COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The following Marylanders are currently eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot:
- Marylanders 12+ who received their second Pfizer COVID-19 dose at least five months ago
- Marylanders 18+ who received their second Moderna COVID-19 dose at least five months ago
- Marylanders 18+ who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago
Note: Marylanders ages 12-17 are eligible for the Pfizer booster only. Marylanders 18 and older may choose which vaccine they want for a booster, even if it is different from the original vaccine received.
The Food and Drug Administration has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine for individuals ages 16 and older. Emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine also remains in effect for individuals ages 5-15.
Marylanders 5 and older are eligible for initial COVID-19 vaccination. Schedule an appointment today with a health care professional near you.
At-Home COVID-19 Test Kits
The Maryland Department of Health is distributing 500,000 free at-home rapid test kits to local health departments and community partners statewide to make COVID-19 tests available for you and your family.
The COVID-19 booster shot strengthens our defenses against COVID and its variants. Learn more about booster eligibility—by protecting ourselves as much as possible, we can end COVID together.
Vaccines are here to help protect against serious illness from COVID-19.
All Marylanders 5 and older are now eligible for vaccination. Learn more about what locations are offering Pfizer and make an vaccination appointment for your eligible family members.
“I am grateful for the contact tracer from the health department who called me to check in, every single day I was in quarantine. We need to move past the fear and work together.”
-Todd Poorman, 41, Anne Arundel County
Important info about COVID-19
What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?
If you test positive, you should self-isolate at home. You can be with others after:
- At least 5 days from the date your symptoms started OR if you do not have symptoms, 5 days from the date of your positive test; and
- At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication; and
- Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
You must continue to wear a well-fitting mask when around others at home and in public for an additional 5 days (through day 10). If you are unable to wear a mask around others, you should remain in isolation for a total of 10 days.
Continue to practice good hygiene, including frequent and thorough hand washing, disinfecting “high-touch” surfaces, and frequently washing clothing and bedding. Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets. Practice physical distancing within the home and wear a mask around other people. Also, please answer the call or text from MD COVID or (240) 466-4488 to help Maryland contact tracers slow the spread of COVID-19.
*Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.
What is a COVID-19 vaccine?
A COVID-vaccine is one way to prevent serious illness due to COVID-19. Vaccination causes your body to create antibodies without getting sick with the COVID-19 disease. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and other experts will provide recommendations on priority groups and when groups should be vaccinated. Guidance on determining and providing the vaccine to priority groups will be based on the principles included in the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Interim Updated Planning Guidance on Allocating and Targeting Pandemic Influenza Vaccine During an Influenza Pandemic.
How do we know the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?
COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization (EUA).
Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines, and these vaccines will undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
Do the COVID-19 vaccines have any side effects?
After the COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that may indicate your body is building immunities to protect you from the virus. The side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.
Learn more about what side effects to expect and get helpful tips on how to reduce pain and discomfort after your vaccination.
Is a COVID-19 vaccine necessary?
COVID-19 infections can be a minor hindrance or lead to severe disease or even death. There are many reasons to get vaccinated.
- Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
- Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. But experts don’t know how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
- Wearing masks and social distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
If you have recovered or are recovering from COVID-19, you can connect with others who have been through the same experience on CovidCONNECT.
CovidCONNECT is a free platform where you can share your recovery story, learn about research opportunities, find mental health resources and more. Register to participate today.