Millions of Americans are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That includes people who received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, as well as people who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccine.
All the vaccines are safe and are effective against COVID-19, especially in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccines’ protection may decrease over time. Certain groups of people may be especially at risk. Because of that, some people are now eligible for an additional dose of the vaccine. Your eligibility depends on factors like your age and how long ago you received your original vaccine.
“We really want you to get your booster if you’re eligible,” says Tami Minnier, MSN, RN, chief quality officer, UPMC. “Please do it. It will add that extra level of protection.”
Who Is Eligible for an Additional Dose of the Vaccine?
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an additional dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for all people over 18.
Third doses for immunocompromised people
People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems who received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are eligible for an additional dose of those vaccines. These people may not have had a strong immune response to the first two doses of the vaccine.
Examples of immunocompromised people include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with tumors or cancers of the blood.
- Stem cell transplant recipients.
- People with immunocompromising diseases like DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
- People with HIV.
- People taking medicines or receiving treatments that suppress the immune system, such as high-dose corticosteroids.
If you are immunocompromised, you are eligible for a third dose at least 28 days after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
If you are immunocompromised and received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you can schedule an appointment by visiting Vaccine.UPMC.com or calling 844-876-2822 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week.
Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J boosters
The CDC and FDA have authorized a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for adults 18 and older. To be eligible, you must have received your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least six months ago.
The FDA and CDC also authorized an additional dose of the J&J vaccine for people 18 and older who received the vaccine at least two months ago.
The FDA and CDC say people who are eligible for the booster doses can choose which vaccine they receive for the booster, even if they did not receive that vaccine as part of their initial series.
For more information on who is eligible, visit the CDC’s website.
If you are eligible for a booster dose of the vaccine, visit Vaccine.UPMC.com or call 844-876-2822 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week, to schedule an appointment.
“If you want to talk about the choices of boosters, call your primary care physician, or call us,” Minnier says.
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What to Know for Your Additional Dose Appointment
If you are eligible for an additional dose of the vaccine and wish to get it from UPMC, you must schedule an appointment. We are not offering additional doses on a walk-in basis.
On the day of your vaccine appointment, please bring your CDC vaccine card.
What If I’m Not Eligible for a Booster Dose?
People 5 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but only people 18 and older are currently eligible for a booster.
If you are not yet eligible for an additional vaccine dose, you are still considered well-protected against COVID-19. The initial vaccine series is effective in preventing COVID-19, including against the more contagious Delta (B.1.617.2) variant. The vaccines are especially effective in preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
It is possible federal health officials may authorize additional doses of the vaccines for more people in the future.
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines at UPMC, visit Vaccine.UPMC.com.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on .
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Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.