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COVID-19 vaccines

There are two types of COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States: mRNA vaccines and protein subunit vaccines. The CDC recommends the 2023–2024 updated COVID-19 vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Novavax, to protect against serious illness from COVID-19. Vaccine recommendations are based on age, and in some cases, time since last dose, the first vaccine received, and immunocompromised status. Side effects after a COVID-19 vaccine are common. However, severe allergic reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine are rare.

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines use mRNA created in a laboratory to teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. The mRNA from the vaccines is broken down within a few days after vaccination and discarded from the body.

As of September 12, 2023, the 2023–2024 updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were recommended by CDC for use in the United States.