Third Dose/Booster Shot FAQ

Who should get a third dose of vaccine?

Currently, individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are recommended for a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.   This includes people currently receiving treatment for cancer, people taking medications that weaken the immune systems, organ or stem cell transplant recipients, individuals with advanced or untreated HIV infection, and other conditions.  A full list of conditions can be found on CDC’s website.  If you are unsure if you are recommended for a third dose, talk with your health care provider.  The third dose of COVID-19 vaccine can be given anytime 28 days after receiving the second dose.

The third dose is being recommended after emerging data suggests some people with moderately to severely compromised immunes systems do not always build the same level of immunity as individuals who do not have a compromised immune system.  A third dose will help ensure people with compromised immune systems get as much protection as possible from COVID-19 vaccination.

Can I get any type of COVID-19 vaccine for the third doses?

No. You should receive the same brand of vaccine you received for your first and second doses, either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

When will the general public be able to get a booster shot?

The Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices will review data regarding booster doses and more information will be available after its recommendations.

Do I need an additional dose or booster shot if I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

The Advisory Committee on Immunizations Practices will review data regarding booster doses and more information will be available after its recommendations.

Why do I need a booster shot?

While the COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized in the U.S. continue to be effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization and death, including protection against the Delta variant, many vaccines see reduced protection over time.  While study and data analysis are ongoing, federal health officials have concluded that a booster shot will be needed to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability. 

Where can I get a booster shot?

Individuals with compromised immune systems can check with their health care provider about getting a third COVID-19 dose.  At this time, vaccine providers, such as local health departments, clinics, and pharmacies, are able to provide third doses. You can find a vaccine provider at www.vaccines.gov or call 1-800-232-0244 (TTY 888-720-7489). 

Federal health officials are prepared to offer booster shots for people in the U.S. beginning the week of September 20, 2021 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose.  More information will be available as the federal government rolls out its plan.

Is a third dose the same as a booster shot?

Some people, those who are immunocompromised, may not develop the same immune response level after vaccination as others. A third dose is recommended for those individual to help them build the same level of immunity as people who are not immunocompromised.

A booster shot is recommended as protection from the vaccine wanes over time.