Third doses of Pfizer and Moderna, distinct from boosters, are recommended for specific immunocompromised people age 12 and older. These recipients may also get a booster — a fourth dose — at least six months after the third shot, according to CDC guidance. The agency recommends that children ages 5 to 11 who are immunocompromised get a third Pfizer dose 28 days after their second shot.
It’s safe and effective to choose which vaccine you receive as a booster.
Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for children age 5 and older. It’s one-third the dose for those 12 and older and is given in two shots, three weeks apart, according to CDC recommendations. Doses for kids are available at doctors’ offices and certain retail pharmacies. Call your doctor or check pharmacy websites. Both Pfizer and Moderna are researching how their vaccines work in children as young as 6 months.
Some vaccination sites ask for proof of identity or eligibility. Bring a driver’s license or other state-issued ID that shows your name, age and state residency, along with your health insurance card, if you have one. You won’t be charged for the initial vaccine series, or a booster shot, but the vaccine provider may bill your insurer a fee for administering the vaccine. After your first shot, bring your vaccine card for subsequent shots.
Most residents and staff of Maryland's long-term care facilities were offered first and second doses through a federal program that provided free on-site vaccinations in late 2020 and early 2021. The program has ended, but the federal government continues to allocate COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to pharmacies that are partnered with long-term care facilities to provide vaccinations, mainly on-site. Facilities that don’t have a pharmacy partner are encouraged to work with local or state health departments — or the federal government, if need be — to provide vaccinations.
You should not have any out-of-pocket costs for getting the vaccine. AARP fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine. The federal government is buying the vaccine and getting it to providers for free.
There are reports of scammers purporting to offer COVID vaccines and treatments and trying to charge for them. AARP’s Fraud Watch Network is tracking the latest scams.
You should get a small white card at your vaccination appointment with your name, birth date, name of the vaccine you received and the date it was administered. If you receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, bring your card when you get your second shot.
You may need your vaccine card to schedule a third vaccine dose, for certain immunocompromised people, or a booster shot. You may also need it for certain kinds of travel or other activities and may want to take a photo of it with your smartphone for your own records. But experts warn that posting a photo of your card to social media could make you vulnerable to identity theft.
If you’ve lost your vaccine card, call the site where you were vaccinated to request a new one or a copy of your vaccination record. You can also contact Maryland's health department to request a replacement card or a copy of your record.
All three vaccines reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections and are highly effective at preventing severe illness and death from the disease. But no vaccine is 100 percent effective and breakthrough infections can occur post-vaccination.
This guide was updated on May 6, 2022, with new information about the J&J vaccine.
Also of Interest:
This story is provided by AARP Maryland. Visit the AARP Maryland page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.
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