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

Photo illustration of COVID-19 vaccine vials

The first COVID-19 vaccine became available in late 2020, and since then more than 60% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated. Now, as the omicron variant emerges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends booster doses for everyone 12 and older at the appropriate time. 

What you need to know about booster doses

Who is eligible for a booster dose?

The CDC recommends everyone 12 and older should get a booster shot.

  • If you got the Pfizer vaccine, you should get your booster five months after completing your primary vaccine series. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one authorized for kids aged 12-17.
  • If you got the Moderna vaccine, you should get your booster six months after your vaccine series.
  • If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get your booster at least two months after your first dose.

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

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