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COVID-19 Booster Update: The FDA and CDC approved boosters for individuals 12+. Find out more about eligibility and how to book.



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Ready to dine out, travel, hit the ballpark or go to a concert? Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for many of these activities. We’ve partnered with CLEAR to make it easy to access and store your vaccination record on your phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to our most commonly asked COVID-19 questions.

Last updated 10/11/21


Boosters and Additional Doses

COVID-19 boosters have been authorized for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. 



Individuals 12+ can receive a booster at least 5 months after their initial Pfizer series was administered. Ages 12-17 are only eligible for a Pfizer booster.



Individuals 18+ can receive a booster at least 5 months after their initial Moderna series was administered. Moderna boosters will be administered at a half-dose volume compared to the initial series.


Johnson & Johnson/Janssen: 

Boosters can be administered at least 2 months after the initial Johnson & Johnson/Janssen shot was administered for anyone age 18+. The CDC and FDA recommend getting an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) booster rather than an additional J&J shot.


*Medical conditions are defined as: cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, COPD, diabetes, heart conditions, obesity, pregnancy or recent pregnancy, smoking (current and former).


Additional doses have been authorized for:

Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who received their 2nd dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 ago. Specifically, authorized individuals include the following:

  • Had a solid organ transplant or recent hematopoietic malignancies

  • Active or recent treatment for solid tumor hematologic malignancies (cancer)

  • Severe primary immunodeficiency

  • Advanced or untreated HIV

  • Active treatment with high dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, TNF blockers, and other biologic agents

  • Asplenia and chronic renal disease can be considered if condition is severe


Additional doses can be administered to Pfizer recipients ages 5+ or Moderna recipients ages 18+. Additional doses are not available for those who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. 


Children 5-11 will receive a pediatric Pfizer dose and those 12+ will receive the standard Pfizer dose.

Moderately to severely immunocompromised children who are at least 12 qualify for a booster shot 5 months after receiving their 3rd dose.


Learn more about FDA-authorized vaccines.

Boosters have been approved for Johnson & Johnson for eligible individuals 18+ at least 2 months after their initial shot. The CDC and FDA recommend getting an mRNA vaccine booster (Pfizer or Moderna) over Johnson & Johnson. Visit our scheduler to book an appointment.

Boosters can be administered to eligible individuals who received Pfizer or Moderna 5 months after their initial series or 2 months after an initial Johnson & Johnson shot. 


Additional doses for eligible immunocompromised individuals can be administered 28 days after the 2nd dose of a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine was administered. Immunocompromised individuals 12+ are eligible for a Pfizer booster 5 months after their 3rd dose, and those 18+ are eligible 5 months after their 3rd Pfizer or Moderna dose.

The CDC recommends a mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine for your booster. Currently you can schedule a booster for the same vaccine you received for your initial series. If a different one is preferred, please talk to your pharmacist at the time of your appointment. Individuals 12-17 may only get a Pfizer booster.

All vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, and the best way to protect yourself and your community from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated in the first place. Boosters are not yet authorized for every individual. Outside of the groups eligible today, additional recommendations may be made as more data becomes available.

Boosters: Yes, pregnant individuals qualify for a COVID-19 booster of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. 


Immunocompromised additional dose:  No. At this time, pregnant individuals are not considered part of the specified immunocompromised conditions.

The authorized additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is meant to specifically reach people who may not have a sufficient or expected immune response to the vaccine. Offering an additional dose can help strengthen the immune response to help ward off both infection and severity of infection. 


Boosters on the other hand, are meant to address decreasing or waning vaccine effectiveness over time for people who had an expected immune response. Most studies continue to show that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against COVID-19, particularly when it comes to severe infection and hospitalization. Learn more.

No. All three vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death.

No. A person is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after they have completed a 2 dose series of the COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer: 2 doses 21 days apart, Moderna: 2 doses 28 days apart) or single dose (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).

Vaccine Scheduling

Yes, the pediatric version of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized for children ages 5-11 has been proven safe and effective. Learn more.

