Who Needs an Additional COVID-19 Vaccine?

Information Regarding COVID-19 Third Doses and COVID-19 Booster Shots

Please note – this is a third dose, not a booster shot

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals who have already received the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (this does not apply to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine), and who have one or more of the conditions listed below, receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Conditions include:

  • Active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • An organ transplant recipient who is taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • A stem cell transplant recipient (within the last two years) or one who is taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response

Individuals are encouraged to talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 Booster Vaccine?

Eligible patients are individuals who received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 or Moderna vaccine at least six months ago and who meet at least one of the below criteria:

  • Are age 65 or older
  • Live in a long-term care facility
  • Are age 18 or older and have an underlying medical condition that could put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19. Eligible medical conditions include, but are not limited to:
    • Cancer
    • Down syndrome
    • Cerebrovascular disease, such as stroke, dementia
    • Obesity
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Cystic fibrosis, Pulmonary HTN
    • Moderate to Severe Asthma
    • Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and 2
    • Heart condition, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies 10/26/2021
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • Cirrhosis
    • Pregnancy and recent pregnancy
    • Current or former smoker
  • Are age 18 or older and work in a location that puts them at high risk of exposure to COVID-19. This includes:
    • Essential workers, such as healthcare workers, teachers, day-care staff, and first responders
    • Caregivers of an immunocompromised individual
    • Individuals who live ina congregate living setting, such as a homeless shelter, prison, or assisted living facility

Who is eligible to receive a COVID-19 Johnson & Johnson Booster Vaccine?

The CDC adopted a slightly different criteria for J&J’s one-shot COVID-19 vaccine.

  • All adults who were vaccinated with adult J&J recipients are eligible for a booster even if they don’t have underlying medical conditions or work in a profession/live where there’s a higher risk of COVID-19. J&J’s COVID-19 vaccine at least two months ago, instead of six months with Pfizer and Moderna.
  • All adult J&J recipients are eligible for a booster even if they don’t have underlying medical conditions or work in a profession/live where there’s a higher risk of COVID-19.

Average rise in neutralizing antibody levels

Pfizer-BioNTech BoosterModerna BoosterJohnson & Johnson Booster
Two doses Pfizer-BioNTech Initially20x31.7x12.5x
Two doses Moderna Initially11.5x10.2x6.2x
One dose Johnson & Johnson Initially35.1x75.9x4.2x

Frequently asked questions.

Q: Are booster shots be the same formulation as existing vaccines?

A: Yes, COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine that people get for their initial series.

Q: Can people mix and match vaccine brands for their booster shot?

A: Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, while others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Q: Are the booster shots free?

A: COVID-19 vaccines, including the booster shot, are available for everyone at no cost. Vaccines will continue to be given to all people living in the United States, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Q: Are providers accepting anyone who says they’re eligible to receive a booster shot? Do people need to show a doctor’s note/prescription or other documentation?

A: Individuals can self-report that they are eligible and receive a booster shot wherever vaccines are offered. This helps ensure that there are not additional barriers to access for this vulnerable population receiving their booster shot.

Q: Does this change the definition of “fully vaccinated” for those eligible for booster shots?

A: No. At this time, people are still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.

Q: Where are boosters be available?

A: For those eligible, getting a booster shot is convenient, and as simple as visiting your local doctor’s office or pharmacy. Within North Country Healthcare, booster shots are available at Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, by calling (603) 388-4259, and at Weeks Medical Center, by calling (603) 788-2521. They are also available at Coos County Family Health Services, by calling (603) 752-2040.

Q: Is it safe to co-administer COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines, like the flu vaccine?

A: Yes, if a patient is eligible, both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same visit, as recommended by CDC and ACIP. In addition to flu vaccine, COVID-19 vaccine can be given with other vaccines as well.


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