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Facts About Covid Vaccines – HealthyWomen

By Published On: April 11, 20243.8 min readViews: 1800 Comments on Facts About Covid Vaccines – HealthyWomen
The world of Covid vaccines has certainly changed since the initial pandemic days of people waiting in long lines to get vaccinated.

Today, there are several different Covid vaccines to choose from. Two are mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) and one is a protein-based vaccine (Novavax). And if you’re confused about what’s available and when you should get it, you’re not alone.

There are currently three 2023–2024 updated Covid vaccines, and which ones you can receive depends on your age and previous vaccination status. Here are the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help you decide which vaccines you and your loved ones should consider.

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1. Everyone 5 years and older should get at least one dose of an updated Covid vaccine to be up to date

  • Children ages 5–11 who are either unvaccinated or had a Covid vaccine before September 12, 2023, should receive one updated Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna Covid vaccine.
  • Anyone 12 years and older who is unvaccinated should receive either one dose of the updated Pfizer-BioNTech or updated Moderna vaccine or two doses of the updated Novavax vaccine.
  • Anyone 12 years and older who had any vaccine before September 12, 2023, should get one dose of any of the three updated vaccines.

2. Babies and young children have different recommendations

Children from 6 months through 4 years can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. If they’ve never been vaccinated, they will need two or three doses, depending on the vaccine. If they received a previous vaccine, they will need one or two doses based on the first vaccine. There is currently no Covid vaccine approved for children younger than 6 months.

3. You can mix Covid vaccines

Your next shot doesn’t have to be the same brand or the same type as your last one. That means if you’ve already been vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), you can get a protein-based vaccine (Novavax) for your next shot and vice versa.

Read: Understanding the Different Types of Covid-19 Vaccines >>

4. Yes, you can get the Covid, RSV and flu vaccines all at the same time

If you are eligible to receive the Covid, RSV and flu vaccines, it is safe to get them all at one time, although each shot is given individually.

5. You should still get vaccinated even if you’ve had Covid before

If you’ve had a confirmed case of Covid, you should still get an updated vaccine to help protect yourself against the virus. Research shows that people who didn’t get an updated vaccine after recovering from Covid were more likely to get Covid again compared to people who did get a vaccine after recovering from Covid.

You don’t have to wait a certain amount of time to get the vaccine after getting Covid, but the CDC notes that if you prefer, you can wait three months after your infection before getting vaccinated because you may have some immunity for that length of time from having had the virus. People who have had a confirmed case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) should wait 90 days following diagnosis to get the vaccine.

6. Covid mRNA vaccines cannot alter human DNA

There are two types of Covid vaccines: protein-based vaccines and mRNA vaccines. The protein-based vaccine (Novavax) uses a small harmless piece of the virus to help your immune system recognize and fight the virus. The mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) use messenger RNA, a small particle that teaches cells to make a piece of the vaccine, to offer protection against the virus.

Neither type of vaccine can change your DNA because neither can get into the nucleus of a cell, where DNA is stored. Also, the messenger RNA is not stored in your body. The mRNA vaccine does its job by giving your immune system instructions, and then it breaks down and disappears.

Get information about Covid vaccines from trusted sources

When it comes to Covid, there’s a lot of information and misinformation out there. You deserve to have your questions answered and your concerns addressed by reliable sources you can trust.

If you can, start by talking to a healthcare provider (HCP) about any questions or concerns you may have. And if you’re responsible for a loved one’s care and they have questions, hear them out and share resources with them to help them make a decision with you.

You can get reliable information from official sources for health information, like the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO).

This educational resource was created with support from Novavax.

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