Which COVID-19 vaccines have been FDA-authorized?
FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines
|Vaccine manufacturer||Doses*||Ages for EAU**||FDA Fact Sheets|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||2 doses, 3 weeks apart||12 and older|
|Moderna||2-doses, 4 weeks apart||18 and older|
|Janssen||1 dose||18 and older|
* Always follow vaccination instructions from the manufacturer.
** Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for use among people these ages.
Where can I find a full list of who is eligible for the vaccine?
The New York State Department of Health has recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine. To find out if you are eligible, click here.
Will I have to pay to get vaccinated? How much will the vaccine cost?
You will have $0 cost-share on FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, including when two doses are required, with both in- and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period.
Will I have a choice in which COVID-19 vaccine I receive?
As of May 12, everyone 12 years of age and older can receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. It is the only vaccine currently authorized for adolescents starting at age 12.
All individuals 18 years and older may receive either the Pfizer BioNTech, Moderna or J&J (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines. For this population, vaccination providers will administer the COVID-19 vaccine based on availability. Vaccination providers may not have all FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines at their location. These vaccines are all safe and meet the same rigorous standards for effectiveness, according to the CDC. More importantly, they are all considered to be highly and essentially equally effective at preventing COVID-19 related death. You are encouraged to get the vaccine that is available to you.
Do I need documentation certifying that I am eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
When you are able to secure an appointment, self-attestation will be allowed by most vaccination locations. This means you will not need a doctor’s letter to get your vaccine, instead you will sign off that you are eligible. However, check with your vaccine location for requirements before your scheduled appointment.
Is the vaccine approved for use in children?
The FDA’s authorization for people receiving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine includes people 12 and older. Moderna and J&J/Janssen vaccines have received authorization for individuals 18 and older. Researchers have yet to begin clinical trials in children under 12. Read a message from CareMount Pediatrics and Family Medicine here.
If I’m pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, can I get vaccinated?
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those planning to conceive should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their provider. Read more from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and NYS. Read more Common Questions About COVID-19 Vaccine and Pregnancy.
If I’m feeling hesitant, why should I get the vaccine?
Vaccines are one of the most effective tools to protect your health and prevent disease. Vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses so your body will be ready to fight the virus, if you are exposed (also called immunity). You should get vaccinated to:
• Lower your chances of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe disease. The vaccine helps to protect you by creating an antibody response without risking severe illness or spreading the disease to others.
• Protect yourself, your family and your community. You can spread COVID-19 without feeling sick.
• Help stop the pandemic. The more people who get vaccinated, the less opportunity COVID-19 has to spread and cause severe illness. We need to use all the tools we have to stop the pandemic. Even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, wearing a mask, physical distancing and handwashing will still be important.
Federal, state and local health officials as well as major healthcare professional groups such as the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists highly encourage everyone who is eligible – this is people age 12 and older – to get a vaccine. Do it for yourself to stay healthy and to protect the people around you – your family, friends and community. Getting vaccinated is the quickest way to get back to the things you did before the pandemic.
I recovered from COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to people regardless of whether they’ve already had a COVID-19 infection. And one does not need an antibody or diagnostic test before or after they are vaccinated to learn if the vaccine worked.
However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation. Additionally, current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. People with recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period.
Will these vaccines work to prevent COVID-19 for a specific time frame? Will I need to get vaccinated every year, as with the flu? How long will immunity last after I get vaccinated?
As of yet, studies have not shown how long immunity from the vaccine will last.
Can we stop wearing masks and social distancing after getting vaccinated?
No. Mask-wearing and social distancing are still necessary. We know that a vaccine will protect you from getting sick with the virus, but you may still have the ability to spread the disease to others. It’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to help stop this pandemic as we learn more about how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others, stay at least 6 feet away from others, avoid crowds, and wash your hands often.
Are the currently available COVID vaccines safe and effective?
For current safety and efficacy information about the vaccines, visit the CDC website here: COVID-19 vaccine safety information.
For the fact sheet about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
For the fact sheet about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, click here.
For the fact sheet about the J&J/Janssen vaccine, click here.
The vaccine was developed so rapidly. How do I know it went through rigorous testing?
Vaccines have very high safety standards, and the vaccines in development to prevent COVID-19 are no exception. Vaccines are approved by the FDA for use only if they have proven safe and effective in a large group of people. Although the search for and development of the COVID-19 vaccines are happening very quickly, the FDA has made the safety standards and approval process even tougher than usual. The FDA set minimum requirements for the effectiveness of products to approve only those vaccines that could offer immunity to the majority of the population. The first two EUA-approved vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, adapted mRNA technology developed years ago for other medical research, dramatically reducing the timeline for the development of the actual vaccines.
For information on the current status of the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, visit the CDC website here.
How do the vaccines work?
COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19. It’s important to note that these vaccines don’t contain the COVID virus. They cannot give you COVID. Rather, they give your immune system a practice run at taking out a small part of the virus, the spike that the virus uses to get into our cells. Again, there is no virus in these vaccines.
• mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna)
Two of the COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) authorized for use in the United States use messenger RNA (mRNA). The COVID-19 mRNA vaccines allow cells to make a spike protein that looks the same as a protein found on the surface of the virus. Our bodies recognize that the spike protein is foreign and create antibodies to fight the virus if it is encountered in the future. COVID-19 mRNA vaccines cannot give someone COVID-19 and they do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Learn about mRNA vaccines and how they work on the CDC website.
