Massachusetts Medical Society: COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

COVID-19 Vaccination for Children 5-11 Years Old

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children between the ages of 5 and 11 years receive the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 5–11-year-olds is a new product configuration with new packaging, new preparation, and a new national drug code (NDC). The current Pfizer-BioNTech product for adults and adolescents should not be used in children.

For some immunocompromised children aged 5–11 years old, CDC now recommends an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to complete the primary series – a total of three doses.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 5 years of age and older who do not have contraindications.

COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 18 years and older get a booster dose. Individuals ages 12–17 can only get a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster.

For individuals who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the CDC now recommends booster shots at 5 months after the completion of the primary series for those aged 12 and older.

For individuals who received the Moderna vaccine, the CDC recommends booster shots at 5 months after the completion of the primary series for those aged 18 and older.

For people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) booster at 2 months after receiving the initial vaccination for those aged 18 and older. Although mRNA vaccines are preferred, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix and match dosing for booster shots. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) are preferred. Read more about COVID-19 booster shots.

Individuals 5 years of age and older who live, work, or study in Massachusetts can get vaccinated. People 18+ can get any vaccine.

Massachusetts children ages 12 to 17 are currently eligible to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more at COVID-19 vaccinations for people ages 12-17.

The CDC currently recommends a third dose for certain groups of people with weakened immune systems who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Use the Massachusetts VaxFinder to search for a vaccination location and view appointment availability. Walk-ins are also being welcomed at many locations. The COVID-19 vaccine is free.

Key things know about the COVID-19 vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) based on early data:

  • All of the COVID-19 vaccines show promise in reducing severity of disease 

  • It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19; you are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine

  • People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic 

What we are still learning:

  • How well vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to others, even if you do not have symptoms

  • How long COVID-19 vaccines protect people

  • How effective the vaccines are against new variants of the virus that causes COVID-19

The Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Initiative works with the populations and communities hardest hit by COVID-19 to increase awareness and acceptance of the vaccine, access to vaccination locations, and vaccine administration rates. The approach is driven by community needs and is centered on equity, a core pillar of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, and is informed by the state’s  COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group and the Vaccine Advisory Group.

COVID-19 Vaccines, Safety, and Efficacy

Vaccine Information for Physician Practices

Talking To Your Patients About The Vaccine

A strong recommendation from their trusted physician or health care provider is a crucial factor in patients’ decisions about getting immunized.

  • Ariadne Labs COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence Toolkit: Best practices for having vaccination conversations, a step-by-step COVID-19 vaccine conversation guide, suggested language for responding to patient questions, and a patient-oriented COVID-19 vaccine handout that addresses the most common concerns about the vaccine.

  • Stop COVID-19 – Vaccine education and outreach materials: Educational materials for use by vaccine providers, community-based organizations, state and local government, and others to use in their public outreach and messaging efforts from the MA Department of Public Health

  • Talking to Patients about COVID-19 Vaccines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

  • Educating Patients and The Public: Tools and research to inform clinician communication about COVID-19 vaccination with patients including multicultural communities, from the Infectious Disease Society of America (ISDA)

Information For Patients

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