My Shot Cook County is Cook County’s resource for information about the COVID-19 vaccines.

By providing the latest COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, the science behind the vaccine, and where you can get vaccinated, we want to help you protect yourself, your family and the entire Cook County community.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

  • Approximately 262 million Americans have gotten vaccinated.
  • The vaccines are important to preventing serious illness or death from COVID-19.
  • Cook County Health recommends the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for all Cook County residents 6 months and older.
  • All people ages 5 and up are encouraged to get a booster shot.
  • Bivalent booster shots are now available for everyone age 5 and older. The bivalent shot includes proteins that tell your body how to build an immune response against the original COVID-19 virus, as well as the Omicron variant that is now circulating.
  • It’s important to stay up to date on your booster shots to provide your body the best change to fight the COVID-19 virus.
  • The vaccine and boosters are free and are scientifically proven to be the best way to protect yourself from serious illness caused by COVID-19.

Who Can Get Vaccinated?

Everyone age 6 months and older should get vaccinated against COVID-19. Kids older than 5 and adults should receive a booster shot to maximize their protection. New bivalent vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are now available to everyone age 5 and older. The bivalent shot includes proteins that tell your body how to build an immune response against the original COVID-19 virus, as well as the Omicron variant that is now circulating.

The FDA and CDC continue to update COVID-19 vaccine guidance as new vaccine formulations, additional information and clinical research results become available. It is important to stay up to date on your vaccinations and get every dose recommended. This will significantly reduce the chance you will get a serious COVID-19 infection. Serious COVID-19 infections can cause long-term side effects and death.

Find out who should get vaccinated and when:

  • Age
  • Primary Series
    Many vaccines require several shots to work effectively. A primary series is the initial number of shots of a particular vaccine that a person needs, not including booster shots
  • Booster Shot
    Original booster shot or new updated bivalent booster
  • 6 months - 4 years
  • 3 shots: First and second shot given 3 weeks apart. Third shot given 2 months after the second
  • Booster not available at this time
  • 5 - 11 years
  • 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • 12 - 17 years
  • 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • 18 and older
  • 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • Age
  • Primary Series
  • Booster Shot
  • 6 months - 5 years
  • 2 shots, given 4 weeks apart
  • Booster not available at this time
  • 6 - 11 years
  • 2 shots, given 4 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • 12 - 17 years
  • 2 shots, given 4 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • 18 and older
  • 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
NOVAVAX
  • Age
  • Primary Series
  • Booster Shot
  • 18 and older
  • 2 shots, given 3 weeks apart
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after second shot or last booster shot
  • Age
  • Primary Series
  • Booster Shot
  • 18 and older
  • 1 shot
  • Bivalent booster recommended at least 2 months after first shot or last booster shot

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response to the virus without you having to experience potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions. Getting sick with COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death, even in children.

    While many people will experience a mild case of COVID-19, others will not, and still others will experience complications after infection.

    Although getting vaccinated cannot guarantee you won’t get infected with COVID-19, it dramatically decreases your chances of severe infection, hospitalization and death from the virus. Reducing your risk of infection is also important for reducing the risk of long COVID.

  • Children are not immune to COVID-19. Children and teens of any age can become very sick and can sometimes require treatment in a hospital. Some children and teens have even died from COVID-19. There are also multiple studies showing post-infection complications for children and teens, including heart issues, confusion, fatigue and more.

    The benefit of COVID-19 vaccines, like other vaccines, is that they provide protection against infection without risking the potentially serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19.

  • Everyone age 6 months and older should get vaccinated against COVID-19. Learn more about vaccine eligibility and timing in the table above.

  • Yes. Over time, the antibodies that are created from a vaccine and protect us from a virus begin to lessen, leaving us vulnerable. Boosters help recharge our immune system to prevent a serious COVID-19 infection.

    The original strand of the COVID-19 virus has since mutated and we have seen numerous variants begin to spread.

    The updated bivalent vaccines are built off the initial vaccines that more than 262 million Americans have received. What’s new is that the bivalent vaccine includes proteins that tell your body how to create an immune response against the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variants that are circulating now.

    The bivalent booster should be administered at least two months after your most recent vaccine dose or booster. You must have completed your primary series to get the bivalent booster.

  • The FDA and CDC have given emergency use authorization of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent formulations of their COVID-19 vaccines.

    Until now, COVID-19 booster shots have been monovalent or univalent. That means they only contained one version of the mRNA sequence to protect against the original COVID-19 strain.

    The bivalent boosters currently approved are bivalent vaccines. That means they contain the mRNA sequence to protect against two strains of COVID-19, the original virus and the new variant currently circulating.

