COVID-19 vaccines remain our best protection against COVID-19. Even healthy people can become very sick from COVID-19 and should be vaccinated.
If you get COVID-19, vaccines reduce your risk of long-term health effects, including long COVID. Even people who have had COVID-19 should get vaccinated.
The vaccines now available from Pfizer and Moderna are designed to protect against the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant and related variants. In studies, they were shown to be effective against current circulating variants, including BA.2.86. They also help boost your protection against the virus, which is important as protection lessens over time.
Everyone should stay up to date with their vaccines. For most people, that means getting just one updated 2023-2024 vaccine dose.
The updated Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna (Spikevax) vaccines are the only two updated COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available in the US. The FDA is in the process of reviewing a potential third vaccine, an updated Novavax vaccine for people aged 12 and older that is designed to protect against current variants.
The CDC recommends the updated Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for everyone ages 6 months and older. The prior Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are no longer available.
People ages 5 years and older must receive one updated vaccine dose to be considered up to date.
If you recently had COVID-19, you can consider waiting three months before getting your next vaccine dose. You may want to get vaccinated sooner than three months if you are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or getting it again. Talk to your provider about when you should get your next vaccine.
Children younger than age 5 still need multiple doses of vaccines. The vaccines for this age group have been updated with the new formula, but are a lower dose than for older people.
Children who have never received a COVID-19 vaccine should follow this schedule:
Children ages 6 months through 4 years who have already received one or more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine should receive the updated vaccine. The number of updated doses they need will depend on the vaccine and their vaccination history. Ask your child’s provider how many doses they need.
A parent or guardian must provide consent for their child to be vaccinated. Consent can be given in person, by phone or in writing, depending on the vaccination site.
People who have a weakened immune system — such as those being treated for cancer or who have had an organ transplant — can get additional doses as long as they are given two months apart.
People who have a weakened immune system and have never received a COVID-19 vaccine should get three vaccine doses as part of their initial vaccine series. They can also get an additional updated dose at least two months after the last updated vaccine dose.
If you have questions about how many vaccine doses you should get, talk to your provider.