COVID-19 Vaccines Help Protect Against Serious COVID Illness and Long COVID
CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine – As of September 12, 2023, the 2023–2024 updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were recommended by CDC for use in the U.S. These updated COVID-19 vaccines more closely targets the XBB lineage of the Omicron variant and could restore protection against severe COVID-19 that may have decreased over time. CDC anticipates that the updated vaccines will be better at fighting currently circulating variants. Novavax’s updated COVID-19 vaccine is currently under review by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) in individuals aged 12 and older.
- People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of updated COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider about additional updated doses.
- Everyone aged 5 years and older should get 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine, at least two months after getting the last dose of any COVID-19 vaccine
- Children aged 6 months–4 years need multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines to be considered “up to date”, including at least 1 dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine.
- Pregnant and Postpartum People – If you are pregnant or recently had a baby, you are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19. That is why pregnancy experts recommend COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and postpartum people (including those who are breastfeeding). Learn more about the dangers of COVID-19 to you and your baby, and why getting vaccinated is the safer choice and likely gives your baby some protection against COVID.
Pregnant and Postpartum People – People who are pregnant or recently had a baby are at higher risk for serious complications from COVID-19. That is why pregnancy experts recommend COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and postpartum people (including those who are breastfeeding). Learn more about the dangers of COVID-19 to pregnant people and their babies, and why getting vaccinated is the safer choice.
Paying for the Updated COVID-19 Vaccines
Most people should be able to get a COVID vaccine at no cost through their private health insurance or the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The CDC also launched the COVID-19 Vaccine Bridge Access Program to provide free shots to adults between 18 and 64 years who are uninsured or if their insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs. Vaccines.gov should now include locations offering free shots through the new bridge program. Learn more about paying for vaccines.
CDC's Director Answers Questions About Updated COVID Vaccines
Other Ways to Help Protect Against COVID (IN ADDITION TO THE VACCINE)
Here are other ways to help protect against COVID-19.
- Test for COVID – Test immediately if you have COVID symptoms. If you were exposed to COVID-19 and do not have symptoms, wait at least 5 full days after you were exposed to COVID before testing. If you test too early, you may be more likely to get an inaccurate result. Learn more about self-testing at home.
- Masks – Wear a well-fitted mask over your nose and mouth to help to reduce the chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.
- COVID-19 Symptoms – Know the symptoms of COVID. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and appear 2–14 days after you come in contact with the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Quarantine and Isolation Calculator – If you are sick with COVID, it is recommended that you quarantine or isolate so you don’t spread the virus to others. Use this easy tool to help you figure out how long you need to isolate, quarantine, or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.
- Travel– Make sure to protect yourself and others when you travel – around the District and around the world. While there is no longer a CDC requirement for wearing masks on public transportation and at transportation hubs, the CDC still recommends that people where masks to help protect themselves and others from COVID. For the most up-to-date travel rules, visit CDC’s Travel page.