Several COVID-19 vaccines have been developed. Vaccines are made by different companies. Each may have some differences from the others. Pfizer-BioNTech has received full FDA approval for those age 16 and older. Pfizer for those age 5-15, Moderna, and J&J have received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). As the U.S. Food & Drug Administration meets and reviews other COVID-19 vaccines, the agency will provide updates on vaccines authorized for emergency use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information about the vaccines undergoing large-scale trials. Most of the vaccines in these trials require two doses. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot 3-4 weeks later adds to the protection and provides maximum effectiveness.
If you tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered, you should still get the vaccine. While there is likely some immunity following recovery lasting at least a few weeks, it is unclear how long that immunity lasts and how much protection you get. The CDC recommends waiting 90 days after recovering from COVID-19 to be vaccinated.
Any individuals in the community who have had a known COVID-19 exposure should not get vaccinated for COVID-19 until their quarantine period has ended to avoid potentially exposing healthcare professionals and other persons to the virus during their vaccination visit.
While COVID-19 vaccines are now widely available, it is still recommended to wear a mask and practice social distancing in high risk settings (areas with high rates of transmission, indoors, crowded outdoor areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained, around individuals who are at higher risk). Vaccines have been shown to prevent infection and reduce the severity of illness, hospitalization, and death, and is the most important tool we have to reduce the spread of COVID-19.