If you’re wondering if you qualify to receive a COVID-19 booster shot, you’re not alone. While the majority of vaccinated Americans are eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot, many are still confused about whether or not they qualify for the shot.
Four in 10 fully vaccinated adults say they are unsure whether or not they are eligible for a booster, according to a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. For individuals 18 to 29 years old, 67% are uncertain if they qualify.
Booster recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depend on several factors, including the type of initial vaccine series you received, as well as your age, living situation and job. Take our quiz below to determine if the CDC says you’re eligible. (To start over, reload the page.)
The CDC says that individuals 50 and older with underlying medical concerns should receive boosters, but advises people 18 to 49 with the conditions to make decisions based on their individual risk. We’ve provided additional guidance on specific risk groups below, as well as information on where you can get a booster shot.
Underlying health conditions
People with the following underlying health conditions are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, according to the CDC. However, the list does not include all possible conditions that place someone at higher risk of severe illness from the virus and people with conditions not listed below are encouraged to talk to their doctor about how to best protect themselves from COVID-19.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Chronic lung diseases (chronic obstructuve pulmonary disease, moderate to severe asthma, interstitial lung disease, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension)
- Dementia or other neurological conditions
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions
- HIV infection
- Immunocompromised state
- Mental health conditions
- Overweight and obesity
- Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
- Smoking (current or former)
- Solid organ or blood stem cell transplant
- Stroke or cerebrovascular diseases
- Substance use disorders
Factors that compound an individual’s risk include:
- Age. Older adults are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19.
- Number of conditions. The risk of severe COVID-19 increases as the number of underlying medical conditions increases in a person.
- Systemic health and social inequities. Studies have shown people from racial and ethnic minority groups, as well as individuals with disabilities, are also dying from COVID-19 at younger ages.
Long-term care facilities
Many long-term care settings provide care to older adults with underlying conditions, often with residents living closely together. This can make residents more likely to be infected by COVID-19 and to become seriously ill from the virus. Children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in congregate settings are also considered long-term care residents. Examples of such settings include:
- Nursing homes
- Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities
- Inpatient psychiatric settings
- Inpatient substance use disorder facilities
- Assisted living settings for older adults and people with disabilities
- Senior housing
- Housing for people with disabilities
- Residential settings for people with disabilities and older adults, including group homes, shared living, adult foster care, and transitional housing
- Congregate day programs
- Senior center programs and congregate nutrition programs
Because adults who work or reside in certain settings may be at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, the CDC says they may get a booster shot based on their individual risks and benefits.
Examples of workers who may get COVID-19 booster shots include:
- First responders (e.g., healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
- Education staff (e.g., teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
The list does not include all potential occupations where a worker could have an increased risk for exposure, according to the CDC. Individuals are encouraged to talk with their healthcare provider about their personal risks.
Factors that may affect a worker’s risk for exposure to COVID-19 include the levels of:
- Community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19,
- COVID-19 vaccination,
- Adherence to other prevention measures (e.g., wearing masks), and
- Unavoidable frequent interactions with possibly unvaccinated people from outside their household.
Studies show that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are especially vulnerable to COVID-19, and may not build the same level of immunity to two-dose vaccine series compared to people who are not immunocompromised.
Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose at least 28 days after the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. This includes people who have:
- Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
- Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Find a booster
The Christian County Health Department administers the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots from 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays at its office at 1700 Canton St. You can make an appointment here.
According to the health department, the same product that was used for the primary series should be used for the booster shot. However, if it isn’t available or another product is preferred, a single dose of any authorized COVID-19 vaccine is acceptable. Those who opt to receive a COVID-19 booster that is different from their initial vaccine series should follow the interval recommendations for their primary vaccination.
Find other vaccine and booster locations here.