Second COVID vaccine booster available for certain groups

Following the FDA’s regulatory action on March 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccine for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 (see the CDC announcement of March 29).

Getting a second booster is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19. These groups are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time. 

Specifically, the following groups are now eligible for a second booster with an mRNA vaccine four monthsafter their initial booster from any currently available COVID vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen):

  • Individuals age 50 and older may receive a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Children ages 12-18 years with certain immunocompromising conditions (e.g., living with solid organ transplant or a condition with a similar level of immune compromise) can receive a second booster dose with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine only.
  • Individuals age 18 and older with the same level of immune compromise can receive a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine 

The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine cannot be used for a second booster dose. Eligible individuals who were previously vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine should receive a booster dose with an mRNA vaccine.

The facts continue to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. For adults and adolescents eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefit. 

During the recent Omicron surge, those who were boosted were 21 times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and seven times less likely to be hospitalized. The CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

First, second and third doses and booster shots are available from UTMB by appointment. Schedule your COVID vaccine online at  www.utmb.edu/covid-19/patients#vaccine

Thank you.

Janak Patel, MD Director, Infection Control and Healthcare Epidemiology Professor, Pediatrics/Infectious Disease

Philip Keiser, MD Professor, Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases Galveston County Health Authority UTMB COVID-19 Vaccination Preparedness Task Force Chair