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Who should get a booster shot or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Last Updated: 11/20/2021

If you are 18 or older, you are eligible for a "booster shot" at any vaccine location. See below for additional details.

If you are moderately or severely immunocompromised, you are eligible for a "third dose" of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at any vaccine location, at least four weeks after your second shot. See below for additional details.

Booster Shot Details

  • Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine: People who are 18 and older who received a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine can receive a booster shot of any of the three available vaccines, at least two months after their shot.
  • Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccines: People who are 18 and older who received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can receive a booster shot of any of the three available vaccines, at least six months after their second shot.

With the holidays approaching and the Delta variant continuing to impact the state, all eligible individuals are encouraged to get booster shots as they consider travel and gatherings for the holiday season.

Vaccine appointments can be made at any existing vaccination location without a prescription.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC's recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots.

Third Dose Details

People with moderate or severe immune system deficiencies should get an additional Pfizer or Moderna shot, at least four weeks after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot, including those who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

People who want a third dose should identify themselves as immunocompromised, and proof of immunocompromised status is not required. Vaccine appointments can be made at any existing vaccination location without a prescription.

The third dose should be of the same product as the initial vaccine series and should be delivered at least four weeks after the second shot. However, if the vaccine administered previously is not available, Pfizer or Moderna may be substituted with one another when administered as additional doses to moderately to severely immunocompromised people.

"Third Doses" vs "Booster Shots"

Additional vaccine shots are currently recommended for one of two reasons:

  • For immunocompromised individuals, the two-dose vaccine may not provide the same level of immunity as it does to non-immunocompromised individuals. A "third dose" of the vaccine helps their immune system build up enough protection against COVID-19.
  • For other individuals, their immune protection against COVID-19 may weaken over time. A "booster shot" helps their immune system boost up its defenses against COVID-19.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

If you have your CDC Vaccination Card, you should bring it with you so that the additional dose can be added to your card. If you do not have your card, you can bring other documentation, including the digital record via the Docket app. The vaccine provider can also look up the individual's vaccine record on the State's vaccine registry.

You do not need any proof of a medical condition, a note from a medical provider, or a prescription.

Assistance

The State's toll-free vaccination hotline (1-855-568-0545) is available from 8 am to 8 pm, seven days a week to register individuals in the NJ Vaccine Scheduling System, answer questions about the vaccine, provide contact information for sites, and check registration status.