FAQ: Recent CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Boosters

Oct. 10, 2023

We are addressing some frequently asked questions about COVID-19 boosters this week.  

What is the purpose of COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines protect you from serious illness or death caused by COVID-19 infection, including the new variant. Vaccines also reduce your likelihood of developing Long COVID. To learn more about Long COVID, click here. 

Who is recommended to receive the COVID-19 booster shot?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is at least six (6) months and older receive updated COVID-19 vaccines to prevent serious illnesses as the seasons change.

Why do I need a booster if I have already been vaccinated?

If you received a COVID-19 vaccine, your body has experience making antibodies that protect you against COVID-19. A booster shot reminds your immune system to have increased defense against COVID-19 during seasons of high transmission. 

I have never received a COVID-19 vaccine. Do I still need a booster?

Boosters are only given to people who have completed their full course of COVID-19 vaccination. If you have never been vaccinated, you can quickly find a vaccine location nearby by clicking here

When should I get a booster? 

If you received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and are over age 18, you should get a booster 2 months later. If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, get a booster five (5) months after your second 2-dose series. You can get a second booster four months after your first booster.  

How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot?

If you are insured, most plans cover COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. If you are uninsured, free vaccines can be accessed at local, tribal, or territorial health departments and pharmacies participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, which provides uninsured adults with free COVID-19 vaccines until December 2024.

How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot for my child?

Speak to your child’s pediatrician about COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. Click here to learn about CDC’s Vaccines for Children Program, which offers free vaccines to those who are eligible. 


To hear important COVID-19 vaccine information from an immunologist check out the article Insights: Vaccines, variants and COVID-19 trends, which features expert guidance from Dr. Bhattacharya. 

Click here to view recent changes to COVID-19 vaccine guidance for children and the immunocompromised. 

To order free COVID-19 test kits, click here or call 1-800-232-0233 or 1-888-720-7489 for TTY.