booster shot

COVID Booster Shot: When Should You Get Your Additional Vaccine Dose?

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

As more COVID-19 booster shots are administered throughout Illinois, when should eligible people receive their next vaccine dose?

According to the Chicago Department of Pubic Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, COVID booster shots should be administered at least six months after the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorizes Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to administer COVID booster shots, Arwady said those would also likely be provided at least six months after the primary vaccine series.

"The recommendation is for six months after completing the primary series, which means at least six months after that second dose of the Pfizer vaccine," Arwady said. "And I anticipate we will see similar timing recommendations for Moderna and J&J coming shortly."

Under the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's endorsement, boosters should be offered to people 65 and older, nursing home residents and those ages 50 to 64 who have risky underlying health problems.

The FDA had already authorized booster doses for Americans who are 65 and older, younger adults with underlying health conditions and those in jobs that put them at high risk for COVID-19.

For a full list of who qualifies and more information on the booster shots, click here.

Among people who stand to benefit from a booster, there are few risks, the CDC concluded.

Serious side effects from the first two Pfizer doses are exceedingly rare, including heart inflammation that sometimes occurs in younger men. Data from Israel, which has given nearly 3 million people — mostly 60 and older — a third Pfizer dose, has uncovered no red flags.

A small number of people have experienced a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, like anaphylaxis, which would occur during the 15 to 30 minutes patients wait after the injection.

The CDC has noted that side effects with the third shot "were similar to that of the two-dose series."

Common side effects of the first two doses of the vaccine include:

  • Swelling, redness and pain at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Nausea

The most common symptoms for the booster shot include fatigue and pain at the injection site, but "most symptoms were mild to moderate," officials said.

As with previous doses of the vaccine, the CDC notes that, "serious side effects are rare, but may occur."

Contact Us