Rite Aid is administering vaccines in every one of our locations. For children ages 5-11, appointments are available in select stores


Visit our scheduler to book an appointment.* Limited walk-ins are accommodated from 2-3pm only 


* Please note: for all minors 5+ receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, they are only eligible to receive a specific vaccine type. Additionally, a parent or guardian must book their appointment and sign a consent form on their behalf, and they must be accompanied by an adult at their vaccination appointment. For individuals 5-11, COVID-19 vaccines are only available in select stores

Not every vaccine type requires a second dose, but if the vaccine appointment you schedule does require a second dose, Rite Aid automatically reserves a second dose for you. Second dose appointment information will be sent to you within 72 hours after you receive your first dose.

If you received a dose somewhere else but would like to schedule one at Rite Aid, schedule an appointment. You’ll be asked to confirm which vaccine you’ve received and the date you received it.

A select group of moderately to severely immunocompromised people have been authorized to receive a 3rd dose of either Pfizer or Moderna (individuals who received Johnson & Johnson/Janssen do not qualify). 

Learn more about FDA-authorized vaccines.

Bring all of the following that apply to you:  

  • All insurance cards, including Medical and Pharmacy

  • Photo ID (such as driver license or government issued ID) 

  • Vaccine Administration Record if you have one

  • Completed consent form. Para el formulario de consentimiento en español, clic aquí
  • The latest version of your red, white and blue Medicare card 



You will not be turned away if you do not have a photo ID or insurance.


When scheduling an appointment, you can select which vaccine type you prefer (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen), but please note that the best vaccine is the one that’s immediately available to you. While scheduling your appointment, you’ll be able to search available appointments by vaccine type and can change your selection at any time. Vaccine availability varies by location and not all may be available in all areas.

Individuals 12-17 are only currently authorized to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and will only be able to book an appointment for a Pfizer vaccine. Individuals 5-11 are only currently authorized to receive a pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine, and will only be able to book an appointment for that vaccine type, beginning 11/4.

All vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19, and we’re proud to administer them in our communities. Check the CDC’s website for more information.  

The CDC has updated its guidance to allow the co-administration of vaccines with the COVID-19 vaccine. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop an immune response after getting vaccinated and the possible side effects of vaccines are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines. If you’d like to get another vaccine along with your COVID-19 vaccine or if you are unsure if you need any other immunizations talk to your pharmacist at your appointment.

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine is open to individuals 5+ across the country and Rite Aid is proud to help administer vaccines to all eligible individuals.


Individuals 5-11 are authorized for a pediatric version of the Pfizer vaccine (available in select stores only).

Individuals 12-17 are only authorized for the Pfizer vaccine.

  • Pfizer boosters have been approved for individuals ages 16-17, at least 6 months after their initial series.


Appointments for customers 5-17 years of age can be booked through our scheduler. Limited walk-ins will be accommodated from 2-3pm only.


For children under 18, a parent or guardian must book the appointment and sign a consent form on their behalf, and they must be accompanied by an adult at their vaccination appointment. 

Vaccine & Safety Information

In order to develop effective vaccines as quickly as possible, the United States federal government launched a program with the goal of enabling research and development for several different vaccine approaches simultaneously for two key reasons:


  • It was unlikely that all vaccine approaches would be proven effective.

  • Some vaccine technologies require longer developmental timelines.


Learn more here

The Moderna and Pfizer FDA-authorized vaccines use mRNA technology to boost your body’s immune response.


While COVID-19 may seem new to many of us, researchers have been studying coronaviruses for over 50 years. During this time, they’ve also been learning how mRNA technology can help develop effective vaccines. mRNA can be thought of as a set of instructions that tell your body’s cells how to make proteins.


  • The mRNA vaccine tells your body to make a small, non-infective portion of the outer part of the COVID-19 virus particle called a “spike protein”.

  • This trains your immune system to recognize the virus and your body responds by building antibodies.

  • Later, if you are exposed to the real virus, these antibodies are then able to attack it and prevent you from getting sick. The antibodies’ ability to prevent sickness is what is meant when people say a vaccine provides immunity.


A key benefit of mRNA vaccines is that the process to develop them can be standardized and scaled up more efficiently than other methods, which has been especially important in our response to COVID-19.


The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vector vaccine. Viral vector vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce a harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This piece is known as a spike protein and it is only found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19.


