On 9/27/2021, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) updated its guidance on boosters, following the FDA authorization and CDC recommendation that some Wisconsin residents who received the Pfizer vaccine should get a booster shot six months after getting their second dose.

This guidance separates people who should get a booster dose of Pfizer to strengthen their immunity and people who may get a booster dose after considering their individual risks and benefits.

Should Get:

May Get:

  • People ages 18–49 years with certain underlying medical conditions
  • People ages 18–64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of their job or institutional settings.
    • First responders (health care workers, firefighters, police, staff at congregate care facilities)
    • Education staff (teachers, support staff, childcare workers)
    • Food and agriculture workers
    • Manufacturing workers
    • Corrections workers
    • U.S. Postal Service workers
    • Public transit workers
    • Grocery store workers

I think I am eligible for a booster shot, what now?

If you originally got the Pfizer vaccine and believe you are eligible to receive your booster shot, we encourage you to reach out to your healthcare provider to set up an appointment. Our South Madison and East Washington clinics also have appointments available and there are several opportunities to receive vaccine at one of our mobile clinics.

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 it 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. Additional doses are currently authorized for those who received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines who fall under the very small and specific group of severely immunocompromised people. Read more about this group in our blog post.

What if I received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

Right now, this guidance only applies to people whose primary vaccine series was the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine was the first COVID-19 vaccine to be authorized in the U.S., so its data about booster doses were the first to be available. While those who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine will likely need a booster shot in the future, more data on effectiveness and safety are expected soon.

In the meantime, as we wait to learn more, we ask that you be patient. There is ample vaccine supply, and everyone who is recommended for a booster dose will be able to receive one when that time comes.Still need to get your dose? Visit our vaccination page to find a vaccine provider near you.

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.