The FDA has authorized third doses, booster shots, and second booster shots to help you and your family stay protected against the coronavirus. These 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, a booster shot, and a second booster shot?
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 (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, a booster shot is different dosage than a third dose.
For those who received the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at five months or more after completing their initial series:
- 12 years and over for Pfizer (Comirnaty) and 18 and over for Moderna (Spikevax)
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.
Booster shots are most important for people that are 65 and over, those with immune compromising conditions and those that are overweight or have chronic health conditions as these people can suffer more serious COVID-19 disease if they have not gotten all their recommended vaccines including their booster shots.
What is a second booster shot and who can get it?
The CDC now recommends a second booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines for the following groups:
- Individuals aged 50 or older
- Individuals aged 12 and over with moderate to severe immune comprise
The second booster will be available to eligible individuals beginning four months after their first booster. Public Health sites will administer second booster shots to those eligible starting Wednesday, March 30. More information is available here.
What is a third dose and who can get it?
If you received either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine and are immunocompromised, you need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine following your initial vaccine series. 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 when you are eligible.
- You must have had the first two doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) 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
- Untreated or uncontrolled HIV
- 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)
Stop the spread
Getting vaccinated remains the most important and effective step to ending the coronavirus pandemic. 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.
- Wipe down any surfaces you touch.