COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are safe, effective and free!

Vaccines and boosters are your best protection against severe COVID illness and death – even from highly contagious COVID variants! Everyone ages 5 years and older should get a booster to help protect against severe disease caused by infection with COVID-19.

Data continues to show the importance of vaccination and booster doses to protect individuals both from infection and severe outcomes of COVID-19. For individuals eligible for a first booster dose, these shots are safe and provide substantial benefit.

CDC continues to recommend that all eligible adults, adolescents, and children 5 and older be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting an initial booster when eligible.

What you need to know

Find a testing site near you

Choosing your COVID-19 booster

Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized or approved for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) are preferred. You may get Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine in some situations.

Who can get a booster

  • Eligible for 1 booster:
  • Eligible for 2 boosters:
    • Adults ages 50 years and older
    • People ages 12 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised
    • People who received 2 doses (1 primary dose and 1 booster) of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

Getting a 2nd COVID-19 vaccine booster

People in certain groups or situations are now eligible to get a 2nd COVID-19 booster. If you are eligible, it is up to you whether to get a 2nd booster right now, based on the benefits and risks. Your healthcare provider can help you review your options.

Here are factors to think about as you consider a 2nd booster:

  1. Are you eligible?
    • Right now, you are eligible for a 2nd COVID-19 booster if you:
      • Are 50 years of age or older and got your 1st booster at least 4 months ago
      • Are 12 years of age or older, and are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and got your 1st booster at least 4 months ago
      • Are 18 years of age or older and got 2 doses of J&J/Janssen vaccine at least 4 months ago
  2. If you are eligible (see above), are you (or is someone you live with) more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or be exposed to the virus?
    • Certain factors can make it more likely that someone will get very sick from COVID-19 or be exposed:
      • Being moderately or severely immunocompromised
      • Being more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 through your job, where you live, or other factors (such as frequent travel or large gatherings)
      • Being in an area with medium to high COVID-19 community levels
      • Living with someone who is unvaccinated
  3. If you are eligible, can you wait?
    • Even if you are eligible for a 2nd booster, you may consider waiting to get a 2nd booster if you:
      • Had COVID-19 within the past 3 months
      • Feel that getting a 2nd booster now would make you not want to get another booster in the future (a 2nd booster may be more important in fall of 2022, or if a new vaccine for a future COVID-19 variant becomes available)

If You Get a 2nd booster

  • Make sure it has been at least 4 months since your 1st COVID-19 booster.
  • Remember that 2nd boosters can only be Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech (and for people ages 12 to 17 years, only Pfizer-BioNTech).
  • You can self-attest that you have a moderately or severely weakened immune system. This means you do not need any documentation that you have a weakened immune system to get a COVID-19 vaccine (including boosters) wherever they are offered.

Scheduling Your booster

  • If you need help scheduling your booster, contact the location that set up your previous appointment. If you need to get your booster in a location different from where you received your previous vaccination, there are several ways you can find a vaccine provider.
  • Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster: 

For more information, please visit the CDC COVID-19 website at CDC COVID-19 Information.

Last Updated on October 17, 2022