As the pandemic continues, the FDA has authorized third doses and booster shots to help you and your family stay protected. A third dose and booster shots are recommended to maximize protection against the virus and its variants. Now, you may be wondering what is the difference between a third dose and a booster shot.
What is a third dose and who can get it?
If you received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and are immunocompromised, you need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The third dose is to help people get the same level of protection (or immunity) as people who are not immunocompromised. After you get the third dose, you can get a booster if eligible.
- You must have had the first two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine
- It has been 28 days since your last COVID-19 vaccine
- You have one of the following conditions:
- History of solid organ transplant
- History of bone marrow or stem cell transplant
- Current cancer or on chemotherapy
- Chronic steroid use for one month or more
- Use of immune modulating therapies such as Rituximab
- Kidney disease requiring dialysis
- Presence of cirrhosis
- Inherited or acquired immune deficiency syndromes (AIDS)
What is a booster shot and who can get it?
If you are fully vaccinated and not immunocompromised, you may eligible for a booster shot. Fully vaccinated is defined as someone who has already received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For the Moderna vaccine, a booster shot is different dosage than a third dose.
For those who received the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after completing their initial series:
- 65 years or older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings, such as health care workers, first responders, or frontline workers
For those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, anyone who is 18 and older and who was vaccinated two or more months ago, can receive a booster shot.
While there have been a few “breakthrough” cases affecting fully vaccinated people, most of those cases have been minor.
Stop the spread
The rise of Delta and other variants makes it crucial to get fully vaccinated. AltaMed has free vaccine events. You can also contact our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232 to schedule your booster COVID-19 shot.
In the meantime, regardless of your vaccination status:
- You need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
- Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
- Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
- Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside.
- Wipe down any surfaces you touch.