A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) panel voted to approve COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for even more people.
A month ago, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended additional doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for some people who had previously received that mRNA vaccine. And this week, following an update to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorizations for the vaccines, the panel voted to recommend boosters for some groups of people who had also gotten the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines originally. Plus, the panel’s new recommendations allow people who are eligible for boosters to mix and match which vaccine they get.
For those who may be wondering if they’re eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, here’s what you need to know about the CDC’s new recommendations.
If you originally got the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty):
You’re eligible to get a booster shot if you are age 65 and older. You are also eligible if you’re at least 18 years old and you have an underlying medical condition (that puts you at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 complications), you live in a long-term care facility, or you live or work in other high-risk situations (such as first responders, grocery store workers, and other essential workers).
You should wait at least six months after your initial vaccine doses before getting a booster.
If you originally got the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine:
In this week’s recommendations, ACIP recommended booster shots for the same groups of people who received Moderna doses originally as those who got Pfizer. So, if your first two vaccine doses were Moderna, you can get a booster shot if you are at least 65 years old. Or, if you’re at least 18 years old, you can get an additional dose provided you also have an underlying health issue, live in a long-term care situation, or live or work in other high-risk environments.
Again, you should wait to get your booster shot until it’s been at least six months since you received your first doses.
If you originally got the Johnson and Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine:
For those who are at least 18 years old and received the single-dose Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster shot just two months after your original dose.
The CDC also echoed the FDA’s authorization for a mix and match vaccination strategy, meaning that those who are eligible for boosters based on the above criteria can get any of the three authorized or approved vaccines as their booster shot—no matter which one they got originally. Some people may want to stick with the same type of vaccine they had before while others may want to get a different one this time, the CDC says. Or, depending on the supply in their area, simply may not be able to match the vaccine they got previously.
However, the CDC also emphasized that all three available COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. are still safe and highly effective at preventing severe disease and death due to the coronavirus—even against the delta variant. For those who want or need extra protection, though, booster shots may make sense. If you’re not sure if you should get an additional dose, talk to your health care provider. And, remember, you can get your flu shot at the same time as your booster.