How Can I Get My COVID-19 Vaccine, Third Dose or Booster?
Is it your first dose? Everyone ages 5+ can now get the COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for emergency use by the FDA and CDC for those ages 5 to 15. It's fully approved for those ages 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
Do you need a booster? Studies show that the protection COVID-19 vaccines offer against the disease and new variants may decrease over time. Therefore, the FDA and CDC have approved a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for all individuals ages 18 and older. A booster dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine may be given at least six months after the second dose was received. A booster for those who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be given at least two months after the initial dose.
The FDA and CDC have also authorized receiving a booster dose of a different vaccine brand than your initial vaccine brand. For example, if you received an initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can receive a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose.
The booster dose was previously approved for individuals age 65+, adults with underlying medical conditions and those whose jobs put them at high risk for exposure to COVID-19. Cleveland Clinic is working to expand our booster dose availability to all adults ages 18+ in the coming weeks. We are not currently offering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at Cleveland Clinic locations — instead you can receive a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna.
Are you immunocompromised? The FDA and CDC have approved a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for certain patients with compromised immune systems who received their first two doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.) These doses must be given at least 28 days after a patient’s second dose.
A third dose is safe and can provide added protection from severe illness or death from COVID-19 in patients who may have a weakened response to vaccination due to certain medical conditions or medications. If you're eligible for a third dose and have questions, we encourage you to speak with your healthcare provider.
How Do I Schedule My Appointment?
Cleveland Clinic continues to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine and offers vaccinations to those ages 5 and older at all of our locations. Those under the age of 18 who are coming to a Cleveland Clinic vaccination site must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or provide written consent from their parent or guardian in order to receive the vaccine.
At certain locations, if you or your child is scheduled for a primary care visit, you may be offered a COVID-19 vaccine during your regularly scheduled appointment.
If you or your child are a Cleveland Clinic patient or Ohio resident and are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our vaccination sites, please visit our Ohio vaccination page.
All Floridians age 5 and over are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
You or your child must be an established patient who has seen a Cleveland Clinic Florida provider in the last two years for outpatient or inpatient care. Those under the age of 18 who are coming to a Cleveland Clinic vaccination site must be accompanied by a parent or guardian or provide written consent from their parent or guardian in order to receive the vaccine.
If you or your child are a Cleveland Clinic patient and are interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our vaccination sites, please visit our Florida vaccination page.
Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine or a Booster (If I’m Still on the Fence)?
It's the best way to slow this deadly pandemic.
There are three different COVID-19 vaccine options available in the U.S., and all are safe and provide powerful protection against severe illness and death from COVID-19. If you have questions about the vaccines, talk to your healthcare provider:
- Pfizer: This vaccine has been approved for emergency use for those ages 5 to 15. The Pfizer vaccine is fully approved for those 16+. Two doses are given 21 days apart. Smaller doses are given to children ages 5 to 12.
- Moderna: This vaccine has been authorized for emergency use for those 18 and older. It requires two doses that are given 28 days apart.
- Johnson & Johnson: The vaccine requires only one dose and has been authorized for emergency use for those 18 years and older.
We understand that you might be unsure about getting your COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Maybe you’re not sure what to expect, are worried about side effects or you aren’t sure if it’s right for you.
Why you should consider getting your vaccine or booster
- To protect yourself: Getting the vaccine and booster dose is the best way to protect yourself from severe illness or death from COVID-19. While some breakthrough cases are being reported, those who have been vaccinated generally have milder cases or don’t have any symptoms. Over time, protection from the COVID-19 vaccine decreases. A booster dose helps provide continuing protection from getting infected with COVID-19 and experiencing severe symptoms.
- To protect those around you: If you get sick, you could spread the virus to others. Getting the vaccine — while continuing to wear a mask and practice social distancing — will help keep your friends and family safe, especially those who may be at risk for a severe case of COVID-19.
