    Yes. The CDC recommends vaccination even if you already had COVID-19. Data shows that COVID-19 vaccines offer a higher level of protection than natural immunity alone and can help prevent reinfections. (CDC)

    Individuals who are known COVID-19 positive should wait to get the vaccine until they are symptom free and no longer require isolation. The CDC isolation guidelines can be found here. People who have had COVID-19 may want to check with their primary care provider to see when it is OK to start their vaccines.

  • Are the vaccines safe?

    The vaccines are proven to be safe. Thousands of people from diverse backgrounds were part of the large safety test trials. No shortcuts were taken when developing the vaccines. Career scientists and doctors, along with a separate committee, reviewed the safety and effectiveness from each manufacturer.*

    The CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 5 years of age and older, given the risk of COVID-19 illness and related, possibly severe complications.** (CDC)

  • How were the vaccines tested?

    Clinical trials are evaluating investigational COVID-19 vaccines in tens of thousands of study participants to allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine safety and effectiveness. These clinical trials are being conducted according to the FDA’s strong standards.

    The trials are conducted in three phases.

    • Phase 1: The vaccine is given to a small number of generally healthy people to assess its safety and to gain information about how well the vaccine works to induce an immune response.
    • Phase 2: Studies include more people with varying health statuses and from different demographic groups receiving various dosages. These studies provide additional safety information and may provide initial information regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine.
    • Phase 3: The vaccine is given to thousands of people in randomized, controlled studies involving broad demographic groups. Some people will receive the vaccine and some will not. This phase generates critical information on effectiveness and additional important safety data. (FDA)
  • Were the vaccines made too quickly?

    No. Widespread trials with more than 113,000 people between the three vaccines showed they are safe and effective. No shortcuts were taken when developing the vaccines.

  • Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccines?

    It is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not use the actual COVID-19 virus to trigger a person’s immune system to make antibodies to protect you against COVID-19.

  • Will the vaccine cause me to test positive for COVID-19?

    No. It is not possible to test positive for COVID-19 from the vaccines. The tests are looking for a current infection or antibodies that reflect a past infection, and the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines do not use the actual COVID-19 virus to trigger a person’s immune system to make protective antibodies against COVID-19. (CDC)

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for older adults?

    It is recommended people 65 years and older get vaccinated according to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. Older adults are considered at highest risk for COVID-19 due to increased illness severity and risk of death.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for people with underlying health conditions?

    If you are immunocompromised, you may be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions and it is recommended that most people get the vaccine. Ask your doctor if you have questions.

    If you have certain underlying medical conditions, you may also have an increased risk for COVID-19, and it is highly recommended to get the vaccine.

    • Underlying medical conditions include but are not limited to: Cancer, diabetes, COPD, solid organ transplant recipients, heart failure, coronary artery disease, sickle cell disease, pregnancy, etc. (CDC)

    Severe illness is defined as individuals with COVID-19 who may require hospitalization, intensive care or mechanical ventilation.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?

    The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine both recommend that people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to be pregnant receive a COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine series.

    Similarly, the CDC also recommends vaccination for people pregnant, breastfeeding or wanting to start a family. According to the CDC website, “evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.” Additionally, the CDC also indicates that there is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

    Individuals should consult their physician for questions specific to their situation.

  • Will the vaccines make me infertile?

    COVID-19 vaccines are not likely to present a risk if you are trying to become pregnant now or in the future. (CDC)

  • How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will I need?
    • Johnson & Johnson vaccine: One dose.
    • Pfizer vaccine: Two doses; the second dose 17-21 days after your first shot.
    • Moderna vaccine: Two doses; the second dose 24-28 days after your first shot.

    CDC guidelines allow up to 6 weeks to receive your second dose.

    The CDC recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals to be given at least four weeks after your second dose. For children ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of the Pfizer vaccine is recommended four weeks after the second dose. (CDC)

    A booster of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for individuals ages 12 and older and should be given five months after the second dose. A booster of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for all adults, ages 18 and older and should be given six months after the second dose. (CDC)

    The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster has been approved for individuals ages 18 and older and should be given at least two months after the first dose.

    The CDC allows mix and match dosing for booster shots. If you are eligible for a booster, you may choose which vaccine you receive for your booster dose. You may have a preference to get the same vaccine type that you originally received, or you may want to get a different booster. (CDC)

    To find a vaccine location near you visit vaccines.gov.

  • What are severe allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines?

    Some people may have allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines. There are different levels of allergic reactions to the vaccines. Unlike side effects, allergic reactions are serious reactions medications or vaccines. (CDC)

    What if I have a severe allergic reaction after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • Texas Health has put safeguards in place to monitor for the possibility of severe allergic reactions.
      • People who have had severe allergic reactions or who have had any type of immediate allergic reaction (within four hours) to a vaccine or injectable therapy will be monitored at the vaccine clinic for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine. All other people will be monitored for 15 minutes.
      • Appropriate medications and equipment—such as epinephrine, antihistamines, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, and timing devices to check your pulse are available at each vaccine clinic.
    • If you have a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccine site, call 911 right away.
    • The CDC considers a severe allergic reaction to be when a person needs to be treated with epinephrine, an EpiPen©, or if they must go to the hospital for emergency care. (e.g. anaphylaxis).

