Frequently Asked Questions About Third Dose and Booster Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

Are Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters available?

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are approved and recommended by the FDA and CDC. Learn more.

  • Moderna: If you received your first and second dose of Moderna at least six months ago, you may receive a booster dose. It is half the amount of the original doses. People eligible for the Moderna booster are:
  • Johnson & Johnson: Anyone who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago may receive a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson. It is the same amount as the first dose. 
    • A booster of Pfizer or Moderna are allowed if you received Johnson & Johnson for your first shot. 
    • You can also receive a booster of Johnson & Johnson if you received Moderna or Pfizer for your first two doses at least six months ago.

Can I get a booster of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson at Henry Ford?

We support and encourage you to receive a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster when you are eligible. Boosters of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are not available at our Primary Care sites. We offer only the Pfizer vaccine. If you received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson previously, you can receive a booster of Moderna or Johnson & Johnson at a retail pharmacy, city or county vaccination center.

Can we “mix and match” vaccines?

Yes, the FDA and CDC have advised that boosters of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are interchangeable. This means:

  • If you had Pfizer or Moderna for your first two shots at least six months ago, you can receive any vaccine for a booster.
  • If you had Johnson & Johnson at least two months ago, you can receive any vaccine for a booster.

Please note that at this time, Henry Ford only offers boosters of Pfizer to patients who received Pfizer for their first and second doses. If you received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson previously and would like a booster, we encourage you to get it at a retail pharmacy, city or county vaccination center. Patients who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson and would like a booster of Pfizer will be able to schedule it at a Henry Ford Primary Care site beginning in early November.

When will COVID-19 vaccines be available for children?

meeting of FDA advisors is scheduled for Oct. 26, followed by the CDC Advisory Council on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Nov. 2 and 3. After these meetings, Pfizer vaccine may be available for children ages 5 to 11. Henry Ford will offer it for established patients at our Pediatric and Family Medicine sites. We expect patients will be able to schedule appointments beginning two to three weeks after it is approved and recommended. If you would like your child immunized sooner, we encourage you to use a retail pharmacy, city or county vaccination center offering the Pfizer vaccine for children.

Who Is Eligible To Receive A Third COVID-19 Vaccine Dose?

People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, and had a second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days ago, can receive a third dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

People who are not immunocompromised, and received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago, can receive a third dose of Pfizer based upon the most recent CDC guidelines, as listed below. At this time, a third dose of the Moderna vaccine is recommended only for patients with moderate to severe immunosuppression. There is currently no recommendation for a second dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Age, Health or Living Condition
Third Dose of Pfizer
Ages 65 years and older
Recommended
Residents of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, prisons and homeless shelters Recommended
Ages 50 and older with underlying health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease Recommended
Age 18-49 years with underlying health conditions that increase the risk of severe COVID-19 disease May receive, discuss risks/benefits with your provider
People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised Recommended, can receive third dose if it has been at least 28 days after second dose
People with occupational exposure to COVID-19 including first responders (healthcare workers, firefighers, police, congregate care staff), education staff and daycare workers, food and agriculture workers, manufacturing workers, corrections workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, public transit workers and grocery store workers. This list could be updated in the future. For the most recent from the CDC. May receive

The FDA and CDC expect to review data on additional doses of both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Be assured that all currently approved COVID-19 vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

Where to Get a Third/Booster Dose of a Pfizer Vaccine

Henry Ford offers third/booster doses for patients who are eligible. Make an appointment at a Henry Ford primary care site using MyChart or by calling your doctor’s office.

Henry Ford has closed its large vaccination centers, and offers COVID-19 vaccination at its Primary Care sites only for established patients. We want you to know we support and encourage vaccination at one of the many other trusted vaccine sources in our area. Please review these options and get vaccinated at a location convenient for you. These locations also offer booster doses for people who are eligible:

Frequently Asked Questions About Additional Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines

Who is considered immunocompromised?

You are considered immunocompromised if you:

  • Have been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant
  • Received a stem cell transplant
  • Have primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, Bruton’s agammaglobulinemia, or severe combined immunodeficiency)
  • Have advanced or untreated HIV infection (CD4 count < 200)
  • Are being treated with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

Learn more about who is considered immunocompromised. If you are unsure whether you should get a third shot, please ask your doctor or provider.

