All adults in the United States are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. With new variants emerging, such as the Omicron variant, a booster shot will provide the most protection. Studies are showing that booster doses are necessary for the vaccinated as immunity to the new variants is decreasing.
Here in Texas, both the CDC and the Texas Department of Health Services are recommending booster shots for anyone 16 years of age and older. As of last week, over 1.2 million Texans have received a COVID-19 booster shot.
If you have completed your primary series of vaccines, you may be eligible for a booster shot.
What is a primary series for COVID-19 vaccines?
A primary series is the initial dose(s) of a COVID-19 vaccine. For Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines, the primary series consists of two doses. For the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the primary series consists of one dose.
What is a booster dose?
A booster dose is an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given 6 months after mRNA vaccine series or 2 months after the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The booster dose is to supplement COVID-19 immune response for people who have received their primary series, but the immune response to primary series has waned over time.
Which COVID-19 booster doses are available?
If you have completed your primary series, you may receive a booster dose of either Pfizer mRNA vaccine, Moderna mRNA vaccine, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For people who are 18 years or older, you may choose which booster dose you receive. Right now, the CDC is only recommending the Pfizer mRNA booster dose for those between 16 and 18 years of age.
Is the booster dose the same dose as the primary series?
It depends on which booster dose you receive.
- Pfizer COVID-19 booster dose is the exact same as the primary series vaccine and the dose is the same amount.
- Moderna COVID-19 booster dose is the exact same as the primary series vaccine, but the dose is half the amount of the primary series dose.
- Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster is the exact same as the primary series vaccine and the dose is the same amount.
Do I need to get a booster dose?
Current data here in Texas is showing the demand for a booster shot has outpaced the demand for first doses of vaccines in the last few months. If you have completed your primary series and choose not to get a booster dose, you will still be considered fully vaccinated.
The purpose of the booster dose is to provide further immunity against new variants. Getting a booster shot can help fight the virus’ tendency to mutate and evolve. Getting a booster dose can also reduce the chances of developing severe symptoms and hospitalization if contracting the virus.
Along with getting vaccinated, how else can I protect myself from COVID-19?
Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to protect yourself from COVID-19. In addition to being vaccinated, there are a few other steps you can take to stop the spread of the virus.
- Wear a mask
Everyone 2 years and older who is not fully vaccinated should wear a mask in all indoor public spaces. You should still consider wearing a mask in all indoor public spaces even if you are fully vaccinated.
- Stay six feet apart
Stay six feet apart from those who do not live in your household. Wear a mask or face covering in situations where you are unable to practice social distancing.
- Get tested regularly
Getting tested regularly is the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19. There are many different tests to choose from. You can find a full rundown of the different COVID-19 tests here. At Your Health Lab, we offer surveillance testing, antibody testing, and the gold standard COVID-19 PCR test.
Visit vaccines.gov to book your booster dose.