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FAQ: COVID-19 booster shots

Should I get a booster shot?

The CDC recommends updated bivalent COVID-19 booster shots for:

  • Individuals whose most recent COVID-19 vaccine was at least two months ago should get a should get a bivalent booster as soon as they are eligible. 
  • Individuals who have recently had COVID-19 may consider delaying the next booster dose by three months from the date of symptom onset or positive test (if asymptomatic).

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.

December 9, 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 five-year-olds, who can only 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.

October 14, 2022

When should I get a booster?

You should get a booster right away if you are now eligible.

October 14, 2022

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

No. The updated COVID-19 booster vaccines are bivalent vaccines that protect against two different strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus — the original strain and the now-prevalent Omicron variant. Additionally, the Moderna booster is half the dose of the vaccine used in the initial two-shot series (50 μg vs. 100 μg).

October 14, 2022

What is a bivalent COVID-19 booster? How is it different from the monovalent booster?

The bivalent COVID-19 vaccines contain mRNA components from two strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virusthe original strain and the now-prevalent Omicron (BA.4/BA.5) variant. The monovalent booster contains mRNA components only from the original viral strain.

October 14, 2022

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

Can I get my bivalent COVID-19 booster and my flu shot at the same time?

Yes, according to the CDC, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time if you are eligible and the timing coincides.

October 14, 2022

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 received the most recent booster dose recommended for you by CDC.

October 14, 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 Massachusettsfollow these instructions to get a replacement card or a digital copy of your vaccine record.
  • 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