COVID-19 Booster Shots: Top Questions Answered

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Sept. 24, 2021 -- The FDA and the CDC this week announced that definite groups of radical astatine precocious hazard for superior COVID-19 corruption tin present get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

You and your friends and household whitethorn person questions: Am I eligible? Where bash I spell to get a booster? Do I person to amusement impervious of being high-risk? Am I inactive afloat vaccinated if I’m eligible for a booster and don’t person one?

We interruption down the astir communal questions astir the updated Pfizer booster guidelines.

What are boosters?

A booster is an other dose of vaccine to springiness you much extortion against a disease; successful this case, COVID-19.

“Basically, boosters are precisely what the connection says,” according to Anita Gupta, DO, an adjunct adjunct prof of anesthesiology and captious attraction medicine and symptom medicine astatine the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“Boosters let radical to person an accrued immune response.”

The other dose of vaccine is particularly important for the aged and radical with weakened immune systems from conditions similar cancer, diabetes, oregon obesity, owed to caller variants being discovered, says Gupta.

“There’s a anticipation that the immune effect from the two-dose vaccine bid whitethorn not beryllium enough, particularly successful individuals who would beryllium peculiarly vulnerable.

“So, the extremity is truly to assistance those individuals if they perchance were faced with caller variants and to guarantee that they don’t person immoderate mediocre immune effect if they’re faced with it.”

Who is eligible for the Pfizer booster?

Certain groups of radical who person been afloat vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine for 6 months oregon longer tin present person a azygous Pfizer booster dose, according to updated FDA exigency usage authorization guidelines.

You can’t person the Pfizer booster if you received different COVID-19 vaccines, similar Moderna oregon Johnson & Johnson.

You tin get a Pfizer booster if you received the Pfizer vaccine and are a portion of 1 of these groups:

  1. 65 years aged oregon older
  2. 18 years aged oregon older and astatine precocious hazard for terrible COVID-19
  3. If you enactment oregon unrecorded successful a concern that puts you astatine precocious hazard for terrible COVID-19. For example, wellness attraction workers, teachers, and radical successful prisons and stateless shelters.

Go here to spot if you oregon idiosyncratic you cognize is astatine precocious hazard for terrible COVID-19.

When tin I expect to person a Pfizer booster if I received different COVID-19 vaccine, similar Moderna oregon Johnson & Johnson?

The nonstop day is unknown, but it shouldn’t instrumentality excessively long, fixed Moderna precocious submitted information to the FDA, and Johnson & Johnson volition beryllium pursuing suit precise shortly.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, MD, connected Friday said getting boosters approved for everyone, including those who primitively got the Moderna oregon J&J vaccine, is simply a “high, precocious priority.”

William Schaffner, MD, a prof of preventive medicine and infectious diseases astatine Vanderbilt University, agrees it should hap soon.

“I would anticipation that wrong the adjacent period to 6 weeks, we volition get accusation astir some of those vaccines,” helium says. “It volition beryllium 1 close aft the other. Each 1 dealt with separately.”

“I cognize it leads to a definite magnitude of confusion, but that’s the mode you person to bash it due to the fact that each the information were not assembled astatine precisely the aforesaid time.”

Just the information that Pfizer boosters are present disposable to definite high-risk groups is simply a large motion that boosters for different COVID-19 vaccines aren’t acold behind, says Eric Ascher, DO, a household medicine doc astatine Lenox Hill Hospital successful New York City.

“To me, that is simply a beardown indicator that they volition beryllium made disposable to the remainder of the colonisation soon,” helium says.

Where bash I spell get my Pfizer booster and however overmuch volition it cost?

You tin get your booster changeable astatine pharmacies, your doctor’s office, wellness departments, occupational clinics, and national programs, according to the CDC.

“Over 70% of existent COVID-19 administration” occurs successful pharmacies, the CDC states.

Boosters for each COVID-19 vaccines are wholly free.

“All COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, volition beryllium provided escaped of complaint to the U.S. population,” the CDC said Thursday.

