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Will I need a COVID-19 booster shot this fall?

September 21, 2021
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The COVID-19 Delta variant has been spreading across Massachusetts. The American Medical Association says it’s more contagious than the original virus.

How can I protect myself from COVID-19, the Delta variant, and other variants?

To help protect yourself, just remember…

What is a booster shot?

The CDC says1 a booster shot is another dose of a vaccine that is given to someone who built enough protection after vaccination, but then that protection decreased over time. Booster shots can increase the protection you received from the original vaccine.

Will I need a booster shot?

Booster shots have not yet been approved. However, the CDC says fully vaccinated people may need a booster shot.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a plan1 to begin offering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots in 2021. The CDC says1 the goal is for people to start receiving a COVID-19 booster shot beginning in the fall. People would be eligible starting 8 months after they received their second dose of an mRNA vaccine. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are mRNA vaccines.

People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may also need a booster shot, according to the CDC. The CDC and other health agencies are still gathering data to make a decision.

What if I have a health condition that puts me at higher risk for COVID-19 complications?

Some people with weakened immune systems are eligible for an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose now. This dose is different from a booster shot.

Learn more about additional doses for immunocompromised people here.1

If you have questions about receiving an additional dose, talk to your primary care provider.

When can I get a booster shot?

The plan to provide booster shots is being reviewed by the FDA and CDC. No booster shots are available yet.

If a booster shot is approved, people who were first to receive a COVID-19 vaccination in early 2021 are likely to be the first people eligible for a booster, the CDC says.1 This group includes healthcare providers, residents of long-term care facilities, and other older adults.

We will update this article when more information is available. To learn more, visit

Remember, you can always talk to your primary care provider about COVID-19 vaccine options.

1 When you click this link, you will leave the Commonwealth Care Alliance website.

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