For this week’s “You asked, we answered,” VHA discusses additional vaccine doses.

I’ve heard about people receiving additional doses and booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines. Is there a difference between these kinds of shots?

Yes, there is a difference. An additional third dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is appropriate for people who may not have had a strong enough immune response after receiving the first two doses.

A booster shot is appropriate for people whose immune response may have weakened over time since becoming fully vaccinated.

How do I know if I should receive a third dose?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people with weakened immune systems who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine should receive a third dose of the same vaccine.

You can consult with your health care provider and review a list of conditions to see if you may be eligible for a third dose.

How do I know if I can receive a booster shot?

The Department of Health and Human Services has developed a plan to begin offering booster shots to all Americans in mid-September 2021. Once the United States Food and Drug Administration authorizes COVID-19 vaccine booster doses and CDC recommends their use, VA will offer them.

What if I received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Vaccine?

Experts are currently working to confirm whether people with weakened immune systems who received a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine would benefit from a second dose.

HHS is also developing a plan to provide booster shots of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine for all Americans.

If you received a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine, you should expect further guidance regarding additional shots and booster shots in the coming weeks.

Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions. And remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: wear your masks, wash your hands, and watch your distance from others!

References

COVID-19 Booster Shots And Additional Doses | Veterans Affairs (va.gov)

COVID-19 Vaccines for Moderately to Severely Immunocompromised People | CDC

Joint Statement from HHS Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots | CDC Online Newsroom | CDC

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19 Comments

  1. Tom Nix September 23, 2021 at 2:03 am - Reply

    For every one of you who refuse to get vaccinated that I see in the hospital suffering and whining: I should have gotten the shot, I am going to tell each of you: YOU DESERVE TO DIE!!!

  2. Chuck Tour September 17, 2021 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Our VA clinic in Kona has been closed. The VA is now unable to let 100% disabled veterans like myself and veterans over 70 like myself to see our primary care doctors.
    Yet I get to talk to him on the phone every six months. VA health care in Hawaiian has once again become a total joke and our politicians of both party’s could care less.

  3. Oswaldo Joubert September 16, 2021 at 9:44 pm - Reply

    Will my VA PCP contact me to get the 3rd booster for the Pfizer vax? I am 58 y.o. and got both my vax #1 & #2 at the Bedford, Massachusetts VHCS back in February and March. Should I contact my PCP or wait for them to schedule me for a booster? I’m so confused with this Covid-19 pandemic.

  4. Dan Sweeney September 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm - Reply

    Can veteran spouses get booster shots when eligible?

  5. Bikenstein September 16, 2021 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    After reading these comments and the article, plus the latest information from all the media along with the Pres. and the CDC,
    I still have to conclude that nobody knows the answers to the current questions. I have gotten the vaccine as well as my wife. I’ve had one child get Covid and also is vaccinated. I have another get Covid and is afraid to get a vaccine because she is still having problems. My oldest son and his wife are not vaccinated and have no plans to be. I support getting vaccinated unless maybe you already had the virus or your PCP recommends different. I still also support each individual’s right to choose because “who ya gonna trust for answers?”

  6. Chris Shaner September 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    As for the vaccine, just do it. The military required us to have many different vaccines and nobody griped about it. Take one for the team and do your part to mitigate this worldwide health crisis.

  7. Jim Yarno September 16, 2021 at 11:19 am - Reply

    What is wrong with you people? Our nation is in crisis with Covid. Emergency beds are full with unvaccinated people. Get the shot, don’t rely on others to build the herd response. Wearing the mask protects others from YOU spraying as you talk or breath. Do everything you can to curb this epidemic. Stop being the problem.

    • Frank Frankowski September 16, 2021 at 1:59 pm - Reply

      Agree, what is wrong with you people?

    • Dan Martin September 16, 2021 at 10:45 pm - Reply

      Right on!

  8. Steve September 16, 2021 at 9:16 am - Reply

    OK, I have already had covid. I have the natural antibodies in my system. Why should I need a shot or mask?

