COVID-19 Q&A: An update on vaccine booster doses

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved and recommended booster doses for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccines for certain people.

Who is at highest risk of having breakthrough infections, even if they are fully immunized?

Seniors 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems caused by certain health conditions or treatments (including organ transplants, HIV, and some cancers and chemotherapy) are more likely to have breakthrough infections. These groups are strongly recommended to get a booster dose when they are eligible.

Who is now eligible for a booster dose?

Booster doses are available for these groups at least six months after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

  • People who should get a booster dose: 65 and older; 18+ living in long-term care facilities; 50+ with underlying health conditions, or disabilities.
  • People who may get a booster dose: 18+ who have underlying health conditions, disabilities; 18+ who live or work in high-risk settings. 

Adults 18 or older who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine two or more months ago also are recommended to get a booster dose.

Is it OK to get a different vaccine as a booster than you received at first?

Eligible people may choose which vaccine they get as a booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine type they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for mix-and-match dosing for booster shots.

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