- Mix and Match
- Side Effects
- Ages 12-17
- Johnson & Johnson: Booster is equivalent to the previous doses.
- Pfizer: Booster is equivalent to the previous doses.
- Moderna: Booster is half the dose of the first two shots. So, if you get the Moderna booster, it is a 50-mg dose rather than a 100-mg dose.
However, if you decide to get the Moderna booster, you may be offered a full third dose. That is because the FDA previously approved a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna for people who are immunocompromised.
Many people who have already been fully immunized against COVID-19 should be vaccinated again to remain protected. A booster dose can help protect you, your family, and your community against COVID-19.
What is the difference between a booster dose and an additional dose?
A COVID-19 booster dose is administered when a person has completed the single or double vaccine schedule and has a healthy immune system, but the protection against the virus has become less effective over time.
The goal of the additional dose is to improve the response of the initial vaccine shots in people who are immunocompromised.
Who will be offered a COVID-19 booster shot?
The CDC has recommended COVID-19 booster shots for:
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Those living in residential care homes for older adults
- Frontline health and social care workers
- All adults aged 18 years or older (depending on the vaccine received in the first dose)
- All those aged 16-49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
- Adult caregivers
- Adult household contacts (aged 16 years or older) of immunosuppressed individuals
Can I mix and match vaccines?
Yes, the FDA has approved mix-and-match vaccination and booster doses. The administration approved a plan that allows adults to choose whether they want their booster to be Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson, regardless of which type you got for your first series.
The goal is primarily to make boosters more accessible. According to the FDA, mixing vaccines produces a stronger immune response than multiple doses of the same vaccine.
Are there any side effects of booster shots?
So far, it appears that the side effects of the booster shots are similar to what people experienced after the first doses of the primary series. After receiving the vaccine, you may experience mild to moderate side effects that usually subside after a few days. The most frequently reported side effects are:
- Pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site
- Pain, tenderness, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Nausea or vomiting
Even if they receive the same vaccine, different people may experience different side effects. Symptoms can arise as a result of the immune-building process. These symptoms are normal and indicate that your immune system is reacting to the vaccine.
How helpful are the booster doses?
Booster doses have been shown in studies to significantly increase the protection against hospitalization and death. Evidence suggests that immunity against COVID-19 weakens in vaccine recipients of all ages.
Vaccines initially appeared to be less effective in infection prevention, but they may decrease the rate of hospitalization and mortality. A small increase in the rate of hospitalization of fully vaccinated coronavirus patients suggests booster doses are required to prevent infection and ensure that breakthrough cases remain mild.
Researchers believe that the COVID-19 vaccine could become like a flu shot, administered 1-2 times a year. This could change depending on variants that may arise in the future.
Latest Coronavirus News
Daily Health News
Are COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses safe?
Vaccines must be proven to be safe and effective before they are administered in humans. COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses are no exception. COVID-19 vaccines have met the same safety standards as other vaccine trials.
Hundreds and thousands of doctors, nurses, seniors, and other frontline workers have proven that these vaccines are safe. Current recommendations advise pregnant women at high risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) or those with comorbidities to get vaccinated after consulting their health care provider.
Why are people aged 12-17 years old not eligible for a booster when they can get a vaccine?
Booster doses are not currently recommended for those younger than 18 years old. Severe COVID-19 disease is uncommon in this age group. The primary course of COVID-19 vaccines generates a strong immune response, so the benefit from additional doses of vaccine is likely to be minor.
Furthermore, there is currently very little information on the safety of repeated mRNA vaccine doses in this age group.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Booster Shots, Third Doses and Additional Doses for COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/booster-shots-and-third-doses-for-covid19-vaccines-what-you-need-to-know
US Food and Drug Administration. Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: FDA Takes Additional Actions on the Use of a Booster Dose for COVID-19 Vaccines. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-fda-takes-additional-actions-use-booster-dose-covid-19-vaccines
Top COVID-19 Booster vs. the First Two Shots Related Articles
Can You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine If You’re Pregnant?The answer is 'Yes, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant.' But you may want to talk to your doctor before you get the vaccine.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Prevention: Test Your Medical IQWhat's really the best way to prevent the spread of new coronavirus COVID-19? Should wear a mask or not? Take this quiz to find out!
