How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

How to make your COVID-19 vaccination appointment and get ready for it.

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children ages 6 months and older who live or go to school in Massachusetts. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and free. Contact your child’s health care provider or search VaxFinder.mass.gov for vaccination appointments.

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Make your COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Preregistration has closed. Use VaxFinder.mass.gov to search for a vaccine appointment near you.

People without access to the internet or who are unable to schedule their appointment online can call toll free 2-1-1 or (877) 211-6277 for assistance.

If you need public transportation, use the MBTA trip planner.

What to know before you go

The COVID-19 vaccine is free

Important information to know before going to your appointment:

  • The vaccine is free. You will never be asked for a credit card number to make an appointment.
  • The Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax vaccines require two doses. You should make sure you have a second appointment scheduled from the same site, or know how to schedule it, before leaving your first appointment. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen only requires one dose. 
  • You can get a vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license, or a Social Security number
  • Be prepared to wait 15 to 30 minutes after receiving the vaccine for observation.

What you need for your appointment

Additional documents

Your vaccination location may list the below items as necessary, however, that only applies to people who have them. You can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine without insurance or an ID.

  • Bring an ID with your name, if you have one, to verify your name in the vaccination system.
  • Bring your health insurance card, if you have one. Your insurance will be billed at no cost to you. You do not need to be insured to receive the vaccine.

During your appointment

  • If you arrive early, please wait in your car until your appointment time.
  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
  • You will get a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, and when and where you received it. If you received the Pfizer, Moderna or Novavax vaccines, the card will remind you to return for a second dose. 
  • The vaccination site will tell you when to come back for your second appointment, if applicable.

Make sure you get both doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax

You need two doses of the same vaccine to be fully protected.

  • It's important that you get the same type of vaccine both times.
  • Go back to the same vaccination site to get the second dose.

Booster information

The updated (bivalent) boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5. 

Previous boosters are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19. They also provide some protection against Omicron, but not as much as the updated (bivalent) boosters. 

The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants. Learn more about variants of the COVID-19 virus

Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have developed updated (bivalent) COVID-19 boosters. 

Everyone ages 6 months and older should get all COVID-19 primary series doses, plus the most recent booster dose recommended for them.   

People ages 6 months and older are recommended to receive 1 updated (bivalent mRNA) booster dose after completion of any primary series or previously received monovalent booster dose(s) with the following exception: children 6 months–4 years who receive a 3-dose Pfizer-BioNTech primary series are not authorized to receive a booster dose at this time regardless of which Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (i.e., a monovalent or bivalent) was administered for the third primary series dose. Monovalent mRNA vaccines are not authorized as a booster dose. 

For people ages 6 years and older, your booster vaccine does NOT need to be the same as your primary series – “mix & match” is OK.  

The recommendations can vary based on your age and which product you get. Discuss options with your healthcare provider or vaccine administrator, or learn more here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html 

Learn more about booster eligibility. Use VaxFinder to find a pharmacy or other location to get your booster.  

Like the COVID-19 vaccines, boosters are free. You do not need to show your CDC vaccination card to get your booster.   

There are no ID or health insurance requirements to get a booster. If you do have an ID or health insurance, you should bring them to your appointment. 

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