• Viral vector vaccine (J&J/Janssen)
A viral vector vaccine uses a harmless version of a different virus, called a “vector,” to deliver information to the body that helps it protect you. The vaccine developed J&J/Janssen is a viral vector vaccine. It is made from an inactivated adenovirus (the virus that causes the common cold) and contains a piece of DNA that instructs the body to make the COVID-19 spike protein. This triggers an immune system response, giving you protection from COVID-19 infection. Viral vectors cannot cause infection with COVID-19 or with the virus used as the vaccine vector. They also do not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Learn more about viral vector COVID-19 vaccines on the CDC website.
What if someone misses getting the second dose of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC recommends getting the second dose as close to the recommended timing of three or four weeks as possible. People should follow the vaccination instructions from the manufacturer. If someone misses their second vaccination appointment or is outside the three- or four-week timing, they can still get the second dose and they won’t need to start over with a first dose. Also, even if the second dose is late, they will still get protection from COVID-19. They should schedule their next appointment with their vaccination provider as soon as possible.
If I get a vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, do the two shots need to be from the same manufacturer?
Yes. It is critical that both the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines are the same product.
Can I get the virus from the vaccine?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19. The vaccines that are currently authorized by the FDA do not contain the COVID-19 virus and are not capable of causing COVID-19 infection. Also, none of the other COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each of the vaccines is to teach the body to find and fight the COVID-19 virus. Read more about these facts and others on the CDC website.
If you get a vaccine do you need a negative COVID test beforehand?
No. The CDC does not recommend COVID-19 screening tests before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Is it safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is especially important for people with underlying health problems like heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity. People with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Please consult with your health care provider if you have specific questions about the COVID vaccine and your health.
Is it better to get natural immunity to COVID-19 rather than immunity from a vaccine?
No. While you may have some short-term antibody protection after recovering from COVID-19, we don’t know how long this protection lasts. Achieving herd immunity through vaccination results in less viral illness and death than by allowing the disease to spread without vaccination. With less disease activity, our health care system is not overly burdened with COVID-19 related illness and can provide care for those with all types of illness. Vaccination is the best protection, and it is safe.
I’ve heard about ‘herd immunity.’ What would it take to get the population to ‘herd immunity’ for COVID-19?
‘Herd immunity’ happens when enough people have protection from a disease that it is unlikely that the disease will continue to spread. As a result, the virus won’t easily spread among the community. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. They also do not know how long the vaccine will protect people.
What side effects might I expect?
Click here to learn more about what to expect after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, including normal side effects and tips to reduce pain or discomfort. If you have side effects that bother you or do not go away, you should report them to your vaccination provider or primary care provider. You should also notify the CDC at 1-800-822-7967 because the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, you can use the CDC’s v-safe mobile app, which will help you monitor side effects and get second dose reminders.
In the event of an emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.
Are there people who should not get COVID-19 vaccines?
The current FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for people with certain conditions or people of certain ages.
For additional information and special considerations for getting vaccinated against COVID-19, visit the CDC website.
Breast Imaging and the COVID-19 Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines (as well as other vaccines) can cause temporary enlarged/swollen lymph nodes in the underarm area (axillary lymphadenopathy) on the same side as where the vaccination was received. This is a normal immune response that will not interfere with breast cancer detection. The Breast Imaging Team at CareMount is following guidance from the Society of Breast Imaging that, if this response is noted, we are recommending a 3 month follow up ultrasound of the affected underarm to document resolution of the lymphadenopathy. When planning a routine breast screening appointment, patients should indicate that they would like an appointment either before receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or 6 weeks after receiving the second vaccine dose.
Are there measures in place to monitor for adverse reactions at the time I get the vaccine?
The CDC recommends monitoring people at the time they are vaccinated:
• 15 minutes for anyone getting vaccinated and at least 30 minutes for those who have had severe allergic reactions or any type of allergic reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy. Click here for additional information.
• CDC: V-safe— is a new smartphone-based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys from CDC to check in with vaccine recipients following COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also provides second vaccine dose reminders if needed, and telephone follow up to anyone who reports medically significant (important) adverse events.
Should I be concerned about allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines?
If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines, talk to your healthcare provider before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC has learned of reports that some people have experienced severe allergic reactions—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
If I have a reaction/experience side-effects to the first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, should I still get the second?
If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose but it is best to speak with your healthcare provider. If a person had a severe allergic reaction or other contraindication to one of the mRNA vaccines, they may be eligible to receive the J&J/Janssen vaccine. Similarly, those persons with a contraindication to the J&J/Janssen vaccine may be able to receive one of the mRNA vaccines. See the CDC website for more information.
Will the vaccine make me sterile?
No, the vaccine will not make you sterile. This rumor, along with others, is being spread on the internet to scare people away from the vaccine. There is no evidence to back up these claims.
The above information is sourced from the following sites: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), NYS Department of Health, Pfizer, Moderna, American Cancer Society, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Johnson & Johnson, Johns Hopkins
Want to learn more? Here are clinical resources to help in understanding COVID-19 vaccines.
• 8 things to know about COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC
• Authorized COVID-19 vaccines from the FDA