Older adults continue to be at highest risk for COVID-19 illness, hospitalization, and death.
Vaccines offer strong protection, and a second COVID-19 booster is now recommended for everyone older than 50 and those with compromised immune systems.
A recent analysis found at least half of those who died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available might have been saved by getting the shot.
Older adults continue to be at highest risk for COVID-19 illness, hospitalizations, and death due to waning immunity that occurs over time.1 For this reason, federal health officials are now recommending a second vaccine booster for persons 50 and over as well as other groups at high risk.
Are you eligible for a second booster?
You are eligible for a second COVID-19 booster if you:2
- Are 50 years of age or older and got your first booster at least four months ago
- Are 12 years of age or older, and are moderately or severely immunocompromised, and got your first booster at least four months ago
- Are 18 years of age or older and got two doses of J&J/Janssen vaccine at least four months ago
If you are eligible for a booster, are you (or is someone you live with) more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or be exposed to the virus?
Certain factors can make it more likely that someone will get very sick from COVID-19 or be exposed, making boosters critically important:
- Being moderately or severely immunocompromised
- Being more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 through your job, where you live, or other factors (such as frequent travel or large gatherings)
- Being in an area with medium to high COVID-19 community levels
- Living with someone who is unvaccinated
If I'm an older adult that's eligible for a second COVID booster, can I wait?
Even if you are eligible for a second booster, you may consider waiting to get a second booster if you:
- Had COVID-19 within the past three months
- Feel that getting a second booster now would make you not want to get another booster in the future. Speak with your doctor before making a decision about when to get your second booster.
Keep the following in mind before scheduling a second COVID booster:
- Make sure it has been at least four months since your first COVID-19 booster
- Remember that second boosters can only be Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech
You can self-report that you have a moderately or severely weakened immune system. This means you do not need any documentation that you have a weakened immune system to get a COVID-19 vaccine (including boosters) wherever they are offered.
Find a vaccine appointment near you at vaccines.gov, or by texting your ZIP code to 438829, or by calling 1-800-232-0233, TTY 1-888-720-7489.
If you or a loved one is living with a disability, you can find COVID-19 vaccine support by calling the Disability Information and Access Line at 1-888-677-1199 or emailing DIAL@n4a.org.
Help spread the word: COVID vaccines save lives
The U.S. reached an extremely sobering milestone in May 2022—1 million lives lost to COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, or the SARS-CoV-2 virus, that first appeared in our country in early 2020. Now more than two years into the pandemic, cases and hospitalizations are on the rise once again.
"With cases increasing, it is important that all people have the protection they need, which is why, today, CDC has also strengthened another booster recommendation," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a May 19 statement.
Those 50 and older and those who are 12 and older and immunocompromised should get a second booster dose.”
A recent study by Brown University and Microsoft AI for Health found vaccines could have prevented almost 319,000 COVID-19 deaths between January 2021 and April 2022. The analysis revealed a shocking statistic: at least every second person who died from COVID-19 since vaccines became available might have been saved by getting the shot.3
The science behind COVID-19 vaccination continues to evolve, and researchers are working on answering such questions as whether a yearly COVID-19 shot will be common practice for everyone. Meanwhile, boosters tailored toward potential new coronavirus variants are in the works.
Talk with your doctors about ways to reduce your COVID risk, including through vaccination. As the pandemic evolves and you think about your own personal protection against COVID-19 and the over 1 million lives lost, strongly consider getting your second booster, or your first if you have not received yours yet. Vaccines save lives!
1. Levin, Einav G. , et al. Waning Immune Humoral Response to BNT162b2 Covid-19 Vaccine over 6 Months. New England Journal of Medicine. Published online Oct. 6, 2021. Found on the internet at https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2114583
2. COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Found on the internet at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
3. New Analysis Shows Vaccines Could Have Prevented 318,000 Deaths. Global Epidemics. May 13, 2022. Found on the internet at https://globalepidemics.org/2022/05/13/new-analysis-shows-vaccines-could-have-prevented-318000-deaths/