Millions of more people are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot and now they are able to choose which shot to get.
Previously, eligible people who received the Pfizer vaccine were cleared for a booster and now those who got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson also qualify for another jab.
Currently, The CDC says those eligible for a booster who initially received either Pfizer or Moderna include:
- 65 years and 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
- Six months have passed since your second vaccine dose
For the nearly 15 million people who had the J&J shot, the CDC recommends a booster for "those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago."
The CDC also explains your booster can be different than your initial shots/shot, noting, "Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. 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."
CBS News reports the ability to mix and match vaccines will resolve issues like not knowing which vaccine you first got, trouble accessing a specific vaccine brand, or concerns about possible side effects or allergic reactions.
Possible reasons (both of which are rare) someone might consider mixing vaccines:
- A small number of Pfizer and Moderna recipients developed myocarditis (an inflammation of the heart muscle) with CBS News noting, "The risk may be highest among young male recipients of Moderna's shots."
- The rare instances of blood clots that were most commonly found in women ages 30 to 39-year-old after getting the J&J shot
The Associated Press reported Moderna’s booster will be half the dose of the original two shots, reportedly to lessen the possible side effects sometimes experienced from getting the vaccine.
For those hesitant about getting a booster, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stressed that vaccines continue to be safe and our best protection from the virus.
“These recommendations are another example of our fundamental commitment to protect as many people as possible from COVID-19. The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe – as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given. And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating Delta variant," she said.
As always, consult with your healthcare provider about any vaccine questions or concerns. Find out where to get your free COVID-19 vaccine, here or search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you in the U.S.