Slightly more than half of Tennessee residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For specific subgroups… the numbers are even lower.
As new variants of COVID-19 emerge, it’s more important than ever to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting you and your family. Here’s a list of resources designed to answer all of your questions.
CHILDREN AND VACCINES
The AAP recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all children and adolescents 5 years of age and older who do not have contraindications using a COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use for their age.
Videos about COVID-19 Vaccinations for kids in English:
- Why should my child get the COVID-19 vaccine?
- Pediatricians encourage parents of eligible children to get kids vaccinated against COVID-19
Videos sobre las vacunas COVID-19 para niños en español:
MYTHS AND FACTS
Everyone age 18 and older should get a COVID-19 booster dose. The CDC advises that people who are 18 or older who received the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine should get a booster at least six months after their second shot. Johnson & Johnson recipients who are 18 and older should get a booster at least two months after their initial shot. Adolescents age 12-15 who received the Pfizer vaccine are also eligible to get a booster.
The CDC’s latest guidance advises people to get the same booster as their initial vaccine, but allows people to mix and match (i.e., get a different COVID-19 booster than their initial vaccine) depending on preference or availability—with the exception of adolescents age 16-17 who are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The emergence of the Omicron variant underscores the importance of vaccination, boosters, and preventive efforts to protect against COVID-19. CDC recommendations on booster doses are based on the latest data, with the goal of ensuring that people have optimal protection against COVID-19 infection, severe illness, and death.
The vaccines work. The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. CDC data show that in August 2021, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. was more than 11 times greater for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people. However, scientists are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease, especially among certain populations. CDC’s latest guidance is in response to this waning of the efficacy and the recent emergence of the Omicron variant.
Variants emerge as a result of naturally occurring mutations in viruses. For example, the flu virus changes often, which is why doctors recommend a new flu vaccine each year.
Scientists monitor all COVID-19 variants but may classify certain ones, like Omicron and Delta, as “variants of concern.” Scientists monitor these variants carefully to learn if they spread more easily, cause more severe cases than other variants, or evade vaccine protection.
As long as COVID-19 spreads, mutations and new variants are expected to occur, the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including its variants, is to get vaccinated and boosted. Being vaccinated decreases the likelihood you will get sick, and makes it less likely you will need hospitalization or die if you get infected. Increased vaccination rates around the world will decrease the likelihood that the coronavirus will mutate into other dangerous variants.
Travelers should continue to follow CDC guidance for traveling, along with state and local travel return requirements. After a trip, travelers are recommended to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; and isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
If you plan to travel internationally, you will need to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status) before you travel by air into the U.S., and show your negative result to the airline before boarding. The CDC recommends that all travelers returning from international travel get tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after travel.
If you are not fully vaccinated, the CDC also recommends that you get tested for COVID-19 3-5 days after returning from travel (domestic or international), and to stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.