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COVID-19 booster shots: Your questions answered


COVID-19 vaccination card in hands showing booster shot box checked

Boosters are now available for many people.

Who is eligible for a booster shot?

Individuals aged 5+ who received a Pfizer vaccine are eligible for a booster shot five months or more after completing their primary series. Those 18+ who received a Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster shot five months or more after completing their initial series. Individuals 18+ who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster dose two months after their initial shot. The booster shot may be any available vaccine. However, the CDC has recently indicated that the mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are preferred in most situationsA second booster shot is also recommended for certain people.

Vaccine Brand Ages First Booster Second Booster
Pfizer 5+* 5 months after the 2nd shot For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster
Moderna 18+ 6 months after the 2nd shot For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster
Johnson & Johnson 18+ 2 months after the initial shot; Pfizer or Moderna recommended For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster

* The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine authorized for children ages 5-17.

The CDC recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals follow a different vaccine schedule. See below for more information.

Does my booster shot need to be from the same manufacturer?

No. The CDC also approved the mixing and matching of vaccine manufacturers. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. 

Some people may prefer the vaccine type they initially received, and others may like to get a different booster. For example, women under age 50, who are at a higher risk for the very rare but also very serious blood clotting disorder associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, may want to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster instead. Similarly, young men who are concerned about myocarditis and pericarditis after a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination may wish to consider the Johnson & Johnson booster as an alternative. 

Am I getting the same dose as I originally received?

In the case of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the booster dose is the same as the original dose. For the Moderna vaccine, it is a half dose. 

What are the side effects of the booster shots?

The side effects after getting a booster shot are similar to side effects after the two-shot series. The most common side effects are fatigue and pain at the injection site and overall. Like the two-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare but may occur. 

Can I get my booster and flu shots at the same time?

Yes. The CDC says you can receive the flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine or booster at the same time. If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, talk with your healthcare provider.  

Do boosters mean the vaccines are not working?

No. For most people, the vaccines are doing what they were designed to do: keeping people from getting severely sick or dying. As with many vaccines, immunity wears off, and the booster helps your body develop more protective antibodies. The majority of those falling seriously ill from COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

Do I still need to follow safety precautions after a booster dose?

Yes. You should continue following safety recommendations after a third or additional dose.

  • Wear a mask in public where required.
  • Stay 6 feet away from people you don't live with.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

Has the definition of "fully vaccinated" changed?

No. For most people being fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since:

  • A second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
  • One dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

For some immunocompromised people, fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since receiving a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.  

What are the recommendations for people who are immunocompromised?

The FDA has authorized additional doses for some people with weakened immune systems.

People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive five doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to stay up to date—a three-dose primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, plus two boosters of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Note that only Pfizer is available for teens 12-17 years.

Children ages 5 through 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive four doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine—a four-dose primary series, plus one booster.

People ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine should get a second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, plus two boosters of either Pfizer or Moderna—for a total of four doses.
 

Vaccine Brand Ages Primary Series First Booster Second Booster
Pfizer 5-11

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 3 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose Not recommended at this time
Pfizer 12+

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 3 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose At least 4 months after 4th dose
Moderna 18+

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 4 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose At least 4 months after 4th dose
Johnson & Johnson 18+

1st dose: Johnson & Johnson

2nd dose: Pfizer or Moderna at least 4 weeks after 1st dose

At least 2 months after 2nd dose At least 4 months after 3rd dose

 

Where can I get a booster shot?

Booster doses are widely available at many places, including pharmacies and drug stores. You can find locations by zip code at vaccines.gov, by calling 1-800-232-0233, or by texting your zip code to 438829. PeaceHealth is offering booster shots to patients through our primary care clinics. Visit peacehealth.org/coronavirus to find a location near you.

Source: CDC

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COVID-19 booster shots: Your questions answered


COVID-19 vaccination card in hands showing booster shot box checkedBoosters are now available for many people.

Who is eligible for a booster shot?

