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How do I get vaccinated against COVID-19?

Last Updated

April 12, 2021

The answers on this site were developed with and vetted by the CDC

Vaccine Finder is the most up-to-date national database of locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines. When you use the tool, make sure to note:

  • You'll need to contact a location directly to book an appointment before going, either by phone or on their website (the Vaccine Finder tool does not allow for appointment booking, only finding locations where vaccines are being offered).
  • You'll also need to first confirm that you are currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in your state. To see if you are eligible, consult your state's current guidelines. Most states have these posted online. There are also other resources such as Plan Your Vaccine to help you get started.
  • More data is being added every day about vaccination locations and availability. Since information might be limited in some states while more providers and pharmacies are being added, be sure to check Vaccine Finder regularly if you don't see available vaccines near you yet.

What is ACIP?

ACIP is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. It’s made up of independent medical and public health experts. They review the evidence and make recommendations along with the CDC on how vaccines can be used for the public.

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When can I get vaccinated?

Although the vaccine supply is currently limited, the federal government is working toward making vaccines widely available for everyone in the coming months at no cost.

Because the U.S. supply of COVID-19 vaccine is still limited, CDC has provided recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. CDC’s recommendations are based on those from ACIP, an independent panel of medical and public health experts.

The recommendations were made with these goals in mind:

  • Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible.

  • Preserve functioning of society.

  • Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.

While CDC makes recommendations for who should be offered COVID-19 vaccine first, each state has its own plan for deciding who will be vaccinated first and how they can receive vaccines. Vaccine Finder is the most up-to-date national database of locations that offer COVID-19 vaccines.

More about vaccine recommendations (CDC)
What type of vaccine will I get?

While supplies are limited, if you are in one of the groups recommended to take the vaccine, you will need to get whichever vaccine is available in your area. It’s possible that in the coming months, as production increases and more vaccines get approved for use, that people will have options for which shot to get.

The bottom line is that every vaccine that gets through the authorization process has been thoroughly tested and proven to be effective and safe. You should feel confident that your experience will be similar regardless of which shot you get.

You’ll get a card or fact sheet at your vaccination site that will tell you about the vaccine and help you understand the details. Your card will tell you which kind of vaccine you get and when to get the second dose, if applicable.

What to expect at your appointment (CDC)
How much does it cost?

COVID-19 vaccine is provided at 100% no cost to recipients. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. No one can be denied a vaccine if they are unable to pay a vaccine administration fee.

More about the vaccination program (CDC)
Do I need 1 shot or 2 shots?

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19.

Two of these vaccines are given in two shots, one at a time and spaced apart. The second shot of the Moderna vaccine should be given 28 days after your first shot, and the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine should be given 21 days after your first shot. If you are told you need two shots, make sure that you get both of them. The different types of vaccine are not interchangeable, so your doctor or pharmacist will help make sure you get the same type of vaccine for both shots if applicable. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine only requires one shot.

The vaccines may work in slightly different ways, but all types of the vaccines will help protect you. It takes time for your body to build immunity after vaccination, so you might not get full protection until two weeks after your final shot for two-dose vaccines, and your single shot for a single-dose vaccine.

Ask your healthcare provider about tools (like V-safe) that can send you automated reminders about getting your first and second shots at the appropriate time.

What to expect at your appointment (CDC)
Do I have to show proof of citizenship to get a vaccine?

CDC does not require United States citizenship for individuals to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

DHS statement on equal access (DHS)