Updated January 6, 2022
What You Need to Know
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective at helping protect against severe disease and death, including from variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 currently circulating (e.g., Delta, Omicron, etc.).
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without you having to experience sickness.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19.
- On January 5, 2022, the CDC expanded COVID-19 booster recommendations to 12-year-olds for the Pfizer vaccine. DHEC supports this recommendation and you can learn more here.
- On December 9, 2021, CDC expanded COVID-19 booster recommendations to 16-and-17-year-olds. DHEC supports this recommendation and you can learn more here.
- On November 2, 2021, the CDC recommended the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11. Anyone 5 and older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
- If you are fully vaccinated you can resume activities that you did before the pandemic. However, you should wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission. Being fully vaccinated and wearing a mask maximizes protection from the Delta variant and possibly spreading it to others.
- You may have side effects after vaccination. These are normal and should go away within a few days.
- People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are recommended to get an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna).
Finding a Vaccine Location: What to Expect
- The process will depend on the location you choose. See if the location you choose requires an appointment or accepts walk-ins.
- The vaccine is free, and you don’t need an ID or health insurance to get it.
- Parental consent is required for those age 5-15.
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Safe & Effective
The COVID-19 vaccines prevent COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. The COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants—of different ages, races, and ethnicities—in clinical trials. The vaccines meet the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. More on Vaccine Safety
Protect yourself, protect others, and help stop the pandemic. Get your shot today at a location near you.
Get the Vax Facts
Fight vaccine misinformation. Turn to trusted public health resources for the facts you need.
No. None of the vaccines contain the live virus that causes COVID-19, so they can't give you COVID-19.
After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. Side effects are typically mild to moderate, occur within the first 3 days beginning the day of the vaccination, and resolve within 1-2 days of onset. Some people have no side effects. Common side effects on the arm where you received the shot include pain, redness, and swelling. Throughout the rest of your body, you may feel tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, and nausea. For more information, please see the CDC's Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccines teach our body how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build immunity against COVID-19.
The currently available vaccines provide protection from COVID-19 disease, including its variants, like the Delta variant. Learn the latest about variants from CDC.
Yes. You can more than double your protection against re-infection by getting vaccinated. A study published on Aug 6, 2021, compared Kentucky residents infected with SARS-CoV-2 in May/June 2020 and re-infected a year later to those not re-infected. The study found that unvaccinated people were 2.34 times more likely to get re-infected than those vaccinated.
Once they have completed their isolation period, people previously infected with COVID-19 may receive the vaccine. According to the CDC, people appear to become susceptible to reinfection after more than 90 days from the time they were initially infected. Reinfection appears to be rare during the first 90 days after someone was infected with COVID-19.
No. COVID-19 vaccines to not change or interact with your DNA in any way. The vaccines teach our bodies how to protect against future COVID infections. Learn more about how the vaccines work from the CDC.