Following the FDA’s regulatory action, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccine for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 (see the CDC announcement of March 29).
Getting a second booster is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19. These groups are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time.
At the same time, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new guidance recommending a second COVID-19 booster for three groups of patients:
People 50 and older
Patients 12 and over who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for both their first dose and booster
Note that children 5 to 11 years old who are immunocompromised are not eligible for a second booster at this time.
Why are boosters needed?
The most important vaccine doses are the initial ones, says Dr. Kristen Marks, Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine.
However, in light of the rapid spread of BA.2, a subvariant Omicron, as well as other variants of the virus that may yet come along, a second booster can deliver an extra layer of protection to particular groups of patients who may not respond to the vaccine as well as most people.
All patients 50 and over are eligible for the second booster. That’s because the protection provided by the original vaccine doses tends to wane over time in older adults. Immunocomprised patients 12 and over are eligible for the booster as well. But how do you know if you are a member of that group?
How to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment
We’re here to support you every step of the way throughout your vaccination journey while keeping your health and safety our top priority. Prepare to schedule
• Create a Walgreens.com account ahead of time to make scheduling fast and easy
• Get updates on vaccine availability near you at Walgreens.com/VaccineUpdates
Schedule online at Walgreens.com/ ScheduleVaccine, call 1-800-Walgreens or download the free Walgreens App
If you had the first two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, your second booster must be an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). Wait at least 4 months after your first booster before getting your second one. Teens from 12 to 17 years old may only get the Pfizer second booster—not the Moderna shot.
If you had the first two doses of the Moderna vaccine, your second booster must be an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). Wait at least 4 months after your first booster before seeking your second one.
Johnson & Johnson’s/ Janssen
If you received a J&J vaccine for both your primary dose and your first booster, you are eligible for a second booster, no matter what your age or health status. Wait at least 4 months after your first booster before seeking your second one, which must be an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).