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Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine


COVID-19 Vaccine for Children

  1. Is the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe for children 5-11 years of age?
    The vaccine’s safety was studied in a clinical trial for children ages 5 through 11 and to date no serious side effects have been reported in those who received the vaccine.

  2. Is the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine effective in children 5-11 years of age?
    . The vaccine appears to be as effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection as in adults.

  3. What are some common side effects in children after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?
    Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity. Most common are pain at injection site, fatigue, fever and headache. These are similar to the ones observed in those 12 years of age and older, occurred within two days after vaccination and resolved within one to two days.

  4. Are children eligible for COVID-19 vaccine boosters?
    Booster doses are not permitted for people < 18 years of age.

  5. Are children aged 5-11 who are immunocompromised eligible for a third dose?
    Third doses are not permitted for people <12 years of age.


COVID-19 Booster Dose, Third Dose and Adult Vaccine (for Patients 12+)

  1. Do I need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine if I have been previously infected with COVID-19?
    Yes. The CDC recommends that even people previously infected with COVID-19 be vaccinated. This is because the immunity from vaccination appears to be more reliable than the immunity from natural infection. You can choose to delay your vaccination until 90 days after your infection, because you can be fairly confident your immunity from the infection will last that long.

  2. Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I am pregnant?
    Pregnant individuals are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19. For this reason, the CDC, Society for Maternal- Fetal Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend that pregnant individuals have access to COVID-19 vaccines. A conversation with your obstetrical doctor or nurse might help you make a decision. For more information, visit the CDC website here.

  3. Who is now eligible to receive a booster shot?
    Adults 18+ who have had their second shot at least 6 months ago for the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or received their Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen vaccine at least 2 months ago, are eligible for a booster

  4. Do I need a note from my doctor to get a booster?
    You do not need a doctor’s note to receive a booster dose. You may be required to attest that you meet eligibility criteria to receive a booster.

  5. Do I need to bring my COVID-19 vaccine documentation when I get the booster shot?
    We encourage you to bring your original vaccine card or documentation, but it is not a requirement.

  6. Does my COVID-19 booster have to be the same brand as my initial series?
    The FDA and CDC allows for the use of a booster of a different brand than the original series although the benefits of this approach are not yet clear. In general, you can get the same vaccine brand that you received with your original series (example: Pifzer to Pfizer; Moderna to Moderna; J&J to J&J).

  7. Is there a specific population that would benefit from a mix and match combination?
    The following groups could benefit from a mix and match approach, if desired. Be sure to discuss any questions you may have with your primary care provider:
    • Females under age 50 may want to consider opting for a Pfizer or Moderna booster, although they may choose to proceed with J&J.
    • Males under age 30 may want to consider opting for a J&J booster although they may choose to proceed with Pfizer or Moderna.

  8. What is the difference between an additional dose and a booster dose?
    • Additional dose after a primary series: An additional dose of vaccine is administered when the initial immune response following a primary vaccine series is likely to be insufficient. For example, a third dose of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine for certain immunocompromised patients.
    • Booster dose: Initial immune response to a primary vaccine series is thought to be adequate (For example, in immunocompetent individuals). But an additional dose of vaccine is administered when the initial immune response to a primary series is likely to have waned over time.

  9. Are the side effects similar for the booster dose?
    To date, the side effects reported after a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine seem to be similar to what people experienced after receiving doses 1 and 2. Pain at the injection site was the most commonly reported side effect. Most symptoms were mild to moderate and resolved within 3 days.

  10. Can I stop wearing masks and social distancing if I get a booster dose?
    While the booster dose of the vaccine may provide added protection, it is still recommended that you continue to follow state and local guidance as it relates to wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, hand hygiene, etc.

  11. Where else can I get the COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose if I cannot make it into Tufts Medical Center?
    You can check to find a vaccine clinic more convenient to you.

  12. Do you have a specific question about COVID-19 vaccines not answered here? Email your question to along with your name and city or town that you live in and we’ll answer your questions directly in our new weekly vlog from Tufts Medical Center Infectious Disease Physician and Hospital Epidemiologist Shira Doron.