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About COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine recommendations
There are three different vaccines available: Pfizer, Moderna, and Novavax (Note: Novavax is only authorized for people 12 years of age and older). The CDC does not recommend one of the vaccines over the other. Each vaccine helps protect people from getting very sick with COVID-19. For more information on how vaccines are approved/authorized, made, and tested visit Available COVID-19 Vaccines and Safety.
Get the Updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 Vaccine (PDF)
Fact sheet on the updated COVID-19 vaccine, what's available and why you should get it.
Vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months of age and older.
- Children 6 months to 4 years of age may need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be up to date, including at least one dose of the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine. The number of recommended doses depends on COVID-19 vaccines previously received, their age, and whether the person has a weakened immune system.
- People 5 to 11 years of age should get one updated Pfizer or Moderna vaccine regardless of whether they’ve received any previous COVID-19 vaccine dose(s) to be up to date.
- People 12 years and older who have not previously received any COVID-19 vaccine dose(s) and choose to get Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, should get one dose to be up to date.
- People 12 years and older who have not previously received any COVID-19 vaccine and choose to get Novavax vaccine should get two updated Novavax doses to be up to date.
- People 12 years and older who have received any previous COVID-19 vaccine(s) and choose to get Novavax should get one updated Novavax dose to be up to date.
- Some people may get additional doses of updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines:
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get one additional dose of updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine two or more months after the last COVID-19 vaccine. They also may receive additional updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine doses and should talk to their health care provider.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine
Not all vaccination locations will have each vaccine available. The most important thing is not to miss an opportunity to get vaccinated. For more information on the vaccines visit CDC: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines.
- In-home COVID-19 vaccination is available upon request for those who may have difficulties going to a clinic or other vaccine location. Learn more about eligibility for an in-home vaccine and how to request an appointment at In-Home Vaccination Program.
COVID-19 vaccines will still be free for most Americans through their health insurance plans. Check with your insurance provider for coverage details. From fall 2023 forward, COVID-19 vaccine will be available like other vaccine products for uninsured and underinsured adults. Uninsured and underinsured adults 19 years of age and older may receive free vaccines from federally qualified health centers, pharmacies, and other Uninsured and Underinsured Adult Vaccine providers participating in CDC’s Bridge Access Program.
Find a Bridge Access provider near you:
- For a Community Health Center (CHC) near you use Minnesota Health Centers: Find Health Care.
- To locate a community vaccination or COVID Community Coordinator (CCC) event near you call the MDH COVID-19 public hotline at 1-833-431-2053 Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- To find other locations offering COVID-19 vaccines, including pharmacies, visit Vaccines.gov.
Uninsured and underinsured children 18 years of age and younger will have access to COVID-19 vaccine at no to low cost through the Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program. Visit Free or Low-Cost Shots for Children for more information.
Who should get vaccinated
Vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months of age and older. Below is more information about vaccination recommendations for certain groups of people.
CDC recommends that people age 6 months and older receive at least one 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine.
The number of doses varies by age, vaccine, previous COVID-19 vaccines received, and whether the person has a weak immune system. For example, children age 6 months through 4 years may need more than one dose to be up to date. For more information on the vaccines, including recommended schedules visit CDC: Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines.
Parental or guardian consent is required for COVID-19 vaccination of children 17 years of age and younger, except under rare or special circumstances. (Refer to Minnesota Statutes, sections 144.341 through 144.347.) We encourage you to go with your child so you can ask questions and learn more about the vaccine.
How to hold your child during a vaccination (PDF)
Fact sheet with images and instructions for different comfort holds. Created in partnership with Homeland Health Specialists.
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Amharic (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Arabic (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Chinese (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in French (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Hmong (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Karen (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Lao (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Oromo (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Russian (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Somali (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Spanish (PDF)
- How to hold your child during a vaccination in Vietnamese (PDF)
Because children and youth with specialized health needs and disabilities may be at higher risk for more severe illness from COVID-19, families and caregivers are asked to strongly consider vaccinating children who have any underlying health condition or disability if they are 6 months of age or older.
COVID-19 Vaccine for Youth with Special Needs or Disabilities: Information for Caregivers (PDF)
Includes guidance for requesting accommodations when making appointments or arriving at a vaccine site.
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or those who might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant people in particular have had serious complications if they get sick with COVID-19. This also includes infants 6 months of age and older born to people who were vaccinated or had a COVID-19 infection before or during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant or were recently pregnant, you are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 compared to people who are not pregnant. If you have COVID-19 during pregnancy, you are at increased risk of complications that can affect your pregnancy and developing baby.
Vaccination during pregnancy allows mother’s antibodies to pass on to the newborn. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and your baby from serious health problems from COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy is safe and effective and are not associated with fertility problems in anyone.
Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines and learn more at CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.
