Sept. 24, 2021 — The FDA and the CDC this week introduced that sure teams of individuals at excessive threat for critical COVID-19 an infection can now get a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

You and your family and friends could have questions: Am I eligible? The place do I’m going to get a booster? Do I’ve to indicate proof of being high-risk? Am I nonetheless totally vaccinated if I’m eligible for a booster and don’t obtain one?

We break down the commonest questions in regards to the up to date Pfizer booster tips.

What are boosters?

A booster is an additional dose of vaccine to offer you extra safety in opposition to a illness; on this case, COVID-19.

“Mainly, boosters are precisely what the phrase says,” based on Anita Gupta, DO, an adjunct assistant professor of anesthesiology and important care drugs and ache drugs on the Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Drugs.

“Boosters enable folks to have an elevated immune response.”

The additional dose of vaccine is particularly necessary for the aged and other people with weakened immune programs from circumstances like most cancers, diabetes, or weight problems, attributable to new variants being found, says Gupta.

“There’s a chance that the immune response from the two-dose vaccine collection is probably not sufficient, particularly in people who can be notably susceptible.

“So, the objective is actually to assist these people in the event that they probably had been confronted with new variants and to make sure that they don’t have any poor immune response in the event that they’re confronted with it.”

Who’s eligible for the Pfizer booster?

Sure teams of people that have been totally vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine for six months or longer can now obtain a single Pfizer booster dose, according to up to date FDA emergency use authorization tips.

You may’t obtain the Pfizer booster in the event you obtained different COVID-19 vaccines, like Moderna or Johnson & Johnson.

You may get a Pfizer booster in the event you obtained the Pfizer vaccine and are part of certainly one of these teams:

  1. 65 years previous or older
  2. 18 years previous or older and at excessive threat for extreme COVID-19
  3. For those who work or stay in a state of affairs that places you at excessive threat for extreme COVID-19. For instance, well being care employees, academics, and other people in prisons and homeless shelters.

Go here to see in the event you or somebody is at excessive threat for extreme COVID-19.

When can I anticipate to obtain a Pfizer booster if I obtained one other COVID-19 vaccine, like Moderna or Johnson & Johnson?

The precise date is unknown, but it surely shouldn’t take too lengthy, given Moderna just lately submitted information to the FDA, and Johnson & Johnson will likely be following go well with very shortly.

U.S. Surgeon Normal Vivek H. Murthy, MD, on Friday stated getting boosters accredited for everybody, together with those that initially received the Moderna or J&J vaccine, is a “excessive, excessive precedence.”

William Schaffner, MD, a professor of preventive drugs and infectious ailments at Vanderbilt College, agrees it ought to occur quickly.

“I might hope that inside the subsequent month to six weeks, we are going to get details about each of these vaccines,” he says. “It is going to be one proper after the opposite. Each handled individually.”

“I do know it results in a specific amount of confusion, however that’s the way in which you must do it as a result of all the info weren’t assembled at precisely the identical time.”

Simply the truth that Pfizer boosters are actually out there to sure high-risk teams is a giant signal that boosters for different COVID-19 vaccines aren’t far behind, says Eric Ascher, DO, a household drugs doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York Metropolis.

“To me, that could be a robust indicator that they are going to be made out there to the remainder of the inhabitants quickly,” he says.

The place do I’m going get my Pfizer booster and the way a lot will it price?

You may get your booster shot at pharmacies, your physician’s workplace, well being departments, occupational clinics, and federal packages, according to the CDC.

“Over 70% of present COVID-19 administration” happens in pharmacies, the CDC states.

Boosters for all COVID-19 vaccines are fully free.

“All COVID-19 vaccines, together with booster doses, will likely be offered freed from cost to the U.S. inhabitants,” the CDC said Thursday.

Do I would like to indicate proof of getting obtained the Pfizer vaccine earlier than getting a Pfizer booster?

The brief reply might be not. However in your security, it’s necessary to comply with FDA tips and solely get a Pfizer booster in the event you obtained the Pfizer vaccine, Schaffner says.

