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It takes at least 2 weeks to develop full immune protection after getting your final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
You are considered fully vaccinated if it has been at least:
Because protection after vaccination may decrease over time, you may also need a COVID-19 booster shot.
The CDC recommends you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines to better protect yourself and others. Everyone 6 months of age and older can now be vaccinated.
Up-to-date means you have received all doses in the primary series and one booster when eligible. It is recommended that everyone 5 and older get one booster. Second COVID-19 boosters are recommended for people in certain groups.
The CDC recommends that anyone who can receive one of the two mRNA vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) do so. However, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is available for those over 18 who cannot take an mRNA vaccine due to issues such as a severe allergy.
This recommendation is based on:
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices for the prevention of COVID-19 recommends receiving any vaccine—including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine—over not being vaccinated.
If you are immunocompromised (have a weak immune system), your doctor may recommend an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine as part of your initial vaccination series.
The third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine helps those with weak immune systems who may not have built up enough immunity from the first two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
The booster shot helps combat a decrease in immune response over time.
Studies have shown that people with weakened immune systems may have a reduced immune response to the vaccine. This results in less protection against severe COVID-19.
People who may need an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine include patients who:
The third dose can help boost your immune system’s response to the vaccine. You should get your third dose at least 28 days after your last dose. It should be the same vaccine you received previously.
Currently third doses are authorized for:
If you have questions about whether you’re eligible for a third dose, talk with your doctor.
Studies have shown that immunity may decrease over time.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized boosters for all adults. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated guidance on who can have boosters.
People in certain groups are eligible for a second COVID-19 booster. Talk to your health care provider about it.
In general, a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose should be the same vaccine brand as what you originally received. However, you may choose to get a different COVID-19 vaccine as a booster shot. Mix and match dosing for booster shots is allowed under current recommendations. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions.
Reviewed: October 2022