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Who should and should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Doctors recommend the COVID-19 vaccines for everyone, with very few exceptions. They are safe and very effective.

Some people may need to wait or should seek medical advice before getting immunized. This includes people who:

  • Have severe allergies to vaccine ingredients. You can view the ingredient list for the approved vaccines and get more information about vaccine allergies here. Severe allergies to these ingredients are very rare, and even patients with anaphylactic allergies may still be able to get the vaccine under the supervision of a doctor who specializes in allergies. NOTE: Food allergies or other allergies not related to vaccine ingredients are NOT a reason to avoid the vaccine. If you are concerned, talk to your doctor.
  • Have had severe allergies to other vaccines or injectable medications in the past, or have had an anaphylactic reaction in the past but do not know the cause. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Have been infected with COVID-19. If you previously completed your COVID-19 primary series (the first two or three doses of vaccine), it is recommended that you wait 6 months after infection to get your next dose of vaccine. If you have never been immunized with a COVID-19 vaccine or did not complete your primary series, it is recommended that you wait 2 months after infection to get your next dose of vaccine. If you are unsure how long to wait, talk to your doctor.
  • Had Myocarditis and/or pericarditis following vaccination. As a precautionary measure until more information is available, most people who experienced myocarditis and/or pericarditis within 6 weeks following a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) should hold off on receiving more COVID-19 vaccines. Those with symptoms compatible with pericarditis and who either had no workup or had normal investigations may receive the next dose once they are symptom-free and at least 90 days have elapsed since vaccination. Talk to your doctor first.
  • Have suppressed immune systems or are undergoing treatments that can weaken your immune system, like chemotherapy. It is very important for you to be immunized because the immunosuppression could make it more likely for you to get severe symptoms if you get a COVID-19 infection. It may be recommended for you to receive additional doses of vaccine compared to someone without a suppressed immune system. Talk to your doctor first.

Like any medication, surgery or other treatment, vaccines also have risks of side effects. The good news is for those who have side effects, they are almost always mild and go away quickly. For almost everyone, the risk of getting COVID is much higher — sometimes thousands of times higher — than the risk of a serious reaction from the vaccine, and the vaccine offers the benefit of preventing serious infections. Your doctor can assess your medical situation and advise you about the vaccine.

If you have questions about whether the vaccine is right for you, talk to a doctor.