En español | Who is eligible to get vaccinated?
- Everyone age 5 and up
- New Jersey's COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking how many people have been vaccinated in the state
Who’s eligible for booster shots?
Those ages 12 and older who got the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster five months after completing their initial two-shot series, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Moderna vaccine recipients ages 18 and up should get their booster five months after their second shot, and Johnson & Johnson recipients should get a booster dose at least two months after their first shot. The CDC says Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferable to Johnson & Johnson's due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder associated with the one-shot vaccine.
Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, distinct from boosters, are recommended for specific immunocompromised people, including organ transplant recipients and certain cancer patients. These recipients may also get a booster — a fourth dose — at least six months after the third shot, according to CDC guidance. A third Pfizer dose is also recommended for children ages 5 to 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, 28 days following their second shot.
Can I mix and match boosters?
It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster – whether it’s the one you got initially or another vaccine, according to CDC recommendations.
Which vaccine is authorized for kids?
Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for children age 5 and older; the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older. Pfizer’s vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds is one-third the dose given to people age 12 and up, and is given in two doses, three weeks apart, according to CDC recommendations. Shots 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 booster?
- Retail pharmacies, including CVS (and some of its Target-based pharmacies), Rite Aid, ShopRite, Walmart, Sam's Club and Walgreens, are offering vaccines and boosters. Many sites let you book appointments for the specific brand of vaccine or booster you prefer, based on availability. Search their online COVID-19 vaccine pages for locations and appointments (some are accepting walk-ins). Note that some pages require you to answer questions about your vaccination status before presenting the option for a booster.
- The federal government’s vaccines website, Vaccines.gov, lets you search for vaccines and boosters by zip code. Get the same information by texting your zip code to 438829 or by calling 800-232-0233 (TTY: 888-720-7489).
- Local and state vaccination sites, including community centers, hospitals, local health departments, medical clinics, independent pharmacies and vaccine megasites can be found on the state’s online Vaccine Appointment Finder website. Many providers will direct you to the state's centralized platform, the New Jersey Vaccine Scheduling System (NJVSS), to schedule a vaccine or booster appointment. The NJVSS, which you must register with, allows you to search appointments at multiple sites, some of which are taking walk-ins.
- Community vaccination events, such as mobile clinics and pop-up sites, are being hosted around the state. Visit the COVID-19 Community Calendar for a list of events.
- Veterans Affairs facilities if you are a veterans, spouses or veteran caregiver. You can sign up with VA.
- At home, if you are homebound. Request an in-home vaccination appointment by completing a form in English or Spanish. Once submitted, the NJ Department of Health will share your information with a home health agency, local health department, or other vaccination provider and you will be contacted to schedule an in-home appointment.
- Through your employer or living facility. Some New Jerseyans who work or live in healthcare settings, such hospitals or nursing homes, may be able to get vaccinated through their workplaces or residences. Check before scheduling an appointment.
- The state’s COVID-19 call center at 855-568-0545 can help you register with the NJVSS, answer questions about the vaccine, provide contact information for sites, check your registration status, and update your registration information. The hotline is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day with assistance available in more than 240 different languages.
- The state's seniors-specific call center at 856-249-7007 can assist those 65 and older with registering for, scheduling and rescheduling appointments from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
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 New Jersey’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.
Which vaccines require two initial shots?
Both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine requires just one shot.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?
You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine or a booster. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.
Scammers are 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 your state 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, while relatively rare, have been reported.
The CDC is tracking breakthrough infections and illness and death among vaccinated and unvaccinated populations.
- New Jersey and Vault Medical Services are offering free at-home COVID-19 saliva testing for any person who believes they need to be tested, with or without symptoms. Order tests online or call 800-800-5698 to order tests over the phone.
- NJ Transit's VAXRIDE initiative provides information on free and convenient public transportation options to and from vaccine locations.
- The state’s COVID-19 vaccine information page includes additional FAQs on how to get a vaccination, the state's Vaccine Scheduling System, vaccination providers and how the vaccines work.
This guide, originally published Jan. 16, 2021, was updated on Jan. 10, 2022, with new CDC guidance on booster shots.