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5 People Who "Should Not" Get the COVID Vaccine

If you fit any of these descriptions, you should skip the shot for now.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab
unrecognizable doctor trying to vaccinate its patient while she is refusing it.

The three FDA-approved COVID vaccines that are currently being administered have proven to be largely effective and safe, both in clinical trials and the real world. "COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective," says the CDC. "Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you are eligible." However, according to the agency, some people with certain medical conditions should not get the vaccine, and others should postpone it temporarily. To find out the latest details, read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.

1

Delay Your Vaccine If You've Recently Been Vaccinated For Flu or Shingles

Woman in medical face mask getting Covid-19 vaccine at the hospital
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"Wait at least 14 days after your COVID-19 vaccine before getting any other vaccine, including a flu or shingles vaccine," the CDC recommends. "Or if you have recently received any other vaccine first, wait at least 14 days before getting your COVID-19 vaccine." Why? "None of the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines are live virus vaccines," the agency explains. "Because data are lacking on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration of any other vaccine."

2

Talk to Your Doctor If You're Allergic To The Vaccine's Ingredients

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The CDC advises that people who've had a severe allergic reaction—such as anaphylaxis—to an ingredient in the COVID vaccine not get the shot. These ingredients include polyethylene glycol and polysorbate 80. But if you've had a non-severe allergic reaction to any vaccine, you're still OK to get the COVID vaccine.

3

Don't Get the Second Dose If You Had An Allergic Reaction to the First Shot

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If you had a severe allergic reaction to your first dose of the COVID vaccine, you should not get the second, the CDC says. "If you had a severe allergic reaction—also known as anaphylaxis—after getting the first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, CDC recommends that you not get a second shot of that vaccine. If the reaction was after an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), you should not get a second shot of either of these vaccines." This goes for non-severe allergic reactions as well. "If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get a second shot of that vaccine, even if your allergic reaction was not severe enough to require emergency care."

Having minor side effects after the first vaccine—such as pain at the injection site, fever, fatigue, muscle aches or nausea—is normal and doesn't preclude you from getting a second dose. Neither does "COVID arm," a rash, redness or swelling in the injection arm that may appear a week or more after your first shot.

4

Don't Get the Vaccine If You're Under This Age

medical professional with young child patient.
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As of right now, the COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for people 16 and older (in the case of the Pfizer vaccine) or 18 and older (in the case of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines). Clinical trials of the vaccines are currently underway for younger children. If you have questions, consult your healthcare provider. 

5

Don't Go Out—Including to Get Vaccinated—If You Currently Have COVID

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If you have current symptoms of COVID, you should stay home and self-isolate for 10 days after the symptoms begin. You should not leave isolation to get the COVID vaccine. The CDC recommends postponing your vaccine appointment until you meet the guidelines for leaving isolation. 

6

Good News: Everyone Else Should Get Vaccinated!

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Everyone else is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Experts say to get it as soon as you're eligible, and the best vaccine to get is the one that's first available to you. Remember: You're not fully vaccinated until two weeks after your final shot, and even when you are, it's important to practice precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing whenever you're in public. So do so, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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