Booster Shots

The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the highly contagious variants.

We encourage anyone who is eligible to get their booster shot as soon as possible.

Booster shots are authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for all individuals ages 5 and older, 5 months after their primary vaccine series. Individuals aged 18 and older who received the Janssen (J&J) vaccine can get their booster shot at least 2 months after their initial vaccine.

Individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised are encouraged to get a booster shot 3 months after their third dose of an mRNA vaccine or 2 months after their second dose of the J&J vaccine.

The CDC also recommends that 5- to 11-year-olds who are moderately or severely immunocompromised get an additional primary dose 28 days after their second shot.

Individuals who are 50 and older are eligible to get a second booster shot 4 months after their first booster shot. The second booster must be an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.

Do I qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine booster and which one?

Which primary vaccine series did you complete?

Pfizer-BioNTech

You can get a booster if:
Ages Timing
5+ It’s been at least 5 months since completing the primary series

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Pfizer-BioNTech*, Moderna, Janssen (J&J).

*Only Pfizer-BioNTech can be used as a booster in those aged 5 to 17.

Moderna

You can get a booster if:
Ages Timing
18+ It’s been at least 5 months since completing the primary series

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, Janssen (J&J)*.

*The mRNA vaccines are preferred for the booster, but the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

Janssen (J&J)

You can get a booster if:
Ages Timing
18+ It’s been at least 2 months since completing the primary vaccination

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Janssen (J&J), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna*.

*The mRNA vaccines are preferred for the booster, but the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine may be considered in some situations.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information, visit the COVID-19 Vaccines page on the FDA website.

The CDC recommendations allow for individuals to choose which vaccine they want as their booster shot. Some people may want to stick with the same vaccine they received for their initial shot or they may choose to select a different vaccine for their booster.

Do I qualify for a second COVID-19 vaccine booster and which one?

Which primary vaccine series did you complete?

Pfizer-BioNTech

You can get a second booster if:
Ages Timing
50+ It’s been at least 4 months since the first booster

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Moderna

You can get a second booster if:
Ages Timing
50+ It’s been at least 4 months since the first booster

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech.

Janssen (J&J)

You can get a second booster if:
Ages Timing
50+ It’s been at least 4 months since the first booster

If eligible, you can get a booster of: Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.

Getting a booster shot

Booster shot vaccine clinics are available at Dartmouth Health locations for people who are 12 years of age and older and at community-based clinics. 

  • You can schedule booster shots at Dartmouth Health locations using your myDH account. Note that not all Dartmouth Health locations are able to provide booster shots to all eligible patients.
  • To find other booster shot vaccination clinics near you, please visit Vaccines.gov. You can also call 1-800-232-0233. Most pharmacies, such as CVS and Walgreens, are providing booster shots.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about booster shots

The following FAQ answers many of the questions you might have about booster shots.


Will people who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine need a booster shot?

The CDC recommends that people age 18 and older who received the J&J vaccine should get a booster dose at least 2 months after the initial vaccine. This can be an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) or another J&J vaccine.

Are booster shots available for people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, the FDA and CDC have authorized COVID-19 booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines:

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine is authorized for anyone 5 years or older who received the vaccine 5 or more months ago.
  • The Moderna COVID-19 booster vaccine is authorized for anyone 18 years and older who received the vaccine 6 or more months ago.

Can people who received the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine get a booster dose of an mRNA vaccine?

Yes. Under the mix and match authorization, people who received 1 dose of the J&J vaccine can choose to have an mRNA (Pfizer of Moderna) vaccine as their booster dose.

If a booster is needed, does that mean that the vaccine is not working?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines are working remarkably well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating omicron variant. However, with the omicron variant, experts are starting to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. A booster shot would help to maximize vaccine-induced protection and prolong its durability.

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

An “additional dose” refers to an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) vaccine that is given to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receiving an additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 Vaccine. This additional dose is given because these people may not have received adequate protection from their initial 2-dose vaccine series. For more information, see the Third Dose of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines FAQ.

A “booster dose” is a supplemental vaccine dose given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series was adequate but is likely to have decreased over time.