En español | Who is eligible to get vaccinated?
- Everyone age 5 and up can get a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
- The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is authorized for people 18 and older who only have access to the J&J vaccine, or who cannot receive a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for medical reasons. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration updated its J&J guidance due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder associated with the one-shot vaccine.
Who's eligible for booster shots?
- People age 12 and older: Pfizer recipients should get a booster five months after completing their initial two-shot series, according to the CDC.
- People age 18 and older: Moderna recipients should get their booster five months after their second shot, and Johnson & Johnson recipients should get a booster at least two months after the first shot.
- Second and third boosters: Those age 50 and older are eligible for a second booster of Pfizer or Moderna at least four months after their initial booster. Adolescents age 12 years and older who are immunocompromised or have had certain organ transplants are also eligible for a second Pfizer booster, while those 18 or older with the same health conditions can get a second Moderna booster. And people who are immunocompromised and have already gotten four shots — three in the primary series and one booster — are eligible for a fifth.
Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, distinct from boosters, are recommended for specific immunocompromised people age 12 and older. These recipients may also get a booster — a fourth dose — at least six months after the third shot, according to CDC guidance. The agency recommends that children ages 5 to 11 who are immunocompromised get a third Pfizer dose 28 days after their second shot.
Can I mix and match boosters?
It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster.
Which vaccine is authorized for kids?
Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for children age 5 and older. It’s one-third the dose for those 12 and older and is given in two shots, three weeks apart, according to CDC recommendations. Doses for kids are available at doctors’ offices and certain retail pharmacies. Call your doctor or check pharmacy websites. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months.
Where can I get a vaccine or a booster?
- Government-run community sites, hospitals, health clinics, and local pharmacies can be found on the Maryland state searchable database. Sites offering first, second and booster vaccines can be found on massvax.maryland.gov or by calling the state's COVID-19 vaccination support center at 855-634-6829. Maryland's COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking how many people have been vaccinated in the state.
- Retail pharmacies, including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid are offering first shots and boosters and, in some cases, don't require appointments. But if you'd prefer to schedule your shot in advance, follow the links to book online. Note that some pharmacy websites require you to answer questions about your vaccination status before presenting the option for a booster. Many pharmacies allow you to book an appointment for the specific vaccine you prefer.
- The federal government’s vaccines website, www.vaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccines and booster shots by zip code, with links to appointments. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
- Veterans Affairs facilities are vaccinating veterans, spouses and veteran caregivers. You can sign up with VA.
- Many transit agencies are offering free or discount rides to and from vaccination sites.
What should I bring to my vaccination or booster appointment?
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, along with your health insurance card, if you have one. You won’t be charged for the initial vaccine series, or a booster shot, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. After your first shot, bring your vaccine card for subsequent shots.
How are vaccinations working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities?
Most residents and staff of Maryland's long-term care facilities were offered first and second doses through a federal program that provided free on-site vaccinations in late 2020 and early 2021. The program has ended, but the federal government continues to allocate COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to pharmacies that are partnered with long-term care facilities to provide vaccinations, mainly on-site. Facilities that don’t have a pharmacy partner are encouraged to work with local or state health departments — or the federal government, if need be — to provide vaccinations.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket costs for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine. The federal government is buying the vaccine and getting it to providers for free.
There are reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
What should I do with my vaccine card?
You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.
You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot. You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities and may want to take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. But experts warn that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.
If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact Maryland's health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.
How protected am I post-vaccination? I've heard about breakthrough infections.
All three vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective and breakthrough infections can occur post-vaccination.
This guide was updated on May 6, 2022, with new information about the J&J vaccine.
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