Confused about whether you can get a COVID booster shot now? Here’s your guide:

  • Do you have an immunodeficiency or condition that causes you to be moderately to severely immunocompromised and you previously received the J&J/Jannsen vaccine? YES –> Unfortunately, the CDC does not have enough data on this situation to recommend a booster at this time. Talk to your doctor, but go no further in this decision guide. If NO –> Go to next step.
  • Do you have an immunodeficiency or condition that causes you to be moderately to severely immunocompromised and you previously received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine? YES –> You are eligible for a booster if it has been at least 28 days since your second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine shot. If NO –> Go to next step.
  • Did you get the Pfizer vaccine? YES –> Go to next step.  NO –> You have to wait, but not for long. Only Pfizer’s data has been reviewed and considered by the FDA and CDC so far. They will be reviewing Moderna and J&J/Jannsen soon, so just stay tuned for more info on those vaccines. Go no further in this decision guide.
  • Are you a resident in a long-term care facility (e.g., a nursing home)? YES –> You SHOULD receive a booster shot if it has been 6 months or more since your second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. NO –> Go to next step.
  • Are you 65 years or older? YES –> You SHOULD receive a booster shot if it has been 6 months or more since your second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. No –> Go to next step.
  • Are you between the ages of 50 and 64 and you have cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia or another serious neurological condition, diabetes, Down syndrome, a serious heart condition, HIV infection, liver disease, sickle cell anemia, or a prior stroke? YES –> Talk to your doctor because your underlying medical condition may qualify you for a booster does 6 months after your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and if so, you SHOULD get the booster. NO –> Go to next step.
  • Are you between the ages of 18 and 49 and you have cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic lung disease, dementia or another serious neurological condition, diabetes, Down syndrome, a serious heart condition, HIV infection, liver disease, sickle cell anemia, or a prior stroke? YES –> Talk to your doctor because your underlying medical condition may qualify you for a booster does 6 months after your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and if so, you MAY get the booster. NO –> Go to next step.
  • Are you at high risk for exposure to COVID-19 due to your work or other circumstances? YES –> Discuss with your employer or physician because you may be eligible for a booster 6 months or more following your second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. NO –> you are not eligible for a booster dose of vaccine at this time, but stay tuned as we come out with more and new recommendations.

8 thoughts on “Confused about whether you can get a COVID booster shot now? Here’s your guide:

  1. I have one to add. Do you have an immunodeficiency , are over 65 and previously received a third Pfizer dose? Are you eligible for a booster?

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    1. Hi Vicki,
      The FDA has not authorized and the CDC has not approved more than 3 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, even for those with immunodeficiencies. There is simply no data to support that yet. That certainly could come in the future, but right now, only 3 doses are recommended for persons with moderate to severe immunocompromising conditions.

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  2. I hope you don’t mind that I’m adding a question for you here, as I didn’t see other options for reaching out to you.

    Our TV private school is holding to mask optional 😔. However, the classrooms are staying pretty isolated, with approx 12-18 kids. I’m receiving mixed opinions & would love your take, as I’ve heeded your advice.

    Thank you!!

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    1. Hi Marcie,

      Last year this might have been fine. But, with delta, this would have me very worried. This variant seems to be much more efficient at spreading in aerosols, meaning that being indoors with someone who is infected who is not wearing a mask will be exceedingly risky.

      There are many of us who are experts on this illness who meet to discuss issues and this is an area where we are in complete agreement – we think schools that are going mask optional are making a big mistake and putting children and their parents at risk.

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  3. Dear Doctor Pate, Want to tell you what a blessing you are to our community and how very much I appreciate all you do to keep us informed. I am a fully vaccinated grandmother with 3 precious grandsons under 7. My daughter in law is a Saint Luke’s hospital physician, I have watched as Sara has taken on extra shifts and been called in on her days off and it breaks my heart to see what all our frontline health workers are doing and their dedication to help everyone. They are heroes and you are too, I know you are putting hours into research so you can inform us. If possible would you be able to answer a question for me on Twitter or on The Doctors Round Table on Wednesday? I am not every good on twitter and not sure how to respond. I am 72 fully vaccinated got my flu shot last week and will get my booster tomorrow, I try to help out with childcare for my grandsons which I love! I usually only do this a few hours a week and mostly on weekends. I have not gone to my sorority meetings because they are meeting at Cathedral of the Rockies in a room without a window and with the door closed. There are usually 20 to 30 women, they wear masks but we are not allowed to ask who has been vaccinated and masks are off for snacks and drinks. I also decided not to attend our lunch social group because even when we are outside we are close together and again don’t know who is vaccinated. Am I being too overly careful and might you explain what is safe. I am trying to protect my grandsons and to do my part in helping the hospitals and our heroes. I do walk in the mornings and I do go to WF to shop on weekdays when it is not crowded. I am saddened by crowds for concerts, footballs games and the relaxed attitude that so people are following. I do meet with social friends on Zoom and have met with a small group outside who are all vaccinated. (6) What guidelines would you recommend now that we are approaching fall and winter weather. Thank you and sorry this is so long. P.S. I am busy working on a wall hanging with stars and hearts for Saint Luke’s, so I am busy but do miss socializing.

    Blessings, Kate Wilson

    > >

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    1. Hi Ms. Wilson!
      First of all, please give my profound appreciation to Sara for all that she is doing and the extra hours that she is working to take care of our community.

      Second, I think you are making great decisions. I am very pleased that you got your flu shot and sounds like by the time you will be reading this, you will have received your booster.

      So, here are my thoughts. Two weeks after your booster, you should be extremely well protected. And, once the transmission rates go down, we will all be safer. I agree that I would not be in a room with people that I did not know were vaccinated for a protracted period of time, when masks were not being constantly worn (taking masks off for snacks is plenty of time to transmit) and with poor ventilation. Its not because of concern for you, but rather the fact that you might get infected and not realize it and transmit it to those beloved grandchildren.

      Here’s what I think you can do safely and not have to be overly concerned about putting the grandkids at risk:
      You can get together with a few friends indoors without masks if they have all received their boosters at least 2 weeks previously (I’m assuming most of your friends are > 65 years old). For example, a card game, book club or watching a movie on tv.

      You can be indoors with a group of friends that you know are vaccinated, but unsure whether they have had boosters or know they haven’t yet, if everyone is masked at all times and you feel confident no one would come if they weren’t feeling well.

      You can be outside even without masks with folks even if you don’t know their vaccination status, so long as you can always maintain several feet of distance between all of you. The only big risk being outside is when people are packed closely together (shoulder-to-shoulder) and especially shouting (sporting events), singing (concerts), etc.

      I appreciate you being so responsible, protecting our community, protecting our hospitals, and being such a great grandmother!

      Like

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