“That has already opened the door to individuals who haven’t been vaccinated with Pfizer who’re very desirous to get a booster, to go forward and get a booster. That’s not beneficial,” he says.

“We at all times warning folks that, whereas that is unlikely, must you expertise an hostile occasion, in the event you’re doing it outdoors the set suggestion, your insurance coverage received’t cowl it.”

Do we’ve to indicate proof of being excessive threat attributable to an underlying medical situation or that we stay or work in a spot that places us at excessive threat for extreme COVID-19, or that we’re older than 65?


It would work on the distinction system, Schaffner says. “In different phrases, you present up and say you’re eligible, you received’t be quizzed about it, and the situation, whether or not it’s a pharmacy or vaccination website, provides you with the booster.

“This is identical process we have already got in place for people who find themselves immunocompromised. All they need to do is present up and say, ‘I’m in an immunocompromised group,’ and so they get the third dose.”

Are boosters a full dose or half dose of the Pfizer vaccine?

A Pfizer booster is one full dose of Pfizer vaccine, based on the FDA.

However this is probably not the identical for different COVID-19 vaccine boosters.

“For instance, the FDA is contemplating whether or not to authorize a decrease dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster than the dose given within the first two pictures,” Gupta says.

However you shouldn’t be too hung up on the dose of your booster shot.

“That is primarily based on the make-up of the vaccine and doesn’t change the extent of safety,” Ascher says.

If I’m totally vaccinated however haven’t obtained a booster, am I nonetheless thought-about totally vaccinated?


“Primarily based on present information, the definition of ‘totally vaccinated’ would stay the identical after suggestions for booster dose,” the CDC says.

An individual is taken into account totally vaccinated 2 weeks after they full their preliminary vaccination collection, like two doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In terms of people who find themselves immunocompromised, it may be a bit extra difficult, says Gupta.

“For readability’s sake, in case you are immunocompromised, we’ll name your third shot a 3rd dose. Third doses for immunocompromised individuals are out there now. For those who’re not immunocompromised, a 3rd shot is taken into account a booster.

“In response to the CDC, these with reasonably to severely compromised immune programs are particularly susceptible to COVID-19 and should not construct the identical stage of immunity to two-dose vaccine collection, in comparison with people who find themselves not immunocompromised. This extra dose intends to enhance immunocompromised folks’s response to their preliminary vaccine collection.”

Is that this going to be an annual booster, like flu vaccines?

“We don’t know that but,” Schaffner says. “We might anticipate that these boosters, as a result of they actually enhance and improve your antibody ranges to a really excessive stage, would offer slightly extended safety. How lengthy? Effectively, we’ll need to see.

“Keep in mind, we’re studying about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations as we go alongside, so we will’t predict in the mean time whether or not this will likely be an annual booster, or each 2 years, or each 3 years. We’ll simply need to see.”

Ought to I anticipate the identical negative effects that I skilled once I obtained my preliminary doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

Chances are you’ll expertise comparable negative effects, like arm soreness, gentle flu, physique aches, and different widespread signs, according to the CDC.

However it’s necessary to keep in mind that everybody reacts in another way to vaccines, says Ascher.

“I’ve had sufferers (in addition to private expertise) the place there have been none to minimal signs, and others who felt that they had a light flu for twenty-four hours,” he says.

“I anticipate no negative effects higher than what was felt together with your prior doses. The vaccine could be very protected, and the good thing about vaccination outweighs the dangers of any gentle negative effects.”

For those who’d like extra info, you may try the CDC and U.S. Division of Health and Human Services web sites for updates on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. You can even attain out to your physician or different well being care suppliers to be taught extra.

WebMD Well being Information


Anita Gupta, DO, adjunct assistant professor of anesthesiology and important care drugs and ache drugs, Johns Hopkins College Faculty of Drugs. 

Eric Ascher, MD, Household Drugs Doctor, Lenox Hill Hospital. 

William Schaffner, MD, professor of preventive drugs and infectious ailments, Vanderbilt College.



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