Finally, Everyone 18 and Older Can Get a Booster Shot

Finally, Everyone 18 and Older Can Get a Booster Shot


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The FDA authorized Moderna and Pfizer boosters today for everyone aged 18 and older, and the CDC’s advisory panel followed up with a recommendation to match. Bottom line, if you’ve been holding out because you weren’t sure if you’re eligible, you’re now definitely cleared to go get one. The only requirement is that it’s been at least six months since your second dose.

(If you had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, by the way, you were already eligible for a booster. The timeframe for that is two months after your original dose, rather than six.)

The current recommendation—pending the official word from the CDC, which should come any minute now—is that you should get a booster if you are at least 50 or if you live in a long-term care facility. Everyone else may get a booster if they are at least 18.

Previously, if you were at least 50 you could get a booster if you have a medical condition that appears in this CDC list. It includes people who have mood disorders, people who have ever had a smoking habit, and people who are considered overweight by BMI, so a lot of people qualified for a booster based on having a condition that’s on that list. Fortunately, you no longer need to worry about what’s on the list or whether your condition qualifies.

Another change is that previously, people aged 18 to 49 were only in the “may” group if they had one of those conditions or if they lived or worked in a setting with an increased risk of transmission. Otherwise, adults in this group were not eligible to receive a booster at all.

Part of the reason for today’s change is that the evidence in favor of boosters has become more clear, but another big reason is simply to clear up confusion. An awful lot of Americans under 65 had been in one of the previously eligible groups, but according to surveys, many people didn’t know whether they were eligible or not. Now, it’s a lot simpler: if you’re an adult, you can go get a booster six months after your second dose.



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