COVID-19 vaccination and booster frequently asked questions

Common questions related to COVID-19 vaccination and booster recommendation.

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

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: 

  • 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 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 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 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

Boosters social media graphic

Social media template that says boosters reduce your risk for age 50 plus. Schedule your appointment at

Download: English (JPG)

 Plantilla de redes sociales que dice que los refuerzos reducen el riesgo a partir de los 50 años. Programe su cita en

Download: Spanish (JPG)

Boosters reduce your risk promotional image for social media. Schedule your appointment at

Download: English (JPG) 

Los impulsores reducen el riesgo imagen promocional para las redes sociales. Programa tu cita en

Download: Spanish (JPG)



Informational and referral hotline 211

24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are free and confidential. Interpreter services are available in multiple languages.

All calls are free and confidential.

Help Us Improve with your feedback