You’ve likely heard the new information as recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots continue to evolve. We’ve taken the time to break down everything you should know.
How do COVID-19 booster shots work?
A booster shot “boosts” your immune system’s response with an additional dose of vaccine. This extra dose helps your immune system remember how to fight a disease if you get exposed.
Boosters are given to people whose immune response has weakened over time since their last shot. A good example of this is a tetanus shot, which most people get boosters for over their lifetime.
COVID-19 booster shot eligibility
All three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized to be given as booster doses by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you’re 18 or older, you’re eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot.
For those who completed their initial COVID-19 vaccine series (two shots) with Moderna or Pfizer (Comirnaty) at least six months ago:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following people SHOULD get a booster shot:
- People 50 years old and older
- People 18 and older who live in long-term care
The CDC advises that other people 18 and older may choose to get a booster shot, depending on their individual risks.
For people who received the Janssen/J&J COVID-19 vaccine (one shot):
The CDC recommends anyone age 18 and older get a booster shot two months or more after their first dose.
What about mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines?
First, you must complete your initial vaccine series with the same brand. That means if your very first shot was Moderna, you need to complete the two-part series with a second Moderna shot.
After that, your booster shot can be the same or a different brand.
At Bon Secours, our supply of vaccine arrives weekly and varies based on what the Department of Health provides. So, we can’t guarantee a specific brand at a specific location. But if you have a strong preference, please let our team know when you come in for your vaccine. We’ll do our best to accommodate your request.
Additional shots for people with weak immune systems
Certain medical conditions or taking medications to suppress the immune system can result in having a weakened immune system, also known as being immunocompromised.
If you have a weakened immune system, you’re especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and its risks. For example, this group of people is more likely to have a serious illness that lasts a long time.
The CDC recommends that people who have weakened immune systems get an additional mRNA COVID-19 vaccine shot at least 28 days (four weeks) after completing their initial series. This applies to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems due to a medical condition or taking medications to suppress the immune system. This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (some examples include DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune system
Call the Bon Secours vaccine hotline at 866-624-0366. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST and you can schedule an appointment or to get additional information about our facilities that are offering the COVID-19 vaccine.
Check out more information about the COVID-19 vaccine.