More than 180 million Americans, including more than 80 percent of people over age 65, are fully vaccinated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for COVID-19. There’s no question that full vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against this devastating virus and reduce your chances of developing severe or long-lasting illness if you do get sick. But, to stay ahead of this terrible virus, important questions do remain. A big one right now is: How soon will booster shots be needed and for whom? [NIH 9.28.2021]
The answers to this question will continue to evolve as more high-quality data become available. But here’s what we know right now for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster. Late last week, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommended that:
- Those 65 years and older and residents in long-term care settings should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,
- People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a booster shot at least 6 months after being fully vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,
- Individuals aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a booster shot at least 6 months after getting fully vaccinated with their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, based on their individual benefits and risks.
- Frontline workers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may receive a booster. This group includes anyone age 18 through 64 whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of COVID-19. 
Taken together, these CDC recommendations are in line with those issued two days earlier by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) .
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