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COVID Booster: Do you need the second booster shot?

Key Points

  • Who is eligible for the COVID booster? You can get the second COVID vaccine booster dose if you are: 50 years of age and older, at least 4 months after getting the first booster 18 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Moderna booster at least 4 months after the first booster 12 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Pfizer booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago
  • If eligible for the COVID booster dose, should you get it? According to Dr. Rob Rohtsch, MD, “Our natural immunity rises right after receiving a dose of vaccine but diminishes over time. For the COVID vaccine, the time for immunity to wane is about three to four months after receiving a dose. He added, “Individuals who are over 50 years of age or may be more immunocompromised may get protection from the second booster dose."
  • If you already had COVID, do you need a second COVID booster shot? Dr. Rohatsch notes, “Infection from COVID-19 does offer some immunity against further infection. However, natural immunity after the infection varies from person to person. A full course of the COVID vaccines and a booster dose offers more consistent protection.” Our immunity gets compromised with age. If you are 50 years or older, or over 12 years of age and may have one or more medical conditions that negatively affect your immunity, consider getting additional protection from a second booster shot.
  • What types of medical conditions does the CDC consider ‘immunocompromising’? According to the CDC, regardless of age, you may be considered immunocompromised if you have: Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) Advanced or untreated HIV infection Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response
  • About the Omicron variant for vaccinated individuals The CDC notes, even if you are vaccinated, you can get infected by COVID. The Omicron variant has been more effective at evading our immune systems and vaccine protections compared to previous COVID-19 variants and subvariants. However, NIH data (National Institutes of Health) shows that COVID vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalizations from Omicron.

The BA.2 Omicron subvariant is now the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), BA2 accounts for nearly 72% of COVID cases. To combat this surge, the FDA recently authorized a second booster shot for people aged 50 and older and individuals 12 and older who may be immunocompromised for emergency use to combat this surge.

As health experts continue to evaluate the booster’s effectiveness against the virus, you may be wondering:

  • Who is eligible for the COVID-19 2nd booster dose?
  • If eligible, should you get the COVID vaccine and booster?
  • Do you need the second booster shot if you already had COVID-19?

Here is more information about the second booster dose to help you decide.

The bottom line: According to the CDC, the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is highly contagious, and it is the dominant strain in the United States. While a full course of COVID vaccines and one booster dose has offered protection against severe disease, hospitalizations, and emergency cases, natural immunity wanes over time. Adults over 50 and all immunocompromised individuals over 12 years of age are eligible for a second COVID booster. According to newly published data from the CDC, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID Booster: Do you need the second booster shot?

Key Points

  • Who is eligible for the COVID booster? You can get the second COVID vaccine booster dose if you are: 50 years of age and older, at least 4 months after getting the first booster 18 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Moderna booster at least 4 months after the first booster 12 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Pfizer booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago
  • If eligible for the COVID booster dose, should you get it? According to Dr. Rob Rohtsch, MD, “Our natural immunity rises right after receiving a dose of vaccine but diminishes over time. For the COVID vaccine, the time for immunity to wane is about three to four months after receiving a dose. He added, “Individuals who are over 50 years of age or may be more immunocompromised may get protection from the second booster dose."
  • If you already had COVID, do you need a second COVID booster shot? Dr. Rohatsch notes, “Infection from COVID-19 does offer some immunity against further infection. However, natural immunity after the infection varies from person to person. A full course of the COVID vaccines and a booster dose offers more consistent protection.” Our immunity gets compromised with age. If you are 50 years or older, or over 12 years of age and may have one or more medical conditions that negatively affect your immunity, consider getting additional protection from a second booster shot.
  • What types of medical conditions does the CDC consider ‘immunocompromising’? According to the CDC, regardless of age, you may be considered immunocompromised if you have: Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) Advanced or untreated HIV infection Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response
  • About the Omicron variant for vaccinated individuals The CDC notes, even if you are vaccinated, you can get infected by COVID. The Omicron variant has been more effective at evading our immune systems and vaccine protections compared to previous COVID-19 variants and subvariants. However, NIH data (National Institutes of Health) shows that COVID vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalizations from Omicron.

The BA.2 Omicron subvariant is now the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), BA2 accounts for nearly 72% of COVID cases. To combat this surge, the FDA recently authorized a second booster shot for people aged 50 and older and individuals 12 and older who may be immunocompromised for emergency use to combat this surge.

As health experts continue to evaluate the booster’s effectiveness against the virus, you may be wondering:

  • Who is eligible for the COVID-19 2nd booster dose?
  • If eligible, should you get the COVID vaccine and booster?
  • Do you need the second booster shot if you already had COVID-19?

Here is more information about the second booster dose to help you decide.

The bottom line: According to the CDC, the Omicron BA.2 subvariant is highly contagious, and it is the dominant strain in the United States. While a full course of COVID vaccines and one booster dose has offered protection against severe disease, hospitalizations, and emergency cases, natural immunity wanes over time. Adults over 50 and all immunocompromised individuals over 12 years of age are eligible for a second COVID booster. According to newly published data from the CDC, adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Who is eligible for the COVID booster?

Regarding the second booster dose, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, CDC stated, “Today, CDC expanded eligibility for an additional booster dose for certain individuals who may be at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19".

