COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know About Booster Shots

Photo illustration of COVID-19 vaccine vials

Updated 7/13/2022

The first COVID-19 vaccine became available in late 2020, and since then more than two-thirds of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends booster doses for everyone 5 and older at the appropriate time. The CDC recommends a second booster for people age 50 and older and immunocompromised people.

What you need to know about booster doses

Who is eligible for a booster dose?

The CDC recommends people as young as 5 should get a first booster shot.

  • If you got the Pfizer vaccine, you should get your booster five months after completing your primary vaccine series. 
  • If you got the Moderna vaccine, a booster is recommended at this time only for people 18 and older. It is recommended five months after completing your vaccine series.
  • If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get your booster at least two months after your first dose.

The CDC recommends people over 50 and people who are immunocompromised should get a second booster shot.

  • For Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get your second booster at least four months after the first.

Why are booster doses recommended?

Although the COVID-19 vaccines remain effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, the CDC has found that their protection against mild to moderate disease decreases over time. Studies have shown that a booster shot not only lengthens immunity but helps to broaden and strengthen your immune response, even against variants such as omicron. Learn more about the omicron variant.

Read the full CDC booster recommendations

Find COVID-19 Vaccines

Read more stories like this