Who are the people in the high-priority group who should be protected against COVID-19?
High-priority individuals are those at highest risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from COVID-19. For them, a decrease in effectiveness, however small, increases the occurrence of severe illness and death. Therefore, they should be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination schedule (primary series and booster doses). Especially, they should receive booster doses according to these recommendations:
Should receive an additional booster dose 6 months after the last dose:
- Oldest adults (over 75 years old)
- Older adults with comorbidities (60 to 75 years)
- Persons 6 months and older with compromised immune systems
- Pregnant people.
Should receive an additional booster dose 12 months after the last dose:
- Older adults (60 to 75 years old)
- Adults with comorbidities or severe obesity (18 to 59 years)
- First-line health care personnel.
Should people who have had COVID-19 continue to be vaccinated against it?
PAHO/WHO recommends that everyone who has had COVID-19 receive all recommended doses of COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether the person has had no symptoms or has been very ill. The vaccine further strengthens the body's immune system against COVID-19.
Can I be vaccinated against COVID-19 if I am currently infected with COVID-19?
If you have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you may be vaccinated. However, you should follow local isolation guidelines before getting vaccinated to avoid infecting others. Therefore, it is best to wait until you recover to get vaccinated.
How long should I wait to get vaccinated after I have had COVID-19?
COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at any time, as long as the person is no longer infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus (with or without symptoms), to avoid infecting others by receiving the vaccine.
People who have previously had COVID-19 can become ill again. Therefore, PAHO/WHO recommends that people receive their required doses of vaccine as soon as possible, regardless of whether they have been sick with COVID-19.
Can I get other vaccines on the same day as the COVID-19 vaccine?
PAHO/WHO recommends that countries consider co-administration of COVID-19 vaccines (including variant-containing vaccines) with seasonal influenza vaccines.
According to several COVID-19 vaccine co-administration studies and derivatives of co-administration studies of other adult vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time as, or at any time before or after, other adult and adolescent vaccines, including live attenuated, inactivated, adjuvanted, or unadjuvanted vaccines.
When administered simultaneously, the vaccines should be injected at separate sites, preferably at different extremities.
Can pregnant people be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Pregnant people are at risk for COVID-19. Because their immune system changes throughout pregnancy, they are more vulnerable to respiratory infections such as COVID-19. If they become ill, they tend to develop more severe symptoms and their treatment may require longer hospitalization in intensive care units, a greater need for respiratory support, and a higher likelihood of dying compared to non-pregnant people of the same age and ethnicity.
WHO recommends that pregnant women receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, plus a booster dose within 6 months after their last dose.
Can breastfeeding mothers be vaccinated?
Infants can be vaccinated and because they are as likely to benefit from vaccination as other adults their age, and breastfeeding offers important health benefits for infants and their breastfed children. PAHO/WHO does not recommend interrupting breastfeeding because of vaccination.
Since none of the COVID-19 vaccines are live virus vaccines, they are biologically unlikely to pose a risk to the infant.
Can people with underlying diseases be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death have been associated with medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and lung, liver or kidney disease.
WHO recommends that all persons aged 6 months or older who have comorbidities receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, plus a booster dose within 12 months after their last dose. Persons with comorbidities who are 60 years or older should receive this booster dose within 6 months after their last dose.
Can immunocompromised persons be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death have been associated with immunodeficiency conditions.
WHO recommends that all immunocompromised persons aged 6 months or older receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, plus a booster dose within 6 months after their last dose.
Since none of the COVID-19 vaccines are live virus vaccines, they are biologically unlikely to pose a risk to the individual.
Can people diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) be vaccinated against COVID-19?
GBS is a rare disorder of the immune system that causes muscle weakness, pain or numbness and, in severe cases, paralysis. GBS can be due to a variety of causes, including infections, and is most common in males and people ages 50 years or older. Cases may occur by chance immediately after vaccination.
Individuals who have had GBS in the past may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, no cases of GBS have been reported following vaccination in participants in clinical trials of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine.
For more information, visit:
Can children be vaccinated against COVID-19?
Although most COVID-19 vaccines are only approved for use in adults over 18 years, some countries have granted emergency use authorization for mRNA vaccines (produced by Pfizer and Moderna) for use in age groups 6 months and older.
WHO recommends that all immunocompromised persons aged 6 months and older receive three doses of COVID-19 vaccine, plus a booster dose within 6 months after their last dose.
WHO recommends that children and adolescents aged 6 months to 17 years with comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease receive all three doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
WHO recommends that healthy children and adolescents between 6 months and 17 years of age should be vaccinated with the primary series and with a booster dose depending on the country context.
PAHO/WHO does not recommend additional booster doses for children and adolescents.
Can people with allergies or immune system problems be vaccinated against COVID-19?
If a person suffers from allergies that are not related to a component of the COVID-19 vaccine to be received, the vaccine may be administered.
A person with a history of anaphylaxis to any other vaccine or injectable therapy (i.e., intramuscular, intravenous, or subcutaneous vaccines or therapies) may be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, a health care professional should perform a risk assessment prior to vaccination. In addition, these individuals should be observed for 30 minutes after vaccination in healthcare settings where anaphylaxis can be treated immediately.
Persons with an immediate non-anaphylactic allergic reaction to the first dose (i.e., urticaria, angioedema without respiratory signs or symptoms occurring within 4 hours of administration), should not receive additional doses of the same COVID-19 vaccine. If a second dose of the same vaccine is administered, the patient should be closely observed for 30 minutes after vaccination in a healthcare setting where severe allergic reactions can be treated immediately.
BACK TO TOP