About the Vaccines


How vaccines work:

Vaccines jumpstart your body’s natural defenses against illness. Vaccines are made from the same germs or viruses that cause disease, although in weakened or inactive versions that won’t make you sick. When a vaccine is introduced into your body, it prompts a natural process in the body to make antibodies that fight off the virus.

Which vaccine?

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have approved four vaccines after in-depth reviews of their safety and effective in protecting against severe COVID-19 illness. The vaccines are created with different technologies, which provide many options for individuals to decide which one is right for them. The CDC website provides more details on the various vaccines.

Third Doses: The FDA and the CDC have recommended that those who are immunocompromised receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Those third doses are available at nearly all vaccination locations; ask your healthcare provider if you have additional questions.

Booster Shots: The protection provided by COVID vaccination may decrease over time, so the FDA and CDC have approved booster shots for those ages 12 and older. You may 'mix and match' booster shots, so choose whichever type of vaccine you prefer. Beginning in September 2022, updated booster shots provide added protection against COVID-19 variants. The Omicron variant has become the most common type of COVID virus infecting people. These updated boosters are available for ages 12 and up and individuals will be eligible if it has been more than 2 months since their most recent booster shot.

VaccineDosesSide EffectsStatus
Novavax 2 doses, three weeks apart Pain/tenderness/redness/swelling at injection site, fatigue, muscle pain, headache, joine pain, nausea, fever Approved for ages 12 and up under Emergency Use Authorization
Johnson & Johnson/Janssen 1 dose; booster shot after 2 months Pain, redness and swelling at the injection site; headache, feeling very tired, muscle aches, nausea, fever. Approved for limited use for certain individuals under Emergency Use Authorization.
2 doses, 21 days apart, with a 3rd dose recommended for those who are immunocompromised and booster shot for ages 12 and up after five months Injection site pain, tiredness, headaches, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, fever, injection site soreness and redness, nausea, swollen lymph nodes, feeling unwell. Full FDA approval for ages 16 and over.
Emergency Use Authorization for those ages 6 months-15 years.
2 doses, 28 days apart, with a 3rd dose recommended for those who are immunocompromised and booster shot for all adults after 6 months Pain and swelling in lymph nodes in same arm as injection, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and vomiting, fever. Full FDA approval for ages 18 and over.
Emergency Use Authorization for those ages 6 months-17 years.

Hesitant About the Vaccine?

New Jersey is not unlike other states where some people may be hesitant to receive the vaccine. People of child-bearing age may have unique concerns, and brown and black communities have lived with deeply rooted systems that have resulted in disparities in healthcare, education and economic outcomes. Other individuals may have their own concerns. Following are some additional resources that may help address some of your questions:

Ensuring the Safety of the COVID Vaccines

Myths and Facts about COVID Vaccination

YouTube Videos from Healthcare Professionals

Disclaimer: These resources represent the best information at this time, and will continue to be updated as the science and facts surrounding the vaccines grow.