    The previous COVID-19 boosters based on the single original strain are no longer available and have been completely replaced by the bivalent boosters. The original single strain mRNA vaccines, however, will still be used for a person’s initial primary vaccination series.

  • The Pfizer bivalent vaccine is approved for everyone age 5 and older. The Moderna bivalent vaccine is approved for everyone age 6 and older.

    You only need a single booster shot of the bivalent vaccine to be considered fully boosted. You must receive either Johnson & Johnson/Janssen’s original one-shot primary series, or Pfizer or Moderna’s original two-shot primary series before you can get a bivalent vaccine booster.

    You’re eligible to get a bivalent booster shot two months after you’ve completed your primary series or after your most recent booster.

  • The original COVID-19 vaccines have a well-documented safety record, having been administered to 262 million people in the U.S. and billions of people worldwide. The bivalent boosters are built from the same science as the original COVID-19 vaccines, and just include additional proteins to protect your body against the COVID variant currently circulating.

    This process of updating a vaccine is similar to how influenza vaccines (flu shots) are updated every year to match the influenza strains most likely to be circulating in the fall and winter.

  • Evidence continues to show that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is your best protection against getting COVID-19, whether you have already had COVID-19 or not.

    While evidence suggests there is some level of immunity for those who previously had COVID, it is not known how long you are protected from getting COVID-19 again. Plus, the level of immunity provided by the vaccines after having COVID-19 is higher than the level of immunity for those who had COVID but were not subsequently vaccinated.

    If you are under age 50 and healthy, you may wait up to 3 months after an infection to get your next vaccine. Those over age 50 or at higher risk, may want to get their next shot sooner and should consult with their health care provider.

  • Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle. Myocarditis generally occurs when the immune system is triggered, such as when the body is fighting off an infection. Myocarditis can cause chest pain, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing and can interfere with heart function.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), myocarditis has been identified as a rare side effect of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. Reported cases have been mild and resolved quickly, often without medical care. These rare instances have been most often seen in boys aged 16 and older and young men.

    It is important to consider the risk of vaccination compared to the risk of a serious COVID-19 infection. Data from the CDC shows that only 4-7 people may develop myocarditis out of every 100,000 people vaccinated. However, if those 1,000 people were not vaccinated, we would expect to see 50 hospitalizations among that group for serious COVID-19 complications, including potential myocarditis.

    It is normal to have concerns about the side effects of any vaccine. Share any concerns or questions you may have with your health care provider.

  • You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. The way our bodies develop protection and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.

  • The FDA and CDC have authorized a mix-and-match option for booster shots. All booster shots will dramatically boost your antibody response. You may receive whichever vaccine you prefer, as long as you are eligible.

  • You cannot and will not get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines do not have any live virus or other infectious material in them.

  • After getting vaccinated for COVID-19, you might experience some temporary symptoms similar to those you might notice when you get a flu shot, such as a sore or swollen arm where you got the shot. You might have a fever or experience body aches, headaches and tiredness for a day or two. Chills and swollen lymph nodes may also occur.

    Experiencing these symptoms does not mean you’re sick. They signal that your immune system is responding to the shot and building up protection against the virus.

    Data show that the vaccines are very good at preventing serious or deadly cases of COVID-19. Overall, the benefits of being vaccinated are much greater than the risks involved.

  • No. The COVID-19 vaccine is free to everyone, regardless of insurance or immigration status. You might be asked for your insurance card or your Medicaid or Medicare information at our vaccination site because a small fee may be charged to your insurance company or the government. This charge cannot be passed on to you. You cannot be denied a vaccine if you do not have insurance. If you don’t have insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, just say so. You still get the vaccine for free.

  • The development of the COVID-19 vaccines did not cut corners on testing for safety and efficacy. The vaccines were made using processes that have been developed and tested over many years, and which are designed to make — and thoroughly test — vaccines quickly in case of an infectious disease pandemic such as COVID-19. The vaccines themselves were extensively tested by independent scientists, and more than 262 million people in the U.S. have been safely vaccinated.

LEARN MORE

There’s a lot of information out there about the COVID-19 vaccine, and it can be hard to know where to go to find what you need.

We’ve collected these sources to help answer your questions, but first – what makes a source reliable?

We consider reliable resources for COVID vaccine information to be public health departments, educational institutions, health systems, and medical professionals. These websites usually end in .org or .edu. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are not good sources for vaccine facts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The World Health Organization (WHO)

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH)

Cook County Health

COVID-19 Community Vaccination Program

Organizations that support the COVID 19 vaccine

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