  9. Russell Lynn Fronk September 15, 2021 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    I received the Moderna, 2 shot vaccine in February and March 2021. I still have the first injection site(right arm) skin irritation at point of injection. I had a chest scan performed last week of June ’21 for ongoing lung condition first diagnosed as Sarcoidosis in 1981. I was hospitalized immediately with pulmonary embolism. with decaying health conditions of rashes, eczema and increased chronic spine condition and peripheral nerve damage. Concern is whether my immune compromised condition was aggravated by the Covid Vaccine.

  10. Roger bornstein September 15, 2021 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    I’m 74 in good health. I got my second dose of Moderna in Feb. should I get a booster? When will Moderna have a booster available?

  11. Gary D Smith September 15, 2021 at 8:57 pm - Reply

    I am undecided on the shot. If the vaccines are working why is Israel the most vaccinated country in the world now facing a surge in Covid-19 cases? Why is Idaho, my state with over 50% vaccinated seeing more cases now then at the peak of the Covid-19 surge on 2020 when there was no vaccine?

    • Gary September 16, 2021 at 1:50 pm - Reply

      Because as of 15 Sept 2021, only 50% of us Idahoans have been fully vaccinated per Idaho.gov. But that also drops to 38% of Idahoans in the 18 – 44 yr age groups;
      per the CDC and Johns Hopkins, Idaho is actually only at 44% overall. Why are we seeing such high rates of infection today? First a large percentage of our state haven’t even gotten a single dose of the vaccine. Second, a huge portion of our state absolutely refuses to wear masks even though they been proven to work and are being credited for the almost total lack of a flu season across the US last year. Third, because the primary strain in Idaho currently is the Delta variant which is more that twice as contagious as the Alpha variant and which produces up to 1000x the viral load of the old Alpha variant which makes it massively more transmissible. Besides, our brothers and sisters on active duty are being required to get the vaccine to protect us, and out of solidarity we should as well.

  12. Jon Morgan September 15, 2021 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    If the mask works why do we have to get the shots, if the shots work why do you still require us to wear the masks. If the covid is .0278 microns why are you lying to us about the N95 mask working and home made mask is Useless.

    Jon Morgan
    MSgt USMC (ret).
    Nuclear biological Chemical warfare school 1974, ‘NBC school’

    • Steve September 16, 2021 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Because you are not breathing out one Covid virus particle. You are breathing out saliva and moisture that contains the virus. The virus goes where the moisture goes and is absorbed into the mask.
      The shot does not prevent a person from getting the virus, it only helps the body fight it off faster and often without symptoms. For this reason a person could be a carrier of the virus and not even know it.

    • Michael J Hennessey September 17, 2021 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Because the Mask does not work 100% and the vaccine does not work 100%. Every day most of us put on a plethora of PPEs. Socks and shoes protect the feet, but you still might get blisters. Pants and shirts preserve the body, but you still get injuries. The mask is just one more piece of clothes or a PPE.

      It worked great look how low the flu season was last year.

  13. Harold Lindsey September 15, 2021 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I am fully vaccinated with the Pfizer Vaccine via the VA. I am not immune compromised. I just received the High Dose Flu Shot via the VA. Sept, 13th. This is my main question: How soon should I consider getting the Covid19 Booster? Or do I even need to get it?
    Thank you!

  14. M. Parkington September 15, 2021 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Please correct the answer to the covid vax 3rd dose question. The answer you gave is extremely misleading:

    “I’ve heard about people receiving additional doses and booster shots of COVID-19 vaccines. Is there a difference between these kinds of shots?
    Yes, there is a difference. …”

    No. The correct answer is ***NO****. The third dose is NOT different than shot-1 or shot-2. It is the same formula at this time. The rest of the answer is what you wrote, as to why someone might get the 3rd dose.

    Please correct that, and ensure you write further about it, to correct the wrong impressions this has caused already.

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