COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots
- People 65 years and older, 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions, or 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot.
- People 18 years and older should receive a booster shot at least 2 months after receiving their Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
IF YOU RECEIVED
Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna
You are eligible for a booster if you are:
- 65 years or older
- Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
- Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
- Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
When to get a booster:
At least 6 months after your second shot
Which booster should you get?
Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States
You may choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive as a booster shot. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.
Learn how you can find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine
People ages 65 years and older should get a booster shot. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.
Residents ages 18 years and older of long-term care settings should get a booster shot. Because residents in long-term care settings live closely together in group settings and are often older adults with underlying medical conditions, they are at increased risk of infection and severe illness from COVID-19.
People ages 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should get a booster shot. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age and can also increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions.
People ages 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may get a booster shot based on their individual risks and benefits. The risk of severe illness from COVID-19 can increase for adults of any age with underlying medical conditions. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.
People ages 18–64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may get a booster shot based on their individual risks and benefits. Adults who work or reside in certain settings (e.g., health care, schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters) may be at increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, which could be spreading where they work or reside. That risk can vary across settings and based on how much COVID-19 is spreading in a community. This recommendation may change in the future as more data become available.
Examples of workers who may get COVID-19 booster shots: [ 1 ]
- First responders (e.g., healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
- Education staff (e.g., teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
1 List could be updated in the future.
People ages 18 years and older who received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago should get a booster shot. The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine has lower vaccine effectiveness over time compared to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna).
At your first vaccination appointment, you should have received a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Bring this vaccination card to your booster shot vaccination appointment.
If you did not receive a CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card at your first appointment, contact the vaccination site where you got your first shot or your state health department to find out how you can get a card.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. COVID-19 booster shots are the same formulation as the current COVID-19 vaccines. However, in the case of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, it is half the dose of the vaccine people get for their initial series.
So far, reactions reported pdf icon[707 KB, 24 pages] after getting a booster shot were similar to that of the 2-shot or single-dose initial series. Fever, headache, fatigue and pain at the injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most side effects were mild to moderate. However, as with the 2-shot or single-dose initial series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.
Yes. Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a 2-shot series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the J&J/Janssen vaccine.
Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with the Delta variant may decrease over time.
Although COVID-19 vaccination for adults ages 65 years and older remains effective in preventing severe disease, recent data pdf icon[5 MB, 88 pages] suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms over time.
- Emerging evidence also shows that among healthcare and other frontline workers, vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infections is also decreasing over time.
- This lower effectiveness is likely due to the combination of decreasing protection as time passes since getting vaccinated, as well as the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.
Data from small clinical trials show that a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished their initial series 6 months earlier. A similar clinical trial showed that a J&J/Janssen booster shot also increased the immune response in participants who completed their single-dose vaccine at least 2 months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.