A second COVID-19 booster shot is now recommended for certain individuals. This fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine series, or fifth dose for people with immunocompromised conditions, will continue to protect individuals from serious illness, hospitalization, and death from SARS-CoV-2.
Am I Eligible for a Second Booster Dose?
For the more than 4 million Americans who got Moderna or Pfizer as their second shot, the CDC says an additional booster is only necessary if they meet the newest criteria — a severely weakened immune system or are 50 or older.
Until now, the FDA had allowed a fourth vaccine dose only for the immune-compromised as young as 12. Only the Pfizer vaccine can be used in those as young as 12; Moderna’s is for adults.
Any adults who received Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccines and a booster shot four months ago can also get another dose.
“We have seen severe breakthrough infections at a much higher rate among those 65 and older, and if it’s been five or six months since your first booster, it’s likely your protection has waned,” says Jennifer Horney, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and a core faculty member at the disaster research center at the University of Delaware in Newark. “If an additional booster significantly lowers your risk of hospitalization or death, it is a good idea.”
Public health experts generally agree that people with weakened immune systems can benefit from an additional shot. These individuals may be receiving treatment for cancer, taking immunosuppressive drugs or high-dose corticosteroids, or have decreased kidney function, for example.
Walgreens says people 50 and older will be able to schedule an appointment online or through the Walgreens app. For now, walk-in appointments will be available at stores, pending vaccine availability. For people 12 and older who are immunocompromised, appointments will become available in the coming days.
Update: Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, authorizing the use of a single booster dose for administration to individuals 5 through 11 years of age at least five months after completion of a primary series with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.