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Do You Have Questions About How to Select the Right COVID-19 Vaccine for You?

Tennesseans now have three options of COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and, following recent FDA emergency use authorization, Johnson & Johnson.

With one more COVID-19 vaccine choice available, it’s only natural Tennesseans may be asking themselves which vaccine to choose.

The most important thing to understand is that all three vaccines provide protection against being hospitalized or dying from COVID-19. These vaccines may also reduce the chance of passing the virus from one person to another.

As with all authorized COVID-19 vaccines, about one-third of those receiving the vaccine may experience mild symptoms of headache, fatigue, a low-grade fever, or body aches. However, most who receive the vaccine will not experience any symptoms at all.

Here are the basic differences between all three vaccines:

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is for people ages 16 and older and requires two vaccinations given at least 21 days apart. The second dose can be given up to six weeks after the first dose. This vaccine is effective 14 days following the second dose.
  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is for people ages 18 and older and requires two vaccinations given at least 28 days apart. The second dose can be given up to six weeks after the first dose. This vaccine is effective 14 days following the second dose.
  • The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is for people ages 18 and older and requires only one dose of vaccine. This vaccine is effective 28 days after the single dose is administered.

With this basic information in mind, the next decisions to make are where and when will you get your COVID-19 vaccine.

The Tennessee Dept. of Health will continue to administer the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at all of its 89 county health departments Tennessee is currently vaccinating adults age 65 and older, and those in the Phases 1a1, 1a2 and 1b populations. TDH will open the COVID-19 vaccine for the Phase 1c population on March 8. See Tennessee’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan for details on phases and other information.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be primarily provided to consumers through private sector health care providers and some metro health departments. Visit VaccineFinder.org to find out if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available at health care providers in your area.
Bottom line, Tennesseans now have three safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines that can effectively prevent hospitalization and death from COVID-19 and may prevent transmission of the virus.

Remember, receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is optional, and all Tennesseans have a choice in what COVID-19 vaccine they receive.

In addition to getting a vaccine, wearing a mask, washing your hands, and watching your distance are still necessary in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Tennessee.