COVID-19 Vaccines that Require 2 Shots


If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you will need 2 shots to get the most protection. COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. If you received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should get the same product for your second shot.  You should get your second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get it.

Timing of your second shot

The timing between your first and second shots depends on which vaccine you received.

  • If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first.
  • If you received the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, you should get your second shot 4 weeks (or 28 days) after your first.

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose early. ​There is currently limited information on the effectiveness of receiving your second shot earlier than recommended or later than 6 weeks after the first shot.

However, if you do receive your second shot of COVID-19 vaccine earlier or later than recommended, you do not have to restart the vaccine series. This guidance might be updated as more information becomes available.

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Scheduling your second shot

  • Planning for your second shot is important.
  • If you need help scheduling your vaccination appointment for your second shot, contact the location that set up your first appointment.
  • If you are having trouble or have questions about using a vaccination management or scheduling system, reach out to the organization that enrolled you in the system. This may be your state or local health department, employer, or vaccination provider.​
  • Scheduling an appointment for your second shot at the time you get your first shot is recommended, but not required.
  • If you need to get your second shot in a location that is different from where you received your first shot (for example, if you moved to a different state or attend school in a different state), there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider for your second dose.

Vaccination card and your second shot

  • At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a vaccination card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your second vaccination appointment.
  • If you did not receive a COVID-19 vaccination card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination provider site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
  • If you have lost your vaccination card or don’t have a copy, contact your vaccination provider directly to access your vaccination record.
    • If you cannot contact your vaccination provider directly, contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). You can find state IIS information on the CDC website. Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
    • If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText after your first vaccine dose, you can access your vaccination information using those tools.
    • If you have made every effort to locate your vaccination information, are unable to get a copy or replacement of your vaccination card, and still need a second shot, talk to a vaccination provider.
  • Bring your vaccination card with you to your second shot appointment so your provider can fill in the information about your second dose.
  • Keep your vaccination card in case you need it for future use. Consider taking a picture of your vaccination card after your second shot appointment as a backup copy.

When you are fully vaccinated

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second shot in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-shot vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine

You are not fully vaccinated if:

  • it has been less than 2 weeks since your 1-dose shot
  • it has been less than 2 weeks since your second shot of a 2-dose vaccine
  • you still need to get your second dose of a 2-dose vaccine

After you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic. Learn more about what you can do when you have been fully vaccinated.



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