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.
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