CDC Recommends Booster Shots For All 3 Covid Vaccines — But Not Everyone Is Eligible

Millions of Americans who have been fully vaccinated will be able now to receive an additional dose of any coronavirus vaccine. This is after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday recommended that booster shots be provided for all Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients and for those receiving higher-risk Moderna vaccines.

Tiffany Karschamroon, nurse, draws a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccination on... [+] March 6, 2020 in Thornton Colorado. Getty Images

The Key Facts

According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, all 15 million Americans who have received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose coronavirus vaccination at least two months ago should get another shot. Americans who have received Modernas Covid-19 and Pfizer vaccines within the last six months can get a booster shot only if they are elderly, in long-term care or if they work in high-risk areas. The CDC stated that eligible individuals can mix and match coronavirus vaccines to their booster dose. This is in addition to the recommendation of an independent advisory board. Walensky's decision comes only hours after an independent CDC advisory panel recommended booster shots for Johnson & Johnson and Modernas and just one day after Food and Drug Administration approved those drugmakers boosters.

Important Background

Over 75% of eligible Americans have been at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19. However, some experts worry that the effectiveness of vaccines that are still very effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths could decrease for certain patients. The federal government and drugmakers are now ready to give booster shots to people who have been vaccinated. Last month, the FDA and CDC approved Pfizer boosters to elderly patients and higher-risk patients. In August, regulators allowed certain immunocompromised Moderna and Pfizer recipients to receive an additional dose. According to CDC statistics, 11.6 million Americans had received booster shots so far.


The CDC might encourage people who are fully vaccinated to use a mix-and match approach to boosters. One federally funded study has shown that people who received Johnson & Johnsons vaccine at the beginning had higher levels of antibody if they used a Moderna booster or Pfizer booster.

What to Watch

Federal health officials have not yet approved booster shots for younger Pfizer or Moderna recipients who don't fall into a higher risk category. However, eligibility could increase. CNN and Washington Post reported this week that regulators are considering making all Americans over 40 eligible. They cited unnamed sources. An independent FDA advisory board rejected to endorse booster shots for Pfizers vaccine to everyone 16 years and over. They claimed there wasn't enough evidence to support the recommendation. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White Houses top medical advisor, predicted that more data could soon be available on young people.


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