The cell displays the spike protein on its surface, and our immune system recognizes it doesn’t belong there. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.


At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect us against future infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. The benefit is that we get this protection from a vaccine, without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with COVID-19. Any temporary discomfort experienced after getting the vaccine is a natural part of the process and an indication that the vaccine is working.


There are two other vaccines that are currently in their Phase 3 large-scale clinical trials. Learn more here


As of 4/23/21, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Learn more.

All three vaccines have proven to be equally effective at preventing hospitalization and death related to COVID-19. While Moderna and Pfizer require two doses and strict cold storage requirements, the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine only requires one dose and can be kept in regular refrigerators (potentially making transportation and distribution easier). In U.S. trials, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 72% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after one dose. The Pfizer vaccine is 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 after two doses.

Learn more about the science and effectiveness of FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines here.


As of 4/23/21, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Learn more.

If you have reached full vaccination (2 weeks after the second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine) then you no longer need to wear a mask in most circumstances, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws or regulations, or local business and workplace guidance. For full context read more on the updated mask guidelines.

All FDA-authorized vaccines have been developed using decades of research and studied in large-scale clinical trials. They are held to the same safety and effectiveness standards as all other vaccines. Individuals are monitored after receiving the vaccine to further ensure safety. The CDC has recommended special considerations for some individuals with underlying conditions.


Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.


Learn more about underlying conditions.


Yes. There is not enough research yet to know whether your body’s natural immune response to having had COVID-19 will continue to protect you after you recover. In order to limit chances of reinfection, and to help ensure that we stop the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that everyone who is eligible gets the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. 

It is possible to experience side effects after receiving a vaccine. The most common side effects include pain or swelling in the arm where you get the vaccine, body chills, fever, rash, tiredness or headache. Side effects may feel like flu and even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. You can find tips on how to reduce pain or discomfort if you experience side effects here.


Please note: If you received a two-dose vaccine, some have reported experiencing more severe symptoms after their required second dose. With Moderna or Pfizer, you will need 2 shots for 94% effectiveness. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first shot, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.


As of 4/23/21, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Learn more.

Allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are not common, but can happen. You will be monitored for 15 minutes after you get your COVID-19 vaccine dose by a registered health care professional. If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and rare severe allergic reactions here.


For a full list of ingredients, please see the fact sheets below:



FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives or latex.


Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or they’ve been vaccinated. Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19; however, the CDC and other experts are actively studying this and will provide more information as it is available.


While pregnant individuals may be eligible to get the vaccine it’s strongly recommended that you consult your doctor beforehand. At this time, there is limited data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant. Based on how mRNA vaccines work (like Moderna & Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines), experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. However, the actual risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and her fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant women. Viral vector vaccines (like Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine) use a modified version of a different virus. Different vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes that affected the infant, were associated with vaccination in these trials. 



Yes, but you may want to consult your doctor. The COVID-19 vaccines authorized now are non-replicating vaccines, meaning they are able to create an immune response but do not reproduce inside host cells. Because non-replicating vaccines pose no risk for lactating people or their infants, COVID-19 vaccines are also thought to not be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. Therefore, lactating people may choose to be vaccinated. However, there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating women or on the effects of these  vaccines on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion at this time.


Find more guidance on considerations for pregnant or breastfeeding women here


Not at the time of injection. There are a few differences in administration: Moderna and Pfizer require two doses to be effective (administered 28 days for Moderna vs. 21 days for Pfizer) while Johnson & Johnson/Janssen only requires a single dose. For two-dose vaccines, Rite Aid ensures customers receive the same type of vaccine at the correct interval when they are automatically scheduled for their second appointment.


As of 4/23/21, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Learn more.

If you’re getting a 2-dose vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna) both doses are needed to be effective. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is only a one-dose vaccine.

How to plan for the vaccine

You will not be charged for the vaccine or its administration. The federal government will pay for the cost of the vaccine. Vaccine providers will be reimbursed for administering the vaccine by the patient's insurance or by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) program for uninsured patients.

