COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Dose

What are booster doses?

A booster dose is a dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who is already vaccinated and received protection from that vaccination, but that protection decreased over time.

Who can get booster doses? 

Everyone age 12 or older who has already received a primary series of COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine. 

Rhode Island has high community transmission of COVID-19. This means we are seeing more and more cases. As we move indoors for the winter, most people age 12 or older will be at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 and should get a booster dose. 

Please note that only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use by people younger than 18. This means that people age 12 to 17 must choose the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for their booster dose. 

When can I get a booster? 

If you got Pfizer for your primary series,* you can get a COVID-19 booster dose at least five months after completing your primary series. 

If you got Moderna for your primary series,* you can get a COVID-19 booster dose at least six months after completing your primary series.  

If you got Johnson & Johnson for your primary series, you can get a COVID-19 booster dose at least two months after your primary COVID-19 vaccination.  

You can search for appointments by vaccine type at vaccinateRI.org or at one of the options places listed at C19VaccineRI.org. If you need help making an appointment, please call 2-1-1.  

*People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems and who are age 5 or older and got Pfizer or age 18 or older and got Moderna should get an additional or third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second dose. This additional or third dose is part of the primary vaccine series.  

Can I get a different vaccine type for my booster dose? 

Most people may choose which COVID-19 vaccine they get as a booster dose.  

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use by people age 18 or older. This means that people who are age 12 to 17 must choose the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster. Only the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for use by people younger than 18.  

In general, people should get the same vaccine type as their original vaccine. Getting a booster dose of any COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized or approved in the US will increase your protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including Omicron. People can choose which vaccine type to get for their booster dose. However, CDC and RIDOH recommend getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster, even if your first dose was Johnson & Johnson. If you have questions about which booster dose is right for you, please talk to a healthcare provider.

People who do not want to or cannot get mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can still get the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Given the state of the pandemic, getting any vaccine is better than being unvaccinated.

Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine:

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine:

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine:

Where can I get my booster dose? 

You can search for appointments by vaccine type at VaccinateRI.org or at one of the options listed at C19VaccineRI.org. If you need help making an appointment, please call 844-930-1779 or 2-1-1.  

Making an appointment can help reduce your wait time. 

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.  

 

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at protecting against serious illness and death from COVID-19. These vaccines are some of the most important tools we have to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and its variants.   

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.  

Building protection against COVID-19 is still important. As COVID-19 spreads, the virus has more chances to change and to create new variants of concern, like Delta and Omicron. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters can prevent new variants.  

No. The COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the Delta variant. However, public health experts are seeing that the level of protection is decreasing, especially among certain populations.

No. Sometimes people who have weakened immune systems do not build enough protection when they first get vaccinated. When this happens, an additional primary dose or third 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 a third 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, like tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough), or Tdap.  

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

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. Keep this card which is the best record of your vaccination.

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. If you need an additional dose of vaccine, this record will tell you when you are eligible to get your additional dose. 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 or 844-930-1779 for help. You can also call your primary care physician to check your vaccine record.

If you need to correct anything in your vaccination record, please fill out and submit the RICAIR COVID-19 Immunization Record Correction Request Form.

Resources

COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Flyer (English)