All of this talk about the COVID-19 booster vaccine may have you asking a lot of questions. We have the latest information from the CDC on what it is, when to get it, and why get it. Keep reading below…
1. What is the COVID-19 booster vaccine?
COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.
2. Who is eligible?
For Moderna and Pfizer, people 65 years and older, 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions, or 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after their second vaccine.
Johnson & Johnson, people 18 years and older should receive a booster shot at least 2 months after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine.
3. Why get it?
The CDC states that “Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is also decreasing over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated, as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.”
Results from a small clinical trial show an increase in immune response in trial participants who finished their initial series 6 months earlier for Moderna or Pfizer and at least 2 months earlier for those with J&J.
4. Do I need to get the same type of booster as my original vaccine?
No, this is up to you to decide. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
5. What are the risks?
BetterMed’s Greg Symenow, PA-C, says “The risks of getting the booster are suffering the side effects you experienced from the 2nd shot of the 2-dose vaccine, or the 1 shot of the 1-dose vaccine.” These side effects include fever, headache, fatigue, and pain at the injection site. While most side effects were mild to moderate, serious side effects may occur but are rare.
6. Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t receive the booster?
According to Greg Symenow, “Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine. The booster is recommended for high-risk populations.”
7. If we need a booster, does this mean the vaccine isn’t working?
No, it does not mean the vaccine itself isn’t working. According to the CDC, “The COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.”
For more information on the COVID-19 booster vaccine visit CDC.gov.
To schedule your COVID-19 booster vaccine, visit vaccines.gov.