COVID-19 Booster Information
Why do you need a booster?
Although all available COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) are effective at reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death (even against the Delta variant), the CDC has suggested that the protection provided by the vaccines could lessen over time. This is especially true for people who were vaccinated earlier in the vaccine rollout (January 2021 - March 2021) or for those at higher risk of complications due to COVID infection. A booster shot provides extra protection and prolongs the durability of the vaccine for these populations.
Individuals who are immunocompromised due to particular health conditions have been eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna since August 13. At this time, you are required to get a vaccine from the same manufacturer as your original doses. If you received Pfizer originally, your booster dose must also be Pfizer.
The following individuals are eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine (if their original vaccine course was also Pfizer):
- People 65 years and older
- Residents of long-term care settings
- People aged 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18-49 with underlying medical conditions
- People aged 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their occupational or institutional setting
Where can I get a booster shot?
In Ware, you can get a Pfizer booster and either CVS or Walmart. If you are immunocompromised and need a Moderna booster, Walgreens Pharmacy has appointments. Outside of Ware, you can go to https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ to find more places to get the shot.
You can also get assistance scheduling a booster dose by calling the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line toll-free at 211 or (877) 211-6277. If you are unable to get to a vaccine clinic, you can use the In-Home Vaccination Program. Go to http://mass.gov/vaccinesathome for more information.
What if I'm not eligible?
As more data becomes available, additional populations may be added to the list of eligible people. People who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson can expect to see more data released as it becomes available. The FDA will meet on October 14 and 15 to discuss the use of booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. That same committee will also discuss the use of a different vaccine than what was used for your original series. Until the data say otherwise, you should consider yourself fully vaccinated and relatively well protected.
Are ineligible people still protected?
Yes. If you have received a full course of any of the vaccines (2 shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or 1 shot of Johnson & Johnson), and you are not in one of the eligible populations, then you should consider yourself well protected against the virus. This does not mean that breakthrough infections (vaccinated people testing positive for COVID-19) are not possible, and you should still consider taking reasonable precautions, like wearing a mask or social distancing, when in public. However, being vaccinated makes you significantly less likely to contract the virus, and it will generally lessen the severity of the disease if you do test positive.
For more information, you can visit the mass.gov COVID-19 Booster Frequently Asked Questions page.