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Why You Should Get a COVID Booster Shot
  1. Although your initial COVID-19 vaccination was effective in preventing severe illness, studies are showing that the vaccines’ protection can decrease over time.

    Health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease among certain groups of people, such as those over the age of 65.

    This is why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says all people should be up to date with their vaccinations. For example, all vaccinated people age 18 and older should get their booster doses as soon as they are eligible. Older adults and people with immunocompromising conditions are more likely to get severe COVID. The CDC now recommends a booster dose for children age 12-17.

    In addition to the first booster dose, the CDC has now made a second booster of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine available to people over the age of 50 and some others. Learn more about what the CDC says about who can and should get a COVID booster.

    Getting a booster shot as soon as you are eligible after your initial vaccine series is critical to maintaining your protection against the virus and help prevent the further spread of the virus among those who are unvaccinated, such as children under age 5.

    “Being the most updated with your COVID-19 vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself against the virus and its variants. We recommend that you complete your booster dose as soon as you are eligible, to optimize your immunity,” says Wilbur Chen, MD, MS, professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and an adult infectious disease expert in the school’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD).Who’s Eligible for a COVID-19 Booster Shot?

    The CDC recommends that everyone ages 12 and older get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible. Children ages 12 to 17 can get only the Pfizer-BioNTech booster, at least five months after their second shot.

    If you are 18 years of age or older, you can choose whichever approved vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) you want to receive as your booster, even if it wasn’t your original vaccine (you can mix and match).

    The CDC advises a preference for an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine for booster vaccination.

    People should get their booster shot:

    • At least five months after getting both shots of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna
    • At least two months after getting the single Johnson & Johnson shot

    Second boosters of Pfizer and Moderna shots are available four months after your first booster to: