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FAQ: COVID-19 booster shots

Should I get a booster shot?

The CDC recommends COVID-19 booster shots for individuals older than 5:

  • Ages 18+ who received their first J&J vaccine at least two months ago or, their second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least five months ago should get a booster of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Ages 50+ and immunocompromised individuals older than 12 who received their first booster shot at least four months ago should get a should get a booster of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Ages 12–18 who completed their initial Pfizer vaccines series at least five months ago should get a Pfizer booster.
  • Ages 5–11 who completed their initial Pfizer vaccines series at least five months ago should get a Pfizer booster.

All MIT students, staff, faculty, and affiliates who are eligible to receive an initial COVID-19 booster are required to receive one in order to maintain access to MIT buildings.

May 20, 2022

Where can I get a booster shot?

MIT will keep the community informed about Institute-sponsored COVID-19 booster clinics. Boosters are also available at many local pharmacies. You can find locations near you by searching vaccines.gov, texting your ZIP code to 438829, or calling 1-800-232-0233.

December 10, 2021

Which booster shot should I get?

The CDC’s recommendations allow a mix-and-match approach to COVID booster shots for everyone other than children aged 5–17 who received the Pfizer vaccine for their primary vaccination series. Those individuals must get a Pfizer booster.

Otherwise, you may choose to get a booster of either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, even if this is not the same type of vaccine you received originally.

May 20, 2022

When should I get a booster?

You should get a first or second booster right away if you are now eligible. Or, if it’s been less than five months since your second Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or less than two months since you got your first J&J vaccine, you should wait until you are eligible, and then get your booster as soon as possible.

May 20, 2022

Are booster shots the same dose as the initial shot(s)?

Yes. The COVID-19 booster shots use the same formulation as any of the initial COVID-19 vaccines you might have received. However, the Moderna booster is half the dose of the vaccine used in the initial two-shot series (50 μg vs. 100 μg).

October 29, 2021

Will I experience side effects from a COVID-19 booster shot?

Maybe. According to the CDC, side effects experienced after booster shots are similar to those reported after initial vaccination. The most common side effects are injection-site pain, fatigue, and headache, usually occurring one day after vaccination.

October 29, 2021

If I don’t get a booster shot, am I still considered “fully vaccinated?”

Yes, you are still considered “fully vaccinated,” but you may not be “up to date” with your COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC defines an individual as being “fully vaccinated” two weeks after the second dose of a two-shot series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines) or two weeks after receiving a single dose of the J&J vaccine. However, you are only considered to be up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines if you have received all doses in the primary series of shots and one booster when eligible.

May 20, 2022

I lost my COVID-19 vaccine card, which will need to be updated when I get my booster. How can I get a replacement?

  • If you were fully vaccinated at MIT Medical and are a member of the MIT community (not including Broad Institute), we can issue you a replacement card. Just send an email to vaccard@med.mit.edu with your name, date of birth, and, if possible, the approximate date you received the vaccine at MIT. We’ll send instructions for picking up your replacement card.

  • If you got your vaccine elsewhere in Massachusetts, follow these instructions to get a replacement card.
  • If you were vaccinated in another state, contact your vaccine provider directly or contact the immunization information system (IIS) for that state. All vaccination providers must report COVID-19 vaccinations to their state’s IIS, which can provide a replacement card if yours is lost.

October 29, 2021