COVID-19 Vaccines and Pregnancy (PDF)
Fact sheet for people who are pregnant or who may want to get pregnant in the future.
If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised. People 6 months and older that are moderately or severely immunocompromised require more doses than recommended for the general population. They should work with their health care provider to make sure they stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, including getting the 2023-2024 vaccine formulation.
For more information visit CDC: COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People.
People should talk to their health care provider about their medical condition and what vaccine doses they need.
If you recently had COVID-19, you still need to stay up to date with your vaccines, but consider delaying your next vaccine dose by three months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you first received a positive test.
Consider these things before vaccination:
- If you or your child have been identified as a close contact of someone with COVID-19, you can get vaccinated as long as you do not have symptoms of COVID-19. However, you may consider waiting until your period to wear a mask is over to help make sure that any side effects experienced after vaccination are just from the vaccine, and not COVID-19 symptoms Visit Close Contact or Exposure to COVID-19 for more information.
- If you or your child has a mild illness (e.g., sore throat, stuffy nose, etc.), get tested for COVID-19 and wait until symptoms have improved and until you or your child have been fever-free for 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers, before getting vaccinated.
It is not recommended to take over-the-counter medications before getting your vaccine to prevent side effects. Taking over-the-counter medicines after getting the shot is OK if you have side effects. Take what you normally would take in that situation.
If you take over-the-counter medications for a different condition/pain management, it is OK to take them on your regular schedule even when you are getting the vaccine.
You do not have to be a resident of Minnesota to get vaccinated here.
The person who gives you the vaccine is required to enter vaccine data into Minnesota's immunization information system, the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC). MIIC keeps track of someone's vaccination history and makes sure they get the right vaccinations at the right time. Find more information at About MIIC. MIIC collects name, date of birth, address, phone number, and various information related the vaccination itself (administration date, vaccine type, lot number, etc.). MDH shares de-identified vaccine data (general information that does not include the person's name) with the federal government (CDC) every day. This means that the data could not be traced back to a specific person. MDH does not share any information with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time as other vaccines (like flu vaccine). You can also receive a COVID-19 vaccine if you recently received another vaccine.
After getting the vaccine
It takes about two weeks for your body to build up initial protection after your vaccine. Some people who are vaccinated will get sick, but vaccination greatly reduces the chance of hospitalization and death.
Even when you are vaccinated, you should:
- Wear a mask when recommended. For more information, refer to Masks: COVID-19.
- Wash your hands often.
- Stay home if you are sick, especially if you have been around someone who has COVID-19. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested. Learn more at CDC: CDC: COVID-19 Testing: What You Need to Know.
- If you travel, follow CDC requirements and recommendations at Travelers' Health: COVID-19.
- Follow guidance specific to your workplace.
Some side effects are common after vaccination. They are a result of your body responding to the vaccine (it's also OK if you don't have any side effects at all). Side effects happen within a day or two of vaccination and go away one to two days later. You may have:
- Pain where you received the vaccine
- Feeling tired
- Achy muscles and joints
- Swelling in your armpit
If your symptoms don't go away or get worse, you may have been exposed to COVID-19 before your body had time to build the protection from the vaccine. Get tested if you think you may have COVID-19.
Serious adverse events
A serious adverse event is something that results in hospitalization or is life-threatening. Most adverse effects occur in the six weeks after getting a vaccine.
If you have a severe reaction, contact your health care provider. If it is an emergency, go to a hospital or call 911.
There have been reports of some serious allergic reactions or anaphylaxis, most occurring 15-30 minutes following vaccination. Allergic reactions like this are known to happen after taking medicines or getting vaccinated, but they are still very rare. Clinics are prepared to respond quickly to adverse reactions. You may be asked to wait 15-30 minutes after you have been vaccinated so that clinic staff can observe you.
Myocarditis and pericarditis
People, mostly born of male gender and ages 12-39 years, who have received the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna, have had rare cases of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining outside the heart). In most cases, symptoms began within seven days after the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Most people are in the hospital for about two days for close monitoring. The chance of having this occur is very low and is higher in people with COVID-19 disease than after vaccination. Seek medical attention right away if you have any of the following symptoms after receiving COVID-19 vaccine:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart
For more information, visit CDC: Myocarditis and Pericarditis Following mRNA COVID-19 Vaccination.
If you have a severe reaction, contact your health care provider. If it is an emergency, go to a hospital or call 911. Providers should report severe reactions (those that require some type of medical care) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Ask your provider to provide you a copy of the report they submitted. This reporting system helps the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.
- Your COVID-19 Vaccination
U.S. vaccination plans, recommendations, and more from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Questions and Answers about COVID-19 Vaccines
Information from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Vaccine Education Center.
- Finding Credible Vaccine Information
Information from CDC on finding credible sources.
- COVID-19 vaccine myths debunked
Mayo Clinic article.