Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Basic Facts

COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, specifically SARS-CoV-2.  It is very contagious and can spread very quickly.

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).

Protect Yourself

Protect yourself against COVID-19. Be up to date with your vaccines!

You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccine if you have gotten your primary series of COVID-19 shots and a bivalent booster (the updated booster).

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines protect us against two different strains of COVID-19. The only COVID-19 booster vaccines approved by the FDA (as of October 14, 2022) are the Pfizer-BioNTech (age 5+) and Moderna (age 6+) bivalent vaccines.
Approved COVID-19 Vaccines for Older Adults (age 65+)
Vaccine Primary Series Bivalent Boosters
Pfizer-BioNTech 2 shots, 3 weeks apart

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or any other booster shots you received.

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

Moderna 2 shots, 4 weeks apart

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or any other booster shots you received.

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

Novavax 2 shots, 3 weeks apart

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or any other booster shots you received.

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen*
  • 1 shot of J&J/Janssen vaccine
  • 1 booster shot of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech at least two months after first shot of J&J/Janssen

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or any other booster shots you received.

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

*In most cases, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax vaccines are recommended over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Recommendations for Immunocompromised Older Adults (65+)

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 provider to see if you have a medical problem that makes your immune system weak.

Approved COVID-19 Vaccines for Immunocompromised Older Adults (age 65+)

Vaccine Primary Series Bivalent Boosters
Pfizer-BioNTech

3 shots

  • 2nd shot given 3 weeks after 1st shot
  • 3rd shot given at least 4 weeks after 2nd shot

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or last booster

Must be Pfizer-BioNTech

Moderna

3 shots

  • 2nd shot given 4 weeks after 1st shot
  • 3rd shot given at least 4 weeks after 2nd shot

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or last booster

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

Novavax
  • 2 shots, 3 weeks apart

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or last booster

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

Johnson & Johnson/Janssen*
  • 2 shots, 4 weeks apart
  • 2nd shot should be Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna
 

1 shot, at least 2 months after your last primary series shot or last booster

Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna

*In most cases, Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax vaccines are recommended over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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

  • Wear a high-quality mask or respirator. People may choose to mask at any time. Masks are recommended in indoor public transportation settings and may be required in other places by local or state authorities.
  • 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.
You can also find other ways of protecting yourself and others on the CDC site.

Last Updated October 2022