    How will I know ahead of time if I’m allergic to an ingredient in the vaccine?

    • A list of vaccine ingredients is here
    • If you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
    • If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. 

    What if I had a non-severe allergic reaction to COVID-19 vaccine?

    • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get either of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines. An immediate allergic reaction occurs within 4 hours of receiving the vaccine and could be symptoms such as hives, swelling, or wheezing.
    • If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get the second dose. Your doctor may refer you to a specialist in allergies and immunology to provide more care or advice.

    What if I have had an allergic reaction to other types of vaccines?

    • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction—even if it was not severe—to a vaccine or injectable therapy for another disease, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get vaccinated.

    What if I have severe allergies not related to vaccines?

    • If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated.
    • People with a history of allergies to medicines by mouth (oral medicines) or a family history of severe allergic reactions may get vaccinated.

    What if I have had an allergic reaction to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate?

    • People who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate should not get a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Polysorbate is not an ingredient in the COVID-19 vaccine but is closely related to PEG, which is in the vaccines.

    Latest information about vaccine reactions can be found here.

    *On April 23, 2021, the CDC and the FDA lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A safety review found that a very rare, but serious condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) can develop, causing blood clots and low blood platelets. Nearly all reports of this serious condition have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of their increased chance of having TTS and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. The CDC and FDA lifted the temporary pause because a review of the data found that the known and potential benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.

    **On June 23, 2021, the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people states that this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if someone gets COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe. (HHS)

  • What are the side effects of the vaccine?

    It’s important to know the difference between side effects and allergic reactions. Side effects are your body’s natural response to medications or vaccines. These are minor, expected changes that go away in a few days.

    Side effects for the COVID-19 vaccines are expected to be similar to, but perhaps more pronounced than, the side effects some people experience following the flu vaccine. These can include fever, chills, headache and injection site reactions (soreness/pain, redness, muscle aches). The manufacturers said the vaccines are safe and effective, and that most of the side effects resolved shortly after the doses were given.

    Moderna has reported that some trial participants had "severe" side effects, and others had to slow down on their daily activities for a few days. Significant side effects from the first dose included injection site pain, but more felt worse after the second dose — reporting fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and headache, among other symptoms. In the Pfizer trial, participants reported fatigue and headaches after getting the second dose (The Washington PostPfizer and Moderna news releases). *The Johnson & Johnson trial showed that participants had similar side effects after their vaccine. Research around side effects is ongoing. 

    If symptoms worsen or do not go away after one week, contact your primary care provider and get medical attention.

    FDA documents about the Pfizer vaccine can be found here.

    FDA documents about the Moderna vaccine can be found here.

    FDA documents about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can be found here.

    *On April 23, 2021, the CDC and the FDA lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A safety review found that a very rare, but serious condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) can develop, causing blood clots and low blood platelets. Nearly all reports of this serious condition have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of their increased chance of having TTS and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. The CDC and FDA lifted the temporary pause because a review of the data found that the known and potential benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.

    **On June 23, 2021, the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people states that this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if someone gets COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe. (HHS)

  • How do I report side effects from the vaccine?

    If you received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last six weeks, v-safe is a way that you can tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) if you have any side effects from the vaccine. This smartphone tool uses text messaging and web surveys that allow you to provide health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Participation in v-safe helps keep COVID-19 vaccines safe. Learn more at vsafe.cdc.gov.

  • Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I am getting a long-acting steroid injection for another condition (for example, a steroid injection into a joint or into the spine)?

    People who get musculoskeletal steroid shots may want to wait to receive their COVID-19 vaccine 2 weeks before and/or 1 week after getting a steroid shot. Recently, several professional medical societies have updated their guidance for patients receiving musculoskeletal steroid injections. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.”

  • Will the vaccines change my DNA?

    No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way.

  • What is the Comirnaty vaccine?

    Comirnaty is the brand name for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. On August 23, 2021, the vaccine received full FDA approval for people 16 and older. Choosing a brand name is a regular part of the full FDA approval process for all medications. Pfizer has changed the name, but not vaccine formula.

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Doctor with patient using tablet
Testing Resources
Find more information on COVID-19 testing.

On April 23, 2021, the CDC and the FDA lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. A safety review found that a very rare, but serious condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) can develop, causing blood clots and low blood platelets. Nearly all reports of this serious condition have been in adult women younger than 50 years old. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of their increased chance of having TTS and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen. The CDC and FDA lifted the temporary pause because a review of the data found that the known and potential benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine.

**On June 23, 2021, the latest data on reports of mild cases of inflammation of the heart muscle and surrounding tissue called myocarditis and pericarditis following COVID-19 vaccination among younger people states that this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination. Importantly, for the young people who do, most cases are mild, and individuals recover often on their own or with minimal treatment. In addition, myocarditis and pericarditis are much more common if someone gets COVID-19, and the risks to the heart from COVID-19 infection can be more severe. (HHS)

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