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Covid-19 Vaccine (2 Dose)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 6, 2022.

What do I need to know about COVID-19 2-dose vaccines?

A COVID-19 2-dose vaccine is given to help prevent severe illness and hospitalization. The vaccines do not contain the virus that causes COVID-19. This means you are not at risk for getting COVID-19 from a vaccine. Instead, the vaccines teach your immune system to recognize the virus and produce antibodies to fight it. Healthcare providers recommend a COVID-19 vaccine, even if you have already had COVID-19.

What do I need to know about COVID-19 vaccine approvals?

  • One 2-dose vaccine has full approval for those 16 or older. This vaccine also has an emergency use authorization (EUA) for children 5 to 15 years old. An EUA means the vaccine is not officially approved but is used because the benefits outweigh the risks.
  • One 2-dose vaccine is fully approved for adults 18 or older. This vaccine is not given to children 17 years or younger.
  • No COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to children younger than 5 years.

How is the vaccine given?

The vaccine is given as a shot in your shoulder area. Two doses are needed for full protection. Make an appointment to get the second dose at the time recommended by your healthcare provider.

COVID-19 Immunization Schedule

What do I need to know about booster shots?

A booster shot is an additional dose that helps your immune system continue to protect against severe COVID-19. A booster is recommended for everyone 12 years or older. A second booster is recommended for adults 50 or older and anyone 12 years or older who is immunocompromised. Your healthcare provider can help you schedule boosters. The timing depends on your age and if you are immunocompromised.

What are reasons I should wait to get the vaccine?

  • You are sick or have a fever.
  • You took acetaminophen or ibuprofen the day you are to get the shot.
  • You had COVID-19 and received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. Wait at least 90 days after the end of treatment to get the vaccine.

What do I need to tell my healthcare provider before I get the vaccine?

  • You have thrombocytopenia, a blood clotting disorder, or are taking blood thinning medicines.
  • Your immune system is weakened from medicines such as chemotherapy or steroids.
  • You know or think you are pregnant. Talk to your obstetrician or doctor about the benefits and risks of the vaccine during pregnancy.
  • You are breastfeeding.
  • You have an allergy to any component (part) of the vaccine.
  • You have a history of allergies.

What happens after I get the vaccine?

You will be considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after you get the final dose . This is how long your immune system needs to build a response strong enough to protect you. The following are guidelines to follow after you are fully vaccinated :

  • Continue being careful until experts are sure a fully vaccinated person cannot get infected or pass the virus to others. Wear a face covering and stay 6 feet away from others when you are in public. Remember to wash your hands often.
  • It is considered safe to gather indoors without face coverings or social distancing if everyone there is fully vaccinated.
  • If you are exposed to the virus, you do not need to isolate or get tested unless you develop symptoms.
  • Check to see if you need to be tested before you travel. You may also need to quarantine after you return. Some countries require proof of a negative test before you leave. You should also be tested 3 to 5 days after you return from another country.
  • You may need to wear a face covering (mask) while you travel by plane, bus, or train.

What are the risks of the vaccine?

This is a new vaccine. All side effects may not be known.

  • You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
  • You may not be able to get a second dose if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose. It may be life-threatening.
  • The vaccine may cause mild symptoms, such as a fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches.
  • You may develop swelling in and around your heart. Seek help immediately if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or a fast, fluttering, or pounding heartbeat.
  • The area where you got the shot may be swollen, sore, or tender. This is usually mild and goes away in a few hours. It may help to move your arm around.
  • The vaccine may not be as helpful if your immune system is weak.
  • You may still get infected with the coronavirus after you receive the vaccine.

What else do I need to know about the vaccine?

  • It is possible to become infected even after you get the vaccine. The vaccine helps lower the risk, but no vaccine can completely prevent infection. The vaccine helps prevent severe symptoms of COVID-19 or the health problems it can cause.
  • A vaccinated person will not automatically test positive for COVID-19. It is possible to become infected 2 weeks after your last dose. You may also be able to pass the virus to others without knowing you are infected. Be sure to continue following social distancing guidelines in your area.
  • The vaccine does not cause reproductive problems. Your healthcare provider can give you more information about the safety of vaccines before or during pregnancy. The vaccine is not believed to cause fertility problems.
  • Your DNA will not be changed. The vaccine does not affect the part of cells that control DNA.
  • Your child may need to be fully vaccinated to attend school. Ask your child's school as soon as possible. Vaccine requirements may vary by area.

What else can I do to prevent coronavirus infection?

Droplets are the most common way all coronaviruses spread. The virus spreads from person to person through talking, singing, coughing, and sneezing. Continue to do the following to keep yourself and others safe, even if you have had the vaccine:

  • Wash your hands often throughout the day. Use hand sanitizer that contains alcohol if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first. Teach children how to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer.
  • A face covering is recommended when you are in public, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and on mass transit. You may live in an area that has a face covering mandate. This means you must wear a covering in public. Check the laws in your area before you leave your home. Bring extra coverings with you.
    How to Wear a Face Covering (Mask)
Prevent COVID-19 Infection

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, hives, or wheezing.
  • Your mouth and throat are swollen.
  • You have chest pain or your heart is beating faster than normal for you.
  • Your face is red or swollen.
  • You have hives that spread over your body.

When should I call my doctor or the place where I got the vaccine?

  • You have a fever.
  • You have any other signs or symptoms that concern you or do not go away.
  • You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the area where the shot was given.
  • You have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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