Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster doses of Pfizer vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 12 years and older should receive a COVID-19 booster shot after their initial vaccines as follows:
- If you received the Moderna or Pfizer initial vaccines and five months have passed since receiving your second shot.
- If you received the initial single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two months have passed since receiving the vaccine.
Please visit the CDC website for the most up to date booster recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
What is a booster?
A booster is an extra dose of a vaccine after protection given after the initial vaccine begins to decrease over time. A booster helps you stay protected against the virus for longer.
Why do I need a booster?
COVID-19 vaccines are very effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the variants. However, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus may decrease over time and be less able to protect against variants.
This lower protection may be due to the time that has passed since getting vaccinated and the high spread of the new variants. A booster shot will strengthen the protection against COVID-19,including the variants.
Am I fully vaccinated without a booster?
Everyone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The CDC recommends people stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. The recommendations will be different depending on your age, your health, and when you first got vaccinated. Many people who are immunocompromised may need an extra dose after their initial vaccines. Additionally, the CDC strongly recommends boosters for people 12 years and older. A person is considered “boosted” and up to date right after getting their booster shot.
Please visit the CDC website for the most up to date recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/stay-up-to-date.html
If I need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?
No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the variants. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. Data shows that vaccinated people who receive a booster shot have stronger protection against COVID-19, including the variants, than people that have not received the booster shot.
Do I need to bring my COVID-19 vaccination card to my booster appointment?
Yes. Please bring your COVID-19 vaccination card to your booster shot appointment. If you lost your vaccine card, please follow these instructions:
- If you are registered with the CDC's V-Safe program to track post-vaccine side effects and symptoms, you can see the dates of your COVID-19 vaccines in the app. Click here to access V-Safe.
- You may also contact the Texas State Health Department to request a record of your vaccines at 800.252.9152 or Immtrac@dshs.state.tx.us.
- If you received your vaccine in another state, please click here for a list of state health departments.
Do I need to get the same brand of vaccine for my booster?
People aged 12-17 years may only receive a Pfizer COVID-19 booster. People 18 years and older may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster shot. Some people may prefer the vaccine type that they originally received while others may prefer to get a different booster.
The CDC recommends that in most situations, Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are preferred over the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for primary vaccines and booster shots due to the risk of serious side effects.
Should I expect side effects after the booster shot?
People who receive a booster shot should expect similar side effects to those of the first doses. Common side effects are localized pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, fatigue, headache, and low-grade fever
Can I get a flu vaccination at the same time as my COVID-19 booster?
Yes. The COVID-19 booster shot may be given at any time, including before, after, or at the same time as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine.