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All Delawareans ages 5+ are eligible for a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines continue to be very effective when it comes to preventing hospitalizations and death, but effectiveness against getting the virus may be reduced over time. Boosters increase the strength of your antibody response, and your protection against COVID infection, hospitalization and deaths.
If it’s been five months since your second dose of Moderna, five months since your second dose of Pfizer, or two months since you got Johnson & Johnson, it’s time to boost your protection.
What’s the Latest News on Booster Doses?
On March 29, the FDA authorized a second booster dose (FDA press release) of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for certain immunocompromised persons and those over the age of 50, at least 4 months after their first booster. On the same day, the CDC signed off on this authorization, and expanded upon it to include an additional booster for those who initially received the J&J vaccine and booster.
People who fall into the following categories should get a second booster 4 months after their first:
- Persons over age 50 (Pfizer and Moderna)
- Persons 12+ (Pfizer) or 18+ (Moderna) with certain levels of immunocompromise (organ transplants, stem cell replacement, cancer or HIV treatment, or taking immunosuppressants).
- Persons who received J&J for their initial vaccine and booster (should get mRNA second booster).
If you have questions about whether to get a second booster, you should talk to your health care provider. Find a vaccine location at: de.gov/getmyvaccine.
Am I Eligible for a Booster Dose?
- Are 18+ and it has been 5 months after second dose of Moderna.
- Are 5+ and it has been 5 months after your second dose of Pfizer.
- Are 18+ and it has been 2 months since your initial dose of Johnson & Johnson.
- Qualified for an “additional/third” dose of Pfizer or Moderna because you have certain immunocompromising conditions (listed below under Additional (Third) Doses section). You can get your booster (fourth) dose 6 months after receiving your additional/third dose.
Other important information:
- You may choose which vaccine you want to receive as a booster dose unless you are under 18. Pfizer is the only option for those younger than 18.
- If you recently had COVID-19 but want to get your booster, you only need to wait until you are cleared from quarantine or isolation to get it.
Where Can I Get a Booster Dose?
Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the administration of an additional dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Emerging data suggest some people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems do not always build the same level of immunity compared to people who are not immunocompromised, and as a result may benefit from a third dose of the mRNA vaccines.
Providers may administer a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines to individuals in the following categories who received either vaccine the first time:
- Recipients of organ or stem cell transplants
- People with advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active recipients of treatment for cancer
- People who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system
Providers may administer an additional dose of only the Pfizer vaccine for immunocompromised youth.
- Immunocompromised children 5 to 11 can receive a third pediatric dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
- Immunocompromised children 12 to 17 can receive a third dose of Pfizer.
On Sept. 10, the Delaware Division of Public Health issued a Health Update for physicians reminding them that they may use clinical judgment and consider additional factors when determining a person’s level of immunocompetence (being immunocompromised) – and whether they may benefit from a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna. Providers may consider advanced age, particularly 85 years and older, residency in a long-term care facility, residency in a congregate setting, or debilitating disease and comorbidities as additional factors. *Age or residency in a congregate setting alone should not be considered a determining factor for being immunocompromised.
The third mRNA dose may only be administered at least four weeks (28 days) after completing the original two-dose vaccine series. The CDC also recommends a booster dose (fourth shot), 5 months after receiving a third dose for these individuals.
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine
Individuals 18 years and older who initially received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are not eligible for an “Additional” dose under these conditions, but are eligible for a booster dose of any of the three approved vaccines two months after receiving their initial dose.
People who meet any of these categories are encouraged to contact their primary care or specialty care provider with questions or for a vaccine. If your provider is not administering vaccines, you may go to any pharmacy or DPH Vaccination clinic for a third dose. While you do not need to provide written proof of your condition, you must self-attest that you meet the conditions. Visit de.gov/getmyvaccine for a list of vaccination sites.
For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html
When Should I Get My Second Dose?
It is currently recommended that people receive a second dose as close to the recommended timeframe as possible:
- Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine – no earlier than 21 days after the first dose
- Moderna – no earlier than 28 days after the first dose
You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 4-week interval as possible. However, your second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary. You should not get the second dose early.
Where Can I Get My Second Dose?
You may receive your second dose wherever vaccines are being offered, but you must get the same manufacturer brand as your first dose (i.e. if you receive Pfizer for your first dose, you must also receive Pfizer for your second dose). Many locations will schedule your second dose appointment at the time of the first.
If you are having trouble getting your second dose, email Vaccine@delaware.gov.
Find out what you can do once you are fully vaccinated.
To see what you can do once you are fully vaccinated, go to the What You Should Do After You’re Fully Vaccinated webpage.
- Call the DPH Vaccine Call Center at 1-833-643-1715
- Email Vaccine@delaware.gov
Lost Your Vaccine Record Card?
DPH does not replace lost vaccine cards, but Delawareans can find and print their (or their child’s) vaccination record. Anyone who has difficulty finding their record can call 1-800-282-8672, or email DelVAX@delaware.gov. Responses to emails and calls received after regular business hours or on weekends may take up to 48 hours.
Get More COVID Data
For more data on Delaware COVID cases, testing and outcomes, including demographic breakdowns, go to My Healthy Community