Individuals aged 5+ who received a Pfizer vaccine are eligible for a booster shot five months or more after completing their primary series. Those 18+ who received a Moderna vaccine are eligible for a booster shot five months or more after completing their initial series. Individuals 18+ who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are eligible for a booster dose two months after their initial shot. The booster shot may be any available vaccine. However, the CDC has recently indicated that the mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna are preferred in most situationsA second booster shot is also recommended for certain people.

Vaccine Brand Ages First Booster Second Booster
Pfizer 5+* 5 months after the 2nd shot For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster
Moderna 18+ 6 months after the 2nd shot For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster
Johnson & Johnson 18+ 2 months after the initial shot; Pfizer or Moderna recommended For those 50+: 4 months after the 1st booster

* The Pfizer vaccine is currently the only vaccine authorized for children ages 5-17.

The CDC recommends that moderately or severely immunocompromised individuals follow a different vaccine schedule. See below for more information.

Does my booster shot need to be from the same manufacturer?

No. The CDC also approved the mixing and matching of vaccine manufacturers. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. 

Some people may prefer the vaccine type they initially received, and others may like to get a different booster. For example, women under age 50, who are at a higher risk for the very rare but also very serious blood clotting disorder associated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, may want to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster instead. Similarly, young men who are concerned about myocarditis and pericarditis after a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination may wish to consider the Johnson & Johnson booster as an alternative. 

Am I getting the same dose as I originally received?

In the case of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, the booster dose is the same as the original dose. For the Moderna vaccine, it is a half dose. 

What are the side effects of the booster shots?

The side effects after getting a booster shot are similar to side effects after the two-shot series. The most common side effects are fatigue and pain at the injection site and overall. Like the two-shot primary series, serious side effects are rare but may occur. 

Can I get my booster and flu shots at the same time?

Yes. The CDC says you can receive the flu vaccine and a COVID vaccine or booster at the same time. If you have concerns about getting both vaccines at the same time, talk with your healthcare provider.  

Do boosters mean the vaccines are not working?

No. For most people, the vaccines are doing what they were designed to do: keeping people from getting severely sick or dying. As with many vaccines, immunity wears off, and the booster helps your body develop more protective antibodies. The majority of those falling seriously ill from COVID-19 are unvaccinated. 

Do I still need to follow safety precautions after a booster dose?

Yes. You should continue following safety recommendations after a third or additional dose.

  • Wear a mask in public where required.
  • Stay 6 feet away from people you don't live with.
  • Avoid crowded and poorly ventilated spaces.

Has the definition of "fully vaccinated" changed?

No. For most people being fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since:

  • A second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
  • One dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

For some immunocompromised people, fully vaccinated means it has been at least two weeks since receiving a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.  

What are the recommendations for people who are immunocompromised?

The FDA has authorized additional doses for some people with weakened immune systems.

People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive five doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine to stay up to date—a three-dose primary series of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, plus two boosters of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Note that only Pfizer is available for teens 12-17 years.

Children ages 5 through 11 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should receive four doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine—a four-dose primary series, plus one booster.

People ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine should get a second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, plus two boosters of either Pfizer or Moderna—for a total of four doses.
 

Vaccine Brand Ages Primary Series First Booster Second Booster
Pfizer 5-11

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 3 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose Not recommended at this time
Pfizer 12+

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 3 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose At least 4 months after 4th dose
Moderna 18+

Primary series is three doses

2nd dose: 4 weeks after 1st dose

3rd dose: at least 4 weeks after 2nd dose

At least 3 months after 3rd dose At least 4 months after 4th dose
Johnson & Johnson 18+

1st dose: Johnson & Johnson

2nd dose: Pfizer or Moderna at least 4 weeks after 1st dose

At least 2 months after 2nd dose At least 4 months after 3rd dose

 

Where can I get a booster shot?

Booster doses are widely available at many places, including pharmacies and drug stores. You can find locations by zip code at vaccines.gov, by calling 1-800-232-0233, or by texting your zip code to 438829. PeaceHealth is offering booster shots to patients through our primary care clinics. Visit peacehealth.org/coronavirus to find a location near you.

Source: CDC