COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters Explained

The COVID-19 vaccine is a stepping stone which could be an instrumental step in bringing the Coronavirus pandemic to an end. Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have come a long way since 2020 in developing a vaccine that can effectively combat COVID-19 in the United States. Recently, Pfizer has been granted full FDA approval for their inoculation instead of Emergency Use Authorization, which has spurred millions more Americans to get vaccinated. Emergency Use Authorization is a special status that the US government can grant to an unproven medication. Typically, receiving full FDA approval takes years and many trials. Full FDA approval means that enough data has been collected about a vaccine or medication, and has been tested thoroughly to make sure it is safe and effective for most people. 

The two most prominent vaccines here in the United States, Pfizer and Moderna, require two shots in order to be fully vaccinated. Once the first shot has been administered, Pfizer requires a 2nd shot after 14 days and Moderna requires a 2nd shot after 28 days to be considered fully vaccinated. Two weeks after the second shot, an individual is considered fully vaccinated with 99% efficacy, meaning that the vaccine will prevent and/or reduce symptoms of COVID-19 for 99% of vaccinated individuals. 

Recent studies have shown that 6 months after the second dose, the efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine drops to 84%, as the vaccine begins to wear off or is less effective against various strains. This has recently prompted Pfizer to recommend a booster shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), fully vaccinated individuals with Pfizer or Moderna should get a booster jab 8 months after the second shot has been administered. Pfizer says that vaccine boosters should be available beginning on September 20th, 2021, and should be fully FDA approved, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Moderna, however, has stated that a booster 6 months after the 2nd shot will significantly increase antibodies. Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that Moderna’s booster shot may not be ready at the same time as Pfizer’s booster shot.

At this time, Johnson & Johnson have not stated that a booster shot is necessary, however the FDA and CDC are still collecting data on this. 

No matter which vaccine that you have, the CDC recommends that you socially distance and wear masks indoors in high risk areas. If you are looking to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States, please check out the CDC’s

UPDATE: As of September 23rd, 2021, the FDA has only approved booster shots for individuals aged 65 and older and other high risk populations.


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