Who should and shouldn’t get the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people.  There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you.  If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends, and others around you.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you and others around you from COVID-19, particularly people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

Can people with allergies get the COVID-19 vaccine? Yes, with 2 exceptions:

  • People with a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any component of the COVID-19 vaccine should NOT receive the vaccine.
  • People with a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to any vaccine or injectable (intramuscular or intravenous) medication should consult with their health provider to assess risk prior to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Everyone else with severe allergic reactions to foods, oral medications, latex, pets, insects, and environmental triggers may get vaccinated.

People with severe allergies require a 30-minute observation period after vaccination, while all others must be observed for 15 minutes. Vaccine clinics have safety protocols in place to respond to any adverse reactions.

If I am pregnant or breastfeeding? A pregnant or breastfeeding person may choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant or breastfeeding individuals.

There are limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. Pregnant people are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and may be at risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. If you are pregnant and your work places you at a high risk for COVID-19 infection you should discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine with your healthcare provider.

Currently, there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding people or on the effects of mRNA vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion, however mRNA vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Although definitive data are not yet available, maternal antibodies passed to the infant via breastmilk may provide protection as seen with antibodies to other viruses. Breastfeeding people should discuss the benefits and risks of the vaccine with their healthcare provider.

Is the vaccine as effective in people with suppressed immune systems? Specific efficacy and safety data are not yet available for people with immunosuppression due to medications or chronic illness. People with autoimmune conditions or who are immunocompromised are not excluded from getting the vaccine. Those who are vaccinated should be counseled on the potential for reduced immune responses and the need to continue to follow all current guidance to protect themselves against COVID-19. If you are immunocompromised or have an autoimmune disease, you and your doctor can decide together by weighing the benefits and risks.

Can children get the COVID-19 vaccine? Not yet. No vaccine can be widely given to children until it has been tested in them. The current mRNA COVID-19 vaccines were not studied or approved in children younger than 16 years of age. 

The Pfizer mRNA vaccine is authorized for people 16 years and older. The Moderna mRNA vaccine is authorized for people 18 years and older.

Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine even if I’ve already had COVID-19? The extent to which antibodies that develop in response to COVID-19 infection are protective is still under study. If these antibodies are protective, it’s not known what antibody levels are needed to protect against reinfection. Therefore, even those who previously had COVID-19 can and should receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

I was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 can I receive the vaccine? Yes, for Dose #1 you can be vaccinated four weeks after onset of symptoms or a positive test (whichever is earlier). For  Dose #2  you may be vaccinated after you have completed you isolation period. Isolation is for 10 days or 10 days plus 24 hours with no fever and an improvement in symptoms.