What’s the difference between a booster and an additional dose of the COVID vaccine?

Coronavirus

FILE – A pharmacy technician loads a syringe with Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, at a mass vaccination site at the Portland Expo in Portland, Maine. U.S. experts are expected to recommend COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all Americans, regardless of age, eight months after they received their second dose of the shot, to ensure lasting protection against the coronavirus as the delta variant spreads across the country. An announcement was expected as soon as this week, with doses beginning to be administered widely once the Food and Drug Administration formally approves the vaccines. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

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(NEWS10) – As news of additional doses and booster shots for the COVID-19 vaccine surface, many are wondering what is the difference? The Montgomery County Health Department sent out guidance on Tuesday. While the County says they do not have booster shots available at this time, they will inform residents when they are available.

Right now, those who are immunocompromised or have other health issues are first in line for the booster or additional dose. In the Capital Region, local Health Departments are gearing up or have started distributing doses.

Here is a breakdown of the differences between an additional dose and a booster shot:

Additional Dose

It is designed for moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals and is for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. These should be given at least 28 days after the second dose of either vaccine was administered.

Those who should get an additional dose are:

  • Someone receiving cancer treatment for tumors or cancer of the blood
  • Someone with advanced HIV, or has HIV and is not receiving treatments
  • Someone who has received an organ transplant and are taking drugs to suppress their immune system
  • Someone who has received a stem cell transplant in the last two years or are taking post-transplant medicine that suppresses their immune system
  • A health care provider has diagnosed them with a moderate-to-severe primary immunodeficiency (like DiGeorge or Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Someone who currently takes high-dose corticosteroids or other medicines that may suppress their immune system

If a condition or medicine doesn’t appear on the list but someone thinks they have a weakened immune system, please reach out to a health care provider.

Booster Shot

This is for anyone who doesn’t apply for an additional dose. It is recommended that individuals get the booster shot eight months after they receive the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, to not receive a second dose at this time.

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