Learn about the COVID-19 vaccine and booster. Find out how to get vaccinated and tested. Know what to do if you get COVID-19. Get information for immigrants, including vaccine requirements for immigration. USAHello wants to help you feel safe with true information. Learn what to do if you are experiencing discrimination during COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccine is available to everyone in the USA who is age 5 and older. Immigrants in the USA can get the vaccine. Your immigration status does not matter.
If you received your COVID-19 vaccine at least 5 months ago, it is recommended that you get a follow-up vaccination called a booster. Boosters are now available to those age 5 and older.
The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free for everyone.
You can get the vaccine or booster shot at pharmacies, grocery stores, and local health clinics.
Find a vaccine near you:
- Visit vaccines.gov
- Call 1-800-232-0233
- Text your zip code to 438829
Make sure to keep your COVID-19 vaccination card in a safe place.
There are two types of COVID-19 tests:
1. Rapid test, also known as antigen, home or self-test
For the rapid test, you’ll need a nasal swab and you’ll get results in 30 minutes or less. This test is considered less reliable and can be done at home.
2. Lab test, also known as a PCR
The lab test requires a nasal swab or a saliva sample and you can get results in 1 to 3 days. It is considered a reliable test. This test is usually performed by a nurse, medical technician, or doctor.
To get tested you can:
- Ask your primary care physician for a COVID-19 test or go to a medical lab to request a test.
- Buy a rapid test. Usually, these tests are sold as over-the-counter products in pharmacies and supermarkets. If you have insurance, you can get reimbursed for at-home tests.
- You can also get 8 free rapid tests delivered to your home. These tests are delivered for free by the postal service to residential households in the United States. To order, you can:
- Order online
- Or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489)
Many organizations and community testing sites offer low-cost or free testing; find a location near you.
If you get sick with COVID-19 it is important to stay home except to get medical care. Try to keep yourself separate from other people and wear a well-fitting mask. As with any illness, your body needs rest and time to fight the illness. Getting a vaccine and booster can help you not get as sick.
For more information on what to do if you get COVID-19, the CDC offers lots of information.
Undocumented immigrants and all immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees can also get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot.
You can trust the government health information
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the government agency that helps protect the health of everyone living in the USA. You can trust their information. You can also trust your local health authorities and medical services. Every state, county, and city government has a public health agency.
I am undocumented and need healthcare
You have healthcare rights in the USA whatever your legal status. You may also have rights to health insurance.
Learn about your healthcare rights:
Here are more resources:
- Find a free clinic (health services for people who cannot pay).
- Find a health center (health services that only charge what you can afford). Many health centers offer free COVD-19 testing to everyone.
- California has health coverage called Medi-Cal. It is for low-income, undocumented immigrants who are younger than 25.
Do I need to worry about public charge?
No, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot. It will not be a public charge. Learn more at Protecting Immigrant Families.
If you need a medical examination for an immigration application, you also need to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
You will need to complete all the doses for the vaccine. Learn more about the CDC COVID vaccine requirement for immigration purposes.
Remember, if you refuse to receive the required vaccines, your immigration application may be denied.
If you are applying for an immigrant visa outside of the USA, you must receive the COVID-19 vaccine with other required vaccinations.
Learn more about the USA vaccination requirements and your options if you refuse to get vaccinated.
Everyone ages 5 and older should get a booster shot. The vaccines are working to protect you against COVID-19. The booster shot provides more protection.
To get the booster shot, you must have received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, or Moderna vaccines. Please follow these guidelines:
- Pfizer-BioNTech – You can receive the booster shot at least 5 months after your second dose.
- Johnson & Johnson – You can receive the booster shot at least 2 months after the single dose.
- Moderna – You can receive the booster shot at least 5 months after your second dose.
You can “mix and match” vaccines for your booster shot. This means you can choose which vaccine to receive for your booster. It does not matter which vaccine you got first.
NOTE: If you received other types of COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States; there are other recommendations to follow.
Children ages 5 and older can get vaccinated and receive a booster shot too.
Pfizer-BioNTech is the only vaccine currently approved for children 5-17 years old.
The CDC guarantees that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
After getting the vaccine, it is possible to have mild to moderate side effects. These occur because your body is working on building protection against the virus. Your immune system is telling your body to react to kill the virus.
Keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to a vaccine. You may have different side effects from your family or friends.
The most common symptoms include:
- Swelling, redness, and pain at the injection site
- Muscle pain
Facts and myths
Here are some of the common myths and facts about getting the coronavirus vaccine from the CDC:
- Myth: I’ll have problems having a baby.
- Fact: There is no evidence that vaccines cause problems in the pregnancy or the placenta.
- Myth: Getting the shot will alter my DNA.
- Fact: The COVID vaccines do not change your DNA. The vaccines work with your body’s natural defenses so you can develop immunity.
- Myth: After getting the shot, I will test positive for COVID.
- Fact: There is no authorized vaccine that causes a positive result on the viral tests (the tests used to know if you have the infection).
- Myth: After getting the shot, I will get COVID.
- Fact: There’s no authorized vaccine that contains the live virus. The vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID.
Across the USA, people are being targeted because of fears about COVID-19.
What can you do?
- You can report discrimination to your local government or your local ACLU affiliate.
- You can submit an incident report to the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council.
- If you are discriminated against at work, you can file a formal complaint to the US government.
- Find information about stigma from the CDC.
- Find anti-stigma resources from Washington state.
- Learn what to do if someone is threatening you.
- You can also learn about your rights.
This information comes from trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). USAHello does not give legal advice or medical advice, nor are any of our materials intended to be taken as legal or medical advice. If you need medical help, call your doctor or the health authorities.