When you get vaccinated, you will receive a fact sheet about the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as information about possible side effects or allergic reactions. Immediately after, you will be monitored on-site for 15-30 minutes. If you do not experience any reactions that warrant further medical assistance, you will be allowed to leave.


Both Moderna & Pfizer vaccines require two doses for 94% effectiveness. If you make your dose 1 appointment at Rite Aid, we will also schedule your second dose appointment. It is important that dose 1 & 2 are from the same vaccine. If you get both doses at Rite Aid, we will ensure this is the case.


If you have access to a smartphone, we recommend that you sign up for V-safe, the CDC After Vaccination Health Checker tool.


Your dose 2 visit will follow the same procedure as your dose 1 visit, but you will additionally receive proof of vaccination once your visit is complete. If you have access to a smartphone, we recommend that you sign up for V-safe, the CDC After Vaccination Health Checker tool.

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through V-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. Register for V-safe here.


V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one, but it cannot schedule appointments.

Talk with your child prior to the appointment to help set expectations and walk them through the process. The steps are the same as an adult COVID-19 vaccine, so prepare to have some discomfort during the injection, with possible side effects after.

CLEAR Digital Proof of Vaccination

Health Pass is a feature in the free CLEAR app where you can easily complete COVID-19 health screenings for participating locations nationwide. The digital vaccine card you create with the app will sync with CLEAR’s Health Pass feature for safer, easier access to participating venues accepting COVID-19 vaccinations for entry. For more information visit our digital proof of vaccination page.

After your vaccination you received a physical card, known as a Vaccination Record (VAR). This card will verify that you have received your COVID-19 vaccination, but it’s important to keep it in a safe, secure location. Digital proof of vaccination is a verified record from your vaccine provider (in this case Rite Aid) that can be downloaded to your phone or other device and act as a backup and a more accessible version of your VAR that you can take on the go. 

There are still options to get your digital proof: 

1.      CLEAR: 

a.       Find out if your other vaccine provider has partnered with CLEAR 

b.      If they’ve partnered with CLEAR, follow your provider’s instructions to access their Health Pass in the CLEAR app. CLEAR is a secure identity platform that is transforming the way people live, work, and manage healthcare. With the free CLEAR app, you can create a digital vaccine card that you can access easily on your phone to use wherever you may need it. Download the CLEAR app to create your digital vaccine card. 

2.      State Registries: states keep immunization registries and some even provide a digital copy of your immunization record. Find out how to access your proof from your state here (linked).

3.      Your provider: Reach out to your vaccine provider (your doctor, a state or local clinic or wherever you received your shot(s)) to see what options they have for digital proof of vaccination.


If you received any dose of the COVID-19 vaccine  at Rite Aid, then you are eligible to have your verified information added to your CLEAR account. Note that CLEAR is working on the ability to support a 3rd dose in the Health Pass, but is not currently able to reflect more than 2 doses; 3rd dose proof of vaccination is coming soon. 


If you only received one dose of a 2-dose vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) at Rite Aid, you’ll be invited to add your single dose information into the CLEAR app. Then, you can add your additional dose information from another provider when linking your vaccination information in the Health Pass. As long as CLEAR supports both providers and they’re listed in the app, you will be able to link with both providers. If CLEAR does not support both providers, you will need to upload an image of your VAR.


If you still need to get your 2nd dose, schedule an appointment at any Rite Aid today.

Rite Aid started sending emails and SMS with your unique link to access your digital proof on 9/1/21. If you haven’t received your email or SMS with your unique link to access your digital proof of vaccination by 9/6/21, you can request your unique link here.

Customers who received their COVID-19 doses at two different Rite Aid stores will receive a separate unique link from each store to generate two separate SMART QR codes.  Download the CLEAR app, scan the first Smart QR Code to add your first card, then select “Add Another Provider” then follow the same process for the second Smart QR code to add it to your CLEAR Health Pass.

Customers who received their COVID-19 doses at two different Rite Aid stores will receive a separate unique link from each store to generate two separate SMART QR codes.  Download the CLEAR app, scan the first Smart QR Code to add your first card, then select “Add Another Provider” then follow the same process for the second Smart QR code to add it to your CLEAR Health Pass.

