COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose

What are booster doses?

A booster dose is a dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who has already had a primary vaccination series. Booster doses are recommended when protection from the primary series decreases over time. This is normal; there are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.   

Research shows that booster doses are effective at protecting against serious illness and hospitalization related to COVID-19. For more, see CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.  

For the best protection against COVID-19, stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. This includes getting a booster dose if you are eligible.  

Who should get a booster dose? 

Everyone age 5 or older who has already received a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine.   

When can I get a booster? 

    COVID-19 vaccine recommendations are different depending on your age, health status, and when you were first vaccinated. If you have questions about your vaccination schedule, please speak with a healthcare provider. 

    In general, people age 5 or older should get a bivalent booster dose at least two months after their last dose (e.g., after their primary series or after another booster dose) or 3 months after a past COVID-19 infection.

    For more help with your recommended COVID-19 vaccination schedule, see CDC’s Vaccination Schedule.

    COVID-19 vaccination schedule for people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems

    There is a different COVID-19 vaccine schedule if you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised (e.g., you are receiving cancer treatment or you have received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress your immune system). For more on who is considered to have a moderately to severely compromised immune system, please see the CDC page or speak with a healthcare provider.

    In general, people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems who got Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson should get an additional dose as part of their primary series. For people who got Pfizer or Moderna, this means an additional dose at least four weeks after their second dose. For people who got Johnson & Johnson, this means an additional dose at least four weeks after their first dose. (These additional doses are not currently recommended for people who got Novavax.) 

    People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems should also get an updated bivalent booster at least two months after their last dose.  

    This recommendation applies no matter how many booster doses a person has already received. For example, if you are receiving cancer treatment and got three doses of Pfizer for your primary series and then two booster doses, you should still get an updated booster at least two months after your last dose.  

    Where can I get my booster dose? 

    Booster doses are available wherever COVID-19 vaccines are available. You can search for COVID-19 vaccines at Vaccines.Gov or at one of the options listed at C19VaccineRI.org.

    If you are unable to leave your home, you’re able to request services for in-home booster doses. Please visit this link for more information: https://covid.ri.gov/vaccination#athome

    Bivalent means these doses protect people against two strains of the virus that causes COVID-19, the original strain and the Omicron strain.  

    Right now, there are two bivalent boosters, one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. The booster from Pfizer can be used by people age 5 or older. The booster from Moderna can be used by people age 6 or older. CDC recommends that everyone age 5 or older get an updated, bivalent booster at least two months after their last dose.

    This recommendation applies no matter how many booster doses a person has already received. For example, if you got your primary series and two booster doses, you should still get an updated booster at least two months after your last dose. 

    The only booster doses that are authorized for use are bivalent boosters, meaning that they protect against two strains of the virus that causes COVID-19.

    People can choose to get a bivalent booster from Pfizer or Moderna. Pfizer has booster doses that are available to people age 5 or older. Moderna has booster doses that are available to people age 6 or older.

    In general, people should get the same vaccine they got for their primary series. 

    • People age 6 or older can get a booster dose from Pfizer or Moderna.
    • People age 5 can only get a Pfizer booster (Moderna boosters are not authorized for children younger than 6 at this time).
    • Novavax is not authorized for use as a booster at this time.  

    If you have questions about which booster dose is right for you, please talk to a healthcare provider.    

    In most situations, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) are preferred instead of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine because of the risk of serious adverse events after vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. 

    Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:

    Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine:

    Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine:

    Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine:  

    Right now, CDC recommends getting one updated, bivalent booster dose after getting your primary series. 

    We know that guidance and recommendations have changed. Some people have received more than one booster dose. And booster doses have been updated and improved. All of these changes are because the virus that causes COVID-19 is a new virus. We are going to keep learning about this virus and how well our vaccines work against the virus, so these recommendations may change.

    We know that the protection offered by the vaccine weakens over time. Booster doses work well to protect people against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.  

    If you have questions about whether a bivalent booster dose is right for you, please talk to a healthcare provider. 

    The COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against emerging variants. However, scientists and researchers learned that protection from COVID-19 vaccines can decrease over time—especially in people age 65 or older. Getting a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine helps increase your protection against COVID-19 and its variants. This is normal; there are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.

    No. Sometimes people who have weakened immune systems do not build enough protection when they first get vaccinated. When this happens, an additional dose can help these people get the same protection as people with healthy immune systems. CDC recommends people with moderately to severely weakened immune systems get an additional dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after they got their second COVID-19 dose.

    A booster dose is a dose of vaccine given to someone who has built up protection after vaccination, but that protection is decreasing over time. There are lots of vaccines that require booster doses.

    For more information on COVID-19 Vaccines, please see our Vaccine FAQs.

    1/25/2022

    1. Paper Vaccination Card: When you get vaccinated, you’ll get a vaccination card that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you got and the date and location of your vaccination. You can use this card as a record of your vaccination.
    2. SMART Health Card through the 401Health App: Rhode Islanders can also get a digital copy of their vaccination card with a QR code on it. When you travel to other states and countries or go to businesses or venues that require proof of vaccination, you can show your record with your QR code. The QR code can be scanned and will prove that your record is authentic. To get this digital record, download the 401Health app. In the app, select “My COVID-19 Vaccine Record.” Next, select “Add a COVID-19 Vaccination Record.” Follow the prompts to download your record.
    3. Portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord: Rhode Islanders can also get a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine record through portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord. From this website, you can search for and print proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.  Please note that only people who have received their COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island will be able to look up their vaccination record online.  

    If you are having trouble finding your vaccination record or are not able to go online, you can call 401-222-8022 for help. You can also call your primary care physician to check your vaccine record.

    If your vaccination record is missing or needs to be corrected, please fill out the record correction form at covid.ri.gov/recordcorrection.

    Requests to change your name, address, phone number, email, and/or date of birth within your vaccination record require that you provide proof of your identity in accordance with the following guidelines:

    • A copy of ONE (1) government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, military identification, certificate of naturalization, or alien registration card; or
    • A copy of TWO (2) documents that provide both your name and current address, including a utility bill, bank statement, insurance, car registration, pay stub, etc. (photocopies or cellphone photos of the documents are acceptable)

    Once your form is completed, please send it to the RI Child and Adult Immunization Registry (RICAIR) team for a record correction by email at [email protected] or by mail to RICAIR/KIDSNET Updates, 3 Capitol Hill, Room 302, Providence, RI 02908.