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Older woman getting an injection

Answer:

Three very effective vaccines against COVID-19 (caused by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2) are available. Two (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and one (Comirnaty by Pfizer/BioNTech) has been approved. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna use mRNA, and Johnson & Johnson uses a modified virus. Here is what you need to know about them.

KEY POINTS:

  • Unless contraindicated, strongly consider getting any of the vaccines after talking with your doctor — current data shows they can help protect you
    To find out more about who can get the vaccine and who should not be vaccinated, read about whether pre-existing conditions should stop you from getting the vaccine.
  • The vaccine is free (for now)
    The cost of the vaccine will be covered by Medicare and most insurance plans, some even if received outside your network. However, certain alternative healthcare plans (ex: short-term limited duration insurance) may charge a copay. People who are uninsured can be vaccinated for free. Their healthcare providers will need to submit a reimbursement claim to the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Some members of the U.S. workforce will need to get vaccinated or show negative tests results at least weekly
    Those required to be vaccinated will also be guaranteed paid time off to get their shots.
  • You can't get COVID or spread it from the vaccine
    The mRNA vaccines don't contain virus. They instruct your body to make a protein found on the virus that triggers an immune reaction, creating immunity to the virus. The mRNA never enters the cell's nucleus, so it never interacts with or becomes part of your DNA. It also doesn't stick around inside the body — it's broken down once the protein is made. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a genetically-modified adenovirus (which cannot replicate in humans) to carry a piece of DNA into the nuclei of cells, where it is read and copied into mRNA, which then, like the mRNA vaccines, instructs the cell to make the SARS-Cov-2 spike protein. DNA from the genetically-modified adenovirus (Ad26.COV2.S) is not integrated into the genome of the person being vaccinated.
  • Get the 2nd shot if you get an mRNA vaccine!
    While the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine requires only one shot, the mRNA vaccines require two shots. You may only get about 52% protection between the first and second mRNA shot but 94% to 95% after the second. Come back about 21 days later for Pfizer and 28 days later for Moderna second doses (while the second dose should be given as close to this recommended interval as possible, it's okay to get it up to 4 days early or up to 6 weeks after the first dose. Even if you miss the extended interval, you should still get your second shot, although you'll have less protection during that time). If you get a first shot, use v-safe to set a reminder on a smartphone for when to get second shot, as well as to reports side effects.
  • Don't assume you're protected from COVID-19 immediately after receiving a shot
    High protection occurs about 2 weeks after a single dose of the J&J vaccine (although additional protection may occur at 4 weeks or later) or 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of mRNA vaccine. Don't assume you're protected during the 21 to 28 days between the first and second mRNA COVID-19 vaccine shots.
  • Be prepared for side effects, but don't worry if you don't experience any
    Injection site pain (typical for any vaccine) and flu-like symptoms are the most common side effects for any of the vaccines. These side effects are typically short-lived, and some people don't experience any. Rarely, severe side effects occur.
  • Get a booster when you're eligible
    Due to waning protection, all adults who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines may get any authorized booster at least 6 months after completion of the primary series, and those who received the J&J vaccine should do the same at least 2 months after vaccination. Certain groups of people are specifically encouraged to get a booster.

Sign in now to learn more, including:

