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5 questions about COVID-19 booster shots

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The rollout of booster shots for COVID-19 vaccines might naturally raise some questions. Here's a closer look at some things you might want to know if you're weighing your options.

Q. Who is eligible?

A. Boosters are aimed at increasing the effectiveness of the vaccine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people 5 and older should get a booster shot if it has been at least two months since their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Children 6 months and older who received the Moderna vaccine can get their booster two months after their final shot.

Q. Where can I get a shot?

A. Booster shots are available now at most pharmacies and vaccines clinics across the country. Check your local pharmacy or clinic to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins may be welcome too.

Q. What are the expected side effects from a booster shot?

A. The side effects of the booster shot are similar to those after the first two doses of the vaccine. The most commonly reported side effects are:

  • Pain in the injection area.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Fever.

Q. Do I need the bivalent booster shot if I have already had a booster?

A. Even if you've had a booster shot, an updated booster dose can offer added protection. You can get this booster if it has been two months since your last booster shot or your final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Q. Will I still be considered fully vaccinated if I don’t get a booster shot?

A. Yes, for now. CDC says everyone who has received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the J&J vaccine is still considered fully vaccinated. That guidance may evolve over time.

For more helpful information, please visit our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 12/16/2022

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