Do I Need Another COVID-19 Vaccine? What To Know About Additional Doses
Updated January 26, 2023.
Clinical Editors: William Kimbrough, MD and Megan Dodson, PA-C
The CDC is recommending boosters for certain groups after they have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccine series. Here’s what you should know:
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot?
Here are the recommendations for a booster based on age and the type of vaccine that was given in the initial round of vaccination:
Use the CDC’s COVID-19 Booster Tool for more information about when you need a booster.
What are the new recommendations for the bivalent booster?
The bivalent booster was recently authorized by the FDA - Pfizer for ages 5+, Moderna for ages 6+. A booster is also recommended for individuals 6 months - 4 years who received Moderna for their primary series. “Bivalent” means that the vaccine has been customized to target the two strains of COVID-19 that are currently causing the majority of infections in the country. Updating a vaccine like this isn’t a new idea - it happens every year with the seasonal flu vaccine, for example. It is recommended for the bivalent booster to be given 2 months after completion of the primary series, or after the last booster that the individual received.
Does my booster shot need to be the same type of vaccine as my first and second dose?
No. The CDC has approved a “mix and match” strategy, meaning that individuals who are eligible for a booster shot can receive a different brand for their booster than they received for their primary series. However, the “mix and match” strategy is not approved for patients under the age of 5 years. Pfizer or Moderna are the preferred brands for the booster, as the FDA limited the use of the J&J vaccine due to an increased risk of a blood clotting condition. However, if you are unable to receive Pfizer or Moderna, you will still be able to receive the J&J vaccine.
What are the side effects of the booster vaccines?
At this time, side effects reported after the booster vaccines have been similar to those experienced with the original series. According to the CDC, fatigue and pain around the injection have been the most commonly reported side effects, while most side effects have been mild to moderate. Severe side effects have been reported to be very rare with these current COVID-19 vaccines, but may occur.
How can I get a shot if I qualify for a booster shot?
One Medical members can check their app for vaccine availability in our offices. To book an appointment, select “COVID-19 Booster Vaccine” under “COVID-19 Care”. Please note that supply varies by location, so not all offices will have all vaccine types available. If you don’t see any appointments, please continue to check the app regularly as new slots will be added as supply allows. You can check with local pharmacies, vaccines.gov, and your county’s department of public health for booster shot appointments in your area.
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