Booster shots for COVID: what to look for

Plus, know the difference between a booster shot and a third dose.

In addition to getting vaccinated against COVID, you may have questions. Do you need a booster shot? What is the difference between a booster shot and a third dose?

See how you can protect yourself against COVID-19.

What is the difference between a booster shot and a third dose?

As with the third dose of the vaccine, a booster shot provides additional protection against a virus as well.A third dose is given to people who have moderate to severe immunosuppression and whose immune systems may not have developed enough protection after receiving the first two doses.

Booster shots, on the other hand, are recommended for people with sufficient immunity, but whose immune system has gradually declined with age.

The third dose should not be given to people before 28 days after their second dose, and it should be from the same series as the first and second doses, says Dr. Stanley Martin, infectious diseases specialist at Geisinger.

The booster shot should be given at least six months after the second dose of the COVID vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.

Is a third dose available to everyone?

People over 12 who are moderately to severely immunocompromised can receive a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine. This includes those who have received the full two-doses and have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose steroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response

Booster shots are available to anyone who needs them.

Individuals who have received two doses of either the Moderna COVID vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago are eligible for booster shots.After receiving a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, recipients are also eligible for a booster shot at least two months later.The third dose of a COVID vaccine may also be given to people with moderate or severe immunosuppression age 18 and older,

In what way should I schedule my third or booster dose?

Your third dose or booster shot at Geisinger is still available if you received your first two doses at another location. Simply bring your vaccine card to your appointment.

“It is important to get your third dose to help protect you against COVID-19 and its variants,” Dr. Martin says. “We are starting to see omicron spread across the U.S.This variant is becoming increasingly obvious to us, and these boosters may be able to protect us.”

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