Recently, the CDC updated COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to include a second booster for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised and anyone 50 or older. The risk of severe COVID-19 disease increases with age and certain chronic medical conditions further increase the risk for severe illness. This expanded eligibility helps ensure those at higher risk are protected from severe COVID-19 disease as protection may decrease over time.

Additionally, anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for the primary and booster dose is eligible for a second COVID-19 booster using an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer).

Who is eligible for a second booster dose?

  • Anyone 50+ who received their first booster dose at least 4 months ago
  • Anyone 12+ who is moderately to severely immunocompromised who received their first booster dose at least 4 months ago
  • Anyone 18+ who received both a primary and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago

“This is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19 as they are the most likely to benefit from receiving an additional booster dose at this time,” Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky of the CDC said.

COVID-19 vaccines provide high levels of protection against severe disease and hospitalization, especially for people who have been boosted.

What does immunocompromised mean?

The CDC considers anyone with a weakened immune system a part of this group. That includes anyone living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, solid organ transplant recipients, people who are taking immunosuppressive drugs or those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system. Being immunocompromised puts you at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

When can those eligible get their second booster?

Second COVID-19 booster vaccinations are available now. Eligible individuals may receive either a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 booster.

Does this change the definition of up to date?

No, the definition of up to date at this time is someone who has completed all recommended doses in their primary series and received a first booster dose when eligible.

When will second boosters be available for other age groups?

CDC and FDA continue to monitor data about the need for additional booster doses for expanded age groups. On April 6, the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), an independent panel of experts that advise FDA will meet to discuss just this.

Disclaimer: The information in this article was medically reviewed and accurate at the time of posting. Because knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, data or insights may have changed. The most recent posts are listed on the EACH Breath blog landing page. You may also visit our COVID-19 section for updated disease information and contact our Lung HelpLine at 1-800-LUNGUSA for COVID-19 questions.

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