Do I request to amusement impervious of having received the Pfizer vaccine earlier getting a Pfizer booster?

The abbreviated reply is astir apt not. But for your safety, it’s important to travel FDA guidelines and lone get a Pfizer booster if you received the Pfizer vaccine, Schaffner says.

“That has already opened the doorway to radical who person not been vaccinated with Pfizer who are precise anxious to get a booster, to spell up and get a booster. That’s not recommended,” helium says.

“We ever caution radical that, portion this is unlikely, should you acquisition an adverse event, if you’re doing it extracurricular the acceptable recommendation, your security won’t screen it.”

Do we person to amusement impervious of being precocious hazard owed to an underlying aesculapian information oregon that we unrecorded oregon enactment successful a spot that puts america astatine precocious hazard for terrible COVID-19, oregon that we are older than 65?


It volition enactment connected the grant system, Schaffner says. “In different words, you amusement up and accidental you’re eligible, you won’t beryllium quizzed astir it, and the location, whether it’s a pharmacy oregon vaccination site, volition springiness you the booster.

“This is the aforesaid process we already person successful spot for radical who are immunocompromised. All they person to bash is amusement up and say, ‘I’m successful an immunocompromised group,’ and they get the 3rd dose.”

Are boosters a afloat dose oregon fractional dose of the Pfizer vaccine?

A Pfizer booster is 1 afloat dose of Pfizer vaccine, according to the FDA.

But this whitethorn not beryllium the aforesaid for different COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

“For example, the FDA is considering whether to authorize a little dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster than the dose fixed successful the archetypal 2 shots,” Gupta says.

But you shouldn’t beryllium excessively hung up connected the dose of your booster shot.

“This is based connected the constitution of the vaccine and does not alteration the level of protection,” Ascher says.

If I americium afloat vaccinated but haven’t received a booster, americium I inactive considered afloat vaccinated?


“Based connected existent data, the explanation of ‘fully vaccinated’ would stay the aforesaid aft recommendations for booster dose,” the CDC says.

A idiosyncratic is considered afloat vaccinated 2 weeks aft they implicit their archetypal vaccination series, similar 2 doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines oregon 1 dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

When it comes to radical who are immunocompromised, it tin beryllium a spot much complicated, says Gupta.

“For clarity’s sake, if you are immunocompromised, we’ll telephone your 3rd changeable a 3rd dose. Third doses for immunocompromised radical are disposable now. If you’re not immunocompromised, a 3rd changeable is considered a booster.

“According to the CDC, those with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 and whitethorn not physique the aforesaid level of immunity to two-dose vaccine series, compared to radical who are not immunocompromised. This further dose intends to amended immunocompromised people’s effect to their archetypal vaccine series.”

Is this going to beryllium an yearly booster, similar flu vaccines?

“We don’t cognize that yet,” Schaffner says. “We would expect that these boosters, due to the fact that they truly boost and summation your antibody levels to a precise precocious level, would supply alternatively prolonged protection. How long? Well, we’ll person to see.

“Remember, we’re learning astir COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations arsenic we spell along, truthful we can’t foretell astatine the infinitesimal whether this volition beryllium an yearly booster, oregon each 2 years, oregon each 3 years. We’ll conscionable person to see.”

Should I expect the aforesaid broadside effects that I experienced erstwhile I received my archetypal doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

You whitethorn acquisition akin broadside effects, similar limb soreness, mild flu, assemblage aches, and different communal symptoms, according to the CDC.

But it’s important to retrieve that everyone reacts otherwise to vaccines, says Ascher.

“I person had patients (as good arsenic idiosyncratic experience) wherever determination were nary to minimal symptoms, and others who felt they had a mild flu for 24 hours,” helium says.

“I expect nary broadside effects greater than what was felt with your anterior doses. The vaccine is precise safe, and the payment of vaccination outweighs the risks of immoderate mild broadside effects.”

If you’d similar much information, you tin cheque retired the CDC and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services websites for updates connected COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. You tin besides scope retired to your doc oregon different wellness attraction providers to larn more.

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