En español | Which vaccines are available and who can get them?
- Pfizer & Moderna: Authorized for people age 6 months and older. Both Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology, which prompts the body to make its own version of COVID-19’s spike protein, a key part of the virus.
- Novavax: Authorized for adults age 18 and older. Novavax uses a more traditional vaccine technology, directly delivering a lab-made version of the COVID spike protein upon injection.
- Johnson & Johnson (J&J): 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 (FDA) 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 ages 5 to 17: Pfizer recipients ages 5 to 17 should get a booster at least five months after completing their initial two-shot series, according to the CDC.
- People age 18 and older: Moderna and Pfizer 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 boosters: Those age 50 and older should get a second booster of Pfizer or Moderna at least four months after their initial booster, the CDC says. Adolescents age 12 and older who are immunocompromised or have had certain organ transplants should also get a second Pfizer booster. People age 18 and older with the same health conditions can get a second Moderna booster. And people who are immunocompromised and who have already received four shots — three vaccine doses and a booster — can get a second booster.
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.
Novavax booster shots are being studied in clinical trials and are expected to be approved by the FDA in the coming weeks.
Can I mix and match boosters?
It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster, either Pfizer or Moderna, regardless of which initial vaccines your received.
Novavax booster shots are expected to be approved by the FDA in the coming weeks. Health officials have discouraged people from receiving an initial J&J vaccine or booster due to a rare but serious blood clotting disorder.
Where can I get a vaccine or a booster?
- Government-run local health departments, community centers, churches and clinics are offering vaccines in all 55 counties. Go the state vaccine website to find where and when clinics are offering vaccinations. Book an appointment through the state’s pre-registration system. West Virginia's COVID-19 data dashboard is tracking how many people have been vaccinated in the state.
- Pharmacies: Shots and boosters are being administered at Fruth, Walgreens, Walmart and CVS, some of which are offering walk-in vaccinations. Follow the links to book an appointment or search www.vaccines.gov, the federal government’s vaccine website, to find out where you can get a first shot or a booster near you. Use the same tool by texting your zip code to 438829 to find vaccine locations. Note that some pharmacy websites require you to answer questions about your vaccination status before presenting the option for a booster. Many pharmacies also allow you to book an appointment for the specific vaccine you prefer.
- 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?West Virginia did not take part in the federal program to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care residents and staff, but has completed its vaccination clinics via partnerships with a broad array of pharmacies. 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 initial vaccines or booster shots.
Do I have to pay for the vaccination?You should not have any out-of-pocket costs 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, Moderna or Novavax 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 the state health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.
How protected am I post-vaccination?
All four 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 infections can still occur post-vaccination.
This guide was updated on July 20, 2022, with new information about the Novavax vaccine.
Also of Interest:
- What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines?
- What are the side effects of booster shots?
- Read AARP's full coronavirus coverage