Common questions related to COVID-19 vaccination and booster recommendation.
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- Department of Public Health
COVID-19 vaccination and booster frequently asked questions
Table of Contents
Who should get COVID-19 vaccination?
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older in the United States for the prevention of COVID-19. There is currently no FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine for children younger than age 6 months. CDC recommends that people stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination.
I have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, do I need a booster dose?
The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants. The first COVID-19 vaccines are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original variant of virus that causes COVID-19. However, two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have developed updated COVID-19 vaccines. The updated vaccines are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the newer variants, such as Omicron variants. The newer bivalent vaccines provide greater protection from COVID- 19 than the original monovalent vaccines.
CDC recommends that all people ages 6 months and older receive at least 1 bivalent (updated) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This may be called a booster if you have had prior monovalent vaccination.
Can I still get the older, monovalent vaccine?
The monovalent formulations of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are no longer available and should no longer be used for COVID-19 vaccination.
When and where can I get the updated bivalent vaccine or booster?
Updated bivalent vaccines and boosters are widely available , including at doctor’s offices, hospitals, pharmacies, and community health clinics.
Am I fully vaccinated without if I have not had an updated (bivalent)booster?
You are not considered fully vaccinated or up to date with COVID-19 vaccination if you have not had a bivalent (updated) COVID-19 vaccine.
Are COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters free?
Yes, vaccination is free. You do not need to pay, have ID, or have health insurance to get a booster.
Do I need to be a Massachusetts resident to get a booster? What if I lived somewhere else when I got my initial COVID-19 vaccine doses?
You can get aCOVID-19 vaccination or booster in Massachusetts if you live, work or study here.
What if I don’t know when I received my last COVID-19 vaccine shot or what type it was?
To learn whether you need an updated booster dose, you should consult your primary care provider or the retail pharmacy where you were first vaccinated. If that is not possible, learn how to obtain your vaccination record by visiting www.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.
If I have already had COVID, should I still get vaccinated or get a booster?
Yes. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19 even in people who have already been sick with COVID-19.
After having COVID, how long do I need to wait to get vaccinated or boosted?
You should wait until your 10-day period of isolation is over and any symptoms have improved. This to ensure that you don’t spread COVID-19 to others.
Getting COVID-19 vaccination or booster
How do I get an updated bivalent vaccine?
There are hundreds of locations across the Commonwealth for residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
In order to find a convenient location for getting a COVID-19 Booster:
Search vaccines.gov for vaccination appointments or find a mobile vaccination clinic.
If you have a question, you may contact the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and has translators available in approximately 100 additional languages.
Do I need to show my vaccine card or other proof of being fully vaccinated to get my booster?
If you have your vaccine card it is helpful so that your booster dose can be added to it, but you do not need to show your CDC vaccination card to get your booster. You will be asked to self-attest that you meet eligibility requirements such as age, health conditions, or occupation.
There are no ID, or health insurance requirements. Your vaccinator may choose to look up your vaccine records to confirm the type of vaccine you received before.
I got vaccinated at a MassVax site, where do I go to get my booster or updated bivalent dose?
You can get a bivalent shot anywhere they are available including your primary care provider, a retail pharmacy or a community vaccination clinic. Or search vaccines.gov for vaccination appointments or find a mobile vaccination clinic.
Can I just walk-in or do I need to book an appointment?
Walk-ins and appointments will be available at retail pharmacies, however, residents are encouraged to search vaccines.gov for vaccination appointments or find a mobile vaccination clinic.
Can I book an appointment by calling 2-1-1?
Yes. Individuals without access to the internet or who are unable to schedule their appointment online can call the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line toll free 2-1-1 or 877-211-6277 for assistance with setting up an appointment.
Can I get my COVID-19 vaccine at home?
Yes. If you have trouble getting to a vaccine clinic, you can use the In-Home Vaccination Program. Visit http://mass.gov/vaccinesathome for more information.
Should people expect to get sick after the bivalent dose?
Current data indicates that side effects following the additional dose are similar to those after the second dose. Common side effects are generally mild such as localized pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, and fatigue, headache, and low-grade fever. Serious adverse events are rare.
Can I get a flu vaccination at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccinations like a flu or shingles vaccine at the same time or close together, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 Boosters - Fast Facts - in multiple languages
|English||COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters - Fast Facts||DOC|
|Spanish||Vacunas de refuerzo contra el COVID-19: Datos rápidos||DOC|
|Portuguese||Reforços da vacina contra o COVID-19: Fatos rápidos||DOC|
|Simplified Chinese||新冠病毒 COVID-19 疫苗加强剂： 事实信息概览||DOC|
|Haitian Creole||Vaksen Rapèl COVID-19: Enfòmasyon rapid||DOC|
|Vietnamese||Thông Tin về Liều Bồi Dưỡng COVID-19: Thông Tin Nhanh||DOC|
|Albanian||Përforcuesit e COVID-19-tës: Fakte të shpejta||DOC|
|Arabic||الجرعات المعززة للقاح كوفيد-19: حقائق سريعة - إليك ما تحتاج إلى معرفة||DOC|
|Cape Verdean||Dózi di riforsu di vasina kóntra COVID-19: Faktus Inpurtanti||DOC|
|Khmer||ថ្នាំ COVID-19 ចាក់បន្ថែម៖ ការណ៍ពិតរហ័ស||DOC|
|Russian||Бустерные прививки против COVID-19: коротко о главном||DOC|
|Somali||Kobciyeyaasha COVID-19: Xaqiiqooyinka Degdega ah||DOC|
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