Booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine are available for millions of people in the United States, but what qualifies you to receive the third dose?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved additional doses of the country’s three vaccines last month, prompting Chicago-area health departments to create plans to put additional injections into the guns.
For those eligible, patients should receive a booster dose of the COVID vaccine at least six months after their first round of vaccines, health officials noted.
Here’s a full breakdown of who is eligible for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID vaccine booster, according to the CDC:
- People 65 years of age and over and residents in long-term care facilities should receive a reminder
- People aged 50 to 64 with underlying health problems should get a booster dose
- People aged 18 to 49 with underlying health problems may receive a reminder based on their individual benefits and risks
- People aged 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of exposure and transmission to COVID due to their professional or institutional environment may receive a third dose of vaccine
What counts as an eligible underlying medical condition? Here is a list from the CDC:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic lung disease including COPD, asthma (moderate to severe), interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension
- Dementia or other neurological disorders
- Diabetes (type 1 or type 2)
- Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions (such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies or hypertension)
- HIV infection
- Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system)
- Liver disease
- Overweight and obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Smoking, current or former
- Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- Stroke or cerebrovascular disease, which affects blood flow to the brain
- Substance use disorders
In addition to Pfizer’s clearance, authorities have also cleared booster doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for people with weakened immune systems.
According to the CDC, immunocompromised groups include people who have:
- You have received active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Has received an organ transplant and is taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- You have had a stem cell transplant within the past 2 years or are taking medicines to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immune deficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high dose corticosteroids or other medicines that may suppress your immune response
The agency notes that “people should talk to their health care provider about their condition and whether an extra dose is right for them.”
In addition to the previously announced eligibility for the Pfizer vaccine booster shots, here’s a rundown of who else can get the booster shots:
- Eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 Booster: The eligibility conditions for Moderna and Pfizer-BioTech booster doses are the same. Individuals should wait at least six months after completing their initial series of primary COVID-19 mRNA vaccines to receive their booster dose. Eligible people include:
- Individuals aged 65 and over.
- Residents of long-term care facilities aged 18 and over.
- People aged 18 and over with underlying health problems. People between the ages of 18 and 49 should consider individual benefits and risks, according to CDC guidelines.
- People aged 18 to 64 who are at increased risk of exposure and transmission to COVID-19 due to their work or institutional environment, such as healthcare and essential workers, depending on their benefits and risks individual.
- Eligibility for the J&J COVID-19 Booster: A single booster dose of the vaccine is recommended for people 18 years of age and older who have received a primary dose of J&J at least 2 months after receiving their first dose of primary J&J vaccine.
- Advice on mixtures and matches: In fgeneral, it is recommended that individuals receive the same product for their booster dose as for their primary series.
- However, if the original product is not available or if another product is preferred, mixing and pairing of vaccines with one of the authorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters is permitted.
- The primary vaccination course for two-dose vaccines must always be completed with the same product for both doses.