Since the beginning of this pandemic in early 2020, there has been a worldwide effort to produce an effective COVID-19 vaccine which could safely prevent the spread of this virus. Less than a year later, as a product of that unprecedented effort, worldwide cooperation, and previous scientific breakthroughs, many vaccines against COVID-19 were created, and three were approved for use in the United States. These vaccines are all very safe, extremely effective, and have never been more easily available than they are today.
If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, you can do so today, for free, at many locations in Benton County, no health insurance or identification needed.
Different Brands of Vaccine
There are currently three COVID-19 vaccinations approved for use in the United States: Pfizer's BioNTech and Comirnaty, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. All three were originally approved by the Food and Drug Administration for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), Pfizer and Moderna in December 2020 and Johnson & Johnson in February 2021. Pfizer’s vaccine, Comirnity, was granted full approval by the FDA for use by individuals 16 years old or older, while the original BioNTech vaccine remails available for those 5 and older under the EUA. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are also seeking full approval by the FDA.
The Pfizer/Comirnaty, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are not interchangeable for your primary vaccination. If you receive a first dose of Pfizer or Moderna, your second dose must be the same brand.
- Administered in a two dose series, the second dose is given 21 days after the first dose. It is fully authorized by the FDA for use in people 16 years or older, and the BioNTech vaccine is still approved for use in people 5 years or older under an EUA.
- Administered in a two dose series, the second dose is given 28 days after the first dose. It is authorized under an EUA for use in people 18 years old or older.
- Johnson & Johnson
- Administered in a single dose, and is authorized under an EUA for use in people 18 years old or older.
A booster for all three brands of vaccine have now been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oregon Health Authority. For more information, please check here.
Currently, everyone 5 years or older is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, though anyone under 18 must get a Pfizer brand vaccine. Children ages 5-14 must have the written approval of a parent or guardian to be vaccinated. Pfizer’s Comirnity COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for those 16 and over. Pfizer’s original BioNTech vaccine is available for those 5 years and older. Ask your vaccinator which vaccine is being used. More information about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines can be found on their EUA fact sheets.
The COVID-19 vaccine is free, even if you do not have health insurance. You do not need to be a United States citizen or resident or live permanently in Oregon to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and no identification is required.
Earlier this year when supplies were limited, most COVID-19 vaccinations happened at mass vaccination clinics like the ones held at Reser Stadium. Today, the vaccine is widely available at retail pharmacies, medical providers, and at smaller vaccination clinics around Benton County.
Booster doses for all three brands of approved COVID-19 vaccines are now available. On November 3, 2021, Pfizer’s pediatric COVID-19 vaccination was approved by the OHA for use in Oregon. The increased demand for these vaccinations has put a strain on the vaccine supply as well as the vaccination infrastructure in Benton County, limiting the availability of appointments.
Not sure where the closest location is for you or having difficulty finding an available appointment? Check our list of medical offices and pharmacies that offer the vaccine, our upcoming clinics, or you can check these websites: getvaccinated.oregon.gov and vaccines.gov. You can also text ORVAX to 898211, or call 541-766-6120 for further assistance.