VAERS is the nation's early warning system that monitors the safety of vaccines after they are authorized or licensed for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS is part of the larger vaccine safety system in the United States that helps make sure vaccines are safe. The system is co-managed by CDC and FDA.
VAERS accepts and analyzes reports of possible health problems- also called "adverse events"- after vaccination. As an early warning system, VAERS cannot prove that vaccine caused a problem. Specifically, a report to VAERS does not mean that a vaccine caused an adverse event. But VAERS can give CDC and FDA important information. If it looks as though a vaccine might be causing a problem, FDA and CDC will investigate further and take action if needed.
Anyone can submit a report to VAERS- healthcare professionals, vaccine manufacturers, and the general public. VAERS welcomes all reports, regardless of seriousness, and regardless of how likely the vaccine may have been to have caused the adverse event.
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CDC recommends for individuals to get a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose at least 2 months after their last COVID-19 shot—either since their last booster dose, or since completing their primary series. Pfizer’s updated booster shot is recommended for individuals 5 and older and Moderna’s updated booster shot is recommended for individuals 6 years and older.
On September 1, 2022, the CDC issued new recommendations for COVID-19 boosters, after the FDA authorized updated booster formulas from both Pfizer and Moderna. These new boosters contain an updated bivalent formula that both boosts immunity against the original coronavirus strain and also protects against the newer Omicron variants that account for most of the current cases. Bivalent COVID-19 boosters are intended to provide optimal protection against the virus and address waning vaccine effectiveness over time.
Yes, the CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and up should get a bivalent COVID-19 booster this fall to stay up-to-date on vaccinations. The same is true for people who completed their primary series or received one or two boosters: they should get a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose at least two months after their last shot.
No. The updated bivalent formula is in use only for COVID-19 booster doses, and not for initial vaccination. The best way to protect yourself from getting severely ill from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that currently unvaccinated people get their primary series (the initial two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna, or one dose of the Novavax vaccine), and then wait at least two months to get the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster dose.
Yes. Eligible individuals can get either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster.
Booster doses are common for many vaccines, and over time, booster doses may need to be updated to provide optimal protection against new variants of the virus. The scientists and medical experts who developed the COVID-19 vaccines continue to watch for waning immunity, how well the vaccines protect against new mutations of the virus, and how that data differ across age groups and risk factors. To date, booster doses have worked well in extending the protection of the vaccine against serious illness, but have been somewhat less effective in boosting immunity against new variants of COVID-19 compared to the original strain. The updated booster dose formula is designed to protect against original strains of the virus, as well as Omicron variants that account for the majority of current new infections. The latest CDC recommendations on booster doses help to ensure more people across the U.S. are better protected against COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated and boosted if eligible. Vaccination and boosting is particularly important for individuals more at risk for severe COVID-19, such as older people and those with underlying medical conditions.
There are several opportunities to get vaccinated in Yakima County. You can find locations on the Yakima Health District's COVID-19 Vaccine webpage.
The COVID-19 vaccine is widely available to anyone 6 months and older. Those 5 years and older eligible to get the bivalent COVID-19 booster dose. For more information, visit CDC’s page here.
Common side effects include sore arm, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. Side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection and should go away in a few days. For some people, side effects after the second dose may be more intense than the ones they experience after the first dose. Some people may have no side effects at all. Find helpful tips to relieve side effects here.
The COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials and met the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. Before they became available in Washington, they were also reviewed by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the western states Safety Review Workgroup. Both groups voted to recommend the vaccines for immediate use. The FDA and CDC also continue to closely monitor the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines to identify any adverse events related to the vaccines.
Read more about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
The COVID-19 vaccine teaches your immune system to recognize the coronavirus. When you get the vaccine, your immune system makes antibodies (“fighter cells”) that stay in your blood and protect you in case you are infected with the virus. You get protection against the disease without having to get sick. When enough people in the community can fight off the coronavirus, it has nowhere to go. This means we can stop the spread quicker and get a little closer to ending this pandemic.
Watch this video on how vaccines work in your body.
You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines if you have completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and received the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC.
Vaccine recommendations are based on your age, the vaccine you first received, and time since last dose. People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised have different recommendations for COVID-19 vaccines.
New COVID-19 variants are more dangerous and infectious to children than the original strains. While COVID-19 is often milder in children than adults, children can still get very sick and spread it to friends and family who are immunocompromised or vulnerable in other ways. Children who are infected with COVID-19 can also develop “long COVID-19” or persistent symptoms that often include brain fog, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and shortness of breath. Vaccination is the best way to keep kids healthy and safe.
You should get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you already had COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine after you recover from COVID-19 infection provides added protection against COVID-19. You may consider delaying your vaccine by 3 months from when your symptoms started or, if you had no symptoms, when you received a positive test. People who already had COVID-19 and do not get vaccinated after their recovery are more likely to get COVID-19 again than those who get vaccinated after their recovery.
Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
No, the COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone at no cost regardless of insurance or immigration status.
If other services are performed along with the administration of the vaccine, it may be billed as an office visit. Seek clarification from your provider beforehand and from your insurance company if you are charged an office visit fee.
If this doesn’t address the issue, you can also file a complaint with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner here.If you do not have health insurance, remember that providers are not allowed to charge you for the vaccine and therefore may be violating the requirements of the COVID-19 vaccine program.
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You should receive a paper vaccination record card when you get your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This card will tell you which type of vaccine you got (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) and the date you received it.If you got the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, the card will tell you when to go back for your second dose. Keep this card with you so your vaccine provider can complete it after your second dose.
If you lose your record card, log in to MyIR (My Immunization Registry) to look up your COVID-19 vaccination record, and then take a screenshot or photo of the information. If you do not have an account, you can sign up for MyIR any time. For more information, click here.
People with underlying medical conditions can receive a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of the ingredients in the vaccine. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people with underlying medical conditions. Vaccination is an important consideration for adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions because they are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The vaccine should not be given to people with a known history of severe allergic reaction, such as anaphylaxis, to a previous dose of an mRNA or viral vector vaccine, or to any ingredient of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson-Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.
People who have had severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies may still be able to receive the vaccine. However, providers should do a risk assessment and counsel them about potential risks. If the patient decides to get the vaccine, the provider should observe them for 30 minutes to monitor for any immediate reactions. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that providers observe all other patients for at least 15 minutes after receiving the vaccine to monitor for an allergic reaction.
You may choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant and have COVID-19, you are at increased risk for severe illness. We recommend talking with your healthcare provider to make the decision. Learn more about vaccination considerations for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You can download V-safe onto your smartphone to report any side effects to the CDC. Depending on the information you submit to this tool, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. You can also report adverse events after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).