COVID-19 Booster Shots: What You Need to Know
Originally published October 8, 2021. Updated November 24, 2021.
With the Delta variant’s dominance and cases of COVID-19 on the rise across the United States, a booster shot can help strengthen protection against severe disease in high-risk populations.
Studies show that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time. This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated and the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.
Evolving guidance from CDC now allows tens of millions of Americans to receive a COVID-19 booster shot.
Adults 18 or older, who received the Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna vaccines as their primary series are eligible for a booster shot six months after their last shot. The nearly 15 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as their initial shot are eligible for a booster shot after two months.
Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive 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 this type of mix-and-match dosing for booster shots.
“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe—as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even amid the widely circulating Delta variant,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. says.
If you have any questions about COVID-19 booster shots or your eligibility, please consult your healthcare provider.
While booster shots can provide additional protection to those already vaccinated, booster shot implementation alone won’t end the pandemic.
“We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” warns Dr. Walensky while noting that most COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.
If you are not yet vaccinated and are interested in learning more about the vaccine or finding a shot near you, CareFirst has you covered. Every person age five and older is eligible to receive the vaccine.