- To protect your community: For the vaccine to be effective against COVID-19, we need enough people to get vaccinated. We know that every person who gets vaccinated is a small step in the right direction.
At the end of the day, we’re confident that this vaccine is the most important public health strategy for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and we strongly encourage you to consider getting it.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
Yes. We strongly encourage everyone is who eligible (ages 5+) to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your child, other family members and your community from COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been determined to be safe and effective. All vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy, and no safety shortcuts were taken as they were developed.
As with many vaccines, you may be sore where it’s injected. You may also develop fatigue, fever and muscle aches afterward. This seems to be more common with the second dose of vaccine. If this happens, it means your immune system is taking notice of the vaccine and reacting.
Can vaccinated people still get COVID-19?
No vaccines are 100% effective. In fact, breakthrough cases (when someone tests positive for COVID-19 more than two weeks after they're fully vaccinated) are expected. Breakthrough infections are more common in indoor settings with large groups of people, the elderly and in individuals with compromised immune systems. However, the vaccines greatly reduce the risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. For more information on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
Should I be concerned about a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine?
No. Allergic reactions, including shortness of breath and hives, were uncommon during COVID-19 vaccine trials. All recipients receiving the vaccine will be monitored for at least 15 minutes after vaccination for possible immediate hypersensitive reactions. If you have a history of allergic reactions to vaccines, talk to your healthcare provider before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
What side effects can I expect from the vaccines?
In the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson clinical trials, the vaccines were very effective with only mild side effects that are common in all vaccines. These include fever, fatigue, muscle aches and headache.
How does the Johnson & Johnson vaccine differ from mRNA vaccines?
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses DNA from the COVID-19 spike protein into a virus called an adenovirus (the type of virus that typically causes colds) instead of mRNA. You only need to get one dose instead of two. In the phase 3 clinical trial, the vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe COVID-19 disease 28 days after vaccination. Overall, the vaccine was also 85% effective in preventing hospitalization and 100% effective in preventing death, 28 days after vaccination.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for children?
Vaccinating your child is their best line of defense against catching COVID-19. Children can become severely ill from acute COVID-19 or from multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) – a prolonged illness caused by COVID-19, which affects multiple organs. Children can also transmit the virus to someone else, so it’s important that they get vaccinated.
Similar to the first authorized COVID-19 vaccines for adults, the Pfizer vaccine went through rigorous testing and analysis to determine its safety and effectiveness in children ages 5 to 11 before it was made available to them. Because children’s immune systems are different than adults and change as they age, vaccines are tested and approved for different age groups. As with the vaccine for ages 12+, Pfizer's pediatric vaccine for ages 5 to 11 is also given in two doses, 21 days apart. However, the pediatric vaccine dose is smaller than the dose for ages 12 and older. Medical trials involving children follow strict protocols to ensure their safety, and trials are still underway for children 6 months to 5 years old. Find answers from our pediatricians to your pressing questions about vaccinating your children.
If I’m pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive, can I get immunized?
Based on current research and safety data, the CDC recommends that women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to get pregnant be vaccinated against COVID-19. We encourage you to talk to your Ob/Gyn if you have questions or concerns about getting vaccinated.
If I've had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated anyway?
We still recommend that you get the vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19. However, you may consider waiting 90 days after getting infected as it’s not common to get COVID-19 again within three months of first being infected.
Why do I need a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
COVID-19 vaccines are working to prevent severe illness, hospitalization and death. However, public health experts are starting to see a decrease in protection from the disease over time. A booster dose increases your protection against getting infected and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Is the third dose for people with compromised immune systems different than a booster dose?
- For individuals with compromised immune systems who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose is recommended and must be given at least 28 days after the second dose.
- A booster dose can be given to those ages 18+ who have received two doses of a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I receive a booster dose of a different vaccine brand?
The FDA and CDC have authorized receiving a booster dose of a different vaccine brand than your initial vaccine brand. For example, if you received an initial dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can receive a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose.