About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like wearing masks and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.

Together, being vaccinated for COVID-19 and following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. If you receive the vaccine, you significantly reduce your body’s ability to host the virus, thus slowing the spread. The COVID-19 vaccines are extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus.

Vaccines Available or In Development

There are several manufacturers that are working on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, in the United States, only three have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The currently approved vaccines are:

FDA Approval

  • Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) COVID-19 vaccine. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine to receive FDA Approval outside of the Emergency Use Authorization for individuals ages 16 and older. It is a two-dose regimen. After the first dose is administered, the second dose should be administered within 21 to 42 days and must also be the Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine. The individual should not receive a second dose from a different manufacturer. Learn more in this fact sheet.

Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)

Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is a mechanism to facilitate the availability and use of medical countermeasures, including vaccines, during public health emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has EUA approval for initial doses for individuals ages 5 through 11 (at a lower dose than is used for those ages 12 and older), and for individuals ages 12 through 15. The EUA also extends to the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals and as a booster shot for all individuals age 12 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine five or more months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago.
  • Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. This is the second vaccine approved by the FDA for EUA. (Pfizer-BioNTech was the first.) After the first dose is administered, the second dose should be administered within 28 to 42 days and must also be the Moderna vaccine. The individual cannot receive a second dose from a different manufacturer. The Moderna vaccine also is available under EUA for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals and for a booster dose for everyone age 18 and older who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine five or more months ago, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two or more months ago. Learn more in this fact sheet. 
  • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine. This is the third vaccine approved by the FDA for EUA. It is the only single-dose vaccine currently available. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also available as a booster shot for all adults age 18 and older who were vaccinated two or more months ago with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or five or more months ago with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Learn more in this fact sheet.

If the second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine is administered beyond the intervals recommended above, there is no need to restart the series, according to the CDC. 

If You’ve Already Tested Positive For COVID-19

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, we encourage you to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have previously had COVID-19. The CDC says that experts do not yet know how long you’re protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. However, if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

Additional Useful Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and the benefits of vaccination.

Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Get the latest updates on vaccine news.

Ohio Department of Health
Learn more about Ohio’s plan to distribute safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines statewide to those who choose to be vaccinated.