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COVID-19 Booster FAQs

We’ve pulled together some of our most commonly asked questions (and answers) regarding the Moderna booster.  We hope that it will address some of your concerns and aid you in your decision-making process.

Have questions but don’t see an answer here, email us at askCOVID@mrhme.org



What is a booster?

A booster shot is an extra dose of vaccine that strengthens and prolongs your immunity to a particular disease.

 

Who is eligible for a COVID booster shot?

You are eligible for a Moderna booster shot if you meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • 65 years and older
  • Age 18+ who live in long-term care settings
  • Age 18+ who have underlying medical conditions
  • Age 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings
  • Age 18+ who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago

 

Why might I need a booster?

A booster shot is recommended due to concern that the effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time and may not protect against a new strain, such as Delta. A booster may be given to older people or those with chronic medical conditions or other risk factors.

 

Is it safe for me to get a booster shot from a different vaccine brand?

The FDA and CDC recently supported a “mix-and-match” approach that allows people to choose a different vaccine for their booster than the one they started with.

 

I got Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.  What does this mean for me?

Any adult who got a Johnson & Johnson vaccine may get a booster from Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson as long as it has been at least two months since their single-dose shot.  Here at MRH, we encourage those who got the J&J to get the Moderna booster. The science is very, very clear that it gives you more antibody response than getting another J&J: which we will NOT be offering.

 

Will you be offering booster shots at MRH Walk-In Care?

No.  Booster shots will not be given at Walk-In Care.  Please plan to visit us at one of our open clinics in Millinocket or Patten to get your booster.  No appointments needed!

 

Which boosters will you be offering?

At this time, MRH is only planning to offer Moderna boosters, which are both safe and effective when paired with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccines.

 

Who can get a second booster?

Adults 50 years and older

 

When to get your second booster?

If eligible for a second booster, at least 4 months after your first booster

 

Which booster can you get?

If your first booster was a mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), the second booster must be an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. You can still “mix and match”

 

If we need boosters, are the vaccines working?

COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection over time against mild and moderate disease, especially among certain populations.

 

Am I still considered “fully vaccinated” if I don’t get a booster?

The definition of fully vaccinated has not changed and does not include a booster. Everyone is still considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after the single-dose J&J/Janssen vaccine. Fully vaccinated, however, is not the same as having the best protection.  People are best protected when they stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, which includes getting one booster, or two, when eligible.

 

What if I am immunocompromised?

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised (have a weakened immune system), you are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 illness and death. Additionally, your immune response to COVID-19 vaccination may not be as strong as in people who are not immunocompromised.

As with vaccines for other diseases, you are protected best when you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines as described below.

 

Who Is Moderately or Severely Immunocompromised?

Many conditions and treatments can cause a person to be immunocompromised (having a weakened immune system). People are considered to be moderately or severely immunocompromised if they have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress their immune response

Talk to your healthcare provider about COVID-19 vaccination and your medical condition.

 

For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html