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COVID-19 Booster Shots

Page updated 08/18/21

Federal health officials and medical experts have released a joint statement announcing a plan to provide booster doses to all individuals eight months after they have received their second mRNA vaccine. We are actively reviewing this guidance to form a delivery plan for our caregivers and patients. This plan is still being reviewed by the FDA and CDC and we will continue to follow the guidance after they review and release recommendations. We will share more information as soon as we know more.

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) currently recommends that some people receive a third dose of the COVID 19 vaccine now. Below is some information regarding to whom this new recommendation applies:

Who Needs an Additional COVID-19 Vaccine?

Currently, the CDC recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose. This includes people who meet the following:

  • Receiving active cancer treatment 
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response (e.g., prednisone, tacrolimus, mycophenolate, azathioprine, Humira, Enbrel, Remicade, etc.)
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 

Can I mix and match the vaccines?

For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?

The current recommendations do not apply to J&J/Janssen Vaccine. Currently it is not recommended that anyone who received this vaccine receives an additional shot. 

What should I do next? 

If you clearly meet one of these criteria, you can visit the state’s vaccine finder website to find a retail pharmacy or other location to get a booster injection. Your healthcare provider does not need to order the booster shot. If you have further questions regarding your eligibility, you can read the CDC updated recommendations, or you can contact your provider.

If I am not immunocompromised, should I get a booster shot?

There are additional discussions around providing booster vaccination to all patients after 8 months from the second shot they received. UMass Memorial Health will provide more information about this as soon as it is available.