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, Moderna and Novavax 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. They also help strengthen 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.
Three updated vaccines are available in the US: Pfizer (Comirnaty), Moderna (Spikevax), and Novavax. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available for people ages 6 months and older, and the Novavax vaccine for people ages 12 and older.
The CDC recommends an updated vaccine for everyone ages 6 months and older. The prior versions of the Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax vaccines are no longer available.
Most people ages 5 years and older need just 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. Only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are available for this age group.
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 at least two months apart.
People who have a weakened immune system and received previous COVID-19 vaccines should get at least one updated vaccine dose. They can get additional updated doses at least two months after the last updated vaccine dose if recommended by their provider.
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 then get additional doses, as noted above.