Coronavirus: How COVID-19 Affects Your BodyBy now, everyone knows about COVID-19. But do you know how it can affect your body?
How Long Does Immunity Last After You Get Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccines?People's bodies all respond differently to the vaccines so to understand how long immunity lasts, it comes down to your body’s antibody production.
COVID-19 Vaccine Myths and Facts QuizThe FDA has granted Emergency Use Authorizations for COVID-19 vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective as established by data from large clinical trials.
Flu Vaccine (Flu Shot)Every year in the United States, on average, 5%-20% of the population gets the flu, more than 500,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and about 34,000 people die from flu. The flu is highly infectious and is a serious viral respiratory infection. Flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, meaning that it contains killed influenza virus. Anyone who wishes to reduce their risk of getting the flu can be vaccinated, however the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who are at risk for serious complications from the flu be vaccinated each year.
Guide for COVID-19 Vaccine for Cancer PatientsThe authorities have jointly agreed that patients on active cancer treatment are at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection and complications. Hence, there is a necessity to prioritize patients with cancer for the COVID-19 vaccine.
How Do COVID-19 Vaccines Work?Around 150 vaccines were in various stages of development across the globe as of mid December 2020; many had completed the Phase III clinical trials, a final step leading to approval by governments around the world. Full approval is not necessary to start distributing promising vaccines; the US FDA granted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine an emergency use authorization (EUA) in December. Bell's palsy, a facial nerve problem, and allergic reaction were rare but possible side effects of the first vaccine, but their connection to the medication was unclear as of late 2020.
How Do mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work?Vaccines train a person’s immune system to recognize and fight specific germs that can cause illness. COVID-19 vaccines work with the immune system to help develop defenses against the disease so that the body will be ready to fight coronavirus if exposed to it in the future. If a vaccinated person gets exposed to coronavirus in the future, the antibodies will fight the virus and work to prevent severe COVID-19 illness.
What Qualifies as Immunocompromised for Covid Vaccine Booster?People with compromised immune systems who have already received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a third shot if they meet these immunocompromised conditions.
Should You Take the COVID-19 Vaccine if You Are Trying to Get Pregnant?The COVID-19 vaccine is still being offered to women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. Current information says that there is no reason not to get vaccinated if you are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant.
Tests Available for COVID-19Getting tested for COVID-19 can identify you as a positive or negative patient of the disease. Remember no test is 100% accurate. Different methods of testing have been launched to trace COVID-19 infection.
The Moderna COVID-19 VaccineThe Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine has emergency authorization from the FDA for active immunization to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 and older. The vaccine uses a new technology; synthetic mRNA directs the body to create harmless virus proteins to train your body to develop coronavirus antibodies.
Travel Health SlideshowExplore travel health tips and vaccines to prevent disease while abroad. Learn to protect yourself against malaria, hepatitis, tetanus and more by learning which vaccines or health precautions are advised for your destination.
Vaccination FAQVaccinations increase our ability to fight diseases that may be contagious or even fatal. Immunity occurs by getting the disease or through the use of a vaccine. There are two types of vaccine: inactivated vaccines and vaccines made from live, weakened viruses.
What Drugs May Fight COVID-19? Drug Trials, Treatments, VaccinesWhat drugs could help fight coronavirus COVID-19? Clinical studies are ongoing for antiviral drugs like hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine remdesivir, lopinavir and favipiravir, as well as COVID-19 vaccines. Learn why anti-flu respiratory drugs and home remedies may prove useful to treat or prevent serious coronavirus infections.