Oct. 22, 2021 -- Federal health officials have expanded eligibility for COVID-19 booster shot vaccinations, allowing extra doses for those who previously had received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as allowing for a mix-and-match approach.

The guidelines for booster shots approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vary depending on which vaccine you initially received. Eligibility is the same for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines but differs for Johnson & Johnson.

Pfizer and Moderna

Those eligible for a booster dose include:

Anyone 65 years and older;

Those 18 years and older who have underlying medical conditions such as cancer; chronic kidney, liver, lung, or heart conditions; diabetes; pregnancy; obesity; HIV; and more;

Those 18 and older who work in high-risk settings such as first responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police), long-term care, education (teachers, support staff, daycare workers), food and agriculture, manufacturing, prisons and jails, public transit, U.S Postal Service, and grocery stores;

Those 18 and older who live in long-term care or high-risk settings.

Johnson & Johnson

The guidelines for Johnson & Johnson are much simpler:

Anyone 18 and older who was vaccinated at least two months ago can now get a booster dose.

FDA and CDC also have approved a mix-and-match approach to vaccinations, allowing all those eligible to get a booster shot to choose whichever vaccine they would like for that extra dose.

Studies have suggested protection against infection and mild illness given by the COVID-19 vaccines may decrease over time, although the vaccines continue to perform very well in preventing severe illness and death. Data has shown booster shots increase a person's immune response, helping their bodies to better prevent infection.

Those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised previously had been given approval for an extra dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. That third dose should come at least 28 days after the second.
The CDC recommends people talk with their healthcare provider about their particular medical condition and whether an additional vaccine dose is appropriate for them.

FREE vaccinations are available at a number of nearby locations. Indiana residents can find sites and sign up for an appointment by going to ourshot.in.gov. Ohio residents should use gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Source: Reid Health