COVID-19 booster shots: Check your eligibility

  • Published
  • By TRICARE Communications
Are you wondering if you’re eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot? The answer is yes, if you’re age 18 or older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccine booster shots as further described below.

“As the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, we also must adjust our approach to fight the virus,” said Dr. Margaret Ryan, medical director of Defense Health Agency’s Immunization Healthcare Division for the Pacific Region. “Although the vaccines are still very effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, we’re learning that protection from illness does wane with time. The booster shot increases the level of protection.”

You may have questions about COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Here are some common answers to questions to help you or a family member learn if you’re eligible for a booster shot, why you need it, and where you can get it.

Q: Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster shot?
A:  All adults age 18 or older who received Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen primary COVID-19 vaccination series can get a booster. Those who received a complete series of a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing vaccine or clinical trial vaccine are eligible as well.

Q: When should I get the COVID-19 booster shot, if eligible?
A: All adults age 18 or older who received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine should get a booster shot six months or more after completing their initial two-dose series, per the CDC.

If you’re age 18 or older and got the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, the CDC recommends you get a booster shot at least two months after receiving your first dose.

Q: Why do I need a COVID-19 booster shot?
A: According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccines are working well to help protect adults and children ages 5 years and older against COVID-19 and its potentially severe complications. However, medical experts are beginning to see reduced protection against mild and moderate disease. This is especially true among certain groups in the adult population. The booster shot helps shore up your immunization against this kind of sickness.

There’s currently no recommendation for boosters in the 5-17 year old population.

The CDC still defines “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after completing the two-dose series for Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and the one-dose for the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Q: Can I “mix and match” my COVID-19 booster shot?
A: Yes, if you received a Food and Drug Administration-authorized or approved vaccine for your primary series. Some people may prefer to use the same vaccine they originally received. Others may want to get a different booster—the “mix and match” method. The CDC allows for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. You can use any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized in the U.S. for your booster shot.

If you finished a complete series of a World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing vaccine or clinical trial vaccine, you should discuss your options with your health care team.  

Q: Where can I get the COVID-19 booster shot?
A: Just like with your initial COVID-19 vaccine shots, you can get the COVID-19 booster shot at:

 


The COVID-19 vaccine booster shot is free. But if you aren’t on active duty, you may have a cost for an office visit when seeing a civilian provider. You may also have costs if you need follow-on care. 

Have more questions about COVID-19 vaccines or booster shots? Be sure to consult with your health care provider or local pharmacist. You can also visit the CDC website. And you can review COVID-19 information and resources on the TRICARE website.

At the time of posting, this information is current. Visit www.cdc.gov or TRICARE COVID Guidance for the most current COVID-19 information.