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Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine require two doses, and it is vital that both does are administered on time. The Pfizer vaccine requires two doses 21 days apart, and the Moderna vaccine requires the doses be administered 28 days apart. The vaccines are not interchangeable, so you must receive the second dose of the same vaccine product as the first dose.
It is very important that you receive your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on time. The time-frame between doses is determined by the companies producing the vaccine to maximize your body’s ability to create antibodies against the virus. Many routine vaccines, such as Varicella (chickenpox), also require more than one dose for maximum protection.
Many companies are working to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. For the most up-to-date information about each vaccine, visit CDC’s Different COVID-19 Vaccines.
Currently, in Colorado, we have placed orders for shipments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, both of which have received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both of these vaccines are using technology called messenger RNA (mRNA).
At this time, the Emergency Use Authorization and guidelines from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices only approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for ages 16 and older. We do not yet have guidance for the Moderna vaccine.
Based on current knowledge, experts believe that mRNA vaccines (like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) are unlikely to pose a risk for pregnant or breastfeeding people or their babies. However, pregnant and breastfeeding people were not included in any of the clinical trials for currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines, therefore, no data is currently available on the safety of the vaccines in pregnant or breastfeeding people.
If pregnant or breastfeeding people are part of a group that is recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., health care workers), they may choose to be vaccinated. A conversation between the patient and their health care team may help with decisions regarding the use of COVID-19 vaccines, though it is not required for vaccination.
The COVID-19 vaccine should not be given simultaneously with any other vaccines during pregnancy. Wait a minimum of 14 days before and after the administration of other vaccines before getting the first and second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine recommends that lactating individuals who get the vaccine continue breastfeeding their babies after being vaccinated. Breast milk contains antibodies and other components that can boost babies’ immune systems and protects babies from getting sick. Early research has shown COVID-19 antibodies are present in breast milk. It is believed that antibodies created after a breastfeeding individual receives the vaccine may also transfer into breast milk and could provide some protection to the baby.
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy, see CDPHE’s Pregnancy and breastfeeding FAQ.
You will not be immediately protected from COVID-19 after receiving the vaccine. Studies show that it takes about 1-2 weeks after your last dose for your body to be able to protect itself against illness. While no vaccine is 100% effective, Pfizer and Moderna have reported that their vaccines are about 95% effective. While there are several known variants of COVID-19, current evidence suggests the vaccine will protect against all of them.
CDPHE is asking that all Coloradans, those who have received the vaccine and those that have not yet, still continue to take the precautions of wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands and not gathering in groups outside your household until it is clear that this is no longer needed. If you are possibly exposed to COVID-19, even between doses of the vaccine, you should follow standard quarantine protocols as advised by state and local public health officials.
Current information suggests it is possible that someone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still have a mild or asymptomatic infection or spread the virus to others, especially those who have not been vaccinated, so it is important to continue taking precautions. Continue wearing masks and practicing physical distancing until it is clear that it is safe to stop.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms more than one to two weeks after being fully vaccinated, you should isolate and contact your health care provider for instructions on whether to be tested for COVID-19 or other infections.