On 10/22/2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced its support of the CDC and FDA recommendations to expand eligibility for COVID-19 booster shots. Public Health Madison & Dane County is now able to provide booster doses to certain people who received Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s a look at who is now eligible.

If you got Moderna or Pfizer

DHS recommends a booster dose at least six months after receiving a second dose of Moderna for the for the following groups of people:

  • People 65 years and older
  • All residents in long-term care
  • People ages 18 and older with certain underlying medical conditions
  • People ages 18 and older who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or institutional settings. Occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers:
    • First responders
    • Education staff
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers

If you got Johnson & Johnson

DHS recommends a booster dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after at least two months of the initial dose for everyone age 18 and older. There are no other requirements to receive a J&J booster.

I think I’m eligible for a booster, what now?

If you are eligible to receive any of the three approved booster doses, reach out to your health care provider or schedule an appointment at one of our three vaccine clinics. Appointments are now available at our S. Park Street office, E. Washington office and at the Arena at the Alliant Energy Center. When scheduling your booster appointment with Public Health, be sure to sign up for an appointment time slot that is labeled BOOSTER.

"Mixing and matching" boosters

You may receive any brand of vaccine for your booster dose; you do not have to receive the same brand you received initially as long as you meet the requirements for a booster. For example, if you received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago, you may receive any one Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson booster dose. Our ability to provide any brand of vaccine is dependent on our supply, and we cannot guarantee we will be able to offer you any particular brand of booster. If we run out of a certain brand when you show up for your appointment, we will offer you the alternatives we have on hand.

What is a booster shot?

For some viruses, the protection we get from a vaccine starts to wear off over time. An additional dose of the vaccine may be needed to boost your immune response and make sure we’re protected from the virus. Boosters are common for many vaccines, including Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis).

How is a "booster" different than an “additional dose”?

An additional dose is needed when the body did not respond strongly enough to the initial dose or doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. This can happen in immunocompromised individuals. Guidance about additional doses went out in August. Booster doses on the other hand, are for those who had a good immune response after their initial dose or doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but that protection has simply decreased over time. For those people, a booster dose will help the vaccine work longer and extend their protection against severe outcomes from COVID-19. Those who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines who fall under the very small and specific group of severely immunocompromised people are authorized to receive additional doses. Read more about this group in our blog post.

This content is free for use with credit to the City of Madison - Public Health Madison & Dane County and a link back to the original post.