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Vaccine Booster FAQs

Am I fully vaccinated without a booster?

Yes. According to current CDC guidance, individuals who have completed a primary series of vaccine (one shot of J&J or two shots of Pfizer or Moderna) and are more than 2 weeks after completion, are still considered fully vaccinated.

What is the purpose of a booster shot?

The initial vaccine series remains effective in reducing the likelihood of infection and preventing severe illness, hospitalization, or death among those infected. The purpose of a booster is to “boost” antibody protection back up when it has decreased over time.

If I need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?

No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.

I received the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen (Johnson & Johnson or J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, when will I be able to receive my booster shot?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots on September 22, 2021. The FDA and CDC continue to review data to determine whether and when a booster might be recommended for recipients of the Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines.

Is the booster free?

Yes, the booster is free. You do not need to present payment or have health insurance.

Should people expect to get sick after the third dose?

Current data indicates that side effects following the additional dose are similar to those after the second dose. Common side effects are generally mild such as localized pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, and fatigue, headache, and low-grade fever. Serious adverse events are rare.

Can I get the flu shot at the same appointment as my COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. Flu vaccines are recommended for everyone and can be given during the same visit for COVID-19 vaccination.

If I don’t remember the brand of COVID-19 vaccine that I initially received, can I still get the Pfizer-BioNTech booster?

If you do not remember the brand, please check your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, or request the information from the location that you received your initial COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I need to show my vaccine card or other proof of being fully vaccinated to get my booster?

If you have your vaccine card it is helpful so that your booster dose can be added to it, but you do not need to show your CDC vaccination card to get your booster. Your vaccinator may choose to look up your vaccine records to confirm the right type of vaccine for your booster.