When can a booster shot be given?

key takeaways

  • COVID-19 vaccine booster is now available to everyone in the U.S. age 12 and older
  • Children and teens between the ages of 12 and 17 are only eligible for Pfizer Boosters.
  • Boosters are approved for use in certain immunocompromised children aged 5 to 11 years.
  • You are eligible for a booster shot if you completed a Pfizer or Moderna primary vaccine series at least five months ago or received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago.
  • Adults who meet eligibility criteria can choose any of three authorized booster vaccines, regardless of the original vaccine brand (though mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in most cases – Moderna, Pfizer).
  • People 12 years of age and older with certain immunocompromised conditions and all people over 50 years of age who received an initial booster dose of mRNA at least four months ago are eligible for a second booster dose.
  • Adults who have received Johnson & Johnson’s main vaccine and booster doses
    Vaccines that are at least four months old are now available for a second booster immunization with the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’re wondering if it’s time for a COVID-19 booster shot, it depends on whether you meet eligibility criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and how much time has passed since you received the last dose of your initial vaccine regimen. agent.

The difference in timing depends on whether you received the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Here’s how to determine if it’s time for a booster injection.

FDA approves ‘mix and match’ COVID-19 vaccine booster

If you have a Pfizer or Moderna lens

If you were initially vaccinated with any of the mRNA vaccines, you can get a booster shot if you are 12 years or older and at least five months have passed since your second dose of the vaccine.

According to the CDC, if you’re 18 or older, the booster shot you get doesn’t need to be the same brand of the original vaccine you chose. However, children and teens ages 12 to 17 who have completed the Pfizer Junior Series are only eligible for the Pfizer Booster.

Why five months?

The CDC recommends a booster immunization five months after the second dose of the two mRNA COVID vaccines, as data on vaccine efficacy suggest that the vaccine’s protection begins to wane after this time.

Pfizer or Moderna second booster

Regarding the second booster dose, people 12 years of age and older with certain immunocompromised conditions and all people over the age of 50 who received an initial mRNA booster dose at least four months ago are eligible for a second booster dose.

if you get a johnson lens

If you have a J&J vaccine that only requires one shot, you will need to wait at least two months for a booster shot. You can get a booster shot from Pfizer or Moderna, or another booster shot from Johnson & Johnson — however, the CDC recommends two mRNA COVID vaccines instead of a booster shot with J&J.

The CDC recommends that people over 18 who initially get the J&J vaccine get a booster shot two months later, preferably with a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Why two months?

CDC data on how the J&J vaccine performed under real-world conditions showed that it was only 71 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations in adults with uncompromised immune systems. By comparison, Moderna was 93 percent effective and Pfizer was 88 percent effective.

David Dowdy, MD, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told VigorTip that the two-month wait for a booster shot after a J&J shot is a bit arbitrary, arguing that “it’s very much dependent on when the antibody levels are. will drop from the initial ‘pop’ you get.”

The vaccine efficacy data reported by Johnson & Johnson showed that when the booster was given, antibody levels increased four to six times compared to a single injection. That increase puts it on par with the protection offered by Moderna and Pfizer.

Johnson & Johnson second booster

Adults who received a booster dose of the primary vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine at least four months ago can now receive a second booster dose with the mRNA vaccine.

Do you need to be vaccinated if you are already infected with COVID-19?

Reduced urgency of boosters

The reason the CDC is now recommending booster shots is because the effectiveness of the vaccines declines slightly after a few months, though they remain effective in preventing severe COVID illness and hospitalizations, Dowdy said.

“For many Americans, the urgency to get a booster is different than the urgency of getting the initial series right now,” Dowdy said. “It’s not that you have to run to the pharmacy today to get a booster, it’s about recommending it, It probably does offer some extra protection.”

David Dowdy, MD, Ph.D.

For many people in the US right now, the urgency to get the booster is different than the urgency to get the initial series.

—David Dowdy, MD, Ph.D.

However, Dowdy believes that in the general public, those receiving the J&J vaccine should consider a booster shot because “there is evidence that one dose of J&J is slightly less effective than two doses of Pfizer or Moderna.”

One concern Dowdy has is that the focus on boosters could distract from getting more people the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There are still a lot of people who are not vaccinated and who might be willing to be vaccinated,” Doughty said. “The benefits of the first dose far outweigh the additional benefits of the booster.”

what does this mean to you

You can get a COVID-19 booster shot if you are 12 years or older and it has been five months since your second Pfizer or Moderna dose, or two months since your original J&J dose. Pfizer is the only booster option for 12- to 17-year-olds, and the CDC recommends a Pfizer or Moderna booster over Johnson & Johnson. If you qualify for a second booster dose, you may need to discuss this option with your healthcare provider.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means that you may have updated information as you read this article. For the latest updates on COVID-19, visit our Coronavirus news page.