Second COVID-19 Boosters: Who Needs One and Why

Older woman talking with doctor

June 13, 2022

Clinical Contributors to this story:
Daniel Varga, M.D.

If you’re age 50 or older, or if you’re immunocompromised, it may be time to start thinking about getting your next booster shot.

At the end of March 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people who meet certain qualifications may choose to get a second COVID-19 booster shot. Those people include:

  • Adults age 50 and older who had their first COVID-19 booster at least 4 months ago
  • Adults and children age 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and who had their first COVID-19 booster at least 4 months ago
  • Adults 18 and older who have had two doses of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine (the initial dose and the booster) at least 4 months ago

The CDC’s latest guideline lets individuals make their own decisions about whether or not to get a second booster shot. Their guideline for the first COVID-19 booster was worded more strongly.

“When the CDC announced the first COVID-19 booster, they said that older adults ‘should’ get the shot, but right now, they are saying that eligible people ‘may’ get the shot,” says Hackensack Meridian Health's chief physician executive, Daniel Varga, M.D. “This gives people the freedom to opt for the booster right now if they’re eager to do everything that they can to protect themselves, but it also gives them the freedom to delay getting the second booster for now, in case they think that they may want to get boosted later, such as during the fall, when case counts may rise again.”

Deciding whether to boost now or wait until later

If you’re eligible for a second COVID-19 booster but are unsure what to do, there are things to consider to help you decide.

You may want to get your second COVID-19 booster now if:

  • You are immunocompromised, whether moderately or severely
  • Someone you live with is immunocompromised, whether moderately or severely
  • You (or someone you live with) are likely to experience severe illness if you get COVID-19
  • You live with someone who is unvaccinated
  • You’re at increased risk of getting COVID-19 because of your work habits, travel schedule or tendency to attend large meetings or events
  • Your community has moderate to high COVID-19 levels

You may want to delay getting your second COVID-19 booster for the moment if:

  • You tested positive for COVID-19 during the past 3 months
  • You believe that you will be less inclined to get a COVID-19 booster in the future if you get one now

Which COVID-19 booster is right for me?

If you’re eligible for a second booster and you’d like to get it now, you can schedule your appointment here.

People who are 18 and older who qualify for the second booster may receive a Pfizer or Moderna shot. Those who are 12 through 17 years old who qualify are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.

Next Steps & Resources:


The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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