Who Can Get a Booster Shot?

On October 21, 2021, the CDC and FDA approved booster shots for people who originally received any of the three COVID vaccines currently approved or authorized for use in the US. 

Booster Eligibility Criteria for Pfizer or Moderna Vaccines

If you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least 6 months ago, you are eligible for a booster shot if you are over 65 years or over 18 years with certain conditions. Conditions for 18+ are if you have an underlying medical condition, work in a high-risk setting, or live in a long-term care residence. 

Booster Eligibility Criteria for the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago, you are eligible for a booster if you are over 18 years.

Which Booster Should I Get?

Your booster can be a single shot of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. For Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the booster shot is the same dosage as the first shots. For Moderna, the booster shot is half the dosage of the first shots for the general public; it is the full dose for people who are immunocompromised. You may choose to get a different vaccine type than the one that you originally received. While some researchers believe that mixing and matching vaccine types may be beneficial, we’re not sure yet if one option is better than the others. Talk to your doctor about which booster may be right for you.  

If you are not currently eligible for a booster, you are still fully vaccinated and protected. 

Although vaccine protection is shown to decrease over time, particularly against the Delta variant and in people over 65, Pfizer and Moderna are still doing a great job at protecting against severe COVID and death. The FDA and CDC are continuously reviewing the data and will update recommendations as needed.  

What about 12-17 year olds?

At this time the CDC does not recommend a booster for this age group.  Additional data is always being reviewed to determine if it might be recommended in the future.

The Vaccines & Boosters are Safe & Effective

CDC director Dr. Walensky noted, “The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe-as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given.  And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant.”

Last update: October, 22 2021, 14:25 ET

Science review: SGB, GSN, ERS