By Dr. Dave A. Chokshi
Recently, important updates about the Covid-19 vaccine were announced—that certain people are now eligible for a “booster” dose. Since the beginning of Covid-19, our scientific understanding of the virus has constantly evolved, and many New Yorkers understandably have questions about this new development. I would like to provide the “who, why, and where” about boosters.
Who should get a booster? All three brands of booster shots are available for many New Yorkers—Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson—and “mixing and matching” of the vaccines is safe. But who is eligible for a booster depends on the vaccine you originally received.
At this time, the Pfizer and Moderna boosters are approved for certain people vaccinated at least six months ago—specifically, people who are aged 65 or older, adults with underlying medical conditions (like diabetes), and adults at higher risk of exposure due to their job (like health care workers) or due to where they live (like nursing home residents).
The Johnson & Johnson booster is approved for anyone ages 18 or older who received at least two months ago—as I did. Since “mixing and matching” is now authorized, Johnson & Johnson recipients can get a booster of any of the three authorized vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson). There is limited data showing that Moderna or Pfizer vaccines could result in higher antibody levels.