How Can I Get My COVID-19 Vaccine?
With the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, widespread vaccination is available. Everyone ages 12+ can now get their vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is approved by the FDA in those 16 and older, and authorized for emergency use in 12 to 15-year-olds. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for those 18 and older.
With the recent rise in cases of the delta variant, we must all continue taking important precautions to help slow the spread of the virus. This may include wearing a mask, washing and sanitizing your hands frequently, social distancing and limiting gatherings.
All Ohioans age 12 and over are now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Cleveland Clinic continues to receive doses of the Pfizer vaccine and offers vaccinations to those ages 12 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’re scheduled for a primary care visit, you may be offered a COVID-19 vaccine during your appointment.
If you or your child are a Cleveland Clinic patient or Ohio resident who is interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our vaccination sites, please visit our Ohio vaccination page.
All Floridians age 12 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 who is interested in getting the COVID-19 vaccine at one of our vaccination sites, please visit our Florida vaccination page.
How can I receive a booster dose or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Third doses for the immunocompromised
The FDA and CDC have approved a booster dose (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. The CDC and FDA say 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.
Booster doses of the Pfizer vaccine
Booster doses are recommended for:
- Individuals ages 65 and older.
- Individuals in long-term care settings.
- Individuals ages 50 to 64 who have underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk for severe COVID-19.
Those who are also eligible to receive booster doses include:
- Individuals ages 18 to 49 who have underlying medical conditions that place them at higher risk for severe COVID-19 after review of individual benefit.
- Individuals in institutional settings, or those who have an occupational risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The booster dose is for those who have previously received Pfizer’s vaccine for their initial two doses. A booster dose may be given at least six months after the second dose was received.
Booster doses of the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine
At this time, there are no booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine recommended for healthy individuals who have received two doses of the Moderna vaccine or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. Additional guidance is expected within the coming weeks.
Is the third dose for people with compromised immune systems different than a booster dose?
- For individuals with compromised immune systems, a third dose is recommended and must be given at least 28 days after the second dose.
- For individuals who have received two doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and meet certain requirements, a booster dose can be given at least six months following the second dose.
The dose of Pfizer's vaccine administered is the same. The only difference is the appropriate timing of administration.
How Do I Schedule My Appointment?
Ohio: If you are a Cleveland Clinic patient or Ohio resident who is eligible for your booster or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our Ohio vaccination page.
Florida: If you are a Cleveland Clinic patient who is eligible for your booster or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our Florida vaccination page.
What Should I Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older, and authorized it for emergency use in 12 to 15-year-olds. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are authorized for emergency use for those 18 and older in the United States.
While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given in two doses. It’s important for you to get both doses of these vaccines to get the maximum benefit. For Cleveland Clinic patients, when you complete your first vaccination appointment, your second dose appointment will be automatically scheduled for you.
Pfizer’s vaccine doses are given 21 days apart. Moderna’s vaccine doses are 28 days apart. But if you can’t schedule your second dose during this time frame, you do not need to get the first dose again if the second dose is given later. This is because the CDC says there is no maximum time between doses.
Pfizer and Moderna started trials in March to evaluate the safety, tolerability and effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine in younger children and the results are expected this fall.
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine Safe?
Yes, we strongly encourage you to get it.
Given the speed of development of these vaccines, it’s understandable that there have been questions about whether or not there’s been enough research and testing to ensure the vaccines are safe. But all vaccines must go through rigorous clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy.
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?
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 12+ 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. Medical trials involving children involve strict protocols to ensure their safety and trials are still underway for children 6 months to 11 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 to help you make a decision together.
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 Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine (If I'm Still on the Fence)?
It's the best way to slow this deadly pandemic
We understand that you might be uneasy about getting your COVID-19 vaccine. Maybe you’re not sure what to expect. Or you aren’t sure if it’s right for you.
Here’s why you should consider getting your vaccine:
- To protect yourself: Getting the vaccine 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.
- 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. So, even though you may have to wear a mask for a little longer until more people have received it, we know that every person that 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.