COVID-19 Booster Shots: What You Need to Know

booster shot grand journey - three vials of vaccine with people climbing on them

COVID-19 booster shots are here! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months and older get a bivalent booster if it has been at least two months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose. 

The exception is children ages 6 months to 4 years who have received all three doses of the Pfizer primary series—they are not advised to get a booster. Instead, the bivalent vaccine is advised as the third dose in the primary series.

Bivalent mRNA COVID-19 booster vaccines, also called "updated boosters," from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. They are called "bivalent" because they protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 and the Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The CDC recommends one bivalent booster shot for everyone ages 6 months and older, if eligible.

Everyone 6 months and older is eligible to get one of the following four COVID-19 vaccines:

Regardless of which of the four primary series vaccines you receive, the CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive one updated bivalent booster shot if they're eligible. The type of booster shot you can get depends on your age, health status, and what vaccine you first received.

In limited situations, a monovalent Novavax booster dose can be given to people ages 18 and older if they cannot receive an mRNA vaccine. 

For certain people who are immunocompromised, the CDC recommends an additional primary series dose of an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer) plus an updated booster is recommended.

Here, we asked experts what else we should know about boosters, from potential side effects to the intended rollout plan and timeframe. There's good news: After the bumpy road to COVID-19 vaccine distribution the first time around, the U.S. is more prepared than ever. 

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim clinical considerations for use of COVID-19 vaccines currently approved or authorized in the United States.

  2. Link-Gelles R, Ciesla AA, Fleming-Dutra KE, et al. Effectiveness of bivalent mRNA vaccines in preventing symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection - increasing community access to testing program, United States, September-November 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022;71(48):1526-1530. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm7148e1

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.: Appendices.

  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines for moderately to severely immunocompromised people.

By Anisa Arsenault
Anisa joined the company in 2018 after managing news surrounding fertility, pregnancy, and parenting for The Bump. Her health and wellness articles have appeared in outlets like Prevention and Metro US. At Verywell, she is responsible for the news program, which includes coverage of COVID-19.