Do I really need to get another COVID-19 booster?
Author: Asha Shah, MD, MS
This week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized an additional booster of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for anyone 50 years old and above and certain immunocompromised individuals.
I'm confused. Who exactly is eligible for a second booster?
People who are:
- Age 50 and above and received an initial booster dose at least 4 months ago.
- Immunocompromised and 12 or older who received an initial booster at least 4 months ago.
- Johnson & Johnson recipients of any age, who received a booster J&J dose at least 4 months ago.
Do I really need to get one?
If you are eligible to get the second booster, it is recommended that you get one. It’s possible that cases will start to rise again in Connecticut due to the BA.2 omicron strain and it’s best to get protected from severe disease and hospitalization now.
Should I get it now or wait until before I’m traveling?
The recommendation is not to wait. If you are eligible, schedule your second booster dose now. Stamford Health is currently accepting vaccination appointments. If you have not received your first booster, now would be a great time to schedule that appointment.
If I had COVID-19 recently, do I need to get a second booster at this time?
While prior infection with COVID-19 does provide some natural immunity to future COVID-19 infection, it is unclear how long that immunity lasts. Getting a second booster vaccine, regardless of prior COVID-19 history, is the best way to protect yourself against future strains of COVID-19.
If you received a COVID-19 treatment (like monoclonal antibodies or oral therapy medication), you do not need to wait a specific amount of time to receive a second booster. As long as you’ve recovered (typically about 10 days from onset of symptoms) and feel well, you are eligible.
Can you "mix and match" COVID-19 booster doses?
It is recommended that you receive the same brand of vaccine for your second booster, but if it is not available, you can mix and match. For example, if you received Johnson & Johnson as your first vaccine, you could get a booster with either Moderna or Pfizer.
About the Author
Asha Shah, MD, MS is the director of infectious diseases and hospital epidemiologist at Stamford Health.