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, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone ages 5 years and older receive boosters for their age group. 

Updated booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. The CDC recommends one bivalent booster shot for all people over the age of 5, no matter the type of vaccine series initially received. The four COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are:

The updated booster vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are bivalent, meaning they will protect against the original SARS-CoV-2 and the newer Omicron subvariants, known as BA.4 and BA.5.

A bivalent booster shot is recommended two months after receiving a primary COVID-19 vaccination series or after the last booster dose.

Children ages 5 years are only eligible to receive the bivalent Pfizer booster. However, everyone ages 6 years, and older can choose to get the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster.

Those who received Novavax as their primary series should receive an updated mRNA booster at least 2 months after completing the primary series. 

In limited situations, a monovalent Novavax booster dose may be used in people ages 18 and older who are unable to receive an mRNA vaccine. 

For certain people who are immunocompromised, an additional dose of an mRNA vaccine 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.

6 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. Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overview of COVID-19 Vaccines.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Stay Up to Date with COVID-19 Vaccines Including Boosters.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines: Appendices, References, and Previous Updates.

  6. 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.