The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Biden Administration just approved a second booster of the COVID-19 vaccine. But neither administration is recommending it as they did for the initial two-part vaccine and the first booster. Instead, both approved it as an optional dose for adults aged 50 and over.
This distinction between “approved” and “recommended” might deter you, especially if you were already uncertain about the vaccines. However, there’s an important reason you may consider getting it, especially if you are over 50: Your immunity to COVID-19 wanes more quickly than that of younger adults.
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals,” said Peter Marks, MD, PhD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in an FDA press release. “Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals.”
What to Know Before Scheduling Your Second COVID-19 Booster
If you want the second booster just approved by the FDA, here’s what you should know (as stated in the press release):
- The dosage of the second booster is the same as the first booster.
- It is approved for adults aged 50 or older and immunocompromised individuals.
- In order to receive a second booster immediately, you need to have received your initial two-dose vaccine and first booster at least four months ago.
- It is okay to mix and match boosters. For example: If your two-dose vaccine and first booster were from Pfizer, you can get a second Moderna booster instead.
And if you haven’t yet received your initial booster, researchers highly recommend that you do. “The data show that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19. So, those who have not received their initial booster dose are strongly encouraged to do so,” said Dr. Marks.
If you are unsure of whether you need a second booster, speak with your doctor. Your primary care physician may be able to offer you the best advice with your health history in mind.