COVID-19 most often causes respiratory illness that can feel much like a cold, a flu, or pneumonia. It can cause mild symptoms or more severe illness in some people. A number of diseases make a person more likely to have severe symptoms of COVID-19. This list of high-risk diseases comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Recommendations for older adults who have no problems with their immune system (immunocompetent)
You should receive one dose of an updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax.
The updated vaccines are called “updated” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant XBB 1.5. None of the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines is preferred over another.
Recommendations for older adults who have problems with their immune system (immunocompromised)
People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised may get additional doses of the updated COVID-19 vaccine. A person is immunocompromised when their immune system is weak. These people may have more trouble fighting COVID-19 and are at higher risk of getting seriously sick or dying from COVID-19.You may have a weak immune system if you have cancer, diabetes, or heart conditions, for example. These are just a few of the diseases that can make your immune system weak. Please check with your healthcare professional to see if you have a medical problem that makes your immune system weak.
If you are immunocompromised, the recommendations for the 2023-2024 updated vaccines differ depending on your previous COVID vaccination history.
|Previous COVID-19 vaccination history||Which 2023-2024 Updated Vaccine is right for you|
|If you have never received a COVID-19 vaccine before||
Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech (3 doses)
Novavax (2 doses)
|If you have previously received 1 dose of the Moderna or Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine||Same manufacturer as your previous vaccine (2 doses)|
|If you have previously received 2 doses of the Moderna or Pfizer- BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine||Same manufacturer as your previous vaccines (1 dose)|
|If you have previously received 3 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine||1 dose of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Novavax|
|If you have previously received 1 or more doses of the Novavax or Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (including in combination with any mRNA vaccines)||1 dose of Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Novavax|
Getting the Vaccine
The vaccine is available at no cost to you:
- If you have Medicare, you will not have to pay to get vaccinated.
- Medicaid and private health insurance plans cover all vaccine costs.
- If you are uninsured, you can get free vaccines.
Vaccines are available at many locations:
- Most drug stores
- Community health centers
- State or local health departments
Find a COVID-19 vaccine location near you:
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider
- Call 1-800-232-0233
- Text your zip code to 438829 or visit vaccines.gov
Other Ways to Protect Yourself
- Increase your distance. The closer you are to a greater number of people increases your exposure to COVID-19. Keeping your distance or avoiding crowds can lower that risk.
Last Updated October 2023
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