Federal Retail Partnership

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks. The program aims to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine across the country by allowing the federal government to provide COVID-19 vaccines directly to pharmacies to vaccinate eligible individuals in their communities. This program supplements the existing and ongoing allocations provided to Rite Aid and other pharmacies that are provided through state and local jurisdictions.

Rite Aid is one of the federal government’s premier pharmacy partners. Our role is to administer the COVID-19 vaccines we are allocated as quickly, safely, and efficiently as possible.

Rite Aid will continue to work with the federal government to help administer FDA-authorized vaccines as allocated through the FRPP program. As of the week of 3/1/21 that includes the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.


As of 4/23/21, the pause on the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has been lifted. Learn more.

As a participant in the FRPP, Rite Aid will work to administer any and all of the vaccines that the FDA authorizes and our allocation provides.

Get a COVID-19 test on your time


We are now offering drive-through*, mail-in or at-home COVID-19 tests. Results vary from 15 minutes to 2-5 days, so be sure to plan ahead. 




*through partnership with Department of Health and Human Services. Drive-thru testing meets requirements for travel to Canada, but not for Hawaii travel. Visit the CDC website to learn more about other destinations.

Learn how we can help you stay healthy and stay safe.


Rite Aid’s COVID-19 measures are designed to keep our customers and communities safe.

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Customer & Associate Support

We are committed to helping you and our associates.


Last updated 6/30/21

It can be confusing to know whether the symptoms you’re experiencing are related to COVID-19. Find out more information here

All Rite Aid administered COVID-19 tests are free and available to ages 4+, but you must have an appointment to get a test. Learn more about COVID-19 testing and schedule your test here

The safety of our associates, customers and communities is our number one priority. During this unprecedented crisis, we are taking many extra precautions to continue to serve our customers during a time when they need our help the most. We follow local guidance regarding protective measures, such as capacity limits.


Our stores, pharmacies and distribution centers are all following CDC guidance to help stop the spread of the virus.


Our stores and distribution centers are using cleaning kits that include hand sanitizers, wipes, masks and gloves.  We are cleaning more frequently and constantly disinfecting high-traffic surfaces throughout these locations. We follow strict cleaning procedures per CDC guidance when an associate has tested positive for COVID-19 or is presumed to have a case of COVID-19, including closing the store for a comprehensive sanitizing regimen, when necessary.


We also offer services such as delivery, drive thru (at select locations), 90 day script refills and much more. 

We have signs and tape markers encouraging you to keep six feet of distance from others. We are installing Plexiglass shields at the registers and pharmacy windows.

Rite Aid understands that the elderly population and those with underlying medical conditions are particularly susceptible to COVID-19. We have set aside special daily shopping hours between 9 am and 10 am to serve senior citizens and those with a weakened immune system.


If you’re not a senior or somebody with a weakened immune system, we appreciate your patience, flexibility and willingness to visit our stores outside of that reserved hour. If you need a prescription during that time, we encourage you to use our full-service pharmacy windows available at most locations or to call ahead to the store for accommodation. We encourage everybody to also take advantage of free prescription delivery, and online shopping options to minimize person-to-person contact.

All stores are currently offering "Pay ‘n Go” pre-pay services for prescriptions. Patients who are signed up for Prescription Notifications at eligible stores will have an option to pre-pay for their pharmacy order when they receive their “Your Prescription is Ready” text or email with a link to pay.


We are also encouraging the use of contactless payments like Apple Pay, Android Pay and contactless cards, which allow you to hold your card near the pin pad to be read wirelessly. Contact your bank for more information on contactless credit cards.


A supply of finger covers are available at each register, and customers are encouraged to use one if they need to touch our pin pad payment units. 

All three of Rite Aid’s COVID-19 tests (drive-thru, mail-in, at-home) only take a few minutes to complete. 

Testing is painless and just requires swabbing midway in both nostrils. 

Drive-thru: You’ll receive your results within 2-5 days via the email you provided at registration. If positive, a health care worker will call you.


Mail-in: Return your kit with free overnight return shipping the same day you take your sample. Get results within 2 business days of your kit arriving at the lab.


At-home: Results within 15 minutes. Recommended to test twice within 3 days at least 36 hours apart.

Learn more from the experts