Dr.Walensky further added, “This 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 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time”(2*)

You can get the second COVID vaccine booster dose if you are:

  • 50 years of age and older, at least 4 months after getting the first booster
  • 18 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Moderna booster at least 4 months after the first booster
  • 12 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Pfizer booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster
  • 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago

If eligible for the COVID booster dose, should you get it?

According to Dr. Rob Rohtsch, MD, “Our natural immunity rises right after receiving a dose of vaccine but diminishes over time. For the COVID vaccine, the time for immunity to wane is about three to four months after receiving a dose. He added, “Individuals who are over 50 years of age or may be more immunocompromised may get protection from the second booster dose."

Data from the CDC seems to agree. A February 2022 early release CDC study found that COVID vaccine effectiveness waned over time after two doses. A third dose was proven to be effective in reducing the number of urgent care and hospitalizations, but protection waned by the fourth month.

The CDC notes that during the recent Omicron surge, people who were boosted were “21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated, and 7-times less likely to be hospitalized.”

Dr. Peter Marks, MD, PhD, Director of the FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, stated, “Recent data [from the CDC] show that three doses of the COVID-19 vaccine retain some degree of effectiveness over time. That said, the available data also shows that immunity does wane to some extent over time. And older adults and those with weakened immune systems, even if they received a booster, may be more likely to experience severe outcomes if they get COVID 19.”

So, if it has been four months since your first COVID booster, your protection against the virus may be waning. If you are worried about the Omicron BA2 subvariant (or COVID in general), please talk to a medical professional about your individual health risk. You may use Solv, a hassle-free way to find a healthcare provider near you to schedule an in-person appointment or telemedicine video consultation.

If you already had COVID, do you need a second COVID booster shot?

Dr. Rohatsch notes, “Infection from COVID-19 does offer some immunity against further infection. However, natural immunity after the infection varies from person to person. A full course of the COVID vaccines and a booster dose offers more consistent protection.”

Our immunity gets compromised with age. If you are 50 years or older, or over 12 years of age and may have one or more medical conditions that negatively affect your immunity, consider getting additional protection from a second booster shot.

If you are currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC recommends that you wait to be vaccinated until you fully recover. Solv can help you schedule a teleconsultation or in-person appointment with a healthcare professional to learn more about what may work best for you.

If you suspect that you may be infected with COVID-19 and would like to get tested to be sure, you can also book a lab-based rapid antigen and PCR test through Solv.

What types of medical conditions does the CDC consider ‘immunocompromising’?

According to the CDC, regardless of age, you may be considered immunocompromised if you have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response

You can find a full list here. To understand if the second COVID vaccine booster is right for you, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.

About the Omicron variant for vaccinated individuals

The CDC notes, even if you are vaccinated, you can get infected by COVID. The Omicron variant has been more effective at evading our immune systems and vaccine protections compared to previous COVID-19 variants and subvariants. However, NIH data (National Institutes of Health) shows that COVID vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalizations from Omicron.

Solv can help you find a medical professional near you with a click of a button. You can also use Solv to find and book a COVID vaccine or booster shot appointment.

The views expressed by authors and contributors of such content are not endorsed or approved by Solv Health and are intended for informational purposes only. The content is reviewed by Solv Health only to confirm educational value and reader interest. You are encouraged to discuss any questions that you may have about your health with your healthcare provider.

Frequently asked questions

  • Who is eligible for the COVID booster?

    You can get the second COVID vaccine booster dose if you are:

    • 50 years of age and older, at least 4 months after getting the first booster
    • 18 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Moderna booster at least 4 months after the first booster
    • 12 and older with certain medical conditions for a second Pfizer booster dose at least 4 months after the first booster
    • 18 and older who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID vaccine at least 4 months ago
  • If eligible for the COVID booster dose, should you get it?

    According to Dr. Rob Rohtsch, MD, “Our natural immunity rises right after receiving a dose of vaccine but diminishes over time. For the COVID vaccine, the time for immunity to wane is about three to four months after receiving a dose. He added, “Individuals who are over 50 years of age or may be more immunocompromised may get protection from the second booster dose."

  • If you already had COVID, do you need a second COVID booster shot?

    Dr. Rohatsch notes, “Infection from COVID-19 does offer some immunity against further infection. However, natural immunity after the infection varies from person to person. A full course of the COVID vaccines and a booster dose offers more consistent protection.”

    Our immunity gets compromised with age. If you are 50 years or older, or over 12 years of age and may have one or more medical conditions that negatively affect your immunity, consider getting additional protection from a second booster shot.

  • What types of medical conditions does the CDC consider ‘immunocompromising’?

    According to the CDC, regardless of age, you may be considered immunocompromised if you have:

    • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
    • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
    • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medication to suppress the immune system
    • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
    • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
    • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response
  • If I'm vaccinated, can I still get the Omicron variant?

    The CDC notes, even if you are vaccinated, you can get infected by COVID. The Omicron variant has been more effective at evading our immune systems and vaccine protections compared to previous COVID-19 variants and subvariants. However, NIH data (National Institutes of Health) shows that COVID vaccines prevent serious illness and hospitalizations from Omicron.

Sources

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

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