Understand Your Risk
While the COVID public health emergency is now over, COVID is still spreading in DC and around the country. It can affect anyone, and the disease can cause symptoms ranging from mild to severe. There are certain things can make people more likely to get very sick with COVID-19, such as being an older adult, having certain medical conditions and being pregnant. We also know that certain settings and activities can make you more likely to get infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
Get Vaccinated To Help Protect Against Serious COVID Illness and Long COVID
The updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available. These new versions of the COVID-19 vaccines should help protect you from current COVID-19 variants.
Everyone 6 months and older should get an updated COVID-19 vaccine/booster shot.
- 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.
When Am I Considered “Up to Date” on My COVID Vaccines?
Everyone 5 years and older: You are up to date when you get 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Children 6 months – 4 years: You are up to date when you get all recommended doses, including at least 1 dose of updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Children 6 months – 5 years who got the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: You are up to date when you get 2 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses, including at least 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine dose.
People who got the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine: You are up to date when you get the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine doses approved for your age group or when you get 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine.
People who got the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine: You are up to date when you get 1 updated COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccine Side Effects
Some people have side effects after getting their COVID-19 vaccine, while others might have no side effects. Side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days. Learn more about common side effects after COVID-19 vaccination. Serious vaccine side effects are rare.
It is safe to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu vaccine at the same time.
CDC's Dr. Cohen Answers Questions About the Updated COVID-19 Vaccines
What Else Can I Do to Protect Myself and My Loved Ones from Serious COVID Illness?
In addition to making sure you and your family members are up to date on their COVID vaccinations and booster shots, there are also 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.
Get the Facts
There is a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to COVID and COVID vaccines. To make the best health decisions for yourself and your family, it is important to be well informed, get your health information from credible sources, and understand your risk – and the risk of those around you – of getting seriously sick from COVID.
Find easy-to-understand answers to your COVID questions:
- CDC’s Director Answers Your Latest Questions about COVID (Video Posted on 9/19/23)
- DC Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (DC AAP) – Resources for Families and Caregivers
- Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) – Health and Safety Guidance
- Children’s National
- American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
- American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG)
- Black Coalition Against COVID
- Vaccinate Your Family (VYF)
There are treatments that can help people who are sick with COVID-19. Visit the DC COVID website to find out more about treatments options. These treatments are NOT a substitute for the COVID-19 vaccine.