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COVID-19 Booster Shots

12.1.2021: In response to the identified threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the CDC is now advising everyone age 18 and older to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Previously, the CDC had recommended that adults age 50 and over who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine should get a COVID-19 booster shot, while individuals age 18 to 49 who have no risk factors may get a booster to bolster their immunity if they so choose. But in recognition of the emerging threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the CDC changed its stance and is now encouraging everyone 18 and older to get a booster shot as soon as they are able.

“Booster shots have demonstrated the ability to safely increase people’s protection against infection and severe outcomes and are an important public health tool to strengthen our defenses against the virus as we enter the winter holidays,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has said. “Based on the compelling evidence, all adults over 18 should now have equitable access to a COVID-19 booster dose.”

Under the new guidelines, booster shots can be administered to any adult who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as long as at least six months have passed since their second dose of initial two-dose vaccine. Adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can get a booster dose if two months have passed since their initial vaccination.

Government health officials have been considering the need for widespread COVID-19 booster shots after clinical data showed the vacciness’ effectiveness starts to wane over time. Booster shots help bolster individual immunity.

The CDC guidelines allow people to choose which vaccine they want to receive as a booster. You may choose to receive a booster shot of the same vaccine you initially received, or you may prefer a booster shot of a different vaccine.

The CDC urges the nation’s 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves, their families, their loved ones and communities heading into the holidays and winter season.