Update on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
Effective April 23, CDC and FDA have recommended that use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen. If you received a J&J/Janssen vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
COVID-19 vaccination near you
Please visit vaccines.gov for a comprehensive overview of how and where you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Simply enter a zip code for a list of nearby approved vaccination sites.
Facts about COVID-19 vaccines
- FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19
- FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests
- FACT: Getting vaccinated can help prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19
- FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated
- FACT: Receiving an mRNA vaccine will not alter your DNA
Why should I get vaccinated?
Two key reasons to get vaccinated are to protect ourselves and to protect those around us. Not everyone can be vaccinated — including very young babies and people who are seriously ill or have certain allergies. These people depend on others being vaccinated to ensure they are also safe from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Immunization helps save millions of lives every year. Whereas most medicines treat or cure diseases, vaccines can help prevent them by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. When you receive a vaccine, your immune system responds.
We now have vaccines to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases, helping people of all ages live longer, healthier lives. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, immunization currently prevents between 2 and 3 million deaths every year from diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, influenza and measles.
Why is a vaccine needed if we can do other things like social distancing and wearing masks to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least six feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
If I have already gotten sick with COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated for COVID-19?
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before. If you have questions or concerns about vaccination after you have been sick with COVID-19, please consult your physician.
What do I need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 12 years old and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant or might become pregnant in the future. There is no evidence that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines cause an increased risk of infertility.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, visit the CDC’s recommendations page.
What about children and the COVID-19 vaccine?
Children 12 years old and older are now eligible to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The CDC states that children can be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, can experience symptoms, and can spread the virus to others. For more information about COVID-19 vaccinations for children and teens, speak to your pediatrician or consult the CDC’s resource page.
If I have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, do I need a booster shot?
The CDC recommends that people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial two doses. On August 18, 2021 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a statement on a proposed plan for COVID-19 booster shots for American people.
We will continue to monitor and share any new guidance about booster shots.
Does immunity/protection after getting sick with COVID-19 last longer than immunity/protection from the COVID-19 vaccines?
At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.
Both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity are important aspects of COVID-19 that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.
Are there side effects from COVID-19 vaccines?
According to the CDC, serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. There may be some short-term, minor side effects (for example, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, a sore arm where a shot was given or a low-grade fever after a vaccine). These effects are normal. They indicate that your body is building protection against the virus, and they should go away on their own within a few days.
For more about potential side effects, what to expect and what to look for, please visit the CDC’s resource page.
Can I stop wearing a mask and avoiding close contact with others after I have been fully vaccinated?
The CDC states that once you've been fully vaccinated, you can get back to enjoying normal activities. The CDC keeps an updated list of such activities, which may change as new data emerges. In August 2021, to reduce the risk of being infected with the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others, the CDC advised to continue wearing a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.