Can my child, who is immunocompromised, receive a third shot?

Yes, your child can receive a third shot if they are immunocompromised. Children ages 12 or older who received the Pfizer vaccine should receive Pfizer for their third shot. (Moderna is available for people ages 18 and older.)

Why should people who are immunocompromised receive a third shot?

If you are immunocompromised, you have a weakened immune system. This limits your body’s ability to produce protective antibodies after being vaccinated. A third vaccine dose will give you additional antibody protection from the virus.

Studies suggest that fully vaccinated immunocompromised people make up 40 to 44% of hospitalized breakthrough COVID-19 cases. (“Breakthrough” means that you contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.) If you get sick, you are also more likely to pass the virus to other people. It is important, especially for people who are immunocompromised, to have as much protection as possible against COVID-19.

Will the third shot improve my protection against the Delta variant?

Yes, it will improve your protection against all strains of the COVID-19 virus, including the Delta variant. It will also reduce the chances of getting very sick, if you do contract COVID-19.

When should people who are eligible receive their booster shot?

Moderately to severely immunocompromised people: 28 days after your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna.

People eligible for Pfizer based on age, health condition or living/work situation: At least six months since your second dose of Pfizer.

Which vaccine should I receive for my booster shot?

You should receive the same vaccine for your booster dose that you received for your first and second doses. It is not recommended to mix vaccine types.

I’m immunocompromised and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Can I get another dose of a COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time, the FDA and CDC do not recommend that immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Clinical trials are ongoing, and once results are available, the FDA and CDC will make a recommendation.

Currently, the third dose is recommended for immunocompromised people who have received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, or people who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine and are eligible based upon health condition, age, or work/living situation.

Can a caregiver for an immunocompromised person get a third shot?

Third doses of Pfizer for caregivers are recommended for people who had their second dose of Pfizer at least six months ago or more. Additional doses for caregivers who had Moderna or Johnson & Johnson are not yet recommended.

If appointments at Henry Ford are full, should I wait until an appointment is available to get a booster dose from Henry Ford?

No, you should not wait. We encourage you to get a booster dose as soon as you can. Please use one of the many retailers now offering booster doses, like CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club or Meijer. You can also contact your county:

Will I have to bring my COVID-19 vaccination card to my appointment?

No, but if you do bring your COVID-19 vaccination card, we will add the third shot to your card.

Is the booster different from the original two shots?

No. The booster shot contains the same ingredients and the same amount of vaccine as the first and second shots.

Will side effects be worse after the third shot?

Side effects after a third shot of Moderna or Pfizer are similar to what people experienced after receiving the first two shots. Most symptoms are mild to moderate, and the most common side effects are fatigue and injection-site pain.

Is the third shot approved by the FDA?

The FDA updated the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. ACIP (Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices) approved a third dose of mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) for people who are immunocompromised. The CDC also recommends a third dose for immunocompromised people. A third dose of Pfizer is recommended for certain groups of people. A second dose of Johnson & Johnson, is not approved or recommended by the FDA or CDC/ACIP at this time.

What are the risks of getting the third shot?

The safety profile is the same as for the first and second vaccine doses. Studies with immunocompromised people did not show severe adverse effects after a third dose.

How effective is the booster shot?

The effectiveness of additional COVID-19 vaccine doses is very good. In immunocompromised people, many people who had no antibodies developed protective antibodies after receiving the third shot.

Will booster vaccines be developed?

Vaccine manufacturers are partnering with the U.S. government and other organizations to develop booster vaccines. A booster vaccine may be different than an additional dose of the original vaccine, and designed to provide added protection against COVID-19 variants.

Much like the current COVID-19 vaccines, researchers will evaluate booster vaccines to ensure they’re safe and to see how well they help people develop antibodies against the variants.

I am not a Henry Ford patient but I am immunocompromised. Where can I get a third shot?

If you are not a Henry Ford patient, we encourage you to get a third shot. Retail pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Rite Aid, Costco, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Meijer offer third doses to immunocompromised people. You can also go to your county health department:

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