COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters: What You Need to Know

CDC recommends COVID-19 booster shot for every vaccinated adult

(RxWiki News) Have your COVID-19 booster shot yet? Here's what you need to know.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended that all vaccinated adults get a COVID-19 booster shot. Like most public health recommendations since the start of the pandemic, this one has been sparking some questions. Here are the answers.

Who Should Get a Booster Shot?

In late November of 2021, the CDC expanded its booster shot recommendation to include all adults who have been vaccinated for COVID-19. As of the CDC's most recently updated guidance, children are not included in the booster shot recommendation.

When Should I Get My Booster Shot for COVID-19?

The CDC's recommendation for when to receive your COVID booster depends on which type of vaccine you originally received. If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose vaccines, your booster should be at least six months after your second dose, according to the CDC. If you received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that recommendation stands at at least two months after your shot.

Does the Booster Have to Be the Same Brand as My Original COVID-19 Vaccines?

No. According to the CDC, your booster shot can be any of the currently authorized vaccines, regardless of which type you initially received.

Does the COVID-19 Booster Cause Side Effects?

Not everyone experiences side effects from COVID-19 booster shots, but some do. According to the CDC, these side effects are a normal byproduct of the work your body is doing to build additional protection against COVID-19. Common side effects of the booster shot are largely similar to those of the initial vaccination: pain at the injection site, headache, fever and fatigue. Serious side effects are rare, but they can happen. Report any side effects you are concerned about to your health care provider.

Are Boosters the Same as the Regular Vaccines?

Yes. The formulation for the booster shots is the same as the regular vaccines. For Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson, the dose is exactly the same. But for the Moderna booster, the dose is cut in half compared to the shots for the primary vaccine series.

Why Is the CDC Recommending Booster Shots for COVID?

Health officials have been monitoring COVID-19 cases, vaccinations and new variants since the start of the pandemic, analyzing new data as it becomes available. Recent data suggests that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing infection may decrease over time, although the vaccines remain largely effective at preventing severe cases. In studies of booster shots for COVID, participants appears to show an increased immune response after getting a booster shot. Because the pandemic is ongoing and new variants like Omicron continue to pop up, a stronger immune response in large portions of the population may be a key way to fight the virus and prevent hospitalizations and deaths.

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Review Date: 
December 9, 2021