  • How, when and where to get the vaccine
  • How the vaccines compare (on efficacy, side effects, dosing, ingredients and availability)
  • Whether people with specific medical conditions may be vaccinated, including those with active infection or a history of COVID-19, exposure to COVID-19, shingles, cancer, heart conditions or pulmonary disease, genetic heart conditions, anemia, use of blood thinners or statins, history of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus erythematosus) or taking immunosuppressants (including corticosteroids such as prednisone), chronic inflammatory diseases (e.g., inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis), splenectomy or functional asplenia, liver disease or transplant, kidney disease (including those on dialysis) or transplant, psoriasis, eczema, multiple sclerosis (MS), mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS), a compromised immune system (including use of immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids), Parkinson's disease, peripheral neuropathy, migraine, allergies or a history of allergic reactions, a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome or Bell's palsy, dermal (skin) fillers (including those placed recently or years ago), osteoporosis, very frail elderly, before or after surgery, pregnancy, or breast-feeding
  • If pain relievers / fever reducers can be used to lessen vaccine side effects, and which of these medicines worst best for specific side effects
  • If antihistamines (e.g., Benadryl) can be used to reduce the risk of allergic reactions
  • Behavior changes that may improve vaccine immune response, including foods or supplements to potentially boost vaccine response (and those that should be avoided)
  • If the vaccines protect against new variants, including Delta
  • Why people with a history of COVID should still get the vaccine
  • If vaccines make you test positive on a COVID-19 test
  • If people concerned about the mRNA vaccines should consider getting the J&J vaccine

As each state in the U.S. is in charge of its own vaccine roll out, we've put together the following table to help you get information on what's happening in your state:

State-by-State Vaccine Information
State Vaccination Website Information Provided
Alabama
https://www.alcovidvaccine.gov/
Links to schedule vaccine or be notified when eligible; hotline for questions
Alaska
http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/VaccineAppointments.aspx
Links to confirm eligibility, find a vaccine, browse appointments; hotline for questions
Arizona
https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-find-vaccine
Current phases by county; link to schedule vaccine; hotline for questions
Arkansas
https://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programs-services/topics/covid-19-vaccination-plan
Current phase; eligibility; estimated start dates of later phases; link to information about vaccine sites
California
https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines/

Quick Locator:
https://www.vaccinateca.com/
(A community-led website)
Who's currently eligible; link to schedule vaccine or be notified when eligible; hotline for questions
Colorado
https://covid19.colorado.gov/for-coloradans/vaccine/vaccine-for-coloradans
Current phase; eligibility; estimated start dates of later phases; link to find a vaccine site; hotline for questions
Connecticut
https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/covid-19%20vaccinations
Who's currently eligible; estimated start dates of later phases; links to find and schedule a vaccine
Delaware
https://coronavirus.delaware.gov/vaccine/
Who's currently eligible; link to find a vaccine site; information about upcoming phases
District of Columbia
https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaccine
Link to register / schedule vaccine if eligible; link to be notified when eligible
Florida
https://floridahealthcovid19.gov/covid-19-vaccines-in-florida/

Quick Locator:
https://www.findyourvaccine.org/FL
(A volunteer-led website)
Who's currently eligible; links to pre-register and find a vaccine site
Georgia
https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine
Who's currently eligible; links to vaccine sites
Hawaii
https://hawaiicovid19.com/vaccine/
Who's currently eligible; link to register; estimated start dates and eligibility of later phases
Idaho
https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/covid-19-vaccination
Who's currently eligible; estimated start dates and eligibility of later phases; vaccine sites and links to schedule vaccine
Illinois
https://www.dph.illinois.gov/covid19/vaccination-plan
Current phase; who's eligible in each phase
Indiana
https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine/index.htm
Who's currently eligible; links to find a vaccine site and register
Iowa
https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Vaccine/Information-for-the-Public
Who's currently eligible; link with information to schedule vaccine
Kansas
https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/157/Availability
Link with information about phases and eligibility for each phase
Kentucky
https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-covid-vaccine
Link to find out when eligible and to find a vaccine sites; description of phases
Louisiana
https://ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine/
Who's currently eligible; list of vaccine sites
Maine
https://www.maine.gov/covid19/vaccines
Who's currently eligible and who's eligible in upcoming phases; expected dates for phases; link to vaccine sites
Maryland
https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine
Who's currently eligible; link to list of vaccine sites
Massachusetts
https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine

Quick Locator:
https://www.macovidvaccines.com/
(Run by a software developer)
Links to confirm eligibility and find and schedule vaccine
Michigan
https://www.michigan.gov/coronavirus/0,9753,7-406-98178_103214---,00.html

Quick Locator:
https://www.vaccinemi.com/
(A community-led website)
Link to find a vaccine site by county
Minnesota
https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine/plan.html
Who's currently eligible; link to find a vaccine site
Mississippi
https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/14,0,420,976.html
Who's currently eligible; link to find a vaccine site
Missouri
https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/residents/
Link to confirm eligibility and to find a vaccine site
Montana
https://dphhs.mt.gov/covid19vaccine/
Who's currently eligible; links to local health departments
Nebraska
http://dhhs.ne.gov/Pages/COVID-19-Vaccine-Information.aspx
Who's covered in each phase; estimated start dates of each phase; link to register
Nevada
https://www.immunizenevada.org/covid-19-vaccine
Link to confirm eligibility or be notified when eligible; hotline for information
New Hampshire
https://www.vaccines.nh.gov/
Current phase; link to confirm eligibility; link to register; hotline for information
New Jersey
https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/vaccine
Help scheduling an appointment; hotline for information
New Mexico
https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-vaccine/
Who's currently eligible; link to register; hotline for information
New York
https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/

Quick Locators for NY City only:
https://nycvaccinelist.com/
(A volunteer-led effort)
https://www.turbovax.info/
(Run by a software developer)
Link to confirm eligibility and schedule a vaccine
North Carolina
https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines
Link to confirm eligibility; link to find a vaccine site; hotline for information
North Dakota
https://www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator
Vaccine sites and eligibility by county
Ohio
https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/
Link to check eligibility and make an appointment if eligible
Oklahoma
https://www.occhd.org/covid-19vaccine
Who's currently eligible; who's eligible in upcoming phases; link to pre-register
Oregon
https://covidvaccine.oregon.gov/
Link to confirm eligibility or be notified when eligible; link to schedule vaccine
Pennsylvania
https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
Who's currently eligible; who's eligible in upcoming phases; links to vaccine sites
Rhode Island
https://covid.ri.gov/vaccination
Who's currently eligible; estimated start dates for upcoming phases; links to vaccine sites
South Carolina
https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine
Who's currently eligible; who's eligible in upcoming phase; links to find a vaccine site
South Dakota
https://doh.sd.gov/Covid/Vaccine/Public.aspx
Links to current phase; eligibility and estimated start date of later phases; vaccine locations by county
Tennessee
https://covid19.tn.gov/covid-19-vaccines/county-vaccine-information/
Vaccine information by county; link to confirm eligibility; link to vaccine sites
Texas
https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine-hubs.aspx

Quick Locator:
https://www.covid19vaccinetx.com/
(Crowdsourced information)
Who's currently eligible; link to vaccine sites by county
Utah
https://coronavirus.utah.gov/vaccine/
Who's currently eligible; link to schedule vaccine with local health department
Vermont
https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine
Who's currently eligible; links to schedule vaccine
Virginia
https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/covid-19-vaccine/
Link to eligibility by county; tool to confirm eligibility; hotline for information
Washington
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Emergencies/COVID19/vaccine

Quick Locator:
https://www.covidwa.com/
(A volunteer-led website)
Who's currently eligible; link to find a vaccine site; tool to confirm eligibility and be notified when eligible
West Virginia
https://dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
Who's currently eligible; link to pre-register
Wisconsin
https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/vaccine-about.htm
Who's currently eligible; vaccine sites for eligible groups
Wyoming
https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/immunization/wyoming-covid-19-vaccine-information/county-covid-19-vaccine-information/
Who's currently eligible by county; links to pre-register

If you live in Puerto Rico, you can get information about the vaccine roll-out from the Departamento de Salud - Programa de Vacunación.

If you live in Canada, you can get information about the vaccine roll-out by province and territory from Canada's Covid-19 vaccines website.

Sign in now for more details about the COVID-19 vaccines.

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