COVID-19 booster frequently asked questions – Mass.gov

Who is eligible to get a booster?

CDC recommends everyone ages 5 years and older receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Some people should receive two boosters.

1st booster

  • Everyone age 5 and older should get a booster after they have had their primary vaccine series:
    • At least 5 months after completion of an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine primary series
    • At least 2 months after completion of a Janssen/J&J primary dose.

2nd booster

  • Anyone age 50 and older should get a 2nd booster at least 4 months after their 1st booster
  • Anyone age 12 and older with certain medical conditions should get a 2nd booster at least 4 months after their 1st booster
  • Anyone age 18-49 years with certain medical conditions, and who received Janssen/J&J COVID-19 Vaccine as both their primary series dose and their booster dose, at least 4 months after the first Janssen booster dose

Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. You can mix and match vaccines. Your booster does not need to be the same vaccine brand as your original COVID-19 vaccination. If you are ages 5-17, you can only get a Pfizer booster. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.

  Primary series COVID-19 vaccine: Pfizer-BioNTech

Who should get one booster

Everyone 5 years and older
Who should get a second booster Adults 50 years and older
When to get your booster

At least 5 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series

If eligible for a second booster, at least 4 months after your first booster

Which booster should you get?
  • Adults 18 years and older should get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) for the first booster in most* situations
  • The second booster must be an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine
  • Ages 5-17 years old may only get a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster
  Primary series COVID-19 vaccine: Moderna

Who should get one booster

Adults 18 years and older
Who should get a second booster Adults 50 years and older
When to get your booster

At least 5 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series

If eligible for a second booster, at least 4 months after your first booster

Which booster should you get?

For the first booster, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is preferred in most* situations

The second booster must be an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

  Primary series COVID-19 vaccine: Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen*

Who should get one booster

Adults 18 years and older
Who should get a second booster

Anyone who received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for both their primary dose and booster

Adults 50 years and older who first received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of what type of booster they received

When to get your booster

At least 2 months after receiving your J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccination

If eligible for a second booster, at least 4 months after your first booster

Which booster should you get?

For the first booster, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is preferred in most* situations

The second booster must be an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine

*Although mRNA vaccines are preferred for the first booster, J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

Use VaxFinder to find a pharmacy or other location to get your booster.

Can I mix and match my booster dose?

Yes. Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. You can mix and match vaccines. Your booster does not need to be the same vaccine brand as your original COVID-19 vaccination. If you are ages 5-17, you can only get a Pfizer booster. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations. The Administration recommends that residents with questions about which booster is right for them should ask their health care provider for advice.

Do I need to be a Massachusetts resident to get a booster? What if I lived somewhere else when I got my initial COVID-19 vaccine doses?

You can get a booster in Massachusetts if you live, work or study here.

What if I don’t know when I received my last COVID-19 vaccine shot?

To learn when you are eligible for a booster dose, you should consult your CDC vaccination record card for the date of your second COVID-19 vaccination. If you do not have your vaccination card, contact your primary care provider or the retail pharmacy where you were first vaccinated. If that is not possible, learn how to obtain your vaccination record, which could take up to 2 weeks, by visiting www.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.

How can I find out which vaccine I received?

If you do not have your vaccination card, contact your primary care provider or the retail pharmacy where you were first vaccinated. If that is not possible, learn how to obtain your vaccination record, which could take up to 2 weeks, by visiting www.mass.gov/myvaxrecord.

If I have already had COVID, should I still get a booster? 

Yes. Getting a COVID-19 booster gives most people a high level of protection against COVID-19 even in people who have already been sick with COVID-19.

After having COVID, how long do I need to wait to get a booster?

You should wait until your 10-day period of isolation is over and any symptoms have improved.  This to ensure that you don’t spread COVID-19 to others.

Should I still get a booster if I received a monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID? How long do I need to wait to get a booster after treatment?

Yes. Per CDC, individuals who received monoclonal antibodies for treatment of COVID-19 should get a booster when eligible and do not need to wait to receive a COVID-19 booster.

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