Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Booster Shots

What Are Booster Shots?

A booster shot is a dose of vaccine given after a person has had the original vaccine (sometimes called a primary dose or, if more than one dose, primary series). Immunity from the original vaccine can fade over time, and a booster shot can help the immune system “boost” the protection it provides.

Boosters aren’t new. They are given for many vaccines that kids and adults get. For example, kids get vaccines around the time they start school to boost the vaccines they got as infants and toddlers. Pregnant women get a Tdap booster to protect their newborn from pertussis. And anyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot each year, which is also a type of booster.

Why Do People Need a COVID-19 Booster Shot?

Safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for all adults and children ages 6 months and up. They are very good at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19.

As with other vaccines, the immune protection from the COVID-19 vaccine can fade over time. Booster shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months and older. The type of booster shot used and when it’s given after the primary series may differ depending on a child’s age and health status. As time goes on, people might need additional booster shots. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about the different types of booster shots and when your child might be eligible for one.

Is a COVID-19 Booster Shot the Same as an "Additional Dose"?

No. An additional dose is an extra dose of vaccine given as part of the primary series when a person is first vaccinated. Some people with weak immune systems might get a poor response from the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine. This can include people who are being treated for cancer, have had an organ transplant, or take medicines that weaken the immune system. This added dose helps their immune system reach the same level of protection as in people with stronger immune systems.

Kids ages 6 months through 4 years with a weak immune system may need an additional dose. This depends on which vaccine they get:

  • Kids who get the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine get 3 doses in their primary series. This is true for both healthy kids as well as those with weak immune systems. No additional doses are needed for this group.
  • Kids who get the Moderna vaccine get 2 doses in their primary series. Kids with weak immune systems get an additional dose at least 4 weeks later.

Kids ages 5 and older get 2 doses in their primary series. Those with weak immune systems get an additional dose at least 4 weeks later.

Kids who get additional doses in their primary series will still need booster shots as time passes, just like everyone else.

What Does It Mean for My Family?

Being up to date on COVID-19 vaccination might mean a different number of doses for kids in different health situations. But it’s an important way to protect kids and adults from getting very sick. Talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure if your child needs an additional dose after their primary COVID-19 vaccine series, or to see when your child might need a booster shot.

The CDC has more information about COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: Dec 10, 2022

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.