Everyone age 12 and older should get a COVID-19 booster dose. The CDC advises that people who are 12 or older who received the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine should get a booster at least six months after their second shot. Johnson & Johnson recipients who are 12 and older should get a booster at least two months after their initial shot. At this time, a booster is not recommended for children and adolescents younger than 12. In March 2022, the FDA also recommended that people age 50 and over who are fully vaccinated and have received one booster dose should consider a second booster dose. Talk with a health care provider to see if you should get a second booster.
The CDC recommends that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine get a Pfizer or Moderna booster. The CDC advises people who got a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine to get the same booster as their initial vaccine, but allows them to mix and match (i.e., get a different COVID-19 booster than their initial vaccine) depending on preference or availability—with the exception of adolescents age 16-17 who are only eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
The emergence of the Omicron variant underscored the importance of vaccination, boosters, and preventive efforts to protect against COVID-19. CDC recommendations on booster doses are based on the latest data, with the goal of ensuring that people have optimal protection against COVID-19 infection, severe illness and death.
The vaccines work. The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. CDC data show that in August 2021, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in the U.S. was more than 21 times greater for unvaccinated people than for fully vaccinated people. However, scientists are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease, especially among certain populations. CDC’s latest guidance is in response to this waning of the efficacy and the recent emergence of the Omicron variant.