COVID-19 Booster Vaccine
WHAT IS A BOOSTER DOSE?
There is a possibility with new variants of COVID-19 that immunity and efficacy with previous vaccine schedules may decrease. The role of a booster vaccination would be to prolong and broaden immunity. The need for booster vaccinations is not definite, and currently not recommended except for select populations.
WHO NEEDS A BOOSTER DOSE?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending an additional dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the following populations:
- People 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot
- People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot
- People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot
- People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a booster
- Please see list of underlying medical conditions and other risk factors here: People with Certain Medical Conditions | CDC
If you meet any of the criteria listed above, you should discuss with your healthcare provider if an additional dose is appropriate for you.
WHEN SHOULD I GET AN ADDITIONAL (BOOSTER) DOSE?
The CDC recommends an additional dose of only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. At this time the CDC recommends a booster dose be given at least 6 months after completion of the primary series.
At this time the emergency use authorization for a booster shot only applies to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. There have been no additional approvals for the Moderna or Johnson&Johnson vaccine.
IS THERE RISK WITH AN ADDITIONAL DOSE?
The CDC states, “There is limited information about the risks of receiving an additional dose of vaccine, and the safety, efficacy, and benefit of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised people continues to be evaluated. So far, reactions reported after the third mRNA dose were similar to that of the two dose series: fatigue and pain at injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most symptoms were mild to moderate. However, as with the two-dose series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.”
This information is accurate as of 09/24/2021. The FDA and the CDC are continually updating their recommendations as further research comes out. Please see sources below for the most accurate and up to date information:
CDC Statement on ACIP Booster Recommendations | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot | CDC
COVID-19: Vaccines to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection - UpToDate
COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People | CDC