Some Americans who received their COVID-19 vaccination at least six months ago now are eligible for a booster shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Not everyone can get the booster. But if you belong to one of these five groups and originally received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, you are eligible.
The CDC says people in the following three groups should get booster shots if it has been at least six months since their original vaccination:
- People aged 65 years and older
- Residents aged 18 years and older in long-term care facilities
- People aged 50-64 years with underlying medical conditions
The CDC says people in two other groups may get the booster if it has been at least six months since their original vaccination, depending on “their individual benefits and risks”:
- People aged 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18-64 years at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting
It is worth emphasizing that these booster recommendations only apply to those who have had the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which is a two-dose series with the trade name Comirnaty. The CDC also urges you to speak with your physician before getting the booster.
Studies have found that protection against COVID-19 appears to wane over time in people who have been vaccinated, according to the CDC. That leaves such folks more susceptible to infection with the Delta variant that is now circulating throughout the U.S. and across the world.
While the initial vaccinations still appear to protect against severe disease, “recent data suggest vaccination is less effective at preventing infection or milder illness with symptoms,” the CDC says.
In addition, new evidence suggests that vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19 infection is decreasing over time among health care and other frontline workers. This is likely a result of decreasing protection from the vaccine over time and the greater infectiousness of the Delta variant.
Research indicates that getting a booster can be beneficial in preventing serious illness. According to the CDC:
“Data from a small clinical trial show that a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot increased the immune response in trial participants who finished their primary series 6 months earlier. With an increased immune response, people should have improved protection against COVID-19, including the Delta variant.”
If you are a candidate for a booster and wish to get one, you can visit the CDC website to find a vaccine location near you.
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