What to do
Vaccines and boosters are highly effective at preventing people from getting very sick or dying from COVID-19.
Make an appointment with your doctor.
Or go to a nearby pharmacy or vaccine site. Many sites take drop-ins.
Kids 5 to 11 must have permission from their parent or guardian.
You can also get vaccinated at community vaccine events. Check for a vaccine event near you.
Those homebound or living in high-risk situations may get vaccinated at home.
Choose a vaccine
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are preferred. They work better against newer variants of the virus and have fewer dangerous side effects.
Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) is available in certain situations.
Talk to your doctor and check availability if booking.
If you are under 18, you can only get a Pfizer vaccine. See more about getting vaccinated if you are under 18.
All vaccine types are tested, safe, and effective. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC.
Get your first series of doses
For both Pfizer and Moderna, 2 doses finish your first series.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health recommends you get your 1st and 2nd dose as close to these intervals as possible:
- Pfizer, 3 weeks (21 days) apart
- Moderna, 4 weeks (28 days) apart
If you miss this recommended interval, get your 2nd dose up to 8 weeks (56 days) after your first dose. Even later than that, you should still get it.
For Johnson & Johnson, 1 dose completes your first series of vaccination.
For all these vaccines, once you finish your first series, it’ll take 2 weeks for you to reach full immunity.
Try not to miss your second appointment. If you do, get in touch with the location where you got your first dose. If you can’t get a second dose there, find a different vaccine site.
Boosters are recommended for everyone 12 or older.
Second boosters are approved for some groups of individuals.
Stay up-to-date on your vaccines
You’re up-to-date on your vaccines if you both:
- Finished your first series of vaccines
- Got your first booster if you qualified
If you’re 12 or older and finished your first series, as soon as you qualify, get your booster. You won’t be up-to-date until you do.
Someone who finished their first series, but who doesn’t yet qualify for a booster, is up-to-date on their vaccines. But once they qualify, if they don’t get boosted, they will no longer be up-to-date.
When your immune system is compromised
If your immune system is moderately or severely compromised, you may need an extra dose of the vaccine. This extra dose is not the same as a booster. Talk to your doctor.
Store your vaccine card
Store your CDC vaccine card in a safe place. If you lose your card, see your options.
Cost and insurance
Vaccines are free. You do not need insurance to get the vaccine.
Ride Muni or Paratransit for free, to and from your appointment
On Muni, show your vaccine card or proof of your appointment. You can also show an email confirmation or a photo of your card. See SF guidance on traveling on public transit.
For Paratransit information, see the SFMTA website.
Take Lyft or Uber for free, to and from getting your vaccine
If you’re a healthcare provider
If you’re a healthcare provider, read instructions and guidance from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Last updated April 7, 2022