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October 17, 2022

Who should get vaccinated for COVID-19?

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

In the United States, everyone 6 months old and over is currently eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. CDC recommends that everyone in this group get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they can.

Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness and death due to COVID-19.

Booster shots are also recommended at the appropriate time for everyone 5 years and older. For people who are older than 50 or are immunocompromised, the FDA has authorized a 2nd booster shot (Moderna or Pfizer) 4 months after receiving your initial booster. Booster shots help maintain a strong level of protection against new variants such as Delta and Omicron, which are more than twice as contagious as the original virus.

Tyeese Gaines -- Why Get The Vax | COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative
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What if I have an underlying health condition?

People with underlying health conditions can safely receive the COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA. Vaccination is especially important for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. For people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems, an extra booster shot is recommended by the FDA.

Examples of individuals with compromised immune systems that are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 include — but are not limited to — people:

  • being treated for tumors and blood cancers;
  • who have received organ transplants;
  • with advanced or untreated HIV infection;
  • with diseases such as DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome

If you have a weakened immune system from a health condition or medications, you should talk to your doctor. They may recommend you keep taking certain precautions even after you are vaccinated to minimize the risk of infection. They may also recommend a third primary vaccine shot in addition to your booster shot depending on your situation.

People who have autoimmune conditions and who have previously had Guillain-Barre syndrome or Bell’s palsy may receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised People (CDC)
What should I know about vaccines and pregnancy?

CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for women who are currently pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.

There is growing evidence of how safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are during pregnancy. Data suggest that the benefits of getting vaccinated during pregnancy are greater than any known or potential risks. Vaccination is even more important for these groups because pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severe illness from COVID-19.

There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines or any other vaccines cause fertility problems in women or men. Additionally, there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccinations led to an increased risk of stillbirths for women who are pregnant.

COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding (CDC)
Should young adults get vaccinated?

CDC recommends that teenagers and young adults in the United States get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as they can. Studies show that being vaccinated helps keep you from getting seriously ill and also reduces how long you might be able to spread the virus to others.

Although most people who catch COVID-19 get better within weeks or months, some do not. CDC and health experts are learning more about short- and long-term health effects of COVID-19, who gets them, and why. People with “long COVID” report different types of symptoms. These include trouble focusing or "brain fog", memory loss, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, and loss of smell or taste.

More on long term effects of COVID-19 (CDC)
Should I get a vaccine if I have had COVID-19?

Yes, health experts recommend getting vaccinated whether or not you have already had COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible, but rare, that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, talk to your doctor about when you should get vaccinated.

While people who’ve already been infected may have some form of natural immunity, studies suggest that immune protection offered by vaccines is more consistent and generates a stronger antibody response.

Benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine (CDC)
What should I know about vaccines and Guillain-Barré Syndrome?

The FDA and CDC are monitoring reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) after the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Such cases have not been reported after the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines.

GBS is a very rare disorder where the body’s immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. More than 12 million doses of Johnson and Johnson have been given, with around 100 initial reports of GBS. These cases have largely been reported about 2 weeks after vaccination and mostly in men, many 50 years and older. Public health experts will continue to evaluate reports of GBS after the Johnson and Johnson vaccination.

You should seek medical attention right away if you develop any of the following symptoms after getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine:

  • A weakness or tingling sensation, especially in the legs or arms, that’s worsening and spreading to other parts of the body
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty with facial movements, including speaking, chewing, or swallowing
  • Double vision or inability to move eyes
  • Difficulty with bladder control or bowel function
Selected Adverse Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccination (CDC)

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