COVID-19 Booster Shots & Additional Doses
In January 2022, the CDC approved the indications: boosters for ages 12 years and older 5 months or more after their second dose, and a third dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines 28 days after their second dose for ages 5 years and older who are immunocompromised.
The CDC also said eligible adults could “mix and match” and choose to receive a different booster vaccine from the one(s) initially received. The Moderna COVID-19 single booster dose is half of the dose that is administered for a primary series dose.
One should get a booster if you are:
- Ages 12 years and older and received both doses or 3 doses (if immunocompromised) of Pfizer-BioNTech at least 5 months ago.
- Ages 18 years and older and received both doses or 3 doses (if immunocompromised) of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 5 months ago.
- Ages 18 years and older and had the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago.
Difference between an additional dose and a booster shot
- An additional dose is for people who may not have had a strong enough immune response from the first two doses.
- A booster shot is for people whose immune response may have weakened over time.
Who can get an additional vaccine dose?
Immunocompromised individuals include the following:
- Recent or current treatment of a solid tumor or hematologic malignancy
- Solid-organ, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T), or stem cell transplant within the last two years
- Moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (PID)
- Advanced or untreated HIV
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20 mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
- Based on clinician assessment of need, chronic medical conditions associated with immunosuppression (e.g., asplenia, chronic renal disease)
The additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be administered at least four weeks (28 days) after the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
Patients should try to match the vaccine with the primary series, but the other mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered if that is not possible.
Antibody testing and T cell testing are not recommended to evaluate the need for an additional dose of the vaccine because the utility of such testing is not known.