As we gear up for the holidays, questions of COVID-19 safety are lingering in the air. What are the odds that one of your guests will have a breakthrough case? It’s difficult to tell, and it’s even harder to control. Fortunately, the FDA just announced something that will offer you a little extra protection against a severe case: The Pfizer booster shot and Moderna booster shot have just been approved for all adults.
Prior to today, only certain at-risk adults qualified for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Now, anyone who is 18 years of age or older and at least six months past their second shot of a two-dose vaccine regimen can get a booster. It’s no coincidence that the FDA made this change just in time for Thanksgiving. Government officials are well aware that protection against COVID-19 is waning just in time for cases to spike in the colder months.
“Authorizing the use of a single booster dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older helps to provide continued protection against COVID-19, including the serious consequences that can occur, such as hospitalization and death,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, said in a statement.
If you’re hesitant to get your booster, don’t be! Here’s what you need to know.
Can you mix and match COVID-19 booster shots?
Yes. Health officials have approved mixing and matching COVID booster shots, though they have been careful not to recommend switching vaccines or sticking with your original shot. Some research shows that a mix-and-match approach is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, and perhaps more effective than staying with your original vaccine. However, the New York Times notes that there are caveats in the research. Regardless, it is perfectly safe to get a dose of a different booster. Feel free to pick your booster dose based on convenience instead of trying to get the same kind as before.
What about Johnson & Johnson?
If you had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago (and you are over the age of 18), you should already be qualified to receive a Johnson & Johnson booster. The FDA authorized a Jonson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shot in October.
If you already received your J&J booster, you can still get a Moderna or Pfizer booster shot. Just remember that you can only get a booster of a different vaccine if it has been at least six months since your last J&J shot.
What are the side effects of a COVID-19 booster shot?
You will likely feel some side effects of the shot immediately, such as soreness at the sight of the injection. You’ll usually notice any symptoms within 24 hours. Fortunately, side effects tend to last for only one to two days. Other symptoms include fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, fever, and in rare cases, nausea, vomiting, and swollen lymph nodes.
Let’s all have a safe start to the holiday season!