In November 2021, the CDC first allowed people over 18 to get COVID vaccine booster doses. Now, everyone 12 and older can be eligible to get their own booster dose. 

Being up-to-date on your COVID vaccine is the best way to avoid being seriously ill from COVID and avoiding the hospital.  

What does up-to-date on your COVID vaccine mean? 

Being up-to-date on your COVID vaccine means that you’ve gotten every dose of vaccine that you’re eligible for. For children under five who don’t have an approved vaccine, they are as up-to-date as they can get. The rest of us need to keep track. 

Vaccines for Children Aged 5 to 12 

In order to be up-to-date, children who are between 5 and 12 should have two doses of pediatric Pfizer vaccine. They should get the second dose 21 days, or three weeks, after the first. Children younger than 12 are not eligible to receive a booster at this time. Some children who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of pediatric Pfizer vaccine 28 days, or four weeks, after their second dose. More information on COVID vaccines for children and teens can be found on the CDC’s website. 

Vaccines for Teens Aged 12 to 18 

In order to be up-to-date, teens between 12 and 18 should have two doses of Pfizer vaccine and one booster dose of Pfizer vaccine. They should get their second dose 21 days, or three weeks, after the first. And they should get a booster dose five months after their second dose or additional dose, if they get one. Some children who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of Pfizer vaccine 28 days, or four weeks, after their second dose. More information on COVID vaccines for children and teens can be found on the CDC’s website. 

Vaccines for Adults 18 and Older 

In order to be up-to-date, adults 18 and older should have any of the following: 

  • Two doses of Pfizer vaccine and one booster dose. They should get their second dose 21 days, or three weeks, after the first. And they should get a booster dose five months after their second dose or additional dose, if they get one. The booster dose should be a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Some people who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of Pfizer vaccine 28 days, or four weeks, after their second dose. 
  • Two doses of Moderna vaccine and one booster dose. They should get their second dose 28 days, or four weeks, after the first. And they should get a booster dose five months after their second dose or additional dose, if they get one. The booster dose should be a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Some people who are immunocompromised should get an additional dose of Moderna vaccine 28 days, or four weeks, after their second dose. 
  • One dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and one booster dose. They should get their booster dose two months after their first dose. The booster dose should be a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. The CDC does not recommend additional doses for people who received Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

But what if I’m not up-to-date?  

If you’re not up-to-date on your COVID vaccine, you can start getting caught up today. There are hundreds of places to get free vaccine all over Philadelphia. You can find the nearest vaccine clinics by visiting phila.gov/vaccine or vaccines.gov. 

If you haven’t gotten any vaccines yet 

If you haven’t gotten any vaccines, you’re not protected from COVID. The majority of people who are being hospitalized with COVID-19 and dying from it are not fully vaccinated. Visit any vaccine clinic and start today. 

If you’re 18 or older, you can get Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. If you’re between 5 and 18, you can only get the Pfizer vaccine. Hold onto your vaccine card! That’s your record so you know which vaccine to get next time. 

If you’ve only gotten one dose of a vaccine 

If you’ve only gotten one dose of a two-dose vaccine, you’re not fully protected from COVID. The majority of people who are being hospitalized with COVID-19 and dying from it are not fully vaccinated. It’s not too late to start catching up, even if it’s been more than a few months since your first dose. If it’s been longer than three or four weeks since your first shot, you should get your second dose as soon as possible. 

Find your vaccine card to find out which vaccine you got. 

If you got Pfizer, you’ll need to wait 21 days, or three weeks since your first shot, and then find a clinic that is administering Pfizer vaccine. Children under 12 need to find a clinic that is administering pediatric Pfizer vaccine. 

If you got Moderna, you’ll need to wait 28 days, or four weeks since your first shot, and then find a clinic that is administering Moderna vaccine. 

If you got Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you’re considered fully vaccinated! In order to get up-to-date, you should get a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine two months after your original dose. 

If you’ve only gotten two vaccine doses 

Congratulations, you’re fully vaccinated! But most likely you’re not done yet. Research has shown that people who have received a booster dose are better protected against the Omicron variant. It’s not too late to start catching up, even if it’s been more than five months since your second dose. If it’s been longer than five months since your last shot, you should get your booster dose as soon as possible. 

Children under the age of 12 can’t get booster doses, so they’re up-to-date. 

Teens between 12 and 18 should get a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine five months after their second dose or additional dose, if they get one. Make sure to find a clinic that has Pfizer vaccine. After they get their booster dose, they’re up-to-date! 

Adults older than 18 should get a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine five months after their second dose or additional dose, if they get one. After they get their booster dose, they’re up-to-date! 

Adults who got Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine two months after their second dose. After they get their booster dose, they’re up-to-date!